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Tate St Ives: ‘Patrick Heron’ (until 30th September)

Evans

One of Britain’s most acclaimed artists is currently showing in the double-size expansion at Tate St Ives. A retrospective, the exhibition shows the development of his abstract painting beginning with his early work in the 1940s and concluding with some of his final works.

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National Gallery: ‘Ed Ruscha: Course of Empire’ and ‘Thomas Cole: Eden to Empire’ (until 7th October)

The Oldie

This brilliant pairing from the National Gallery sees Ruscha’s modern take on the cyclical nature of civilisation stand alongside what the artist was responding to: Cole’s paintings of Los Angeles imagined over a thousand years.    

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Tate Modern: ‘Picasso 1932 – Love, Fame, Tragedy’ (until 9th September)

The Oldie

Borrowed from Paris, this is the first Picasso exhibition at Tate Modern. With more than 100 of his works, it also offers glimpses into the personal life of the most influential artist of the 20th century.

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Paris: ‘Delacroix’, Louvre (until 23rd July)

The Oldie

In the spacious basement lies this enormous collection of artwork by Eugene Delacroix (1798-1863), who has always been regarded as the leader of the French Romantic school. Probably rather crowded, but something that can’t be missed, so visit in the last hour of the day.

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Tate Britain: ‘All Too Human: Bacon, Freud and a Century of Painting Life’ (until 27th August)

The Oldie

A familiar but ravishing story is brought up to date by this exhibition. It gathers the vaguely impressionist artists’ life paintings, from Sickert onwards, and now including Lynette Yiadom-Boakye.

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Greece: Sifnos

The Oldie

This dot of an island in the Aegean Sea is not too full of culture and it is certainly not too full of people. Unbelievably, you can almost guarantee there is no need to book accommodation in advance. But this is not to say it is not worth visiting. With amazing food and scenery, it is stunning.

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‘Into the Grey Zone: A Neuroscientist Explores the Border Between Life and Death’ by Adrian Owen

The Oldie

Owen himself has spent time at bedsides staring at and investigating those suffering from brain damage that renders them barely living. Discussing the contentious issue of euthanasia, the right to life, and what qualifies as life, this is a timely read.

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‘Improbable Destinies: How Predictable is Evolution?’ by Jonathan Losos

The Oldie

Jonathan Losos, professor of evolutionary biology at Harvard, has revisited the contentious debate about whether or not, had the world started again, it would have ended up exactly as it is today. A fast-paced read with surprises round every corner.

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‘Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence’ by Max Tegmark

The Oldie

Yuval Noah Harari said that artificial intelligence ‘should be the most important item on our political agenda’, and yet it barely features. This is Tegmark’s attempt to put to paper the impacts of AI on the job market, warfare and, most troublingly, on the political system.

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‘The Power and the Story: The Global Battle for News and Information’ by John Lloyd

The Oldie

Former Financial Times journalist John Lloyd looks at the threats posed to journalism in the West – where the press is supposed to be free. Violence, secrecy, corruption and commercialisation are all hindering proper journalism.

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‘The Knife Went In: Real Life Murderers and Our Culture’ by Theodore Dalrymple

The Oldie

As a former prison doctor, psychiatrist and court expert, Dalrymple is well qualified to share his thoughts on the murderous underclass of Britain. Delving into his various personal encounters, this eye-opening account shows that some things are not changing within society.

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‘Ghosts of the Tsunami: Death and Life in Japan’s Disaster Zone’ by Richard Lloyd Parry

The Oldie

Tokyo-based journalist Richard Lloyd Parry spent six years reporting from Tohoku – the region from which 99 per cent of the 18,500 casualties of the 2011 tsunami came. He focuses on half a dozen personal accounts, concluding that political errors increased the death toll.

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‘This is Going to Hurt: Secret Diaries of a Junior Doctor’ by Adam Kay

The Oldie

Comedian Kay relates back to the diaries he kept during his six years as a junior doctor. The Daily Express called it ‘a blisteringly funny, politically enraging and often heartbreaking’ account of the horrors faced by some of the most under-pressure people in an already under-pressure NHS.

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‘Travelling Light: Journeys Among Special People and Places’ by Alastair Sawday’

The Oldie

Sawday’s passionate call to avoid the endless list of ever-reliable yet truly uninspiring hotels across the world is witty and engaging. He tracks his time enjoying some of the world’s quirkier residencies and advises you to do the same.

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‘Mayhem: A Memoir’ by Sigrid Rausing

The Oldie

Written by the sister of Hans Rausing, who had struggled with cocaine addiction with his wife, Eva, until the latter died of drug-induced heart failure, this is an emotionally straining account of the disaster and devastation that addiction can cause.

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‘What Happened’ by Hillary Rodham Clinton

The Oldie

The reviewer for the Times called this ‘a highly entertaining, spirited and informative’ account of why Hillary Clinton lost that infamous election. She is honest, even if she doesn’t have all the answers, and she lays bare the staunch gender inequality that still plagues America and the world.

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‘Gerry Adams: An Unauthorised Life’ by Malachi O’Doherty

The Oldie

This unauthorised biography opens up the life of former Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams. O’Doherty includes a shocking revelation that Britain wanted to keep him at the helm of the republican movement because of his realisation that violence wasn’t always the answer.

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‘The Curious World of Samuel Pepys and John Evelyn’ by Margaret Willes

The Oldie

Although they enjoyed completely different daily lives, Pepys and Evelyn had one thing in common, ‘a great curiosity’, says Willes. This results in a biography not just of two people, but rather an insight into the culture of Restoration England and the heart of the 17th century.

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‘Every Third Thought: On Life, Death, and the Endgame’ by Robert McCrum

The Oldie

Having flirted with death after a serious stroke at the age of 42, McCrum has written about the 22 years since then – time he considers to be borrowed. Andrew Marr – a fellow stroke sufferer – comments that while this isn’t a work of glib optimism, there is an abundance of life-affirming content.

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‘The Black Prince’ by Michael Jones

The Oldie

After 637 years of Edward of Woodstock (the Black Prince and eldest son of Edward III) being blamed for the massacre of 3,000 innocent townspeople during the Hundred Years War, Jones has a new thesis: he was not to blame – it was the French.

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‘Gainsborough: A Portrait’ by James Hamilton

The Oldie

This biography of probably the most famous portrait artist of the 18th century reminds us how innovative Thomas Gainsborough was. Hamilton reveals the extraordinary technique behind some of the work of one of the idols of the art world.

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‘The Witch: A History of Fear, from Ancient Times to the Present’ by Ronald Hutton

The Oldie

Hutton’s greatest contribution to a topic which makes us wonder at times gone by is that he proves that witchcraft was, and still is, an international phenomenon. He also shows, through superior understanding, that witches aren’t inherently evil.

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‘Red Famine: Stalin’s War on Ukraine’ by Anne Applebaum

The Oldie

In the most shocking of all Soviet atrocities, Stalin’s policy of ‘extermination by hunger’ saw the deaths of four million Ukrainians from 1931 to 1934. With unrivalled access to Soviet archives, Applebaum’s account is the definitive version of a topic that has gripped so many historians.

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‘Queen Victoria’s Matchmaking: The Royal Marriages that Shaped Europe’ by Deborah Cadbury

The Oldie

Of Queen Victoria’s 42 grandchildren, seven became crowned heads. Cadbury tells the story of a spider’s web of both genuine and forced romance which Victoria spun in order to secure her children’s place among Europe’s political and royal elite.

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‘The Unwomanly Face of War’ by Svetlana Alexievich

The Oldie

First published in 1985 and having sold more than two million copies worldwide, this is a poignant, revealing and harrowing account of how women contributed to the Soviet Second World War effort. The Guardian call it ‘a tough read, both emotionally and intellectually’, but utterly worthwhile.

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