Books

Not so cold-blooded

7 January 2017 9:00 am

The recent furore over a freakshow ice rink in Japan, with hapless fishes embedded beneath the skaters’ feet, was inexplicable…

Emile in exile

7 January 2017 9:00 am

Michael Rosen, a poet, journalist and prolific author of novels for children, has written an account of Emile Zola’s year’s…

Put out more flags

29 December 2016 3:00 pm

Did you know that 190 out of 200 nations in the world have either red or blue on their flags?…

Whisper who dares

29 December 2016 3:00 pm

Stand aside, Homer. I doubt whether even the author of the Iliad could have matched Alexis Peri’s account of the…

A fresh start

29 December 2016 3:00 pm

Most of us lead lives of quiet desperation. So we’re told. Frits van Egters apparently leads a life more desperate…

Homage to Mad Madge

29 December 2016 3:00 pm

There has never previously, I believe, been a novel about Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle, one of the 17th century’s…

A truly monstrous regiment

29 December 2016 3:00 pm

When George Omona first saw soldiers in the infamous Lord’s Resistance Army, he was amazed. The scary fighters who had…

Hitchcock’s favourite bird

29 December 2016 3:00 pm

‘The Birds is coming’ screamed the posters for Tippi Hedren’s only famous film. Well, the cats is coming in her…

Cuckoo in the nest

29 December 2016 3:00 pm

‘Light as a feather, free as a bird.’ Günter Grass starts this final volume of short prose, poetry and sketches…

Answers to ‘Spot the British Author’

10 December 2016 9:00 am

1. Kingsley Amis 2. Beatrix Potter 3. Graham Greene 4. Salman Rushdie 5. Nick Hornby 6. Arthur Conan Doyle 7.…

The descent of man

10 December 2016 9:00 am

Why do humans want to build robots? It seems, on the face of it, to be a suicidal endeavour, destroying…

Crime fiction for Christmas

10 December 2016 9:00 am

Imagine receiving an anonymous suicide note addressed to you by mistake. Would you try to find that person, to help…

Poor bewildered beasts

10 December 2016 9:00 am

If you’ve ever read a history of the early days of the Foundling Hospital, you’ll remember the shock: expecting to…

The unkindest cult of all

10 December 2016 9:00 am

When I was 22 I met a man called Yisrayl Hawkins who said his coming had been prophesied in the…

Roving the world

10 December 2016 9:00 am

In these books, two handsome and popular telly adventurers consider, from viewpoints that are sometimes overly autobiographical, the culture of…

Double trouble

10 December 2016 9:00 am

Cousins is a curious novel. If I’d been a publisher’s reader, I’d have consigned it to the rejection pile after…

The lonely passion of Beatrix Potter

10 December 2016 9:00 am

The story of the extraordinary boom in children’s literature over the last 100 years could be bookended with a ‘Tale…

Dark and graphic

10 December 2016 9:00 am

A woman birthing bloated speckled eggs from her supernaturally swollen womb. Sushi screaming and squirming. A skull-shaped sweet, bearing the…

We’re all snobs really

10 December 2016 9:00 am

D.J. Taylor’s clever dissection of snobs is really two books in one. Scattered throughout are entertaining, delicious (initially), solemnly related…

Snow on snow

10 December 2016 9:00 am

Here is William Diaper in 1722, translating Oppian’s Halieuticks (a Greek epic poem on the loves of the fishes): As…

Rhinoceros pie, anyone?

10 December 2016 9:00 am

Forgotten? Though I can rarely attend their dinners (in Birmingham), I am a proud member of the Buckland Club (motto:…

Arms and the woman

10 December 2016 9:00 am

In August 1939, Clare Hollingworth, a 28-year-old aid-worker, had been employed as a reporter for less than a week by…

A girl in a million

10 December 2016 9:00 am

All readers know that good novels draw us into other worlds. I cannot think of another, however, which so alarmed…

Little and large

10 December 2016 9:00 am

Here are two approachable and distinctive books on our churches, great and small. Simon Jenkins’s cathedrals survey follows his earlier…

Port in any storm

10 December 2016 9:00 am

Cometh the hour, cometh the book, and so Christmas brings us once again a tidal wave of titles relating to…