The Best Book Covers of 2016. Plus: A Dinosaur Tail in Amber, Bottling the Scent of the Monsoon, Natalie Portman in ‘Jackie’, and Disruptive Lingerie

img_2795 The final few days of each year always feel a little deflated, like balloons five days after a children’s party. Here in the UK, the buzz and build-up of Christmas (love it or loathe it) has popped and people are sated and yet still not quite satisfied.

The new year brings reckonings and renewed goals. After a tumultuous 12 months I know I’m not the only one nervous about what 2017 holds for global geopolitics. (Those of an ominous disposition might not want to be reminded that next year marks the centenary of the Russian Revolution and 150th anniversary of the publication of Karl Marx’s ‘Capital’.)

There are, however, many things to be excited about. Russian revolutionary art will be celebrated at the Royal Academy; the work of David Hockney will return en masse to the Tate Britain; while Pink Floyd is heralded at the V&A. Elsewhere, Seurat will take a turn at the Met and Frank Lloyd Wright’s legacy will be on display at MoMA. The second season of ‘Stranger Things‘, the brilliant Netflix show from the Duffer brothers, will be released. (I wrote this piece about the show for Film & Furniture.) The 200th anniversary of the death of Madame de Stael, an eloquent opponent of Napoleon, will see a renewed interest in one of history’s great women of letters.

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The berry pickers of Chernobyl and their radioactive bounty

The world’s most beautiful, extravagant and indulgent bookshops

A film celebrating — rather than denigrating — China’s sheng nu, lefover women. While The Economist predicts that 2017 will be the year that women, finally, begin to gain greater power in boardrooms

Did you know that there’s a beauty pageant for banknotes? See some of the hopefuls here (Maldives 1,000 Rufiyaa for the win!)

The New York Times chooses the best book covers of 2016 (I reviewed one of the winners, On Trails by Robert Moor, earlier this year)

The most anticipated films of 2017? Sequels and franchises. Yawn

On the disruption of yet another staid industry: lingerie

What the dinosaur tail found encased in amber can tell us about the evolution of feathers

Can social networks use design to battle fake news and trolling?

Meet Lilou. San Francisco airport’s new, tutu-wearing therapy pig trained to help ease travellers’ stress

Caitlin Moran tells a heartening tale of a disastrous initial meeting with the Observer. Despite being two hours late she landed a column

The Indian village where they bottle the scent of the monsoon

And from me:

I reviewed “Jackie”, and Natalie Portman’s career-defining turn as the first lady with the breathy voice, for The Economist

And appeared on Radio 4′s ‘Saturday Live’ to talk about ‘The Secret Lives of Colour’


[image, top, via Petra Jensen]

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