Books

High-speed trains, planes and automobiles are increasingly redundant

21 November 2020 9:00 am

Should the world be faster or slower? This is a question relevant to global economics, politics and culture. But not…

Sunshine on a plate: the year’s best cookbooks

21 November 2020 9:00 am

In the dark days of a terrible winter, Elizabeth David began writing her first book, about Mediterranean food. The timing…

A brutal education: At Night All Blood is Black, by David Diop, reviewed

21 November 2020 9:00 am

Alfa Ndiaye, a Senegalese soldier fighting for France in the trenches of the Great War, is consumed by bloodlust, which…

Tortured youths: how childhood misery often makes for genius

21 November 2020 9:00 am

Greatness. Genius. Can you bottle it? Is there a formula? Inspired by his Radio 4 series Great Lives, Matthew Parris…

Claire Messud helps us see the familiar with new eyes

21 November 2020 9:00 am

The title of this collection of journalism is a problem. Not the Kant’s Little Prussian Head bit, which, though opaque,…

Harold Bloom finally betrays how little he really understood literature

21 November 2020 9:00 am

Harold Bloom devoted his life to literature – but he had little feeling for words, says Philip Hensher

Things mankind was not supposed to know — the dark side of science

14 November 2020 9:00 am

One day someone is going to have to write the definitive study of Wikipedia’s influence on letters. What, after all,…

The autistic mind could hold the key to the future

14 November 2020 9:00 am

An old, cynical adage holds that ‘if all you’ve got is a hammer, everything looks like a nail’. I remembered…

Masculinity in crisis: Men and Apparitions, by Lynne Tillman, reviewed

14 November 2020 9:00 am

Masculinity, we are often told, is in crisis. The narrator of Men and Apparitions, Professor Ezekiel (Zeke) Stark, both studies…

Humiliating the IRA was a fatal mistake

14 November 2020 9:00 am

It was said that Reginald Maudling, as home secretary, once boarded a plane in Belfast and immediately requested a stiff…

Driven to distraction — the unhappy life of Vivien Eliot

14 November 2020 9:00 am

Do you think your mother slept with T.S. Eliot? That was the question I needed to ask the 98-year-old in…

Gardening books for Christmas — reviewed by Ursula Buchan

14 November 2020 9:00 am

Dan Pearson is one of the finest of all British garden designers, blessed with sensitivity, a wonderful eye, deep plant…

Universities are supposed to encourage debate, not strangle it

14 November 2020 9:00 am

Liberal values are under attack on two flanks. Those of us who think extensive freedom of expression, universal human rights…

The courage of a madman: Maurice Wilson’s doomed assault on Everest

14 November 2020 9:00 am

Reinhold Messner, the first person to climb all 14 of the planet’s peaks higher than 8,000 metres, is probably the…

From light into darkness: the genius of Goya

14 November 2020 9:00 am

The great Spanish artist Francisco Goya was born in Zaragoza in 1746, the son of a gilder whose livelihood was…

Books of the Year II — chosen by our regular reviewers

14 November 2020 9:00 am

David Crane If nothing else, this has been a good time for catch-up. Theodor Fontane’s Effi Briest (translated by Walter…

Born comics die laughing

7 November 2020 9:00 am

Evolutionary theory is primarily about survival but, as Jonathan Silvertown makes clear in this intriguing book,  as well as having…

A love story — with clothes as heroes

7 November 2020 9:00 am

On the weekly ‘opinions’ afternoons, the public would arrive with carefully wrapped parcels holding items to be identified, writes Claire…

The ruthless politics of Pakistan — and the curse of being a Bhutto

7 November 2020 9:00 am

Hours after Benazir Bhutto arrived back in Pakistan on 18 October 2007, two bombs exploded near the bullet-proof truck carrying…

Lionel Barber leaves the pink ’un in the pink

7 November 2020 9:00 am

As Lionel Barber recounts unrolling his pitch to replace me as editor of the Financial Times to the newspaper’s proprietor…

A literary scoop: the passionate correspondence between R.L. Stevenson and J.M. Barrie

7 November 2020 9:00 am

This book has appeared with no fuss or fanfare and yet by any account it is something of a scoop.…

Sybille Bedford — a gifted writer but a monstrous snob

7 November 2020 9:00 am

Sybille Bedford died in 2006, just short of 95. She left four novels, a travel book, two volumes of legal…

Gift books for Christmas — reviewed by Marcus Berkmann

7 November 2020 9:00 am

We have a fine crop of Christmas gift books this year, so good that some of them actually qualify as…

Where time stands still: a Himalayan pilgrimage

7 November 2020 9:00 am

The region of Dolpo in Nepal forms part of a border zone between that country and China in the central…

Comforting brown food from the Domestic Goddess

7 November 2020 9:00 am

Nigella Lawson is many things to many people: the perfect hostess, the TV star, the thinking man’s crumpet. To me…