Weidenfeld & Nicolson

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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 …

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The First Thing You See by Grégoire Delacourt (transl. Anthea Bell): A sweet meditation on the curse of beauty

A couple of years ago I picked up Grégoire Delacourt’s The List of My Desires to read on a train on my way to meet a friend. It looked a little fluffy but the synopsis was attractive and I thought it would suit if there were no seats in the quiet carriage. I polished it …

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The Versions of Us by Laura Barnett: The three faces of Eva and Jim

Despite the uncertainty of the weather here in the UK I seem to have veered off into summer reading territory this week with the previous post on The Sunlit Night and now this one. Laura Barnett’s new novel stands out a mile in the publishing schedules as that precious thing: a strong commercial novel, cleverly …

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The Life and Death of Sophie Stark by Anna North: ‘A riddle, wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma’

I wasn’t at all sure that I would include a review of Anna North’s new novel here: it’s not that I didn’t enjoy it but it’s published exclusively as an ebook. I’m still wedded to paper, I’m afraid, and it seemed unfair to include a book that I wouldn’t have read if I hadn’t been …

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Ridley Road by Jo Bloom: Fascism and anti-fascism in the ‘60s East End

Carnaby Street, mini-skirts, coffee bars and rock n’ roll: these are some of the things that make up the glossy vibrant Swinging Sixties we see portrayed on our TV screens in nostalgic documentaries. Flip that coin over and you’ll find something nasty – racism and fascism alive and kicking almost twenty years after the Second …

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The Fair Fight by Anna Freeman: Definitely comes up to scratch

You’ve probably heard about this book by now. Even John Humphries sounded interested in it when he interviewed Anna Freeman on a Saturday edition of the Today programme and he hardly seems a fiction fan – that’s more Jim Naughtie’s territory. The hook is an eighteenth-century female pugilist – not something I think I’ve ever …

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