Books

Satire misfires: Our Country Friends, by Gary Shteyngart, reviewed

20 November 2021 9:00 am

It is, as you’ve possibly noticed, a tricky time for old-school American liberals, now caught between increasingly extreme versions of…

Rationality is like a muscle that needs constant flexing

13 November 2021 9:00 am

In the 1964 film My Fair Lady after Colonel Pickering has secured the help of an old friend to pull…

The slippery stuff of slime: should we loathe it so much?

13 November 2021 9:00 am

As humans, we are supposed to have an aversion to slime. It should repel us. Objects and organisms that might…

Books of the Year I — chosen by our regular reviewers

13 November 2021 9:00 am

Reviewers choose the books they have most enjoyed reading in 2021 — and a few that have disappointed them

Defying the tech giants: The Every, by Dave Eggers, reviewed

13 November 2021 9:00 am

Those for whom Dave Eggers’s name evokes only his much praised memoir A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius (2000) may…

The art of seizing the moment in photographic portraiture

13 November 2021 9:00 am

A Tatler photographer once told me that the secret to taking a good photo was the three Ts: tum, tits,…

Bernardine Evaristo sets a rousing example of ‘never giving up’

13 November 2021 9:00 am

Bernardine Evaristo’s Manifesto — part instructional guide for artists, part call to arms for equality, part literary memoir —shimmers with…

Earthly paradises: the best of the year’s gardening books

13 November 2021 9:00 am

Important historic gardens fall into two main categories: those made by one person, whose vision has been carefully preserved down…

The nearest thing to Paul McCartney’s autobiography: his guide to the Beatles’ songbook

13 November 2021 9:00 am

Whatever your favourite theory of creativity, Paul McCartney has a cheery thumbs-up to offer. You think the secret is putting…

Far from being our dullest king, George V was full of surprises

13 November 2021 9:00 am

‘Victorian’ stuck, and ‘Edwardian’ too. But ‘Georgian’, as an adjective associated with the next monarch in line, never caught on.…

Even the greatest tennis players need to be adored

6 November 2021 9:00 am

Louis MacNeice once wrote that if you want to know what chasing the Grail is like, ask Lancelot not Galahad.…

A wife for King Lear — J.R. Thorp imagines another Lady Macbeth

6 November 2021 9:00 am

Shakespeare wastes no time on Lear’s backstory; we meet the brutal old autocrat as he divides his kingdom between two…

Dark days in the Balkans: life under Enver Hoxha and beyond

6 November 2021 9:00 am

For many in the West, Albania remains as remote and shadowy as the fictional Syldavia of the Tintin comics. The…

What motivates Peter Thiel apart from the desire for more wealth?

6 November 2021 9:00 am

If you’ve only heard one thing about Peter Thiel (and many have heard nothing at all) it is that he…

Can the fiasco of the Dieppe Raid really be excused?

6 November 2021 9:00 am

In my mother’s final days we had a long conversation about the second world war. I asked if she’d ever…

Love in a cold climate: Snow Country, by Sebastian Faulks, reviewed

6 November 2021 9:00 am

In the months before the outbreak of the first world war, Anton Heideck arrives in Vienna. Family life offered him…

The Great God Pan is all things to all men

6 November 2021 9:00 am

Pan’s name is thought to derive from ‘paean’, the ancient Greek verb meaning ‘to pasture’. His half-man, half-goat form reflected…

Homage to the greatest 18th-century poet you’ve never heard of

6 November 2021 9:00 am

If you were to glance only briefly at the title of the Irish poet Doireann Ní Ghríofa’s prose debut you…

Henry VIII’s windfall from the monasteries was shockingly short-term

6 November 2021 9:00 am

In 1536 there were 850 monastic houses in England and Wales; just four years later they were all gone. The…

Celebrating Tony Wilson, the founder of Factory Records

6 November 2021 9:00 am

To many people Tony Wilson was a bigmouth Mancunian, brash music impresario and jobbing television presenter. But to the generation…

It’s time female fraudsters received their due

6 November 2021 9:00 am

If you’re after jewel thieves, bank robbers and gold smugglers, look no further than Caitlin Davies’s Queens of the Underworld.…

Yours disgusted, H.G. Wells: the young writer finds marriage insufferable

6 November 2021 9:00 am

After a wretched childhood, H.G. Wells was ruthless in making up for lost time, says Frances Wilson

New tactics are needed for the wars of the future

30 October 2021 9:00 am

The strategic bankruptcy of the West has twice so far this century demanded that our brave soldiers risk their bodies…

Life’s dark side: the catastrophic world of Stephen Crane

30 October 2021 9:00 am

Long before Ernest Hemingway wasted his late career playing the he-man on battlefields and in fishing boats, or Norman Mailer…

Use it or lose it: has the public library had its day?

30 October 2021 9:00 am

I write this in a garret a few doors down from the public library in Muswell Hill, north London. It…