Christopher Hirst

Christopher Hirst is an award-winning food writer and freelance journalist.

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Book review: You Can't Read This Book, By Nick Cohen

As ardent as it is readable, this account of "censorship in an age of freedom" starts with The Satanic Verses, banned by states as varied as Sudan and apartheid South Africa, then moves on to the murder of Theo van Gogh "in Amsterdam, the city of Spinoza and Anne Frank".

Book review: Sorry! The English and their Manners, By Henry Hitchings

Though packed with interest – the first citation of "please" in the OED is from 1774 – this exploration of a topic relevant to all (except hermits) tends to stray off course.

Restaurant review: The Green Room, 138 Victoria Road, Scarborough, North Yorkshire

'I was lured into the restaurant by a pot of lemon posset'

Book review: A Social History of English Cricket, By Derek Birley

Noting that the game was "of uncertain, though bucolic parentage", Birley delineates enduring traits in this witty panorama, rightly acclaimed when first published in 1999.

Book review: Royal Sex, By Roger Powell

Surely the most alluring title in the limitless library of royal titles turns out to be a comprehensive if sanitised account of regal bits on the side.

Book review: In Praise of Messy Lives, By Katie Roiphe

Having "two children, with two different fathers, neither of whom I am living with", this New York professor of journalism concedes that "my own life… is a little messy".

Book review: Gorilla, By Ted Gott and Kathryn Weir

Our vegetarian cousins (we shared a common ancestor seven million years ago) have generated an odd mix of fear and appeal.

Book reivew: The Horologicon, By Mark Forsyth

Ahoy! A word lover's guide to English archaisms

Book review: Inventing Ruritania, By Verna Goldsworthy

The vampire chronicles: what bookish Balkans did for us

Book review: The Sleepwalkers, By Christopher Clark

Probing the events and characters that ignited war in 1914, this book is as authoritative as it is gripping.

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