Books

Midwinter murders: the best Christmas thrillers

9 December 2017 9:00 am

It’s difficult to keep a crime series going after 11 books but Boris Akunin manages it well in All the…

What will Katie Hopkins do next?

9 December 2017 9:00 am

In her memoir Rude, the former Mail Online columnist Katie Hopkins reveals her true self. She does this by accident,…

A previously unpublished photograph of Dylan in 1981

Bob Dylan is a modern-day Odysseus

9 December 2017 9:00 am

‘There is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.’…

Portrait of Carrington by Mark Gertler

Love and letters in a Bloomsbury triangle

9 December 2017 9:00 am

Dora Carrington (1893–1932) was at the heart of the Bloomsbury story. As an art student, she encountered the love of…

Jesmyn Ward sees dead people

9 December 2017 9:00 am

The events of this book take place where the world of the living and the world of the dead rub…

The Godfather: Edward Garnett had a keen eye for talent, but was blind to modernism

Edward Garnett and his diligent blue pencil

9 December 2017 9:00 am

Edward Garnett, radical, pacifist, freethinker, Russophile man of letters, was from the 1890s onwards for many years the pre-eminent fixer…

Reinventing Baku: one of the three Flame Towers, comprising apartments, offices and a hotel, which dominate the old town. The project, costing an estimated US$350 million, was completed in 2012

Reading Norman Davies’s global history is like wading through porridge

2 December 2017 9:00 am

For many of us, life has become global. Areas which were previously tranquil backwaters are now hives of international activity.…

Mary Wesley’s passionate lifelong love affair

2 December 2017 9:00 am

The novelist Mary Wesley never forgot the night of 26 October 1944. She was then 32, locked in a loveless…

Jauntily naive: illustration from Here We Are by Oliver Jeffers (HarperCollins)

A survey of this year’s children’s books sets the cat among the pigeons

2 December 2017 9:00 am

Back in 1990, Roald Dahl wrote a book called The Minpins, which was illustrated by Patrick Benson, a very good…

Naples drowns in deluge and corruption

2 December 2017 9:00 am

There are nods to dark masters in Malacqua — undercurrents of Kafka, a drumbeat of Beckett — but Nicola Pugliese’s…

The real reason for the fall of Rome? Climate change

2 December 2017 9:00 am

Why did the Roman Empire collapse? It’s a question that’s been puzzling writers ever since Edward Gibbon wrote The History…

Sisters under the skin: Han Kang’s The White Book reviewed

2 December 2017 9:00 am

Before the narrator of The White Book is born, her mother has another child; two months premature, the baby dies…

Did the modern world really begin in 1947?

2 December 2017 9:00 am

I grew up knowing 1947 as the year of my father’s birth, in a black-and-white faraway time. I was told…

Has Paul Theroux finally lost it?

2 December 2017 9:00 am

As I ploughed through this semi-autobiographical behemoth about an author and travel writer obsessed with his siblings and mother, I…

The Russian summer embassy at Büyükdere on the Upper Bosphorus, built in 1840 for General Nikolai Ignatiev. The Tsar’s envoy is said to haunt it still

A love letter to Turkey’s lost past

2 December 2017 9:00 am

Patricia Daunt’s collection of essays is a fascinating exploration of some of Turkey’s most beautiful and evocative places, from the…

Secrets of an abused aristocratic childhood

2 December 2017 9:00 am

Charles Duff’s memoir tells a sad tale of cruelty and betrayal with spry wit rather than bitter resentment. Notwithstanding the…

‘Chalices’ — a lesser known enamel work by Geoffrey Clarke, 1950

Geoffrey Clarke’s imaginative talents knew no bounds

2 December 2017 9:00 am

At the height of his fame in the mid-1960s, the sculptor Geoffrey Clarke (1924–2014) was buying fast cars and flying…

The rich literature of the game of poker

2 December 2017 9:00 am

According to the subtitle, this is a collection of ‘short stories of long nights at the poker table’. Were that…

On the run with Martin Luther King’s assassin

2 December 2017 9:00 am

This newly translated novel by the Spanish writer Antonio Muñoz Molina is really two books, spliced together in alternating chapters.…

The Marx Brothers owed their vaudeville success to sharp wits, slapstick and a willingness to trade on the pervasive humour of ethnic stereotypes

Is Jewish humour the greatest defence mechanism ever created?

25 November 2017 9:00 am

If you’re Jewish, or Jew-ish, or merely subscribe to the view that Jews should be trusted to recognise anti-Semitism rather…

Portrait of Queen Caroline by Joseph Highmore, c.1735

Caroline of Ansbach: the best of the Hanoverians

25 November 2017 9:00 am

It can sometimes seem — unfairly but irresistibly — as if the sole function of the myriad Lilliputian German statelets…

The BBC’s battle for Britain

25 November 2017 9:00 am

The camouflage-painted, smoke-blackened entrance to London’s 1940s Broadcasting House, moated with sandbags and battered by bombs, provided its staff with…

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, photographed by Annie Leibovitz (From Annie Leibovitz: Portraits 2005–2016)

Sex and the city: the best art books of the year

25 November 2017 9:00 am

‘I should like,’ Edgar Degas once remarked, ‘to be famous and unknown.’ On the whole, he managed to achieve this.…

Wonder is all around

25 November 2017 9:00 am

Different people find different things impressive. Some claim, for instance, to experience a sense of wonder at the fact of…