Books

George Orwell. Credit: Getty Images

Novel explosives of the Cold War

24 August 2019 9:00 am

Humour, satire, drama and poetry proved explosive weapons in the fight against Stalinism, says Nicholas Shakespeare

A Rohingya woman in an IDP camp in 2012

We should all share the blame for the Rohingya tragedy

24 August 2019 9:00 am

My local shop in Yangon was owned by a retired army officer and his wife and guarded by their handsome…

Credit: Getty Images

From bitter loss to sweet relief: baking as therapy

24 August 2019 9:00 am

This is a gentle, lovely book. It will, I’m sure, appeal to many an aspiring cook and baker, and should…

Henry Tilney, a younger son and beneficed clergyman, defies his father in a scene from Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey

A single man of no fortune must be in want of a job: younger sons in Jane Austen’s England

24 August 2019 9:00 am

Readers of Jane Austen gain a clear idea of the task facing the daughters of gentlemen. They need to secure…

: Church of St Mary the Virgin, Brent Pelham — Christopher Hadley’s Hertfordshire village

Spicing up local history —with a giant, a dragon and an ancient yew

24 August 2019 9:00 am

How interesting is local history? The history of my Cotswold village — recently celebrating the centenary of the Armistice with…

Lara Maiklem mudlarking.

The treasures to be found mudlarking by the Thames

24 August 2019 9:00 am

The 1950 B-film The Mudlark tells of an urchin who ekes out an unpleasant existence scavenging the slimy Thames foreshore.…

Alistair Moffat imagines St Cuthbert’s death, in the bleak midwinter, on a lonely, inhospitable island

Can’t anyone travel for fun any more?

24 August 2019 9:00 am

There was a time when travel writers would set off with a spring in their step: Coleridge knocking the bristles…

Deborah Levy

A hazardous crossing: The Man Who Saw Everything, by Deborah Levy, reviewed

24 August 2019 9:00 am

Serious readers and serious writers have a contract with each other,’ Deborah Levy once wrote. ‘We live through the same…

Migration in Europe is the ripple effect of the second world war

17 August 2019 9:00 am

Waves of migration in Europe are nothing new. The continent has been on the move since 1945, says Kapka Kassabova

Popular medical non-fiction will soon have covered every human body part

17 August 2019 9:00 am

Nobody warns you when you start medical school that your career decisions have only just begun. Up to a decade…

Pity poor Candace Bushnell, still flogging Sex and the City at 60

17 August 2019 9:00 am

On paper, Candace Bushnell and the medieval warlord El Cid don’t have a lot in common. The first made a…

A novel take on the Western: Inland, by Téa Obreht, reviewed

17 August 2019 9:00 am

Téa Obreht’s second novel is an expansive and ambitious subversion of Western tropes, set in fin de siècle America. We…

The trailblazing women writers of the 1960s were quite different from the male Angries

17 August 2019 9:00 am

The accepted story of mid-20th century culture in Britain belongs to the boys: the British Invasion, Beyond the Fringe and…

Walter Bagehot: the revered Victorian who got almost everything wrong

17 August 2019 9:00 am

Who was Walter Bagehot? For generations of politics students he has been the all-but-unpronounceable — Bayge-hot? Baggott? — author of…

Does Kim Jong-un deliberately emulate a Bond villain?

17 August 2019 9:00 am

North Korea watchers are good book-buyers, rarely able to resist scratching that itch of interest caused by the world’s worst…

Homage to Charlemagne, the first Holy Roman Emperor

10 August 2019 9:00 am

David Crane celebrates the genuinely pious emperor who united medieval Europe by fire and sword

For the inhabitants of Ramallah, ‘home’ is just a memory

10 August 2019 9:00 am

On a rainy day in 1955, four-year-old Raja Shehadeh left school without putting his coat on. ‘I will soon be…

A child’s-eye view of the world: The Curse of the School Rabbit, by Judith Kerr, reviewed

10 August 2019 9:00 am

Is there a more perfect children’s writer for this generation than Judith Kerr? She started with a tiger — The…

The crime of passion that kept the nation enthralled

10 August 2019 9:00 am

No matter how exquisitely English —gobbets of blood amid the fireplace ornaments — murder annihilates meaning. Even when the motive…

Norfolk may be flat, but it’s never boring

10 August 2019 9:00 am

Francis Pryor claims he would be a rich man if every person who told him that the Fens were ‘flat…

Erotic longings that left me cold

10 August 2019 9:00 am

The epigraph of Three Women comes from Baudelaire’s ‘Windows’: ‘What one can see out in the sunlight is always less…

Eternal truths: Night Boat to Tangier, by Kevin Barry, reviewed

10 August 2019 9:00 am

It lives in me still, the intense thrill when, as a child, I would listen to the Irish people around…

Bohemians rhapsodising: the favourite haunts of writers and artists

10 August 2019 9:00 am

Mary Ann Caws, a retired professor of English and French literature at the City University of New York, published her…

Missing, presumed lost: The Memory Police, by Yoko Ogawa, reviewed

10 August 2019 9:00 am

Yoko Ogawa’s new novel takes us to a Japanese island where things keep disappearing: ribbons, birds, musical instruments, fruit. People,…

In praise of the semicolon, a most maligned punctuation mark

10 August 2019 9:00 am

Now, how shall I start this review? I loved this book. I really did. (Too abrupt.) I loved this book,…