Non-Fiction

If you would prefer a searchable / sortable linear index for this category click here
Cover image

Childless Voices by Lorna Gibb: Stories of Longing, Loss, Resistance and Choice

Back in 2015 I reviewed Lorna Gibb’s first novel, A Ghost’s Story, a fascinating exploration of belief and longing to believe set against the backdrop of nineteenth-century spiritualism. I follow her on Twitter so knew she was writing something about childlessness and hoped I’d be offered it for review. It’s a state she and I …

Childless Voices by Lorna Gibb: Stories of Longing, Loss, Resistance and Choice Read More »

Cover image

Browse: Love Letters to Bookshops Around the World edited by Henry Hitchings

This is the kind of book I’d have had stacked up at till points back in my bookselling days, aiming it squarely at the Christmas stockings of the bookish. It brought to mind Jorge Carrión’s Bookshops which I reviewed here a few years ago but Browse is much more of a book to dip into. …

Browse: Love Letters to Bookshops Around the World edited by Henry Hitchings Read More »

Cover image

The Sunday Times Peters Fraser + Dunlop Young Writer of the Year Award, in association with the University of Warwick Shortlist: Kings of the Yukon by Adam Weymouth

I used to read a lot of travel writing before it was taken over by authors carting kitchen appliances round with them as a gimmick. I blame Bill Bryson: enjoyable as his books were they seemed to foster a demand for comedy in the genre, not an accusation to be made of Adam Weymouth, I’m …

The Sunday Times Peters Fraser + Dunlop Young Writer of the Year Award, in association with the University of Warwick Shortlist: Kings of the Yukon by Adam Weymouth Read More »

Cover image

The Sunday Times / Peters Fraser + Dunlop Young Writer Of The Year Award, in association with The University of Warwick: The Reading Cure by Laura Freeman

One of the many good things about shadow judging this award is that it’s made me review non-fiction. It’s not that I don’t read it but the last book I reviewed that wasn’t fiction was back in May. Laura Freeman’s The Reading Cure was already in my sights before the shortlist was announced but if …

The Sunday Times / Peters Fraser + Dunlop Young Writer Of The Year Award, in association with The University of Warwick: The Reading Cure by Laura Freeman Read More »

Cover image

In the Restaurant by Christoph Ribbat (transl. by Jamie Searle Romanelli): Society in Four Courses

Eating out is one of my favourite things. It can be sociable or not, a treat in itself or a quick bite before the cinema, something to round off a day on holiday or a step off the interminable wheel of everyday cooking. Whatever the occasion, there’s always a feeling of pleasurable anticipation which is …

In the Restaurant by Christoph Ribbat (transl. by Jamie Searle Romanelli): Society in Four Courses Read More »

Cover image

Summer Before the Dark by Volker Weidermann (translated by Carol Brown Janeway): ‘Refugees in vacationland’

I was drawn to Volker Weidermann’s Summer Before the Dark partly because of its translator, Carol Brown Janeway, who died last year. It was her work which made me understand that the translator is every bit as important as the author when seeking out books in translation. This may well be her last piece of …

Summer Before the Dark by Volker Weidermann (translated by Carol Brown Janeway): ‘Refugees in vacationland’ Read More »

Cover image

Bookshops by Jorge Carrión (translated by Peter Bush): An anorak’s delight

I suppose it was inevitable that I’d read and review Bookshops having worked in one for over a decade and spent a great deal of time in many others, both in my own country and abroad. It’s quite some time since I could call myself a bookseller but I still tidy up those table displays, …

Bookshops by Jorge Carrión (translated by Peter Bush): An anorak’s delight Read More »

Cover image

Alive, Alive Oh! by Diana Athill: A long life well lived

I first came across Diana Athill’s elegant prose in Stet, her account of her time at André Deutsch, the publishing house she co-founded in 1951 with her eponymous business partner. Deutsch was a refugee, one of the many who shaped modern British publishing. For readers who haven’t yet come across the book, it’s a treat …

Alive, Alive Oh! by Diana Athill: A long life well lived Read More »