Your weekly guide to what's really going on in the world of books
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Wednesday 09 January 2013
They might be much-lauded grandees of the literary world, but Martin Amis, Salman Rushdie and Naomi Wolf were all gleefully cut down to size by acid-tongued reviewers last year. The critics responsible are now vying for their own honour: that of Hatchet Job of the Year.
Londonistan, By Melanie Phillips
The Noughties, By Ben Masters
The Man Who Forgot His Wife, By John O'Farrell
Tea at the Midland, By David Constantine
Will We Ever Speak Dolphin, Ed by Mick O'Hare
Sunday 04 November 2012
Paperback reviews of the week
Saturday 04 August 2012
Where are you now and what can you see? In the office of the house I'm renting in Los Angeles. I can see palm trees and all sort of lush foliage. Also, the sparkly water of the hot tub.
Thursday 26 July 2012
Four first-time novelists are in the running for the prestigious £50,000 literary award
Tuesday 17 July 2012
Back in the days before I wrote columns – the epoch BC, I call it – there was one type of column I used to hate more than any other: the summer reading-list column. This chunk of vanity and self-regard, usually trotted out in the third week of July, could always be relied upon to tell you nothing about the writer's actual reading, and everything about his or her intellectual pretensions.
Sunday 15 July 2012
Or maybe I'm just getting on a bit. Trend alert 2! Ignorance is the new innocence ‑ everyone's claiming the Murdoch Defence nowadays
Thursday 12 July 2012
Programmes were not distributed until after the show, but you were handed a single sheet of white paper, blank except for one typed word – mine, somewhat dispiritingly, was "sock" – as you made your way into the Purcell Room for this European premiere of a short play by Don DeLillo.
Saturday 16 June 2012
My question this week: which did Hogarth enjoy drawing more – Gin Lane or Beer Street? Or to put it a different way, which panel do you think he drew first?
Friday 08 June 2012
The effortlessly irritating Nick Clegg has done it again. Clegg the would-be writer has stepped forward, as tentative and unsatisfactory as Clegg the politician. In the latest issue of Easy Living, the Deputy Prime Minister reveals that he would like to write a novel one day. "I find writing very therapeutic," he says. "I would love to emulate the style of one of my favourite writers, J M Coetzee, although I don't think I ever could." During his twenties, he embarked on a novel inspired by another of his literary idols, Gabriel Garcia Márquez, but he abandoned it after 120 "shockingly bad" pages.
Friday 06 January 2012
When I interviewed Edmund White for a newspaper profile, that supremely gifted photographer Jane Bown came along to take the pictures. In a swift stroke of impromptu genius,she turned the straggly greenery behind a London hotel patio into an antique bower, with White as a sprite – half-Puck, half-Pan – grinning out from between the leaves. If mayhem and upheaval often follow in his spirit's wake, then their passage will leave, beyond the heartbreak and bewilderment, happiness and even some hilarity behind.
Saturday 24 December 2011
Finding in his illness proof that an atheist dies better than a Christian strikes me as tasteless
Tuesday 29 November 2011
Friday 11 November 2011
It was Private Eye's anonymous critic, reviewing a Yann Martel novel, who warned of the dangers of writing about animals and allegory. He (or she) could usefully have gone on to advertise some of the perils of writing a biography of a living person. First, there is the problem of getting the subject on your side and keeping him there, never mind the threat to your objectivity that this relationship may nurture. Then there is the task of cajoling people who know him (who may regard the enterprise as a vanity project) to talk. Finally, there is the thought that most of your conclusions will necessarily be provisional, as the person may have two or three decades of vigorous existence still to live.
Sunday 05 April 2009
Friday 27 February 2004
Lincoln MP Karl McCartney 'denied all knowledge' of the Twitter activity
Detective novelist who wrote Death comes to Pemberley passed away peacefully at her home, aged 94
Ukip says babies born to immigrants in the UK should be classed as migrants – which would include Nigel Farage’s own children
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
'Beast of Bolsover' Dennis Skinner takes Ukip MP Mark Reckless to task moments after he is sworn in
The young are the new poor: Sharp increase in number of under-25s living in poverty, while over-65s are better off than ever
Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by Ohio police
Rochester aftermath: Sacking of Emily Thornberry will make work of Labour MPs '10 times harder'
- 1 Sean Abbott: Messages of support flood in for bowler following death of batsman Phil Hughes
- 2 Exodus Gods and Kings: Ridley Scott never considered casting 'Mohammad so-and-so from such-and-such' in lead role
- 3 Girl, 7, gets Tesco to remove 'stupid' sign suggesting superheroes are 'for boys'
- 4 This letter from a reader explains why women can’t play football