The Year of Reading Dangerously, By Andy Miller, book review: 12 months of solitude

One year, fed up with whiling away train journeys doing Sudoku puzzles, Andy Miller decided to read his way through 50 books which he’d never got round to. Most are literary classics, but there’s also The Tiger Who Came to Tea, Essential Silver Surfer, Vol. 1, and the Da Vinci Code (in which Miller finds many interesting parallels to Moby-Dick, except of course that the latter is brilliant while the former is shit).

Paperback reviews: Feral: Rewilding the Land, Sea and Human Life, Nijinsky, Jane of Lantern Hill, Josephine: Desire, Ambition, Napoleon, The Crooked Seed

Feral:  Rewilding the Land, Sea and Human Life, By George Monbiot (Penguin £8.99)

Thirty-One Nil, by James Montague

They've kicked off in Brazil, but spare a thought for those teams who failed, sometimes by agonisingly narrow margins, to qualify for this year's World Cup. As the title of this eye-witness account of many of those struggles indicates, margins haven't always been narrow; 31-0 was the record score by which Australia beat American Samoa back in 2001.

Aids: Don’t die of prejudice by Norman Fowler, book review: All a splutter in the shires

It is Norman Fowler’s distinction that he was the longest serving Health Secretary since the Second World War, having held the post for six years from 1981 to 1987. This was when Aids emerged as a global threat and developed into the worst pandemic of modern times.

Syria Speaks: Arts and culture from the frontline, ed by Malu Halasa, Zaher Omareen & Nawara Mahfoud

Syria Speaks is essential reading for anyone interested in human rights or a better understanding of the current conflict. Comprising essays, stories, poems, songs, photo- graphs and cartoons, this impressive collection shows how artists and activists operate under repressive regimes and how their work can become “tools of resistance” in war.

The Silkworm, By Robert Galbraith (J K Rowling): Two Strikes and J K is still in ... just

We learnt last week that J K Rowling opposes Scottish independence, but what does Robert Galbraith think? Little over a year after the Harry Potter author published her crime fiction debut, The Cuckoo’s Calling, under the pseudonym, Rowling returns with her second Galbraith novel.

The Fever, by Megan Abbott, book review: Teenage girls and small-town hysteria

Megan Abbott is, in my opinion, the best writer of contemporary thrillers working today. Her last two novels, The End of Everything and Dare Me, were pinpoint examinations of the modern teenage girl’s mindset, blended with nerve-shredding, noirish plots, creeping tension and deep characterisation. The Fever is even better.

Albania's Mountain Queen: Edith Durham and the Balkans by Marcus Tanner, book review

A woman who unpicked the 'Balkan tangle'

The Mighty Dead: Why Homer Matters by Adam Nicolson; The Last Days of Troy by Simon Armitage, book reviews

A journey by land and sea extols the perennial power of the greatest epic poems

Thirty-one Nil - On The Road With Football's Outsiders: A World Cup Odyssey by James Montague, book review

A celebration of the game's outsiders that can't fail to score

Only Planet by Ed Gillespie, book review: Allow world's flaws and beauty to seep into your soul

Ed Gillespie is one of those admirable people who "walks the talk". He founded and runs a sustainability communications agency, he doesn't drive a car and for the purposes of this book – the telling of his low-carbon journey around the world – he doesn't fly.

How To Manage Your Slaves by Marcus Sidonius Falx with Jerry Toner, book review

Worldwide slavery is a very contemporary problem, but what was it like for Romans?

Remembering The Time: Protecting Michael Jackson In His Final Days by Bill Whitfield & Javon Beard with Tanner Colby

The singer's security men could only watch as hangers-on left him bereft of real friends

Burr by Gore Vidal, book of a lifetime: This cynical novel is wonderful escapism

I first read Burr in 1984 as a gap-year student travelling around China, when I swapped for it with a fellow backpacker. I had no idea who the book was about but was willing to try anything. Back then the reform process in China had barely got going and to an English teenager it all felt a bit 1984: alien and oppressive.

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