Sophia Waugh rss


State schools are ‘character building’ too

14 March 2015

In tough times, we have to be persuaded to buy the non-essentials in life. While no one would deny an education is essential, many parents are beginning to question whether… Read more

Author Kirsty Gunn Photo: Getty

Woman’s realm: the men in Kirsty Gunn’s short stories do not impress, either as husbands or fathers

3 January 2015
Infidelities Kirsty Gunn

Faber, pp.207, £12.99, ISBN: 9780571308910

Although entitled Infidelities this collection of short stories could as well be called Choices, because that is what really preoccupies Kirsty Gunn’s characters. Divided into three sections, ‘Going Out’, ‘Staying… Read more


God, aliens and a novel with a mission

22 November 2014
The Book of Strange New Things Michel Faber

Canongate, pp.600, £18.99, ISBN: 9781782114062

They say never work with children and animals. They could just as well say don’t write about aliens and God. A raft of readers hate sci-fi, and probably more sheer… Read more


An utterly charming, totally bonkers short novel

4 January 2014
Lettice & Victoria Susanna Johnston

Arcadia, pp.166, £12.99, ISBN: 9781909807228

This utterly charming, totally bonkers short novel is something from another age. There are elements of A Handful of Dust (the young girl trapped reading Dickens), of Rebecca (the undervalued… Read more

Generation Fun (Photo: Chris Ware/Getty)

Young people aren't driven by fun, but by fear

9 November 2013

Family legend has it that when I arrived in Durham, a fresh-faced ingénue from deepest Somerset, I called home. ‘This is the life,’ I said, after a bare 24 hours… Read more


Auberon Waugh's way with wine

21 September 2013

The cellars at Combe Florey, the house in Somerset in which I grew up, were a place of mystery and fear. You walked down wide, shallow stone steps to a… Read more

A ladykiller at large

3 November 2012
A Question of Identity Susan Hill

Chatto, pp.354, £16.99, ISBN: 9780701186562

Ever since Sergeant Cuff appeared in The Moonstone in 1868, we English have loved our detectives. Moody Scandinavian fiction might come and go, but Peter Wimsey, Poirot, Marple and of… Read more

Angelina Jolie with jeweller Robert Procop

Rock Stars

23 June 2012

It started, not with a kiss, but with scent. Celebrities ‘created’ ‘perfumes’ aimed at their fan bases. The result being that most of them were cheap and singularly disgusting: Beyonce’s… Read more

From Luxor to Heston services

16 June 2012
A History of Food in 100 Recipes William Sitwell

Collins, pp.351, 20, ISBN: 9780007411993

This wonderful book is not a history of food in 100 recipes at all; it is a history of the world in 100 recipes, as seen through the medium of… Read more

Family get together 

5 May 2012
The Red House Mark Haddon

Cape, pp.264, 16.99

Mark Haddon is in what must sometimes seem like the unenviable position of having written a first (adult) novel which was, and continues to be, a smash hit. Drawing in… Read more

… in the fall of a sparrow

31 March 2012
Painter of Silence Georgina Harding

Bloomsbury, pp.312, 14.99

Set in Romania in the 1950s, this is the story of two people, Augustin and Safta, who are both very different and yet very closely linked. Safta is the daughter… Read more

Losing my bottle

10 December 2011

Why does Waitrose think I can’t be trusted with Chablis? I was refused alcohol in Waitrose the other day. Not because of my age, nor because I don’t look my… Read more


Bookends: Getting it perfect

8 October 2011

There is an old joke which says that if you are lost in the desert, start making a salad dressing as someone will pop out of a sand dune and… Read more


It’s all here

28 May 2011

Sophia Waugh hymns the unique spirit of her home county In theory we could be self-sufficient, running our own kingdom, and sometimes, as one of England’s most rebellious counties, we are… Read more

Just the one regret

21 June 2007
Fulfilment and Betrayal, 1975-1995 Naim Attallah

Quartet, pp.796, 25

Is he a monster, saint, genius or lunatic? In this massive book Naim Attallah attempts to lay to rest the gossip, slander and misconceptions that have dogged him for much… Read more