Photo Op (2006) by Peter Kennard and Cat Phillipps.
The return of big history: the long past is the antidote to short-termism
By David Reynolds - 29 January 9:29

Historians Jo Guldi and David Armitage have created a powerful, ambitious rebuttal to "the spectre of the short term".

Crow feathers.
Hide and Seek: New poetry by Rowan Williams, Liz Berry and Vona Groarke
By Paul Batchelor - 29 January 8:01

Three sophisticated collections explore the paradox of poetry.

EM Forster by Dora Carrington.
The producer vowing to film E M Forster’s “unfilmable” novel
By Philip Maughan - 28 January 13:45

After spending three weeks in hospital with a suspected heart condition, Adrian Munsey decided to tackle The Longest Journey — the last unfilmed Forster novel.

Sanitising the streets of smallpox, 1877. Photo: John Thomson/Getty Images
Sooty and sweep: how the Victorians cleaned up the country
By Rose George - 28 January 8:55

There is much we could learn from the Victorian fight against filth. A new book by Lee Jackson clears the path.

Kate Gross with her husband Billy in 2006. Photo: John Lawrence/Rex
Robert Webb on Kate Gross’s Last Fragments: a beautiful act of resistance against cancer
By Robert Webb - 26 January 14:16

Kate Gross began to write after her cancer diagnosis. She left behind her husband, Billy, their five-year-old twins, and this beautiful book.

Prize-winner and judge Eimear McBride.
Eimear McBride announced as judge for the 2015 Goldsmiths Prize
By Tom Gatti - 22 January 12:05

McBride joins Jon McGregor, Josh Cohen and Leo Robson to judge the annual prize for innovative fiction.

Terraced roof tops. Photo: Matt Cardy/Getty Images
Margeret Forster's My Life in Houses is an inspirational reflection on eight decades of home
By Matthew Dennison - 22 January 11:16

Margeret Forster's sensitive new study of a life in real estate is more than simple autobiography.

Central Asian warrior-heroine Saikal on a Kyrgyz stamp.
Pale riders: Adrienne Mayor's "The Amazons" shows how a myth developed
By Edith Hall - 22 January 11:14

A new book on warrior women reveals the true origins of a pervasive popular archetype.

Playing after dark. Photo: Niall McDiarmid/Millennium Images
A journey into the dark heart of sport: Anna Krien's "Night Games"
By Juliet Jacques - 22 January 10:54

The William Hill 2014 Sports Book of the Year covers the rape trial of an Australian Rules footballer -- but also raises broader questions about how to resolve a culture clash.

Robots assemble a car. Photo: Camera Press
Reign of the robots: how to live in the machine age
By Ian Leslie - 21 January 10:50

By using ever more machines we lose not only physical skills, but cognitive faculties.

John Maynard Keynes. Photo: Tim Gidal/Picture Post/Getty
Virtuous vices: our mutable notions of good and bad
By John Gray - 16 January 13:48

From jealousy to cowardice to greed, the power of vices is to inspire virtue.

Fred Astaire. Photo: AFP/Getty
"Fred": a new poem by Isobel Dixon
By Isobel Dixon - 16 January 13:35

“Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers were sexy, but only with their feet, like butterflies.” – Clive James

A neon Rubik’s Cube of a novel, designed for our economic age: 10:04 by Ben Lerner
By Philip Maughan - 15 January 13:15

Ben Lerner’s second novel tries to emulate Walt Whitman’s democratic “I” in an age when economic imperatives trump democracy. It is a clever and timely work — as much the story of the novel’s construction as the novel itself.

The novelist Michel Houellebecq in 2010. Photo: Alessando Albert/Getty Images
Michel Houellebecq: France's literary provocateur
By Leo Robson - 15 January 13:09

Michel Houellebecq’s novel imagining his country under Islamic rule featured on the cover of last week's Charlie Hebdo. But it's not the satire you'd expect.

Sophia sells the Suffragette, April 1913. Photo: Museum of London
Woman's Will to Power: The dramatic life of a forgotten suffragette
By Caroline Criado-Perez - 15 January 11:11

Anita Anand's Sophia: Princess, Suffragette, Revolutionary explores the life of an overlooked but important campaigner.

Gangster's paradise: A Brief History of Seven Killings
By Randy Boyagoda - 15 January 11:08

Marlon James's latest novel on Bob Marley and December '76 is more true for being fiction.

Ivan Vladislavić. Photo: Minky Schlesinger/And Other Stories
Lost in Joburg: Ivan Vladislavić's The Restless Supermarket
By Hedley Twidle - 15 January 11:03

One of South Africa's most accomplished prose stylists gets a timely reissue.

Beethoven. Image: Getty
Meet the maestro: Beethoven’s fraught personal life
By Nicholas Lezard - 15 January 10:28

Two very different biographical works give surprising insight into the great composer's character.

Woman browses book maze. Photo: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images
Reading the revolution: books to look out for in 2015
By Tom Gatti - 08 January 16:20

Elections, empires and the "extreme present" in culture editor Tom Gatti's guide to the coming literary year.

Photo: China Photos/Getty Image
The Queen's English: Victoria brought to life
By Philip Hoare - 08 January 15:10

A N Wilson's book reveals the surprisingly diverse tastes of this quintessential English monarch.

Helen Lewis: Wonder Woman’s complex, contradictory origin story
By Helen Lewis - 22 December 15:57

Wonder Woman is riddled with contradictions: sexless, yet sexy; strong, yet vulnerable; a feminist hero created by a man.

Sofía Oria in “Blancanieves”, a 2012 Spanish film based on "Snow White" by the Brothers Grimm.
Rowan Williams: why we need fairy tales now more than ever
By Rowan Williams - 22 December 12:45

Fairy tales are capable of depicting the hardest challenges we face as human beings.

Tommy Steele as Scrooge in a 2005 musical adaptation of Dickens’ story. Photo: MJ Kim/Getty Images
Why Scrooge is an anti-capitalist hero, bravely resisting the commercialisation of Christmas
By Owen Clayton - 22 December 12:21

It’s time we reclaimed Dickens’ villainous skinflint.

Back to the bleak house: a playground and flats in the Estonian village of Purksi, in a former Soviet border protection zone
Minority report: the plight of Estonia’s ethnic Swedes
By Sigrid Rausing - 19 December 14:07

Estonia’s Swedes survived revolution, invasion and exile. Their struggles tell the story of 20th-century Europe.

Independent spirit: Burke as "the Man in the Moon", holding forth on liberty and revolution (1790)
Doctor to the body politic: how a Whig outsider became a Tory hero
By David Marquand - 19 December 10:30

David Marquand on why Edmund Burke still strikes political sparks. 

Head to head: Wilkinson with Cromwell's skull
Barbarism begins at home: a macabre history of severed heads
By Andrew Harrison - 19 December 10:26

Far from being a benighted practice from popular fiction – the sort of thing that you might find in an H Rider Haggard novel – it turns out that beheadings went hand in hand with western empires.

Shami Chakrabarti in 2013. Photo: Getty
Keep it civil: Shami Chakrabarti’s On Liberty
By Sophie McBain - 19 December 10:24

This is “my story and the story of Liberty”, Chakrabarti writes, but she offers no more than the odd glimpse into her life.

Addicted to espadrilles: Joe Perry (left) and Steven Tyler of US rock band Aerosmith
Boys’ own tales: four rock stars who refused to grow up
By Stuart Maconie - 19 December 10:22

Stuart Maconie wades through books by monsters of rock Carlos Santana, Neil Young, Joe Perry and Billy Idol. 

A customer uses an RBS cash machine in Edinburgh. Photo: Getty
Power to the economists: new books by Ha-Joon Chang and John Lanchester
By Charles Kenny - 19 December 10:15

Both books are based on the premise that if the general public knew more about finance and economics things might be better.

Fully booked: fans queue outside Waterstones on Piccadilly for a book-signing. Photo: Getty
Eyes on the prize: a brilliant satire of the Booker set
By Ben Myers - 19 December 10:12

A novel about those writers who attract fans so ardent that the work is never enough.