Books

‘Study of a Velvet Crab’ c. 1870, presented by John Ruskin to the Ruskin School of Drawing (University of Oxford) in 1875

How seriously should we take Ruskin as an artist?

3 May 2014 9:00 am

This stout and well-designed volume nicely complements Tim Hilton’s classic biography of John Ruskin. It is the catalogue for the…

Who’s raiding the fridge?

3 May 2014 9:00 am

There is a problem with describing what happens in Nagasaki: impossible to reveal much of the plot without flagging up…

John Crace digested – twice

3 May 2014 9:00 am

Fiction ‘So how come we’re in the same book?’ Paul from The Stranger’s Child asked Florence from On Chesil Beach.…

The assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria (Le Petit Journal, 12 July 1914)

Gavrilo Princip – history's ultimate teenage tearaway

3 May 2014 9:00 am

Amid the vast tonnage of recent books about the first world war this must be the most unusual — and…

Half-poetry, half-prose, half-Belgian – and not half bad

3 May 2014 9:00 am

Patrick McGuinness’s prose trembles on the edge of poetry, occasionally indeed tipping gently over into it. This is thoroughly characteristic…

Bitchiness gets in the way of the Gielgoodies

3 May 2014 9:00 am

In the summer of 1955 a group of finals students trooped into a classroom at the Royal Academy of Dramatic…

What would Raymond Chandler do?

3 May 2014 9:00 am

If the inclusion of the erstwhile master of the genre, Raymond Chandler, as a fictonalised character in a pastiche 1930s…

It’s not nice being used and abused

3 May 2014 9:00 am

The term ‘psychological thriller’ is an elastic one these days, tagged liberally on to any story of suspense that explores…

A cult of inspired amateurishness that seized the 60s

3 May 2014 9:00 am

Hugo Williams describes his early association with The Exploding Galaxy — a group of innovative artists, musicians, poets and dancers that burst on the London scene in the late 1960s

Shooting prize-dispensing fish in literary barrels

3 May 2014 9:00 am

Edward St Aubyn’s new novel is a jauntily malicious satire on literary prizes in general, the Man Booker Prize in…

For God, King and Country

3 May 2014 9:00 am

Flags and flowers: three bloody years worked in silk. At the needle’s eye stand easy, ghost, slip through my fingers…

To be topp at lat., throw your Cambridge Latin Course away

3 May 2014 9:00 am

The wisest words about learning Latin were said by that gifted prep-school boy, Nigel Molesworth: ‘Actually, it is quite easy…

The book that brought out the Lady Bracknell in me

3 May 2014 9:00 am

I’ve always said that speech is my second language, so naturally I’m somewhat slang-shy; I love words all written down…

‘The Schooner the Beata, Penzance, Mount’s Bay and Newlyn Harbour’ by Alfred Wallis,

Books and arts

3 May 2014 9:00 am

Tripping through psychedelia

1 May 2014 1:00 pm

The Exploding Galaxy flashed brightly in the black-and-white world that was just coming to an end as I was growing…

For God, King and Country

1 May 2014 1:00 pm

Flags and flowers: three bloody years worked in silk. At the needle’s eye stand easy, ghost, slip through my fingers…

Tripping through psychedelia

1 May 2014 1:00 pm

The Exploding Galaxy flashed brightly in the black-and-white world that was just coming to an end as I was growing…

For God, King and Country

1 May 2014 1:00 pm

Flags and flowers: three bloody years worked in silk. At the needle’s eye stand easy, ghost, slip through my fingers…

No worries: John Updike in his late fifties, on the beach at Swampscott, Mass

Up close and personal

26 April 2014 9:00 am

In recycling his most intimate encounters as fiction – including amazing feats of promiscuity in small-town New England – John Updike drew unashamedly on his own experiences for inspiration, says Philip Hensher

The Long Library at Blenheim Palace, converted into a dormitory for the boys of Malvern school in 1940

What most imperilled country houses in the 20th century was taxes and death duties, not requisition

26 April 2014 9:00 am

Servicemen used paintings as dartboards.   Schoolchildren dismantled banisters and paneling for firewood. Architects from the Ministry of Works acted like…

Recent crime fiction

26 April 2014 9:00 am

Louise Welsh rarely repeats herself, a quality to celebrate in a crime novelist. Her latest novel, A Lovely Way to…

Campbell’s Platform, a private unstaffed halt on the Welsh narrow guage Ffestiniog railway

The train stations that don’t really exist

26 April 2014 9:00 am

In 1964, as part of his railway cuts, Dr Beeching ordered the closure of Duncraig, a small, little-used station in…

An escape from New South Wales

26 April 2014 9:00 am

Thomas Keneally has constructed his latest novel around a framework of true events: the mass break-out of Japanese PoWs from…

The gambler’s daily grind

26 April 2014 9:00 am

Lord Doyle is a shrivelled English gambler frittering away his money and destroying his liver in the casinos of Macau.…

‘At the Cottage Door’, by Myles Birket Foster (1825–99)

Beauty in beastly surroundings

26 April 2014 9:00 am

The vast majority of books written about British gardens and their histories are concerned with large ones, made and maintained,…