Books

Old Whiskey

A toast to centuries of champagne colonialism

10 December 2016 9:00 am

Cometh the hour, cometh the book, and so Christmas brings us once again a tidal wave of titles relating to…

Crime Scene Investigation

Period crime for Christmas

10 December 2016 9:00 am

Imagine receiving an anonymous suicide note addressed to you by mistake. Would you try to find that person, to help…

Bela Lugosi and Helen Chandler in the 1931 film Dracula

The grisly life of Dracula’s creator

10 December 2016 9:00 am

Legends cling to Bram Stoker’s life. One interesting cluster centres on his wife, Florence. She was judged, in her high…

Eton and Harrow schoolboys arriving for the cricket match between the two schools at Lord's cricket ground, 1928 (Photo: Getty)

We’re all snobs — however much we deny it

10 December 2016 9:00 am

D.J. Taylor’s clever dissection of snobs is really two books in one. Scattered throughout are entertaining, delicious (initially), solemnly related…

spot-author-400

Spot the British Author

10 December 2016 9:00 am

Answers to ‘Spot the British Author’

10 December 2016 9:00 am

1. Kingsley Amis 2. Beatrix Potter 3. Graham Greene 4. Salman Rushdie 5. Nick Hornby 6. Arthur Conan Doyle 7.…

Happy days: Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman in the late 1970s, photographed in the garden of Tversky’s house in Stanford, California

The great intellectual bromance of the last century — between Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky

3 December 2016 9:00 am

Two brilliant psychologists in the 1970s changed our understanding about the way we think and the choices we make – with momentous consequences, says Steven Poole

(Photo: Getty)

Rifling through Elena Ferrante’s writing desk

3 December 2016 9:00 am

Frantumaglia isn’t strictly a book by Elena Ferrante. Frantumaglia isn’t strictly a book at all. It’s a celebration of the…

The garden at Thenford, Northamptonshire

The best gardening books of 2016

3 December 2016 9:00 am

Garden design usually breaks out of its confines to become part of the general consciousness only in Chelsea Flower Show…

‘The Cheesemonger’ by Eric Ravilious.

Round and ripe: the role of cheese in global history

3 December 2016 9:00 am

‘Blessed are the cheesemakers.’ The line from Life of Brian is followed by: ‘It’s not meant to be taken literally.…

‘... and of course I can’t leave clever Bill Davis and my purse.’
From William Nicholson’s Clever Bill

Children’s books for Christmas

3 December 2016 9:00 am

Maurice Sendak, no mean judge, observed that William Nicholson’s Clever Bill was ‘among the few perfect picture books for children’.…

Storm and lighthouse

Cynan Jones’s Cove is an unforgettable adventure

3 December 2016 9:00 am

If there’s one shared characteristic of the so-called ‘new nature writing’ it is a failure, with a few notable exceptions,…

Julie Harris in the 1963 film The Haunting, based on Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House

Shirley Jackson, high priestess of horror, finally gets the recognition she deserves

3 December 2016 9:00 am

A film critic friend, astonished that I had never heard of Shirley Jackson, told me to go and read her…

Background of famous social media icons

Is Jarett Kobek the Michel Houellebecq of San Francisco?

3 December 2016 9:00 am

I Hate the Internet is not so much a novel as a wildly entertaining rant. Jarett Kobek is a self-published…

‘The Griffin’ by Martin Schongauer (15th-century engraving)

The map-maker’s task may never be done

26 November 2016 9:00 am

The map-maker’s task may never be done, says Alex Burghart. Seven new islands have appeared in the past decade alone

True Detective's Alexandra Daddario (Photo: Getty)

Our love-hate relationship with television

26 November 2016 9:00 am

While I’ve read plenty of books worse than Television: A Biography, I can’t immediately think of any that were more…

Lost soul: a rare portrait of Diane Arbus, taken in New York in 1968

Diane Arbus: a life of incest, orgies and pursuing the extremes

26 November 2016 9:00 am

Armed with their tiny Leicas and Nikons, most of the great postwar ‘street’ photographers liked to be unobtrusive; they wanted…

Raymond Blanc at his restaurant 'Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons' in Great Milton (Photo: Getty)

Round the world in ten gorgeous cookbooks

26 November 2016 9:00 am

New books by Raymond Blanc and Pierre Koffmann retell the truth that British food came back from the brink. If…

Frédéric Bouchot’s ‘L’envie’. From Paris comique, livre album (1842). Illustration from The Silhouette from the 18th Century to the present Day

The best art books of 2016

26 November 2016 9:00 am

Suitably for a year so full of cataclysms and disturbing portents, 2016 is the quincentenary of the death of Hieronymus…

Author Alan Moore (Photo: Getty)

Alan Moore’s epic novel is a moveable feast

26 November 2016 9:00 am

A century ago, Sir Hubert Parry set Blake’s ‘Jerusalem’ to music. The lyric had been written 100 years earlier and…

Mike Love, with Brian Wilson in the background, on TV in Los Angeles, 1962

Bad vibes among the Beach Boys

26 November 2016 9:00 am

Volcanic fallings out within bands are an ever-recurring motif in the history of rock music. There’s an obvious reason for…

Close-up of microphone on stage

Gallows humour is at its darkest in David Grossman’s latest novel

26 November 2016 9:00 am

A horse walks into a bar.… David Grossman takes the opening line of an old joke for his title, which…

PET-CT sagittal scan of the brain

Shame and scandal of the ‘falling sickness’

26 November 2016 9:00 am

In the cult Steve Martin film The Man With Two Brains, a doctor falls in love with a surgically removed…

A Tommy rescues two canaries from a ruined house on the Western Front in 1915. Canaries were treasured not only as gas detectors but also in ambulance trains, where their song comforted wounded soldiers

Foreign fields forever England

26 November 2016 9:00 am

In July 1915 the poet Edward Thomas enlisted as a soldier with the Artists’ Rifles, even though, at the age…

xmasbooks2

A further selection of the best and most overrated books of 2016, chosen by some of our regular reviewers

19 November 2016 9:00 am

A further selection of the best and most overrated books of 2016,  chosen by some of our regular contributors