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SRB: Enough kVeitching Already

SRB Picks of the Week 19 July 2008
By Jeremy Rose
No, I'm not going to have a kvetch about the wretched Veitch affair, I just couldn't resist the headline. A story combining three of the media's pet obsessions violence, celebrity and cover-ups was always going to be recipe for saturation coverage. All it needs now is for some sordid sex tapes to emerge and a Royal connection and it will be a tabloid full house. But even with just three of the five, the Sunday Star Times deemed it important enough to dedicate 100 percent of its comment section to the affair and the bulk of its news coverage to boot. Okay, maybe a little kvetching's in order.

When it comes to combining celebrity and hard news the French do it with so much more style. It's been hard to miss the Sarkozy and Bruni show the ultimate mix of glamour and politics. The lastest installment has Bruni hitting the charts.

But a more enlightening coming together of hard news and celebrity is this conversation between French philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy and Mia Farrow on the crisis in Darfur. You may not agree with everything Lévy says but one thing you can't accuse him of his being an ivory tower academic. Well worth a read and/or listen.

A boycott by American Christians is being blamed for the rumoured cancellation of the second-part of the Phillip Pullman Dark Materials Triology. The Golden Compass did well everywhere except the crucial US market which The Independent reports might be enough to kill the planned second and third installments.

When I mentioned to publisher Mary Varnham that I was setting up the Scoop Review of Books she suggested a regular feature where people could suggest out of print New Zealand books they thought deserved a re-run. I had forgotten the suggestion till I came across this fascinating piece on A Country Doctor's Notebook by Mikhail Bulgakov. So if any of you can think of great New Zealand books that have been out of print for too long drop me a line (jeremy@scoop.co.nz) and I'll publish your suggestions on-line.

Finally, Ralph Nader's copped plenty of flack for supposedly losing Al Gore the Presidency - but but America would be a poorer place without him. His latest piece on "socialists in Washington" is worth a read.


Published This Week by the Scoop Review of Books.


A Window Through the Islamic Mesh
A Thousand Splendid Suns By Khaled Hosseini
Bloomsbury Paperbacks, $28. Reviewed by ALISON McCULLOCH
When she is first made to wear a burqa, Mariam, one of the two main characters in Khaled Hosseini’s A Thousand Splendid Suns, finds some comfort in it. The “shameful secrets of her past” – that she was born a harami or illegitimate child – are hidden from the outside world, “from the scrutinizing eyes of strangers.” But it’s tricky to walk without tripping over the hem, the headpiece is “tight and heavy” and it’s strange “seeing the world through a mesh screen.”Read more »

The Perkins Star Shines Again
Novel About My Wife, by Emily Perkins
Bloomsbury, $35. Reviewed by JANE BLAIKIE
Kiwi celebrity writer Emily Perkins is back with a hot new story – very contemporary, on an old theme. Novel About My Wife is just that. Tom Stone, a London sceenwriter recalls the last years of his marriage to Ann, an Australian-born sculptor. The action sits on a nexus of art, alcohol, love and madness – being a scenario that could go by any number of names: the creative life, self-destruction, abuse, the female as muse, addiction, a conflicted anima, and so on. Read more »

A Century Tailor-Made for Remembrance
The Dom: A Century of News, edited by Karl du Fresne.
Wellington: The Dominion Post, 2007. Reviewed by ALAN SAMSON
Let’s be blunt. Despite management spin and the timeline claims of this centenary publication, Wellington-based newspaper the Dominion did not merge with its sister publication The Evening Post in the big news media shake-up of 2002. That was the year when, in a shroud of secrecy but as a surprise to no one (apart, perhaps, for the timing), Wellington’s afternoon paper the Evening Post gave in to ever-falling circulation figures and closed. Read more »


Poem of the Week: Calypso
From: Calypso by Bob Orr, AUP, $25.
Read more »


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