Books

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…

‘The ring upon thy hand’, illustration for ‘Siegfried and the Twilight of the Gods’, Arthur Rackham (private collection)

How to get more out of Wagner's Ring

18 June 2016 9:00 am

The political trigger for the Ring was the 1849 Dresden uprising, when the young freedom fighter Richard Wagner financed the…

Caution - Hot Flashes Ahead

Julie Burchill vs the Media Menopause Mob

18 June 2016 9:00 am

As someone who managed to move from enfant terrible to grande dame without ever being a proper grown-up, I must…

(Photo: Getty)

How different is the digital diplomat?

18 June 2016 9:00 am

Tom Fletcher, a young star of the Foreign Office, made his reputation last year when he blogged his ‘valedictory despatch’…

Loch Ness monster swimming in the lake

Don't be too cool for Sarah Perry's The Essex Serpent

18 June 2016 9:00 am

I suspect some readers might be too cool for this lovely book, partly because, despite its gothic horror set-up, it…

A Woolton poster aimed at women: this long overdue book tells the story of one man’s priceless contribution to our war effort

The brilliant businessman who made rationing work

18 June 2016 9:00 am

In wartime the housekeeping is a nightmare. While fighting Napoleon in Spain the Duke of Wellington sent an infuriated letter…

Author Edmund White (Photo: Getty)

Edmund White’s fiction has not aged well

18 June 2016 9:00 am

Let’s start with arithmetic. Edmund White’s 11th novel is a book about age and ageing. The young man of the…

British troops  parading through New York, 1776 (Photo: Getty)

Francis Spufford makes history: the pleasures of Golden Hill

18 June 2016 9:00 am

Good historical fiction takes more than research. Henry James once said that writers needed to shed everything that made them…

Abstract Technology Background

Your future self might not recommend The Lost Time Accidents

18 June 2016 9:00 am

What are ‘lost time accidents’, apart from something on building-site signs announcing hours lost to worker injuries? In this novel…

‘Venetia, Lady Digby, on her Deathbed’, Anthony van Dyke, 1633 (oil on canvas), Dulwich Picture Gallery

Joe Moshenska tells the story of Sir Kenelm Digby’s piratical Mediterranean voyage...

18 June 2016 9:00 am

There is a wonderful portrait of Kenelm Digby by Van Dyke. He is dressed in black. His hand is on…

Portrait of Martin Luther by Lucas Cranach

Martin Luther: one man who changed the world

11 June 2016 9:00 am

After Luther, the Christian world would never be the same again. David Crane on the bruising, paradoxical, charismatic, appalling Augustinian monk from Mansfeld

Flowers Dartsathlon

When darts — and Eric Bristow — ruled Britain

11 June 2016 9:00 am

Was there life before darts? I am old enough, just about, to remember such a time. One minute, in or…

Oscar Wilde’s wife Constance with their son Cyril in 1889

Lady Wilde and the vital importance of being earnest

11 June 2016 9:00 am

There were few subjects which escaped Oscar Wilde’s barbed wit: dentists, cynics, Americans, literary critics, democracy, the working classes, the…

George Stubbs’s painting of Eclipse, the outstanding English 18th-century thoroughbred

How racing finally became respectable

11 June 2016 9:00 am

Queen Victoria disapproved heartily of the racing set and of her son Bertie’s involvement in the sport. But she must…

GBR: Tony Blair Attends PM's Question Time

Tony Blair is top rotter in James Bloodworth’s The Myth of Meritocracy

11 June 2016 9:00 am

‘Your old man’s barking!’ I remember hissing indignantly at my then best friend Toby Young way back in the 1980s…

Student March

Louise Doughty’s Black Water will delight fans of Graham Greene and John le Carré

11 June 2016 9:00 am

In Indonesia in 1965–6 half a million communists and supposed communist sympathisers were murdered by a range of civilian and…

Victims of ‘decontamination’: three of the eight homeless children executed by Rio’s police outside the Candelaria church in 1993

The two faces of Brazil

11 June 2016 9:00 am

In October 1964, Charles de Gaulle visited Brazil. The country was six months into its military dictatorship. In April of…

The limestone formations in The Pinnacles in Australia

Tim Winton is captivated by Western Australia’s terrible beauty

11 June 2016 9:00 am

It was only when I left Western Australia for university in England that I understood how vast and dangerous my…