Books & Reviews

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Philby hailed as 'great spy' in Russia

2011-12-18 NOTORIOUS British double agent Kim Philby may be regarded as a traitor in his home country but 20 years after the collapse of the Soviet Union he remains a hero in Russia for divulging Western secrets.A Russian publisher has unveiled a major new...

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Business as usual needs change

2011-12-11 RICHARD Branson swashbuckling billionaire entrepreneur, sportsman and activist is accustomed to speaking his mind. Ask the employees and customers of his Virgin group of more than 400 companies around the world.From records to airlines, mobile...

Gish Jen: Torchbearer of the great American novel

2011-12-11 IT'S A bit of a surprise meeting Gish Jen. One doesn't quite expect the writer to be so diminutive, almost bird-like in her demeanour, flighty, emotional and cheerful laughing and crying almost in the same breath as she talks. A little gravitas...

Sunday, 27 November 2011

My name has become a brand

2011-11-27 IN THE mid-1980s John Grisham, then a small-town lawyer and disillusioned member of the Mississippi state legislature, would fill the time between meetings and court hearings writing a novel about an ambitious young lawyer embroiled in a life-or-...

Kerouac's 'lost' debut novel is published after 70 years

2011-11-27 THE American beat generation author Jack Kerouac is said to have spent just eight days on active service in the US merchant marines on board the SS Dorchester in 1942; but his short stay furnished him with notes for his first novel and, after nearly...

Sunday, 20 November 2011

George Orwell's 'Burmese Days' opens Off-Broadway

2011-11-20 TROPICAL weather can have a desultory effect on some people, though it doesn't slow down the native conniver at the heart of George Orwell's novel Burmese Days. The personal and political intrigue between the natives of Burma (now known as Myanmar...

Walesa's wife unveils price of Solidarity glory

2011-11-20 LECH Walesa's wife says she paid a huge price for her husband's struggle against communism. In an autobiography coming out next week, Danuta Walesa talks publicly for the first time about her loneliness and fear for the family's unity as her...

Sunday, 13 November 2011

A foodie in the family? There's a book for that

2011-11-13 EVERYBODY knows at least one a pretentious foodie who insists on froo-froo ingredients, laborious techniques and over-the-top dishes. Well, this year they're out of luck. Because 2011 was a year when cookbooks even those by high-end and...

A riveting bio of Catherine the Great

2011-11-13 CATHERINE the Great: Portrait of a Woman (Random House), by Robert K. Massie: Pulitzer Prize laureate Massie has written a biography of Russia's great Empress Catherine that is well, great. Massie, awarded the Pulitzer for Peter the Great, knows...

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Clinton has advice, some criticism, for President Obama in new book

2011-11-06 FORMER President Bill Clinton says in a new book that last summer's political fight over raising the US debt ceiling made the nation look "weak and confused" overseas and he doesn't know why President Barack Obama didn't seek a...

Amazon introduces lending library for Kindles

2011-11-06 AMAZON.com Inc said on Thursday that it is starting a lending library for Kindle owners, letting them borrow one electronic book per month. Borrowers have to subscribe to Amazon's Prime service, which provides free two-day shipping and streaming...

Steve Jobs biography tops bestsellers

2011-11-06 THERE may not have been overnight queues of fans like those for the release of a new iPhone or iPad, but Steve Jobs produced another hit with the final work to bear his name: the only authorised biography of the Apple co-founder soared to the top of...

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Ukraine's president accused of plagiarism

2011-10-30 IN HIS new book, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych shares his dreams about the future of his country. But are they his? Some parts of Opportunity Ukraine bear a striking resemblance to magazine articles, a lawmaker's speech and even a...

Gates turns book reviewer

2011-10-30 BILL Gates: founder of Microsoft, philanthropist, computer whizz and now book reviewer. Last Wednesday, in a review on his website, the billionaire gave the thumbs-up to Vaclav Smil's Prime Movers of Globalization: The History and Impact of...

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

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...

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...

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...

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