Run or Die by Kilian Jornet, book review

There can be no doubt that Kilian Jornet is an exceptional athlete. A world champion ultra-runner, the Spaniard holds the world record for ascent and descent of Mount Kilimanjaro and frequently wins events such as the Marathon du Mont Blanc, as well as completing a litany of other extraordinary feats.

Weimar: From Enlightenment to the Present by Michael H Kater, book review

Dark reality behind the myths of Weimar, home to Goethe, Schiller...and democracy

Belles & Whistles by Andrew Martin, book review: A journey of past and present

When HS2 is built, the line will run 500 metres from my house. It won't do me any direct good, since it won't stop between London and Birmingham, but it will obviously be good for the country. Locally, we can look forward to the restoration of the line, victim of Beeching, between Aylesbury and Milton Keynes, and the prospect of being able to get a cross-country train to Oxford or Bedford.

What Every Parent Needs To Know: How To Help Your Child Get The Most Out Of Primary School by Toby Young & Miranda Thomas, book review

An infant at nursery school is contentedly pushing a toy bus around a sand tray. Passing by and glancing at the tracks he had just made his teacher utters a small shriek: "Look – you have just traced a rhomboid!" Cue for general puzzlement before she wanders off and the infant resumes his game, none the wiser. This actually happened.

Bad Feminist: Essays by Roxane Gay, book review: Breaking her own rules to be honest

The title of this book of essays and criticism positions its author as a thorn in the side of politically correct orthodoxy, but the content in fact shows Roxane Gay to be a pretty on-message feminist: a believer in the existence of entrenched patriarchal dominance and "rape culture"; a dedicated sniffer-out of misogyny.

Intricate plotting: Author Sarah Waters

The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters, book review: Novel tackles big themes but lacks bite

Sarah Waters' women are good at falling in love with each other. They are also good at keeping this love secret. The Paying Guests, her sixth novel, is set in London of 1922, a period that – just about – allows her lesbian lovers the freedom to pronounce their love aloud.

Martin Amis: Taken to task over rash decisions and ill-judged statements

The Zone of Interest by Martin Amis – review by James Runcie

Here’s another holocaust novel. What’s more it’s another holocaust novel by Martin Amis. More than twenty years after the backwards narrative of Time’s Arrow (shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 1991) comes The Zone of Interest. And so the reader’s first question must surely be: “Why?” Why tackle this subject again when you’ve done it before and we’ve already got the work of Primo Levi, Elie Wiesel, Irène Némirovsky Art Spiegelman, Anne Frank, Bernhard Schlink , Tadeusz Borowski, Jerzy Kosiński, Viktor E. Frankl  and  W.G.Sebald, to name but ten?  Most writers are fearful of treading on this massacred ground; to go over it once more seems an act of folly.  Clements Olin, the protagonist of Peter Matthiessen’s last novel, In Paradise, published earlier this year, “tends to agree with the many who have stated that fresh insight into the horror of the camps is inconceivable, and efforts at interpretation by anyone lacking direct personal experience an impertinence, out of the question.”

Novelist Martin Amis at The Times Cheltenham Literature Festival

The Zone of Interest by Martin Amis, book review: Amis’ best book in years

The futility – and importance – of writing about the Holocaust

The Science of Hedonism: Sex, Drugs and Rock'n'Roll By Zoe Cormier, book review: Lots of highs in this latest dose of popular science

There aren't many science books that are as concerned by the writer's consumption of illicit drugs as they are with physiology or the number of protons in a mercury atom. Still less that give space to the enjoyment that goats derive from oral sex. But then Zoe Cormier's debut is not your average science book.

The Girls From Corona del Mar by Rufi Thorpe, book review: An uneasy look at messy love

This debut from Rufi Thorpe grips immediately, with the sharp compelling pressure of a friend grabbing your hand in pain. And that is what the novel is, in essence: a brilliantly written, probing, uneasy look at a damaged friendship between two women – and how such intense relationships are as much about how we define ourselves as they are about our love for, and struggle to understand, another human being.

J by Howard Jacobson, book review: Railing against society’s collective amnesia

One of the protagonists in Howard Jacobson’s new novel thinks she’s got her boyfriend figured out: “Ailinn knew how Kevern’s mind worked. You set it a problem and when it could come up with no answer, it came up with a joke.” Isn’t this what comic novelists do? Writing fiction is, according to Philip Roth, a form of problem solving, while Zadie Smith has observed that no decent novel lacks humour.

The Vanishing Witch by Karen Maitland, book review: Maitland creates a wonderfully Gothic atmosphere

Karen Maitland is renowned for her painstakingly researched medieval novels and this story, set against the Peasants’ Revolt in 1381, continues in that vein. She creates a wonderfully Gothic atmosphere in the city of Lincoln, with merchants reeling from the creeping loss of the wool trade and its inhabitants, rich and poor, struggling to survive in the stifling heat of summer. Above all this is a tale of a family and the love and loyalty, bitterness and retribution that ensues.

A lot of bicycles and balls: Simon Redfern takes a look at this summer’s best new sport books

Pedal power. Riders in this year’s Tour de France AFP

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