Thomas W. Hodgkinson

Spectator books of the year: Thomas W. Hodgkinson on Morrissey

Inside the Dream Palace by Sherill Tippins (Simon & Schuster, £20). We’ve had biographies of great artists and writers, their spouses and children and their children’s pets. Here’s one about the place where most of them, from Jack Kerouac to Sid Vicious, seem to have hung out: the glamorously seedy Chelsea Hotel in New York. Not just a biography of a building, it amounts to an alternative history of 20th-century culture.

How To Be a Husband by Tim Dowling (4th Estate, £12.99). Less a self-help than a self-hinder book, the Guardian columnist’s account of how he has coped with the challenges of matrimony (answer: badly) should really be called How Not To Be a Husband. It only makes one joke, but it makes it extremely well.

The worst book I read this year is Autobiography by Morrissey (Penguin, £8.99). I don’t like A.A. Gill and I don’t imagine many people do. But in his demolishing Sunday Times review of the pop star Morrissey’s self-important and embarrassingly badly written autobiography, he was spot on. My advice: skip the book, turn the lights out, and listen to ‘Late Night, Maudlin Street’ instead.

Read the other Spectator books of the year

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