Medina in Birmingham, Najaf in Brent: Inside British Islam by Innes Bowen, book review

Rich mosaic of British Muslims under the microscope
Rowling: 'Some ‘patriotism’ places higher importance on ‘sticking it’ to David Cameron than to looking after your own'

JK Rowling's new book The Silkworm, first look review

Rowling returns under pseudonym Robert Galbraith for another moreish read

Hillary Clinton was met with enthusiastic supporters excited for a potential campaign at Barnes & Noble in Union Square, New York

Hard Choices by Hillary Clinton, book review: Not racy or self-deprecating but blessed with an instant familiarity

Reading Hillary Clinton's memoir was 'nowhere near as bad' as expected

Dispute Over a Very Italian Piglet, by Amara Lakhous, trans. Ann Goldstein - book review: 'State-of-the-nation satire that brings home the bacon'

The piglet of the title, a "pure Piedmontese" called Gino, belongs to Joseph, the Nigerian neighbour of Enzo Laganà, a southern Italian journalist living up north in Turin. And the reason it's so very Italian is because it is causing a crisis in the neighbourhood, having been filmed running around inside the local mosque.

The Whitehall Mandarin By Edward Wilson - book review: 'The sexy spy novel comes in from the cold'

In its heyday, authors in the literary espionage genre produced nuanced, elegant writing with moral complexities in advance of most other literary fiction. But the spy novel withered at the end of the Cold War, and two key practitioners, John le Carré and Len Deighton, appeared to be cast adrift by international events.

The Whitehall Mandarin By Edward Wilson - book review: 'The sexy spy novel comes in from the cold'

In its heyday, authors in the literary espionage genre produced nuanced, elegant writing with moral complexities in advance of most other literary fiction. But the spy novel withered at the end of the Cold War, and two key practitioners, John le Carré and Len Deighton, appeared to be cast adrift by international events.

Wanderjahre, a Reporter’s Journey in a Mad World review: Alpha-male’s globetrotting tales turn into an ego-trip

When Lutz Kleveman was a small boy on his parents’ country estate in northern Germany, the family’s old Prussian retainer set him a toughening-up exercise: kill five kittens in a bucket with a spade.

Thunderstruck and other stories by Elizabeth McCracken; book review

“The dead live on in the homeliest of ways,” we’re told in the opening story in this powerful collection – Elizabeth McCracken’s first fiction in 13 years. “They’re listed in the phone book. They get mail. Their wigs rest on Styrofoam heads at the back of closets. Their beds are made. Their shoes are everywhere.” Grief and loss are here on every page, watermarked through the paper. Parents lose children, a child loses his parent, a woman loses a love that might not seem worth having in the first place. “It was not nice love, it was not good love, but you cannot tell me that it wasn’t love.” If, as Elizabeth Bishop wrote, the art of losing isn’t hard to master, then McCracken’s characters are reluctant experts.

I Am China By Xiaolu Guo; book review

Xiaolu Guo’s new novel begins in April 2013, the same month as she was selected as one of Granta’s Best of Young British Novelists. Guo had already published seven novels in both English and Chinese, including the Orange Prize-nominated A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers (2007), but many readers, including me, were unfamiliar with her work until last spring. The extract from I Am China, which appeared in Granta Magazine, hinted at a novel of global scope and topical themes. That’s exactly how it’s turned out but whether it delivers on its promise in terms of quality is another matter.

The Hunter And Other Stories By Dashiell Hammett; book review

Some 52 years after the death of Dashiell Hammett, his name remains one of the most important and recognisable in the crime fiction genre. Hammett set the standard for much of the work that would follow. His novels, short stories, and screenplays are synonymous with a specific genre and a certain approach to fiction.

The Unwitting By Ellen Feldman; book review

The New York novelist Ellen Feldman has carved out a bit of a niche for herself as a compelling writer of the uglier chapters of America’s history. 2011’s Next to Love (from the hypothesis that “war … next to love, has most captured the world’s imagination”) followed a group of young men and women through the Second World War to their gradual disappointments in the 1950s and ’60s. Her Orange-shortlisted 2009 novel, Scottsboro, took on the controversial story of “the Scottsboro boys” – the nine black teenagers framed for a rape in Alabama in the 1930s.

Mr Mercedes By Stephen King; book review

Has there ever been a more industrious name-dropper than Stephen King? Mr Mercedes is dedicated to the memory of James M Cain, and contains passing references to Sherlock Holmes and Raymond Chandler. As this suggests,  Mr Mercedes tilts at crime fiction, a joust that King has engaged in before with The Colorado Kid and Joyland. Mixing it with genre classics doesn’t seem to be where his allusive heart really is. This beats to the pulse of the superior thrillers that have ennobled 21st-century television: The Wire, Dexter, CSI, NYPD Blue, Homicide, Luther, Prime Suspect, Bones are all cited.

To Rise Again at a Decent Hour by Joshua Ferris, book review: Funny yet tormented life

Joshua Ferris's third novel is obsessed with mouths. They are present in the very first sentence: "The mouth is a weird place". They are the life's work of our hero Paul O'Rourke, a Park Avenue dentist. They can embody health and decay, wealth and erotic possibility: the "wet new thrill" of a childhood sweetheart's tongue, or memories of Lolita-like lollipops "moist and pulpy at her lips".

The Good Companions by JB Priestley, book of a lifetime

Last year, searching for inspiration and, yes, instruction, I re-read The Good Companions. I was entranced all over again.

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Chocolat author Joanne Harris has spoken about the financial struggles most authors face

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Review: Imaginative storytelling returns with vigour

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Josh Hutcherson, Donald Sutherland and Jena Malone in Mockinjay: Part 1

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Characters in the new series are based on real people, say its creators, unlike Arya and Clegane the Dog in ‘Game of Thrones’
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