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Charlie Connelly

Ivana Trump: The Czech who chased the American dream

With an eye for the smallest detail as well as the big picture, Trump became a vital driving force of the family business empire

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Ismail Kadare, the voice of Albania

Writing during the turbulent regime of Enver Hoxha led the writer into compromise – as well as greatness

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The revolutionary who changed the world of design forever

The common portrayal as a humourless Teuton could not have been further from a man whose work was infused with nuance, warmth and joy

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The books of summer

From remote Spain to the US Midwest via the Eternal City and Moominland, here are 10 must-reads for those long, warm days ahead

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The unlikely screen god

The advent of sound signalled the end of the silent movie star's career

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Kathleen Jamie’s ‘Cairn’ is poetry in prose

The Scottish writer infuses quiet moments with beauty and profundity. Her new book is so good it’s almost impossible to let it go

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The dreamer who looked to the stars

The German-American science writer had an ability to straddle effortlessly the worlds of advanced engineering and mass popular culture

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Vote for election fiction

Ahead of July 4, why not read about far more thrilling polls courtesy of Dickens, Wodehouse, Trollope… and even Jeffrey Archer?

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The actor who gave Nazis nuance

Ingrid Bergman said the German possessed more charm in his little finger than most men had in their whole body

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Kicking off a football revolution

A choice of reading for the Euros includes the man who prescribed a cure for English football’s problems, a generation early

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The composer who forged his own path

Ligeti’s rigorous antipathy to ideology was maintained throughout his life and extended way beyond his music

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Ian Penman’s portrait of a dead man

A new book tells the story of a German film-maker who tried to break with the country’s past

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The Apostle of the guitar

Before Segovia, the guitar was not an instrument to be taken seriously. In a matter of minutes, everything changed

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A writer on the wall

Born an East Berliner, Jenny Erpenbeck has won the International Booker for her sensitive insight on life behind and beyond borders

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Following in Fyodor’s footsteps

A dreamlike lost masterpiece about a writer’s fixation with Dostoevsky – a man who would have hated him

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The racing driver who tried to hold fate at bay

Four days after surviving a huge crash, his love of being behind the wheel was too strong to resist

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Cricket in the blood

A new book charts the surprising passion in Ukraine for cricket, the country’s fastest-growing sport – until the Russians invaded

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The pioneer in art-as-spectacle

Whether she had an actual gun in her hand or not, art became her weapon, a noisy defence against the world and an instrument of her reckoning with the past

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Erich von Stroheim, a great European life

He arrived in America pretending to be the son of an Austrian count but became one of early cinema’s most adventurous and meticulous directors

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Fall of the rare book thieves

The recent bust by Europol of an international ring of thieves targeting rare Russian editions has shocked the classic book world

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The family at the end of the world

The apocalypse comes to a group of siblings in south-east France in We Are Together Because, a stunning new novel by Kerry Andrew

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Maria Montessori: The woman who created the miracle of San Lorenzo

The Italian revolutionised children’s education and established the schools that carry her name all over the world to this day

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Mstislav Rostropovich: The cellist who soundtracked the fall of the Wall

Whatever and wherever he played, his deep feeling for the music made the instrument seem like an extension of him

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Beautiful spark of divinity

Beethoven’s fascination with the Enlightenment eventually led him to adapt Schiller’s poem An die Freude (Ode to Joy) into his Ninth Symphony

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Alida Valli: The actress who turned a walk into a victory parade

The Italian will be forever remembered for a wordless walk in a Viennese cemetery

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The lost stories of Glasgow

The last-minute cancellation of the city’s intimate and unpretentious book festival Aye Write is an act of cultural vandalism

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Roland Topor: The polymath who made a career out of the grotesque

A dream provided an epitaph inadvertently appropriate for a man who spent his life producing art and literature that shocked and appalled the unsuspecting

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Andrej Nikolaidis and the wild flame of hatred

The Montenegrin has been the subject of a mock trial and effigy-burning over his latest novel, Anomaly

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Suzanne Valadon: The eccentric artist who gave her name to an asteroid

Even for all her success and the wealth that came with it, Valadon’s bohemianism remained undiminished

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No woman is an island

Ireland is going through a golden literary age – but Sinéad Gleeson’s extraordinary debut stands out from the rest

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Claude Debussy: The composer who captured the rhythms of the sea

Finesse, sensuality and richness are what Debussy brought to a staid musical world unprepared for such an emphatic upending of form and technique

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The birth of the bookshop

How an 18th-century Somerset cobbler’s obsessive love of reading shaped the world of bookselling as we know it

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