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Book news: Harper Lee's 'new' sequel to Mockingbird

Announced on Tuesday; Harper Lee will be publishing Go Set a Watchman, the sequel to her classic 1960 novel To Kill a Mockingbird. Called Go Set a Watchman this is Lee’s first draft of Mockingbird but from the perspective of Scout as an adult. Right on cue the backlash has started. Everyone’s favourite teen novel, To Kill A Mockingbird, is apparently not as good as it’s washed up to be. It has a ‘rather inchoate moral system’ according to the Guardian’s Sarah Churchwell. That may be true. I suspect that most of us haven’t reread the novel since we were thirteen, when our own moral compasses were not yet finely tuned and that another generation was won over by the carefully tailored looks of Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch in the film version of the book. Be that as it may I will be in the queue on publication day when Harper Lee’s ‘new’ sequel is published. And I will be as eager as any Harry Potter fan for the final instalment.

Film review: Testament of Youth

The huge intelligent autobiography by Vera Brittain, based on her experiences in the First World War, has been much tamed and reduced in this filmic version by director James Kent. With plenty of scenes focusing on nothing much more than Alicia Vikander’s undoubted beauty and good taste in knitwear. It needs more substance and bite. The best scene? When Brittain, volunteering as a nursing orderly behind the lines in France, is confronted by row upon row of stretchers bearing the dead and dying from the battlefields. Would have been better as a 3 part TV series.

Film Review: The Theory of Everything

The life of Professor Stephen Hawkings, the world-renowned physicist and cosmologist who was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in 1963, is considered in 'The Theory of Everything'. The film is billed as ‘a love story set in Cambridge’ but focuses instead on his struggle to cope with everyday life, as the disease takes hold and his health deteriorates. Hawkings survives thanks to his wife and full-time carer Jane, and the NHS. It questions society’s narrow perception of disability, and challenges existing social conventions. Hawkings is played by Eddie Redmayne, who captures his vital and pioneering spirit, trapped inside a twisted body. Felicity Jones portrays his wife Jane as the picture of beleaguered fortitude. A compelling film, simply told but universal in its reach, and quite gritty.

Outer Circle The Boyds and the Murrumbeena Artists

‘Outer Circle’ examines the work of the Boyds, Australia’s most distinguished creative dynasty, consisting of several painters, studio potters and a writer, Martin Boyd, author of ‘A Difficult Young Man’ (1955). In 1913 Arthur Merric and his wife Emma moved to the Melbourne suburb of Murrumbeena. Their weatherboard property named ‘Open Country’ was home to numerous generations of Boyds; a pottery…

On Reading by André Kertész

Taken over a period of nearly 60 years this poetic volume of images by influential 20th century Hungarian photographer Kertész focuses on the contemplation of the printed word. Beautifully arranged, the images on facing pages balance and reflect each other transforming a personal act of absorption into a universal practice. Captivating.