Voices

The new Library of Birmingham ticks all the boxes as far as so-called landmark architecture is concerned. Designed by Mecanoo, a star international practice. Slightly wild façade. Even more dramatic central atrium, spiralling up through the building. And at the  pinnacle, a golden ark containing the city’s original 1882 Shakespeare archive room.

True Townie: Frankly we don't give a hoot for barn owls

ONE OF the most moving moments in all of Shakespeare's plays is the offstage death of Falstaff. Mistress Quickly gives us his last words: 'He babbled of green fields.' Babbling of green fields, we could say, is le vice anglais.

BBOK REVIEW / Pea soupers and the smell of Babbage: 'Dan Leno and the Limehouse Golem' - Peter Ackroyd: Sinclair Stevenson, 14.99

PETER ACKROYD's new novel begins and ends with an execution. In the opening pages an ex-vaudeville artiste, Elizabeth 'Lambeth Marsh Lizzie' Cree, is hanged for the murder of her husband. At the end, her death is action-replayed on stage in a play entitled The Crees of Misery Junction. These two symmetrical scenes frame a narrative which plays relentlessly with the tensions between illusion and reality, life (or is it death?) and art.

Historic reading room must go

THE DOME of the historic Round Reading Room at the British Museum yesterday dwarfed the figures of the architect Sir Norman Foster and Dr Robert Anderson, the museum's director. The reading room, where Charles Dickens, Bernard Shaw and Karl Marx read and researched is to become an information centre and reference library as part of a pounds 100m development plan, writes David Lister.

Letter: The ghost of Marx laid to rest

NEAL ASCHERSON ('An urbane spectre', 15 May) chides Karl Marx for not being 'accurate' when he wrote in 1848 that 'the spectre of Communism is haunting Europe'. However, Marx was referring to primitive communism which had existed before social systems based on class relations. Capitalism, the last class system, had brought the forces of production to a point where a more developed communism was possible. Thus the literary use of 'haunting'.

Dear Chelsea Clinton: The next time they make their feeble jokes about you, just remember that the First Daughter always has the last laugh.

This year has been a bummer for one member of the Clinton family, and I think we all know who it is.

MUSIC / Upbeat: Growth area

TONIGHT sees the reopening of the restored Chemnitz Opera House with a new production of Wagner's Parsifal. If you haven't heard of the place, there are two good reasons: it was gutted by bombing in 1945, and the town itself, 150 miles south of Berlin, used to be called Karl-Marx-Stadt. Long over all that, it has now appointed a British music director, John Carewe, who starts a three-year contract next August. He makes his first appearance there conducting Salome on 3 January.

Obituary: Professor Tom Bottomore

Thomas Burton Bottomore, sociologist, born 8 April 1920, Reader in Sociology London School of Economics 1952-64, Professor of Sociology Simon Fraser University Vancouver 1965-67, Professor of Sociology Sussex University 1968- 85, books include Karl Marx: selected writings in sociology and social philosophy (with Maximilien Rubel) 1956, Sociology: a guide to problems and literature 1962, Elites and Society 1964, Classes in Modern Society 1965, Austro- Marxism (with P. Goode) 1978, Political Sociology 1979, A Dictionary of Marxist Thought 1981, Theories of Modern Capitalism 1985, died Ditchling East Sussex 9 December 1992.

BOOK REVIEW / Canon to the right of them, canon to the left: Daughters of Africa Ed. Margaret Busby: Jonathan Cape pounds 30

THE STRAIN of a severe case of Political Correctness Anxiety is evident in the cumbersome subtitle to this book. Only PCA could be responsible for the qualifying tag 'An International Anthology of Words and Writings by Women of African Descent'. Such careful definition attempts to forestall anticipated criticism from all camps.

BOOK REVIEW / On the trail of dropped names: Tom Shone on a bold attempt by Phillip Kerr to merge the hunt for a serial murderer with a taste for philosophical puzzles. 'A Philosophical Investigation' - Phillip Kerr: Chatto & Windus, 14.99 pounds

EVER SINCE we came across Dr Lecter feigning sleep on his bunk, Alexandre Dumas' Grand Dictionnaire de Cuisine lying open on his chest, thriller writers have been falling over themselves to furnish their killers with the same finely-tuned aesthetic antennae as Thomas Harris's well-mannered monster in The Silence of the Lambs. The soundtrack to slaughter in Phillip Kerr's new thriller may be Schubert's Piano Trio in B flat and not the Goldberg Variations, Lecter's own favourite, but this detail is typical of the novels caught up in Harris's wake. A Philosophical Investigation is full, not so much of differences from Harris's novels as of ex-similarities - similarities that have been anxiously smudged, disguised, tweaked into differences.

When Marx played in a capital venture

SO THAT'S all right then. Communist China, where speculation in shares is running high, says Karl Marx himself was not above playing the market.

Student was raped at Karl Marx's grave

A 31-YEAR-OLD kitchen porter, Glory Kwantreng, was convicted of raping and robbing a teenage French student as she visited the grave of Karl Marx in Highgate cemetery, north London. He was remanded in custody at the Old Bailey for medical reports and will be sentenced next month.
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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home
Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

But could his predictions of war do the same?
Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs: 'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs
Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities, but why?

Young at hort

Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities. But why are so many people are swapping sweaty clubs for leafy shrubs?
Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award: 'making a quip as funny as possible is an art'

Beyond a joke

Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

Sadly though, the Lawrence of Arabia star is not around to lend his own critique
Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire: The joy of camping in a wetland nature reserve and sleeping under the stars

A wild night out

Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire offers a rare chance to camp in a wetland nature reserve
Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition: It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans

Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition

It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans
Besiktas vs Arsenal: Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie

Besiktas vs Arsenal

Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie
Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

As the Northern Irishman prepares for the Barclays, he finds time to appear on TV in the States, where he’s now such a global superstar that he needs no introduction
Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to Formula One

Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to F1

The 16-year-old will become the sport’s youngest-ever driver when he makes his debut for Toro Rosso next season
Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

But belated attempts to unite will be to no avail if the Sunni caliphate remains strong in Syria, says Patrick Cockburn