Recent Blog Posts

Wednesday April 21, 2021 at 3:25pm
Booksellers report giddy customers browsing and smelling books, with 3.7m print books shifted in first week after lockdownBooksellers have reported their customers “acting like kids in a sweet shop”, with print sales jumping a third in the first week of bookshops opening their doors after lockdown.Readers on the bookshops they miss most: ‘I can’t wait to take my lockdown baby!’Read moreBookshops open across England and Wales opened on 12 April, alongside other non-e....
Wednesday April 14, 2021 at 8:27pm
From Alexandre Dumas to Ian McEwan, writers serve up a dish that’s best prepared only in imaginationn the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. Then he added man. Maybe he wouldn’t have if he’d known what was coming. Anyway, Adam and Eve messed up, God became furious and launched Project Fall of Man. In doing so he also created revenge as a concept.As my new novel Sweet Sweet Revenge Ltd has been published in country after country, I have learned how to answer quest....
Saturday April 3, 2021 at 12:39pm
Four decades after his Booker-winner was published, Rushdie reflects on the Bombay of his childhood – and his despair at the sectarianism he sees in India todaySalman RushdieLongevity is the real prize for which writers strive, and it isn’t awarded by any jury. For a book to stand the test of time, to pass successfully down the generations, is uncommon enough to be worth a small celebration. For a writer in his mid-70s, the continued health of a book published in his mid-30s is, quit....
Tuesday March 16, 2021 at 11:07am
An ImproverMaisie’s been holding down her head all day,Her little red head. And her pointed chinRests on her neck that slips so softly inThe square-cut low-necked darling dress she madeIn such a way, since it’s high-waisted, too,It lets you guess how fair young breasts beginUnder the gentle pleasant folds of blue.The Australian poet and novelist Lesbia Harford, 1891-1927, was among the first women to graduate in law from the University of Melbourne. But her achievement was no passpor....
Wednesday March 3, 2021 at 11:09am
After two years of careful reading, moving backwards through time, Robert McCrum has concluded his selection of the 100 greatest nonfiction books. Take a quick look at five centuries of great writing1. The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert (2014) An engrossing account of the looming catastrophe caused by ecology’s “neighbours from hell” – mankind.2. The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion (2005)This steely and devastating examination of the author’s grief f....
Saturday February 27, 2021 at 3:25pm
"A few notes: Because the “contemporary” list surveyed novels published since 1970 (inclusive), this list will define “classic” as being originally published before 1970." Click here to view whole artilce and listAdolfo Bioy Casares, tr. Ruth L.C. Simms, The Invention of Morel (1940) : 103 pagesBoth Jorge Luis Borges and Octavio Paz described this novel as perfect, and I admit I can’t find much fault with it either. It is technically about a fugitive whose....
Wednesday February 10, 2021 at 12:48am
'Utterly original' Monique Roffey wins Costa book of the yearThe Mermaid of Black Conch takes £30,000 award for 2020’s most enjoyable book, acclaimed by judges as a classic in the making‘I really wanted this book to be seen and read’ … Monique Roffey. Photograph: David Levene/The GuardianMonique Roffey has won the £30,000 Costa book of the year award for her sixth novel, The Mermaid of Black Conch, which opens as a fisherman on a Caribbean island sees a &ldqu....
Wednesday January 6, 2021 at 12:43am
Marvel removes antisemitic trope from Immortal Hulk comicPanel showing character visiting ‘Jewery’ shop was an ‘honest but terrible mistake’, says artist Joe Bennett but the publisher has withdrawn the illustrationMarvel has removed antisemitic imagery from print and digital editions of the new issue of its Immortal Hulk comic after widespread condemnation.The comic, published last week, was criticised after readers noticed that one panel featured the character Joe Fixit,....
Monday January 4, 2021 at 9:30pm
She published her first book in her 40s and became the biggest selling author of the past decade in any genre – The Gruffalo alone has sold 13m copies. How did this former busker make it so big?The room where the children’s author Julia Donaldson writes – the heart of her vast picture book empire – is down a winding staircase, in the cellar of her grand white house in Steyning, West Sussex. Her desk looks out on the street at knee height. “I’m thinking of writ....
Tuesday December 29, 2020 at 9:27pm
Details of historic decision-making amid growing racist resentment feature in this elegant, if restrained, account of life inside the White Hous.To read Barack Obama’s autobiography in the last, snarling days of Donald Trump is to stare into an abyss between two opposite ends of humanity, and wonder once again at how the same country came to choose two such disparate men.Somewhere at the top of a long list of contrasts is their grasp of language and facts. On the eve of the book’s pu....