'Exuberant and imaginative...'

You might have enjoyed watching Civilisations with Mary Beard, David Olusoga and Simon Sharma on television, and, if so, you'll be interested in this companion volume Civilisations: how do we look?/the Eye of Faith. In the first part, Mary Beard explores depictions of the human figure in the world's earliest artworks, exploring both philosophically and visually that most ancient of questions 'how do we look?' The second part is given to an exploration of the relationship between art and religion. Religion has always inspired artistic endeavour, yet religions have struggled with an urge for destruction as well as creation, a dichotomy which is intriguingly examined in this scholarly and engaging book.

The Defectors, by Joseph Kanon, is an exciting new novel exploring the world of 1960s defection against the backdrop of Cold War tensions. Family and political loyalties collide in this tense and gripping new thriller, from a writer who has been compared to John le Carré.

Now, for something a little different, I'd like to recommend a new French graphic novel, Total Jazz by Blutch. In this free-spirited collection of short stories and vignettes by the famous French cartoonist, not only the music, but the subculture of the jazz world is brought to life. Exuberant and imaginative, this book captures perfectly the spirit of jazz and the excitement of live performance.

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