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

Dog days: John Steinbeck with Charley, Sag Harbor, 1962

In America: Travels with John Steinbeck by Geert Mak, book review: A depiction of a country in decline, but was he looking in the right places?

The cultural life of America – film, music, literature – so important in founding and reasserting a national identity, is almost totally ignored by the author

The First World War memorial located on Platform One of London Paddington Station of an unknown soldier reading a letter which commemorates the 3312 employees of the Great Western Railway who lost their lives in the Great War

Letter to an Unknown Soldier: A New Kind of War Memorial, book review: Pent-up sorrow and satire that bridges the generations

On platform one at Paddington Station, this bronze statue by Charles Jagger represents an unknown soldier in battle dress, reading a letter

Where I'm Reading From: The Changing World of Books by Tim Parks - book review: Talented if flawed investigation of why reading matters

If I had to name two of the most irritating trends in contemporary publishing I'd probably jump on: 1) the recent proliferation of books with titles taken from Raymond Carver story collections and 2) the deluge of self-congratulatory books about the act of reading itself. My initial reaction to Tim Parks' Where I'm Reading From was therefore a predictable Will You Please Be Quiet?

George RR Martin's The World of Ice & Fire

George RR Martin's The World of Ice and Fire, book review: Martin weaves more magic in a welcome trip to Westeros

From the Dawn Age all the way through to the Glorious Reign, every entry is like embarking on a new journey through Martin's world

The Game of Our Lives: The Meaning and Making of English Football by David Goldblatt; book review

An insightful look  at the ugly side of  the beautiful game

Invisible Ink No 250: John Mcglashan

Compared to other nations, the British reading public has a very odd attitude towards comics, cartoons, and graphic novels.

The End of Days by Jenny Erpenbeck, book review: One start and five endings

Erpenbeck has important things to tell us; and she tells them beautifully

British writer Nick Hornby poses for photographers as he presents the Spanish edition of his book 'Juliet, Naked'

Funny Girl by Nick Hornby, book review: Yet another genius idea from the Hornby hit machine

There is something about Hornby’s writing that is so simple, so easy-to-read and yet so sensitive and profound at the same time

German prisoners captured in the streets of the German town of Aachen.

Swansong 1945, by Walter Kempowski, book review: History retold, word by word

German historian and novelist Kempowski gathered more than 400 distinct voices to bring just four significant days to life: from Hitler’s final birthday to the day of the German surrender

Undated and unlocated picture of American British-born writer, T.S Eliot, who received the Nobel prize of literature in 1948.

The letters of TS Eliot Vol 5: 1930-1931, book review: A personal tragedy, and a turn to religion

the professional side of Eliot’s life is given more importance here, as well as his growing involvement in High Anglican matters

100 essential things you didn’t know you didn’t know about maths and the arts by John D Barrow

100 Essential Things You Didn’t Know You Didn’t Know About Maths and the Arts by John D Barrow, book review: The sum of all its parts

Barrow writes clearly and engagingly, formulae and equations are used sparingly and require only a basic grounding in maths

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