Mary Beard

Spectator books of the year: Mary Beard on how Clive James went viral

Spectator books of the year: Mary Beard on how Clive James went viral
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I am unashamedly sticking to my own home territory. Cambridge has become something of a literary hotspot. Last year it was Ali Smith (How to be Both) and Helen Macdonald (H is for Hawk). This year we have Clive James’s wonderful (and let’s hope not last) collection of poetry, Sentenced to Life (Picador, £14.99), including the marvellous ‘Japanese Maple’, which unusually for a poem went viral after it first appeared in the New Yorker.

And then there is Ruth Scurr’s extraordinary literary reconstruction of the diary of John Aubrey: My Own Life (Chatto, £25), which has already been marked down as a ‘Desert Island book’.