Literature

Paperback round up: reviewed by David Evans

Midway through John le Carré’s The Night Manager (1993), the British intelligence services stage a mock kidnapping as a training exercise, building a fake restaurant staffed with actors and hiring a couple of professional New York gangsters to play the toughs.

The best books to read in 2016

Katy Guest finds sex tapes, sycamores and surgical gloves among the subjects for some of the best books in the pipeline for 2016

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Poetry Books of the Year by Suzi Feay

Elaine Feinstein celebrates the writers and translators she has known in her latest collection Portraits (Carcanet £9.99). The bulk of the poems are elegies: “April Fool’s Day” for the First World War poet Isaac Rosenberg, referencing the “cosmopolitan rat” of his best-known poem, “Break of Day in the Trenches”.

Paperbacks of the Year 2 of 3, by Brandon Robshaw

I’ve long been a big fan of Steven Pinker. His book The Better Angels of Our Nature was the best and most interesting book I read in 2011. In 2015, he has treated us to his thoughts on how to be a good writer, in The Sense of Style. Unlike most style manuals, which tend to be written by pompous pedants who think the language should have been fossilised in about 1900, this book is informed by genuine expertise – Pinker is a cognitive scientist and linguist, able to explain Chomskyian linguistics so that laypeople can understand, with a far deeper knowledge of grammar than the self-styled “language mavens”.