Books & Reviews

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Mallory and the conquest of Everest

2011-10-09 IN HIS wartime essay "England Your England", George Orwell characterised the English as a nation of hobbyists. It was the English tendency to form stamp collecting societies and angling clubs, Orwell claimed, which both cemented them as a...

Mixed response for Transtromer's Nobel prize

2011-10-09 OBSCURE Swedish poet or magnificent writer? You'd be forgiven, reading reactions to the naming of Tomas Transtromer as the Nobel laureate for literature, for getting a little confused.Commentary ranges from the delighted to the bemused to the...

Sunday, 25 September 2011

We were right to publish Assange book: Canongate

2011-09-25 THE Unauthorised Autobiography has been one of the most unusual, fascinating, frustrating but exciting journeys that Canongate has ever been on. By the time this piece appears, a lot of ink and airtime will have been given over to the drama behind...

The truth about avoidable disasters

2011-09-25 WITNESSING famine comes as a visceral shock — the slow and silent evisceration of society, family and the human body itself. The Russian sociologist Pitrim Sorokin, survivor of the famine of the early 1920s in his home country, wrote in Man and...

Sunday, 18 September 2011

A decade of Hitchens' journalism

2011-09-18 THERE are, at a rough count, 36 references to George Orwell in this voluminous collection of Christopher Hitchens's journalism from the past decade. Hitchens has good claims to be Orwell's successor, and he would certainly agree with his hero's...

Time extended for Google digital books talks

2011-09-18 GOOGLE Inc and authors and publishers groups have about nine more months to untangle their six-year-old legal dispute over plans to create the world's largest digital library, a federal judge said last Thursday.Manhattan federal court Judge Denny...

Sunday, 11 September 2011

A 'world without Islam' would still be a colonial target

2011-09-11 A TITLE for a book is frequently the set of few words that creates a significant first impression and attracts the purchasers'/readers' eye in to give more consideration to the work. Fuller's A World Without Islam is an intriguingly successful work...

Sunday, 21 August 2011

US writers struggle to out-imagine Sept 11

2011-08-21 TEN years later, and Americans' imaginations still are catching up to Sept 11, 2001. "I don't think art can 'compete' with something like 9/11," says Jess Walter, whose post 9/11 novel The Zero was a National Book Award finalist in 2006...

Obama's brother in Shanghai to promote bio-novel

2011-08-21 PRESIDENT Barack Obama's half brother attended this year's Shanghai book fair, where he signed autographs and promoted his semi-autobiographical novel Nairobi to Shenzhen organisers said on Thursday. Mark Ndesandjo works as a consultant in the...

Sunday, 14 August 2011

The Long Goodbye - A Memoir of Grief by Meghan O'Rourke

2011-08-14 THERE are people who insist that grief is ennobling. "You will come out of it a better person," they say, their hand softly upon your shoulder. But this is complete rot, of course. Maybe you will become a more compassionate person, in the...

Ex-spy writes about his old profession

2011-08-14 DUNN, who was a field officer in the British Secret Intelligence Service, often known as M16, has created a plot with plenty of action and lots of twists and turns in Spycatcher. Unfortunately, he has to step aside and explain things in the manner...

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Achdiat Mihardja - author of Atheis

2011-08-07 ATHEIS (The Atheist) is a masterpiece of the Indonesian literary history. The novel was published in 1949 and written by Achdiat Karta Mihardja, an Indonesian author of the 45 generation, a generation that was creative around and after the...

Sunday, 31 July 2011

George RR Martin's fantasy is not far from reality of modern world

2011-07-31 A WEALTHY dynasty brought to its knees by popular revolt, the highest in the land caught in a web of corruption, and at the heart of it all a powerful woman with remarkable hair. If you see the Murdoch clan, Chipping Norton set and Rebekah Brooks in...

Can fantasy ever tell the truth?

2011-07-31 THERE is nothing wrong with escaping reality now and again. A finely crafted escapist fantasy can be a thing of joy and beauty. However, an unfiltered diet of escapist fantasy blockbusters can be unhealthy. As master anti-fantasist M John Harrison...

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Lee Child wins crime novel of the year award

2011-07-24 THE British creator of the All-American hero Jack Reacher has won the 2011 Theakstons Old Peculier crime novel of the year award with the 14th instalment in his bestselling series, 61 Hours.Speaking after Thursday's award ceremony, which opened the...

Extracts from Idylls of the Sea

2011-07-24 FRANK T Bullen is in the crow's nest, that observation platform high above the mainsail, at dawn. "At such a time, specially if the heavens be one stainless concave of blue, the advent of a new day is so overwhelming in its glory that the soul is...

'My Father's Fortune' wins top prize for autobiography

2011-07-24 CELEBRATED for his plays, novels and journalism, Michael Frayn's first work of memoir, My Father's Fortune, has been rewarded with the PEN/Ackerley prize, the UK's only dedicated award for autobiography.My Father's Fortune saw off competition from a...

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Alastair Campbell Diaries, Vol 3

2011-07-17 JOHN Colville, Winston Churchill's private secretary, went riding at the height of the second world war; his boss went off to the cinema. Harold Macmillan, when prime minister, decamped to Scotland for weeks each August to go grouse shooting. The...

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Writer risks death in the afternoon

2011-07-10 THE pavement outside a tapas bar in London's Old Brompton Road is a far cry from a bullring in Spain.But that doesn't stop British writer, actor and amateur matador Alexander Fiske-Harrison from leaping to his feet mid-conversation and demonstrating...

New crime novel co-written by 26 authors

2011-07-10 IT'S the literary world's version of consequences: from Alexander McCall Smith to Kathy Reichs, 26 bestselling crime writers have teamed up to create the multi-authored mystery No Rest for the Dead. The authors who also include Raymond Khoury, RL...

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