Books

Left to right: Wolcott Gibbs, Dorothy Parker and James Thurber.

America’s greatest magazine — at its greatest

2 January 2016 9:00 am

The New Yorker has always been revered for the supreme quality of its writing, says Philip Hensher

Author D.J. Taylor (Photo: Getty)

From dressing-gown drudge to Man Booker winner

2 January 2016 9:00 am

John Gross’s The Rise and Fall of the Man of Letters: English Literary Life since 1800, a standard text for…

(Photo: Getty)

David Pryce-Jones settles old scores

2 January 2016 9:00 am

The geological title of this unhappy memoir is an apt metaphor for fissures in the relationships between individuals of David…

Velázquez’s portrait of his Moorish assistant Juan de Pareja. The glorious lace collar would surely have fallen foul of Spain’s sumptuary laws

Velázquez’s vanishing act

2 January 2016 9:00 am

This is an extraordinary story. In 1845 John Snare, an unremarkable Reading bookseller, goes to an auction in a defunct…

Charlotte Bronte 's Jane Eyre (Photo: Getty)

Smartphones for Hamlet and Heathcliff

2 January 2016 9:00 am

Medea says ‘hiiiiiiii’ on the first page of Mallory Ortberg’s hilarious book, which puts smartphones in the hands of literary…

Members of the Nairac family, Maurice, Barbara and their daughter Rosamonde, after they had been presented with the George Cross in honour of their son, Robert (Photo: Getty)

Robert Nairac: brave to a fault

2 January 2016 9:00 am

Captain Robert Nairac was a Grenadier Guards officer serving in Northern Ireland when on 14 May 1977 he was abducted…

From ‘Scenes from the Life of St Augustine’ 
by Benozzo Gozzoli

Take up and read Augustine’s Confessions

2 January 2016 9:00 am

I usually throw away dust jackets but Robin Lane Fox chose his for a reason. He originally encountered Augustine of…

Illustration by beatrice forshall

Is the Slender-billed curlew already extinct?

2 January 2016 9:00 am

This unusual book is beautifully written, produced and illustrated, but its subject — the small Slender-billed curlew — is strangely…

swift

Hide and seek with T.S. Eliot

12 December 2015 9:00 am

Not only is this the definitive edition of T.S. Eliot’s poems, it is also the best biography of the poet we have, says Daniel Swift

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Brian Hodgson finds his vocation in Kathmandu

12 December 2015 9:00 am

It started as a ‘shoke’ — the Anglo-Indian slang word for ‘hobby’. Bored and lonely in Kathmandu, the young Assistant…

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Paul Theroux returns home — to guns and evangelism

12 December 2015 9:00 am

During the first ten pages of this long work Paul Theroux, on a journey through the American South, meets two…

jwffreys

Christmas-themed books — for children and adults

12 December 2015 9:00 am

There’s a moment in a child’s life where Christmas begins to lose its magic. Once lost it cannot be regained,…

Loch Ness Monster

Nessie’s enduring attraction

12 December 2015 9:00 am

It wasn’t until I drove past Loch Ness a couple of years ago that I realised just how enormous it…

Haslam

Clothes to die for

12 December 2015 9:00 am

People tend to use the term ‘fashion victim’ somewhat damningly — and maybe jealously — to describe someone obsessed by…

Oliver Sacks (Photo: Getty)

Oliver Sacks bids farewell in style

12 December 2015 9:00 am

‘I cannot say there is no vanity in making this funeral oration of myself, but I hope it is not…

Davies

A journey through magic across three millennia

12 December 2015 9:00 am

With the briefest of introductions to each chapter, it is up to the reader to decide how they want to…

Orson Welles: ‘I started at the top and worked my way down’

Homage to awesome Welles on his centenary

12 December 2015 9:00 am

One day in May 1948 in the Frascati hills southeast of Rome, Orson Welles took his new secretary, Rita Ribolla,…

Chrissie Hynde (Photo: Getty)

Chrissie Hynde writes like an angel on angel dust

12 December 2015 9:00 am

‘The day I found out that Suzi Quatro wasn’t a dyke was the worst day of my life!’ a teenage…

Mass For Four Voices

A Horrible History of English Hymns

12 December 2015 9:00 am

Given that for much of English history the country’s main musical tradition was that connected with the church, it is…

Kukula

The Star of Bethlehem finds a new dedicated follower

12 December 2015 9:00 am

It’s hard to imagine Christmas without stars. They perch at the top of fir trees, glitter from greeting cards and…

India

Scents and sensibility

12 December 2015 9:00 am

Choosing to smell of something other than ourselves, and then perhaps in time coming to view that fragrance as ‘our’…

Journalist A.A. Gill (Photo: Terry O'Neill/Getty)

From Adrian Gill to A.A. Gill — with love and thanks

12 December 2015 9:00 am

Often, Christmas is a time for moaning after the night before, when the seasonal drinking is remembered (if remembered at…

The Silver Ghost, illustrated by Stefan Marjoram

Brian Sewell votes the Silver Ghost the best car in the world

12 December 2015 9:00 am

One of the great joys of the late Brian Sewell’s style of writing was his almost child-like bluntness. He had…

Spot-the-line-of-poetry

Spot the line of poetry

12 December 2015 9:00 am

Test your knowledge

(Photo: Getty)

The smoking diary of Gregor Hens

12 December 2015 9:00 am

The link between smoking and self-expression is long-established. The only thing worse than not being able to smoke, says Will…