In her latest novel, So Much For That, Lionel Shriver asks an awkward and distressing economic question: how much is one life worth? This is the issue faced by her protagonist Shepherd Knacker when he is forced to give up everything he owns, including his life-long dreams, to fund his terminally ill wife’s exorbitant medical bills. Lionel Shriver talks about the cause of over half of the bankruptcies in America, and why we should be grateful for the NHS.Lionel Shriver
So Much For That is published by HarperCollins.
For years Jonathan Balcombe has studied animal behaviour. Formerly a Senior Research Scientist with Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine in Washington, his latest book, Second Nature: The Inner Lives of Animals, argues animals are no less sentient than human beings, from the signature whistle of a dolphin to the empathy of higher moral feelings such as altruism, grief, trust, optimism, forethought and empathy. We may be the more powerful predator but Jonathan argues it is time for us to stop feeling superior and adopt instead a more humble, less oppressive relationship with animals.Jonathan Balcombe
Jonathan is giving a talk at the British Library on Monday 29 March and his book, Second Nature: The Inner Lives of Animals, is published by Palgrave Macmillan.
The details of some MPs’ expenses claims - duck houses, moats, bathplugs and chandeliers – are now well known, but we would all still be in the dark were it not for the persistence of one campaigning journalist. Heather Brooke took on the Establishment in her battle to get access to MPs’ expenses but was met with secrecy, bureaucracy and obstruction from government officials. In her new book, The Silent State, Heather Brooke examines the extent to which the government collects information on us while refusing to make civic information available to the public. She talks about why public information, gathered at public expense, belongs to the people.Heather Brooke
The Silent State: Secrets, Surveillance and the Myth of British Democracy is published by William Heinemann.
Since a Yemen-trained terrorist tried to blow up an airliner over Detroit on Christmas Day, the world’s attention has focused on this little understood Gulf State. It is Osama bin Laden's ancestral homeland and it’s believed that Yemen produces and shelters more Islamist terrorists than any other country except Pakistan and Afghanistan. With its rapidly growing population, declining water supplies, diminishing oil reserves and two wars of secession, experts are calling it the next decade's jihadist hot-spot. Journalist Victoria Clark, who was born in Yemen's second city Aden, has written an account of the origins and growth of contemporary jihadism in this most overlooked part of the Arabian Peninsula and talks about Yemen’s colourful past and turbulent present.Yemen: Dancing on the Heads of Snakes
Yemen: Dancing on the Heads of Snakes is published by Yale University Press.
Start The Week sets the cultural agenda for the week ahead, with high-profile guests discussing the…