Books

Ladies’ man: Tom Stoppard’s love life revealed

26 September 2020 9:00 am

Tom Stoppard is a non-stop genius of jokes – but many of them make his latest biographer uneasy, says Craig Raine

Too many of our children are battling severe depression

26 September 2020 9:00 am

Christopher Hitchens once said that women just aren’t as funny as men and Caitlin Moran believed him. But that was…

Born to be wild: the plight of salmon worldwide

26 September 2020 9:00 am

In the Pacific Northwest, Native Americans paint images of salmon on to stones. They say that if you rub those…

Tenderness and sorrow: Inside Story, by Martin Amis, reviewed

26 September 2020 9:00 am

Inside Story is called, on the front cover, which boasts a very charming photograph of the author and Christopher Hitchens,…

French lessons, with tears: inside a Lyonnais kitchen

26 September 2020 9:00 am

You can’t say he didn’t warn us. In the final sentence of his previous book, Heat, a joyously gluttonous exploration…

Blonde with a bombshell: Sasha Swire’s revelations about the Cameroons

26 September 2020 9:00 am

Ten years ago, reviewing Alastair Campbell’s diaries for The Spectator, I concluded as follows: Who will be the chroniclers of…

Where will our inventions lead?

26 September 2020 9:00 am

When reviewers say that some new book reminds them of some famous old book, it often ends up as a…

It’s not all fluffed lines: the serious business of amateur dramatics

26 September 2020 9:00 am

The greatest pain of lockdown has been, for me, the absence of am-dram. In one half of my life I’m…

City of dazzling mosaics: the golden age of Ravenna

19 September 2020 9:00 am

Ian Thomson describes Ravenna’s golden age, when classical Rome, Byzantium and Christianity met

The Special Relationship was never very special

19 September 2020 9:00 am

I have a book of essays from 1986 by a group of British and American scholars called The Special Relationship.…

A dazzling fable about loneliness: Piranesi, by Susanna Clarke, reviewed

19 September 2020 9:00 am

Susanna Clarke is a member of the elite group of authors who don’t write enough. In 2004, the bestselling debut…

Bringing up Benzene: Charlie Gilmour adopts a magpie

19 September 2020 9:00 am

One day a baby bird falls from its nest into an oily scrapyard in Bermondsey, south London and seems unlikely…

Family secrets: Love Orange, by Natasha Randall, reviewed

19 September 2020 9:00 am

The line between obsession and addiction is as thin as rolling paper. Neither are simple and both stem from absence,…

When sexism was routine: the life of the female reporter in 1970s London

19 September 2020 9:00 am

This book made me almost weep with nostalgia, but heaven knows what today’s snowflakes will make of it. Fleet Street…

Is Germany really such a role model?

19 September 2020 9:00 am

The British romance with Germany has always been an on-off affair. At the turn of the century, Kaiser Bill enjoyed…

Eager for beavers : the case for their reintroduction

12 September 2020 9:00 am

Conservationists are frequently criticised for focusing on glamorous species at the expense of others equally important but unluckily uglier —…

The skeleton is key to solving past mysteries

12 September 2020 9:00 am

One hot summer’s morning, as a nine-year-old girl living on the rim of a Scottish loch in the hotel owned…

Hitler’s admiration has severely damaged Wagner’s reputation

12 September 2020 9:00 am

Wagner gripped the communal mind for decades after his death. Philip Hensher examines his enduring influence

The Tibetans’ fight for freedom continues — but only just

12 September 2020 9:00 am

‘Free Tibet!’ used to be a rallying cry for Hollywood A-listers and rock stars. Richard Gere hung out with the…

How the wreck of the White Ship plunged England into chaos

12 September 2020 9:00 am

Never was a monarch so undone by water as Henry I. A fruit of the sea killed him in 1135:…

Capital entertainment: how the West End became the playground of London

12 September 2020 9:00 am

The West End was always something a little apart. Some years ago, I used to go drinking with a man…

Gay abandon: Islands of Mercy, by Rose Tremain, reviewed

12 September 2020 9:00 am

Rose Tremain has followed her masterly The Gustav Sonata with an altogether different novel. In 1865, Clorinda Morrissey, a 38-year-old…

Why fungi might solve the world’s problems

12 September 2020 9:00 am

The biologist Merlin Sheldrake is an intriguing character. In a video promoting the publication of his book Entangled Life, which…

The magic of JFK remains undimmed

12 September 2020 9:00 am

It’s easy to forget that John F. Kennedy lived such a short life. At 43, he was the second youngest…

Too much learning is a dangerous thing

12 September 2020 9:00 am

It is often said that the left does not understand human nature. Yet it is difficult to think of anything…