Between the Covers 03/11/2013

Your weekly guide to what's really going on in the world of books

Kim Jong-Un’s wife has been dubbed “the Kate Middleton of North Korea” after making her first public appearance. Now Between the Covers has discovered a little-known fact about her husband – he once wrote a book about film. He wrote On the Art of Cinema when culture minister in his father’s regime in the 1970s.

A reprint is available on Amazon and has earned mixed reviews. “Repetitive,” says one. “If you like books in which things are repeated, this is the book for you because things are repeated in it.” Others are more enthusiastic. “I never understood cinema. To me, movies were movies. You went in, ate popcorn, and, if you were lucky, stuff blew up. Then came Kim. His words are like poetry and his descriptions are as delicious as ice cream (of the mind). Suddenly cinema made sense. It is art, it is life.”

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The American novelist Marilynne Robinson will deliver the 2013 Theos lecture, which explores issues of religion in public life. Previous speakers have included Rowan Williams, Mark Thompson, and Jonathan Sacks. Her subject will be “Religion and Politics in Contemporary America”, and the lecture will be chaired by Mark Lawson at Theos’s headquarters at 77 Great Peter Street, London SW1 on 28 November. Robinson is the author of three novels including, most recently, Home, which received the Orange prize for fiction. Her most recent work on religion and politics was her 2012 collection, When I Was a Child I Read Books. The Atlantic said of it: “Robinson shows a remarkable ability to breathe new life into topics that have calcified into staunchly opposed stances”.

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It started with a blog, became an exhibition, and is now to be a book. Wayne Gooderham has been collecting second-hand books for 30 years. Then he noticed he had acquired a sub-collection of books with charming or witty dedications. Now, those kooky messages have been compiled in Dedicated To… , published by Transworld. Favourite entries include the copy of The Penguin Book of Infidelities, which says: “For Rebecca, in case you have any ideas!”; and a copy of Sartre’s The Words that reads: “Dear Mummy, may you read it all, clearly and without prejudice, right to the end. Lots of love, Hetty. Xx” One can’t help wondering if Hetty chose that edition for the giant pullquote on the cover, which reads: “I loathe my childhood and all that remains of it.”

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