Books

‘Stack building, Malvern Hills’, by Laura Knight

A.E. Housman: the laureate of repression

2 July 2016 9:00 am

A.E. Housman’s poems leave us with the impression of fire that has been carefully wrapped in ice, says Robert Douglas-Fairhurst

Author Rose Tremain (Photo: Getty)

Rose Tremain’s The Gustav Sonata strikes all the right notes

2 July 2016 9:00 am

Rose Tremain sets the true story of Police Captain Paul Grüninger, commander of the Swiss border force in Canton Saint…

A stylish Parisienne catches the eye of a German officer at the Auteuil races, March 1941

Keeping up appearances in 1940s Paris

2 July 2016 9:00 am

‘La France,’ as everyone knows, is female. Perhaps this is due to gendered assumptions about the beauty, cuisine and couture…

Poet Craig Raine (Photo: Getty)

Craig Raine: the critics’ greatest critic

2 July 2016 9:00 am

In My Grandmother’s Glass Eye, Raine has nothing but contempt for his poet-critic contemporaries – ‘bad readers’ who ‘get poetry wrong’

Haemophilus influenzae, as seen using a Gram-stain technique

Dr Ali Khan’s guide to the new germ warfare

2 July 2016 9:00 am

Which disease are you most scared of catching: Ebola or influenza? Before I read this medical memoir, I would have…

Sylvia Patterson had a very important question for Beyonce (Photo: Getty)

Sylvia Patterson: my golden years in the music business

2 July 2016 9:00 am

‘How can you come into this room and ask me “What is the purpose of life?”,’ wails Massive Attack’s laconic…

A page from Bawden’s scrapbooks

Edward Bawden’s scrapbooks of life

2 July 2016 9:00 am

Bus tickets, cigarette cards, letters and exhibition flyers are delightfully juxtaposed in Bawden’s albums — and every page raises a smile

British Machine Gun Corps during the first battle of the Somme (Photo: Getty)

Was the bloodiest battle in history completely futile?

2 July 2016 9:00 am

On 1 July 1916, along a frontage of 18 miles, 100,000 British infantrymen — considerably more than the entire strength…

Britten and Pears, photographed by Cecil Beaton

The Britten-Pears relationship: no longer an (open) secret

2 July 2016 9:00 am

‘You are the most adorable man and artist, intelligent, gifted, simple, loving and noble… I am really very, very lucky…

Portrait of Marie Antoinette by Elisabeth Vigée Le Brun

How a Swiss banker’s bungling led to the French Revolution

2 July 2016 9:00 am

France’s problems today should lessen the condescension of posterity towards Louis XVI. Presidents of the Republic have proved just as…

hand bloodstains

The latest thrillers have a high foreign body count

2 July 2016 9:00 am

Pascal Garnier’s novella Too Close to the Edge (Gallic, £7.99, translated by Emily Boyce) deals with the boredom of middle…

Misadventures_250616

How my father plotted against Gaddafi — by Hisham Matar

25 June 2016 8:00 am

Hisham Matar’s family memoir of terrible deeds — and of love, loyalty and courage — simply must be read, says Horatio Clare

Honister Pass in the Lake District. The ragged granite fells of Cumbria account for nearly half the cols in England

A guide to Britain’s most strenuous walks

25 June 2016 8:00 am

Cols and Passes of the British Isles

Author Geoff Dyer (Photo: Getty)

Even Chekhov might have envied Geoff Dyer’s talent, says Jan Morris

25 June 2016 8:00 am

White Sands: Experiences from the Outside World

Woman visiting an Unidentifiable Gallery
The waggle-dance of the honeybees

Bees, Nazis and the Nobel prize: the amazing life of Karl von Frisch

25 June 2016 8:00 am

The Dancing Bees is a romantic title, evoking fantasy and fairy tale rather than scientific rigour, but actually this book…

Roland Penrose sculpting

The surreal life — and loves — of Roland Penrose

25 June 2016 8:00 am

Roland Penrose: The Life of a Surrealist

Depression

Imagine Me Gone: a novel about depression that isn’t at all depressing

25 June 2016 8:00 am

If it was not yet ‘The Age of Anxiety’ in 1947, when Auden published his long poem of the same…

Roald Dahl (Photo: Getty)

Roald Dahl’s perfect reader was his mother

25 June 2016 8:00 am

Love from Boy: Roald Dahl’s Letters to his Mother

The Ingenious Hidalgo Don Quixote of La Mancha: engraving of a drawing by Gustave Dore (1833–1883)

Cervantes was a genius, yes – but the inventor of fiction?

18 June 2016 9:00 am

Sam Leith admires a smart, thoughtful book with a big idea at its heart – marred only, perhaps, by its ambitious claims for Don Quixote

Members of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (Photo: Getty)

The Tamil Tigers' top 'show-prisoner' tells all

18 June 2016 9:00 am

‘Missing in action is the worst state to which we can lose a human being,’ avers Commodore (Ret.) Ajith Boyagoda…

Tuscany farmhouse,morning, frost, winter, mist,Italy.

Addlands: where the new nature writing meets the novel

18 June 2016 9:00 am

There have been a number of attempts to graft the style of the so-called new nature writing onto the novel:…

No ‘great white wail’ this — Moby is an engaging writer and memoirist

Warning: this memoir may cause you to like Moby

18 June 2016 9:00 am

In 1991, Moby folded the theme from Twin Peaks into a remix of his dance track ‘Go’ and a diminutive,…

Causey Pike, Lakeland Fells, Cumbria, from 22 Ideas that Saved the English Countryside

From Versailles to the town bandstand: the story of the public park

18 June 2016 9:00 am

Petrichor. Coined as recently as 1964 but redolent of Eden onwards, the word appears in neither of these volumes but…

Bloody contract

The grimy golden age of crime reporting

18 June 2016 9:00 am

Readers of advanced years like me will almost certainly remember the bow-tied figure of Edgar Lustgarten, star of any number…