New Statesman
Democracy Ltd by Bobby Friedman: Formula wrong
By Jack Straw - 26 September 11:54

British elections used to be heroically corrupt.

New Statesman
The barbarism of reason: John Gray on the Notebooks of Leopardi
By John Gray - 26 September 11:41

The first full translation of a reclusive Italian poet’s philosophical “hotchpotch” is a major event in the history of ideas.

Berlin Wall.
Red Love by Maxim Leo: Secondarily a memoir, foremost a love story
By Marina Benjamin - 26 September 8:50

Marina Benjamin is impressed by the storytelling and cool-headed analysis in Maxim Leo's Red Love: the Story of an East German Family.

New Statesman
Reviews round-up
By Critic - 24 September 12:11

The critics' verdicts on Stephen King, Sathnam Sanghera and Maxim Leon.

New Statesman
Bleeding Edge by Thomas Pynchon: Dotcom survivors
By Leo Robson - 20 September 12:40

A book where even the phrase "You are so grounded" takes on significance.

New Statesman
Jonathan Coe and Justin Cartwright: Fictional prime time
By John Sutherland - 20 September 12:30

The British novel, at its best, is engaged, liberal, highly informed, secular, sceptical and above all humane.

Out of Print by George Brock: An unfinished and chaotic story
By Emily Bell - 20 September 12:15

Brock convincingly disabuses readers of the notion of a “golden age” of journalism in the postwar period. But he often doesn't go far enough.

New Statesman
The Broken Road by Patrick Leigh Fermor: No more a-roving
By Jeremy Seal - 20 September 11:00

I set off along The Broken Road laden with expectations that I would have to make allowances. Yet almost from the off, I realised that I would have no use for these.

Jonathan Franzen.
Why Jonathan Franzen is wrong about novelists and Twitter
By Jennifer Weiner - 19 September 12:22

In his essay last week, Jonathan Franzen complained about the "yakkers and tweeters and braggers" who publicise their books through "Jennifer Weiner-ish" self-promotion. Now, Jennifer Weiner replies.

Bold and beautiful: the new Library of Birmingham
By Stuart Maconie - 19 September 12:07

Over its ten storeys, the Library of Birmingham houses an art gallery, a children’s area, a multimedia centre, two cafés, a music library, a performance space, a theatre, a restaurant, terraces with herb gardens and more.

The Blunders of Our Governments: How attractive would a blunder-free government be?
By Alan Johnson - 19 September 8:12

Even the cleverest politicians make mistakes.

New Statesman
Alexander McCall Smith on why W H Auden still matters
By Alexander McCall Smith - 19 September 8:09

W H Auden, who died 40 years ago this month, is one of the most humane, loving, direct and affecting poets of all time, writes Alexander McCall Smith.

New Statesman
The Currency of Paper by Alex Kovacs: How capitalism affects art
By Juliet Jacques - 18 September 10:16

A fascinating and funny dissection of the relationship between art and commerce.

The author Jhumpa Lahiri
Writers of Colour: Shortlisted for prizes because of their individual worth, nothing else
By Monisha Rajesh - 13 September 10:23

Knee-jerk reactions to representations of skin colour and sex have become so commonplace that individual worth is increasingly overlooked in place of head counts. But a good book just needs energy, soul, and fabulous writing.

New Statesman
Cat Sense by John Bradshaw: An attempt to dispel the mystery surrounding an animal never fully domesticated
By Andrew Harrison - 12 September 11:09

After reading Cat Sense, you will never look at your cat in the same way again. You might wish you still could.

Orthodox Jews in Prospect Park.
On Simon Schama's Story of the Jews: There is no one version of the Jewish past
By David Cesarani - 12 September 11:00

David Cesarani praises Simon Schama's erudite, playful and personal history reinterpretation of Jewish history.

New Statesman
An Armenian Sketchbook by Vasily Grossman: Far from his beloved Moscow, reflecting on the best and worst of humanity
By David Herman - 12 September 10:22

As he connects with Armenian peasants, we are reminded that this ill, suffering man, far from home, is one of the great writers of his time.

New Statesman
Books in Brief: Andrew Lycett, Robert Calderisi and Tom Cheshire
By Michael Prodger - 12 September 10:03

Three new books you may have missed.

New Statesman
The Poets' Daughters by Katie Waldegrave: A tale of two women obscured by their fathers
By Julia Copus - 12 September 9:19

Sara Coleridge and Dora Wordsworth are finally emerging from their fathers' shadows in this insightful and compassionate book.

Tolstoy and the Lesson of the Artist
By Robert Morss Lovett - 11 September 8:07

In 1928, Robert Morss Lovett marked Tolstoy's centenary in the <em>New Republic</em> with this essay exploring the existential questions that haunted the author throughout his life.

A man throwing a basketball.
The Sports Gene by David Epstein: A reversal on thinking about talent and genes
By Ed Smith - 05 September 11:55

Where once to be called talented or a "natural" was the highest praise, today sportsmen have to pretend success has nothing to do with innate ability - is it time to think again?

Man reading the newspaper.
Felix Martin: How the new economics outgrew the academies
By Felix Martin - 05 September 11:00

Reports of the death of popular economics turn out to have been greatly exaggerated, as two new books by Edmund Phelps, Sendhil Mullainathan and Eldar Shafir, make clear.

A pupil at boarding school.
Almost English by Charlotte Mendelson: Problems of exaggeration
By Claire Lowdon - 05 September 10:50

Claire Lowdon on Charlotte Mendelson's humorous new novel, a family drama which suffers from plausibility issues.

Transplant lab.
The Compatibility Gene by Daniel M Davis: "I am very rare but my wife is rather common"
By Michael Brooks - 05 September 10:20

The scientist Daniel M Davis has told the story of genetic compatibility - and the rejection that is its opposite - with great insight and decades of research. It's a field that may yield significant treasures in the decades to come.

Houses in Hollywood.
My Face for the World to See by Alfred Hayes and Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter: Purgative bouts of condemnation
By Leo Robson - 05 September 10:20

Leo Robson reviews two new novels about the not-so-golden ages of Hollywood history.

A man carries a cross near Chernobyl.
Four Fields by Tim Dee: The troublesome boundary between the human and the natural
By Olivia Laing - 05 September 10:15

The naturalist Tim Dee has written an ambitious, affectionate investigation into the pastoral by way of four fields dotted around the globe.

A woman in a bookshop.
Books in Brief: John L Williams, Gene Luen Yang and Richard van Emden
By Philip Maughan - 05 September 10:00

Three new books you may have missed.

I Am Zlatan Ibrahimovic: A modern fairy tale
By Simon Kuper - 05 September 7:14

The boy from the ghetto has not merely become a great footballer - he has become a modern European fairytale.

Chinese soldier.
Reviews Round-up: Badinter, Moran, Dikötter and de la Pava
By Critic - 03 September 12:47

The critics' verdicts on new book about TV viewing habits and the Chinese Revolution, as well as the reception of Sergio de la Pava's self-published debut "A Naked Singularity".