The “diva” is a common trope when we talk about culture. We normally think of the diva as a Western construction: the opera singer, the Broadway actress, the movie star. A woman of outstanding talent, whose personality and ability are both larger-than-life.
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected every country around the world in a manner not seen since the Great Financial Crisis of 2008, and is perhaps one of the most transformative events in decades. Most countries and governments have played catch-up to the pandemic, trying to get a handle on case numbers after an explosive increase. But a few places: Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea, New Zealand, Australia, Vietnam and China appear to have kept the virus largely under control.
Enter the Wu-Tang. Return to the 36 Chambers. People listening to these albums by the Wu-Tang Clan and its members likely never knew about Sophia Chang: a Korean-Canadian woman who worked with members like RZA, ODB and Method Man. Q-Tip of A Tribe Called Quest called Sophia Chang “an integral part of the golden era of hip-hop”.
The Blakiston’s fish owl is the world’s largest living species of owl, with larger females of the species weighing as much as ten pounds. It lives in the Russian Far East and Northern Japan. It is also endangered: global populations are estimated to be around 1500 owls in total.
“Ivy Lin was a thief but you would never know it to look at her.” White Ivy, the debut novel by Susie Yang, is the story of Ivy Lin, a Chinese-American teenager growing up just outside of Boston, where she struggles to achieve the trappings of suburban teenagerhood. Years later, as a 27-year-old teacher haunted by confused feelings about her upbringing, she comes across characters from her past, which spurs a desire—perhaps an obsessive one—to remake her life. The novel has won rave reviews in publications and book clubs across the United States over the past few months.
Det, Chang and Lek are young university students living in Thailand during the 1970s. It is a turbulent time for the country’s politics: student-led protests in 1973 succeeded in (briefly) overthrowing the country’s military dictatorship. Det, Chang and Lek—three students from very different backgrounds—navigate the country’s changing politics from the streets of Bangkok to the jungles of northern Thailand.
Visitors around the world have traveled to Europe to see the tall spires and stained glass windows of the continent’s Gothic cathedrals: in Cologne, Chartres, Milan, Florence, York and Paris. The trappings of Gothic architecture have become shorthand for “medieval Europe”. Yet in Stealing from the Saracens: How Islamic Architecture Shaped Europe, Diana Darke investigates the Islamic origins of Gothic architecture, tracing its history through pre-Islamic Syria through the Islamic empires to the tall European cathedrals between the 12th and 17th centuries.