US writer Paul Auster during an interview, in Oaxaca, Mexico

Paperback reviews: Report From the Interior, Testament of Youth, The Amber Fury, Sex, Lies & The Ballot Box, The Burglar Caught by a Skeleton

Paul Auster (above) has the gift of making the personal feel universal, you feel as like he’s addressing you directly

Blazing: John Steinbeck

In America: Travels with John Steinbeck by Geert Mak, book review: Slice of life on a small island

Americans are getting poorer, they’re divided by geography, politics, living standards, yet national myths of individualism and exceptionalism endure

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Defendant Christian Gerhartsreiter from Germany listens to the prosecutor during his murder trial at Los Angeles Superior Court on March 18, 2013 in Los Angeles. Gerhartsreiter, the alleged Rockefeller impostor is accused of killing his landllord John Sohus in February 1985.

Blood Will Out by Walter Kirn, book review: My friend, the psychopath

Kirn is one of those writers who is willing to dissect his own faults in public, and this readiness to admit his weaknesses adds to the psychological insights of this haunting book

In the 1970s, when Yasmin Alibhai-Brown arrived here from her native Uganda, British Muslim women did not wear headscarves or cover their faces (stock image)

Refusing the Veil by Yasmin Alibhai-Brown: Cry freedom for the women of Islam

Brown: 'The version of Islam that is spreading all over the world is getting more misogynistic and pushing back against female egalitarianism'

Author Andrea Levy

Six Stories & an Essay by Andrea Levy: This is a slight collection, but full of important insights

Levy begins the book by describing how her parents moved to the UK from Jamaica and how she later visited the Caribbean and learned much more about world history and her own

Invisible ink No 251: The vanishing winners

We’re often reminded that publishers are there to sell books, not to be arbiters of quality.

Clear-eyed, unsentimental, but deeply personal, A Woman in Berlin is one of the great documents to come out of the war

Leaving Berlin by Joseph Kanon, book of a lifetime

Clear-eyed, unsentimental, but deeply personal, A Woman in Berlin is one of the great documents to come out of the war

People look at the Guernica painting by Pablo Picasso at the Reina Sofia museum in Madrid on November 16, 2011.

International fiction in translation round-up: Counterculture, war, alienation and other stories

Uncertain Glory is a Stendhalian epic set during the Spanish civil war and written in Catalan by Joan Sales, who fought on the republican side

Circa 1906: Russian writer Leo Tolstoy (1828 - 1910) in the garden of his Russian home with his wife Sonya (Sofya).

The Kreutzer Sonata Variations, edited and translated by Michael R Katz, book review: The truth about sex and the Tolstoys

While the Russian novelist argued for abstinence, now we can read his wife’s response

Members of activist group Anonymous during a protest in Parliament Square, central London.

Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy by Gabriella Coleman, book review: Getting right to the heart of the global hacker movement

Her book is frustratingly inaccessible to those who would like to learn more about the inner-workings of the group and its members behind their Guy Fawkes masks

Intelligent and humble: Mohsin Hamid displays vivid touches in his collection of essays

Discontents and its Civilisation by Mohsin Hamid, book review: Knocking down the myths of civilisation

Discontents and its Civilisation suggests Mohsin Hamid is reasonable, intelligent and, despite the steep cover price for this slim volume, humble

Queen bee: an aging Elizabeth painted after her death bridgeman

Elizabeth I: Renaissance Prince, a Biography by Lisa Hilton, book review: Beneath the skin of the Virgin Queen

The portrait on the cover of this book was painted posthumously; only once she was dead could her true humanity be exposed

China rampant: The Pudong New Development Zone in Shanghai

Frog by Mo Yan, book review: The banality of evil is given life

You want to feel a writer is aiming for truth and an ideological stubbornness in this novel prevents Yan from doing that

Joseph Stalin sitting at a table in 1918

Stalin: Paradoxes of Power 1878-1928 by Stephen Kotkin, book review: How did his youth result in one of history’s greatest tragedies?

This book, the first volume of three, tends to history rather than biography

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