Books

How do we greet one another today?

27 June 2020 9:00 am

Conversation is a fascinating subject, says Philip Hensher – but very few people get it right

Piracy pays: how history’s greatest buccaneer got off scot-free

27 June 2020 9:00 am

In 1694 London’s streets echoed with a call to the piratical life: Come all you brave boys, whose courage is…

The greatest ‘if only’ of modern history... that the Weimar Republic had succeeded

27 June 2020 9:00 am

Has it ever occurred to you that the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918 might have won us the war? Until…

Good biographers make the best companions

27 June 2020 9:00 am

Strange, when your own life flatlines, the way in which other lives become suddenly more interesting. I have been retreating…

Keeping poker-faced is no use – it’s the hands that give the game away

27 June 2020 9:00 am

This is not a rip-roaring, gonzo gambling adventure. By page 66 this cautious, thoughtful author has still never played a…

A panoramic novel of modern Britain: The Blind Light, by Stuart Evers, reviewed

27 June 2020 9:00 am

A decade ago — eheu fugaces labuntur anni — Stuart Evers’s debut story collection, Ten Stories About Smoking, was one…

From bashful teenager to supermodel: Susanna Moore’s fairytale memoir

27 June 2020 9:00 am

There’s a kind of writing about LA that I am a sucker for. Gossipy, lyrical, with a surface of affectless…

Chilli con carnage: the red hot pepper and communism

20 June 2020 9:00 am

These days it is as hard to imagine Sichuanese food without chillies as it is to imagine Italian food without…

Splashing the cash at VIP nightclubs is now the favourite recreation of the rich

20 June 2020 9:00 am

The spectacular extravagance of the VIP nightclub ‘experience’ could be the last bonfire of the vanities, says Lynn Barber

Why Niki Lauda was considered the bravest man in sport

20 June 2020 9:00 am

Formula One motor racing is the perennial, worldwide contest that most reliably gratifies hero-worshipping, power-worshipping, money-worshipping, technology-worshipping ghouls, and some…

Young female Irish writers are setting a new trend in fiction

20 June 2020 9:00 am

Publishers everywhere are looking for the new Sally Rooney, which is odd since as far as I know the old…

A Chaucerian tale: Pilgrims, by Matthew Kneale, reviewed

20 June 2020 9:00 am

Matthew Kneale is much drawn to people of the past. In his award-winning English Passengers, he captured the sensibilities of…

Children should get out more — even if it’s for hide and seek in the park

20 June 2020 9:00 am

We live in an urban world. It’s a statistical fact. The great outdoors for most of us is a thing…

A choice of classic crime fiction

20 June 2020 9:00 am

A guide to reading in lockdown. My involvement with crime and mystery fiction started when I was four. The first…

The hazards of attending a queen

20 June 2020 9:00 am

When Queen Alexandra chose her ladies in waiting she prudently surrounded herself with elderly and plainish ones, who did not…

Ireland through the eyes of a brilliant teenage naturalist

13 June 2020 9:00 am

Dara McAnulty is a teenage naturalist from Northern Ireland. He has autism; so do his brother, sister and mother —…

The cure becomes the problem: The Seduction, by Joanna Briscoe, reviewed

13 June 2020 9:00 am

Beth, the protagonist of Joanna Briscoe’s The Seduction, reminded me of Clare in Tessa Hadley’s debut, Accidents in the Home.…

Science and philanthropy meet in the Royal Society of Arts

13 June 2020 9:00 am

What does Jony Ive, the designer of Apple’s iPhone, have in common with Peter Perez Burdett, the first Englishman to…

Northern noir: The Mating Habits of Stags, by Ray Robinson, reviewed

13 June 2020 9:00 am

It is winter in north Yorkshire. On the brink of New Year, Jake, a laconic, isolated former farmhand in his…

Tree-ring analysis has solved many historical mysteries

13 June 2020 9:00 am

History is only as good as its sources. It is limited largely to what has survived of written records, and…

Our recent stockpiling is nothing to what ‘preppers’ lay in store

13 June 2020 9:00 am

This book could not have been published at a better time — nor, in a way, at a worse time.…

The fitness fetish: The Motion of the Body Through Space, by Lionel Shriver, reviewed

13 June 2020 9:00 am

In her 2010 novel So Much for That, Lionel Shriver examined the American healthcare system with a spiky sensitivity. Big…

The end of capitalism has been just around the corner for centuries

13 June 2020 9:00 am

These days the world seems to end with staggering regularity. From the financial crisis to Brexit to Trump to a…

The history of Thebes is as mysterious as its Sphinx

13 June 2020 9:00 am

The Spartans were not the only Greeks to die at Thermopylae. On the fateful final morning of the battle, when…

The many rival identities of Charles Dickens

6 June 2020 9:00 am

Robert Douglas-Fairhurst explores the many rival identities of Charles Dickens