Between The Covers: 04/09/2011

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

*Don't look now, but...a) it's nearly Christmas, and b) that, apparently, means bottoms.

Those are the only conclusions that can be drawn from the surge of books by celebrities that's about to hit the shelves. Half a dozen comedians' memoirs are published at the end of this month, all hoping to be the next Booky Wook, and now the Americans are at it, too. First comes a "visual dialogue" with Lady Gaga, taken by Terry Richardson. Then there's the picture book and memoir The Oprah Winfrey Show: Reflections on an American Legacy. But surely the most hotly anticipated of all the celebrity doorstoppers is a coffee table slab by P Diddy, will.i.am, and the photographer Raphael Mazzucco, dedicated entirely to women's bums. Culo (Spanish for "ass") was inspired by a trip to Brazil, and advance information suggests that it captures the raw power and exhilaration of the natural form while the mixed media elements underlay a knowing pathos that makes the work immediate and contemporary. It is published by Atria Books on 22 November (£45).

*The illustrious literary history of London's Baker Street continues, it seems. Famous as the home of true blue British legends including Sherlock Holmes, Dusty Springfield and the head office of Marks & Spencer, the street will now be associated with the Swedish novelist Stieg Larsson, after his publisher, Quercus, moved into swish new offices there on the profits from his squillion-selling books. "We're all very excited," reads their blog. Let's hope they raise a glass to Stieg.

*Bibliophiles with house envy, switch off Phil and Kirstie and look instead at www.accreditedonlinecolleges.com/blog/2011/20-celebrities-with-stunning-home-libraries. The site offers a sumptuous gallery of celebrity libraries, including those of Karl Lagerfeld, Keith Richards, Woody Allen, Ralph Lauren, Nigella Lawson, Agatha Christie, Sting, and William Randolph Hearst. One can tell a lot about a person by his or her library. Funnily enough, Nigella and Keith are the only people whose books look as though they are there for reading and not just for looking at.

*Speaking of libraries, a little reported section of the recent DCMS study, This Cultural and Sporting Life: The Taking Part 2010/11 Adult and Child Report – buried among "Attitudes to the Olympic Games", "Digital engagement" and "The Big Society" – shows that people (three-quarters of children and two-fifths of adults) do use libraries, that their use has not declined in the past two years, and there is less of a difference in use of libraries between rich and poor areas than in any other cultural sector. The Government is just going to have to think of some other excuse for closing them all down, then.

*Much excitement and intrigue at the all-new Voewood Festival, where the ever-ready Paul Blezard stepped in to interview Sir John Scarlett, the former head of MI6, after Misha Glenny had to go home. During the interview, two ladies in the front row were muttering in stage whispers: "Have you noticed, dear, how his eyes have never stopped moving around the tent?" Then Voewood hostess Claire Conville's dog escaped its tether and made a dash up the aisle. "I hope that dog is secure," barked the eagle-eyed Scarlett. The dog could not be reached for comment.

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Rupert Murdoch and Rebekah Brooks in 2011

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Director Paul Thomas Anderson (right) and his movie The Master featuring Joaquin Phoenix

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<p><strong>Laura
Carmichael- Lady Edith Crawley</strong></p>
<p>Carmichael currently stars as Sonya in the West End production of
Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya at the Vaudeville Theatre. She made headlines this autumn
when Royal Shakespeare Company founder Sir Peter Hall shouted at her in a
half-sleepy state during her performance. </p>
<p>Carmichael made another appearance on the stage in 2011, playing
two characters in David Hare’s <em>Plent</em>y
at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield. </p>
<p>Away from the stage she starred as receptionist Sal in the 2011
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Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman

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