Elle Kaye demonstrates the art of taxidermy

The Taxidermist's Daughter by Kate Mosse, book review

It is 1912 in Fishbourne, a small Sussex village by the sea prone to flooding. Twenty-two year old Constantia or Connie Gifford lives with her father in lonely old Blackthorn House surrounded by the remnants of his once wildly successful London museum of taxidermy ‘Gifford’s World Famous House of Avian Curiosities’. Stuffed birds, once so beloved of the Victorians, are out of fashion and Connie’s father is a broken man, confused and often drunk by morning.

David Cameron is likely to face fresh questions about his friendship with former News of the World editor Rebekah Brooks, recently cleared of charges relating to phone hacking, after it emerged that a retired police horse she was loaned by the Metropolitan Police was allegedly acquired by her partly for the Conservative leader’s use

The Establishment by Owen Jones, book review

In July 2011, Jeremy Clarkson used his column in the Sunday Times to answer the suggestion that there was something sleazy about the so-called ‘Chipping Norton set’, a circle of friends in Oxfordshire who happened to include in their number Rebekah Brooks and David Cameron.

The Betrayers by David Bezmozgis, book review: Forceful testament to troubled times in Israel and Crimea

Praise was showered on earlier books by David Bezmozgis (such as The Free World), and expectations were high for his new one. The Betrayers is a brave and ambitious novel – and its provocative theme could not be timelier. But does it match the author's earlier work?

Twilight of the Eastern Gods, by Ismail Kadare, trans. David Bellos - book review: Soviet satire skilfully mixes the personal and the political

Ismail Kadare made his name as a forceful example of how to function as a writer under late communism. He trod a delicate line between censorship and lies by critiquing the Stalinism of Enver Hoxha's Albania through fable, allegory and historical transposition, sometimes throwing the dictator a bone, and escaping dissident status by virtue of his international success.

Gin Glorious Gin, by Olivia Williams - book review: How mother's ruin became the toast of London

Even a decade ago, this lively historical cruise round the ocean of gin would have been a publishing non-starter. Towards the end of the last century, London's traditional spirit – neutral alcohol re-distilled with various flavourings and spices known as "botanicals" – was approximately as fashionable as the celluloid collar and the Marcel wave. According to Williams, London Dry Gin was "associated with Betjeman's twee vision of England – of golf clubs, tennis matches and dinner parties". You still encounter red-nosed Sixties types, who, though far from averse to other mind-altering substances, find the very mention of gin to be repugnant.

Invisible Ink No 239: Angela Thirkell

Just as you can enjoy the novels of Virginia Woolf while finding her obsession with servants annoying, so you can appreciate Angela Thirkell even though her concerns about class clearly coloured her life.

Their Lips Talk of Mischief by Alan Warner, book review: Sex, drugs and rock’n’roll – all in an Acton flat

Alan Warner says he started writing in his late twenties because he felt he  ‘could get run over by a bus tomorrow’

The Stone Mattress by Margaret Atwood, book review: These short stories are razor sharp

Margaret Atwood does not so much write short stories as tell tales.

The Children Act by Ian McEwan, book review: Not as good as Atonement, but what modern novel is?

Though not itself perfect, his eighth novel embodied a high-water mark in modern (and Modernist) fiction

Mind Change by Susan Greenfield, book review: A fascinating analysis on the impact digital technologies have on our brains

Susan Greenfield acknowledges that research on the effect of digital technology on our minds is still in its early stages, and that screen activities such as social networking sites, gaming and surfing the net have been shown to have positive as well as negative effects.

Passions Between Women by Emma Donoghue, book review: Dangerous liaisons in a time before ‘the closet’

In her introduction to Passions Between Women Donoghue asks a tantalising question that underscores the book’s rationale.

Michelangelo: Complete Works by Frank Zöllner, book review: An exploration of his life and work

Full-page reproductions and enlarged details allow readers to appreciate fine points in the artist’s vast repertoire

IDP: 2043 by Mary Talbot, Hannah Berry, Irvine Welsh, Barroux and others, book review: A dark look at a future world

The Edinburgh Book Festival, which has just celebrated its 30th anniversary, shows that its commitment to promoting graphic novels remains strong by teaming up with the publisher Freight Books, and a dream team of novelists and artists, to visualise Scotland’s future.

Iced shrimp, oxygen and snooker tables: Welcome to the bizarre world of catering to rockstars as a backstage rider

Ozzy Osbourne: Keen on the vitamin B12 shots, apparently (Credit Mick Hutson/Redferns)

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