Books

The dark side of Venus — goddess of war as well as love

11 January 2020 9:00 am

Bettany Hughes has spent a decade, she tells us, exploring the origins of the goddess Aphrodite, first for a BBC…

The coldest war of all: sabotaging the Nazis in Norway

11 January 2020 9:00 am

Anyone mildly interested in the second world war probably knows two things about our wartime alliance with Norway, following its…

Baron Wenckheim’s Homecoming is a long, hard slog

11 January 2020 9:00 am

The Hungarian writer László Krasznahorkai, who sounds like a sneeze and reads like a fever, is on a mission to…

Why we’re all in love with Fleabag

11 January 2020 9:00 am

Why would you need the scripts for Fleabag? It’s hardly a lost classic. It’s always popping up on BBC iPlayer.…

Fear and loathing in Jamaica: Caribbean slaves turn the whip on their masters

11 January 2020 9:00 am

In the shadows of the British Enlightenment lurked the Caribbean sugar plantations. Masters routinely raped their slaves, punished minor wrongdoings…

You’d never believe what goes on in the Sainsbury’s car park

11 January 2020 9:00 am

Psychogeography takes many forms: Sebaldian gravitas, Will Self’s provocative flash and dazzle and Iain Sinclair’s jeremiads for lost innocence. Gareth…

Robert the Bruce — master of guerrilla warfare

11 January 2020 9:00 am

The story of Robert the Bruce runs from the death of Alexander III of Scotland in 1286 to Robert’s own…

From frontispiece to endpapers: the last word on the book

11 January 2020 9:00 am

Book Parts — hardback, 352 pages, with colour plate section and in-text black and white illustrations, 234x156mm, ISBN 9780198812463, published…

David Bowie: the boy who never gave up

11 January 2020 9:00 am

A few years ago Will Brooker spent 12 months pretending to be David Bowie. For several weeks he dressed up…

Who are today’s fictional heroes?

21 December 2019 9:00 am

What’s a hero? There are probably at least two answers to that. One is that heroism is a moral quality:…

Why David Suchet makes the perfect Poirot

21 December 2019 9:00 am

I can imagine a quiz question along the lines of ‘What do Shylock, Lady Bracknell, Sigmund Freud and Hercule Poirot…

How troll stories blighted the life of Patrick O’Brian

21 December 2019 9:00 am

Patrick O’Brian, born Richard Patrick Russ, never wanted his life written, and this passionate wish presents the first hurdle to…

Neither ‘Mad Dog’ nor ‘Warrior Monk’, General Jim Mattis is a thoughtful strategist

21 December 2019 9:00 am

General Jim Mattis ended his remarkable career as a four-star US marine general, and finally as US secretary of defense.…

The genius of Reynolds Stone: a private man in a public world

21 December 2019 9:00 am

You may not know the name of Reynolds Stone, but it is almost impossible that you haven’t come across his…

Burnt out at 27: the tragedy of Janis Joplin

21 December 2019 9:00 am

Janis Joplin hated the word ‘star’, but she loved the trappings. As soon as she made serious money she bought…

When a footman’s home is his castle

21 December 2019 9:00 am

My own love for this memoir may be all to do with snobbery and self-identification. Moreover, I’ve always thought a…

How I’ll remember John Humphrys — by his producer Sarah Sands

21 December 2019 9:00 am

There was a dinner in Soho to celebrate the publication of John Humphrys’s book, A Day Like Today. John was…

Duty, devotion and lack of self-pity — Anne Glenconner is an example to us all

21 December 2019 9:00 am

Trained from a young age to be self-effacing, never liking to be the centre of attention, having been traumatised for…

The other half of Wham!

21 December 2019 9:00 am

Have you heard the story about the time that Andrew Ridgeley, the 1980s heart-throb, refused to answer the door to…

A force for good: Samantha Power is driven by a deep sense of idealism

21 December 2019 9:00 am

In the spring of 2008 I spent a fine day in the company of Samantha Power. She had come to…

Bernadine Evaristo shoulders weighty themes lightly: Girl, Woman, Other reviewed

21 December 2019 9:00 am

It’s a slippery word, ‘other’. Taken in one light, it throws up barriers and insists on divisions. It is fearful…

Can you spot the book title?

21 December 2019 9:00 am

Click here to view the answers

Nothing can beat the romance of luxury train travel between the wars

21 December 2019 9:00 am

There may never have been a murder on the real Orient Express, but otherwise Agatha Christie’s depiction of luxury train…

Being diagnosed as autistic was the happiest day of my life

21 December 2019 9:00 am

It’s easy to forget that until the late 1980s the notion of an autistic person being able to write a…

Answers to Spot the book title

21 December 2019 9:00 am

Billy Liar, by Keith Waterhouse Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, by John le Carré To the Lighthouse, by Virginia Woolf The…