Meet Dirty John. Plus Stranger Things 2, Savitri Devi and The Secret Lives of Color

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Last week The Secret Lives of Color was published (minus 2,663 ‘u’s) by Penguin in America. It’s had a warm welcome: it was one of the New York Times’ New & Noteworthies, was tranformed into a Buzzfeed listicle and garnered praise from Gretchen Rubin, the podcaster and author, who I spoke to about my slatternly work habits. It’s also come out in German, Spanish and Romanian, with many more exquisite translations to follow.

As any writer will confirm, writing a book is only half the battle: I owe a great debt of thanks to all those at John Murray, Penguin and elsewhere for their hard work winkling out the typos, making it into an object to be proud of, and of course making sure people actually hear about and buy it. Thank you also to everyone on Instagram for all their gorgeous photos: keep ‘em coming!

I too can report that I’ve been working hard (hence the time lag between this post and the one before). Most of my time has been spent working on my second book. It’s so nearly finished I can almost taste the celebratory cocktail I’ll be drinking once the manuscript is handed in. I’ve also been busy moving about and staying with friends and relatives while our flat is being redecorated (it’s going to be much more colourful, for a start); one weekend was spent in Istanbul, my first visit to the city, which I loved; and I’ve been doing some freelance writing to fill up all that, er, spare time.

Below, as ever, are a selection of thing that have caught my eye over the past few weeks along with a sprinkling of stuff from me. Enjoy.

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Debra met John Meehan on an over-50s dating website and married him two months later. He dressed a little sloppily, had shouting matches with her kids and liked to pose in front of the mirror and say “Damn! I’m good looking!” Soon enough, however, things began to go really wrong. Meet Dirty John, a heck of a guy and my new favourite podcast

Another catfishing  story, this time with a happy ending

Jane Austen too, it seems, wasn’t about a little marriage myth-making

On the Beast of Gévaudan, which terrorised the French countryside in the 1760s, claiming over 100 victims

Stranger Things 2 is slower-paced but every bit as charming and watchable as the first

Hitler had a mystical admirer. Now, thanks to the rise of the alt-right, Savitri Devi is back in the news

Kiran Millwood Hargrave, the award-winning childrens author, spoke to Always Take Notes about what motivates her to write and her struggles with mental health issue

The Real Heroes are Dead. A heartbreaking 9/11 story from the New Yorker first published in 2002 but well worth re-reading

Millennial pink. Where on earth did it come from? (Me, for Girlboss)

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