Art of darkness: the Scottish crime writer Ian Rankin, photographed in 2007. Photo: Murdo McLeod
Criminally Caledonian: on the art of detective fiction and the glory of “tartan noir”
By Leo Robson - 05 March 10:00

Leo Robson looks at the traditions underpinning Ian Rankin's The Beat Goes On and George Pelecanos' The Martini Shot and Other Stories.

Wild things: the Mughal emperor Akbar tames elephants in a 16th-century illustration from Abu’l-Fazl’s Akbarnama
Many gods, many voices: the Murty Classical Library is uncovering India’s dazzling literary history
By Neel Mukherjee - 05 March 9:28

 The Murty Classical Library of India tackles a multilingual, epic tradition.

The famous pebble beach at Llandudno, Wales. Photo: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images
In praise of meaningless work
By Joe Keohane - 04 March 12:00

We are all alienated labour now.

Alan Bennett is right: if you consult the literature, hypocrisy is a very English tradition
By Anna Leszkiewicz - 03 March 11:30

Alan Bennett's statement that the English excel at hypocrisy has upset the national press. But he's got literature on his side.

Van Gaal at Old Trafford. Photo: Clive Mason/Getty Images
The life and times of the Iron Tulip: Who is Louis van Gaal?
By John Bew - 26 February 11:34

Biographies by Hugo Borst and Maarten Meijer get to know Manchester United's new manager.

A girl reads atop a stack of books. Photo: Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images
“She blinded me with library science”: why the Feminist Library is more vital than ever
By Stephanie Boland - 26 February 11:10

Despite scant funding and resources, London’s Feminist Library is turning their 40th year into a celebration of storytelling, history – and, hopefully, sofas.

Vegetables. Photo: Phil Walter/Getty Images
Han Kang's The Vegetarian: the failures of language and the mysteries of the physical
By Joanna Walsh - 26 February 11:03

Comparable to Herman Melville’s “Bartleby, the Scrivener” to Kafka’s “A Hunger Artist”, The Vegetarian ties social refusal to sexual protest.

The kids will be alright. Photo: Sean Gallup/Getty Images
Raising hell: what do we mean by family values in the twenty-first century?
By Melissa Benn - 26 February 10:54

Harry Brighouse and Adam Swift's Family Values: the Ethics of Parent-Child Relationships, and Tanith Carey's Taming the Tiger Parent.

An LED screen displayed the word "Labour". Photo: Oli Scarff/Getty Images
Will we ever see a Thatcher of the left? Peter Hain and Will Hutton on Labour’s potential for reform
By George Eaton - 26 February 10:29

In new books, both Hain and Hutton recognise Labour as the only vehicle for reform – but what kind will emerge remains to be seen.

James Stewart and Donna Reed in “It's A Wonderful Life” (1946). Photo: Roland Grant Archive
Heaven is a place on earth: popular culture has more to say about the afterlife than religion
By John Gray - 25 February 10:32

John Gray reviews Greg Garrett’s Entertaining Judgement: the Afterlife in Popular Imagination.

Neil Gaiman. Photo: Rex Features
Distraction techniques: Neil Gaiman’s new book proves you can’t read a short story online
By Frank Cottrell Boyce - 24 February 9:25

Neil Gaiman’s Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances reminds us that stories demand all our attention.

Civil war re-enactors at Gettysburg. Photo: John Moore/Getty Images
Laird Hunt's Neverhome: the civil war isn’t just something in America’s past
By Erica Wagner - 19 February 11:59

A novel of the American Civil War that combines realism with the powerful folklore surrounding defiant women.

Outside the Strand bookstore in New York. Photo: Kathleen Tyler Conklin on Flickr via Creative Commons
The crack of the spine: why do we find wear and tear in books so comforting?
By Oliver Farry - 19 February 9:42

Objects that feel lived in give us a comforting feeling of having come a long way, of having been through the years and having done some hard work to get there.

Anne Tyler. Photo: Clara Molden/Camera Press
Generation game: can novelist Anne Tyler save the modern saga?
By Leo Robson - 18 February 15:51

Conceived by Zola and sullied by Jonathan Franzen, the modern saga is in poor health. But Anne Tyler might be its saviour.

Time regained: a panel from Richard McGuire's haunting graphic novel Here.
Substance abuse: How form meets content in three new graphic novels
By Yo Zushi - 17 February 10:31

Scott McCloud's The Sculptor, Richard McGuire's Here and Joe Sacco's Bumf.

A health worker administers the polio vaccine to children in Yemen. Photo: Reuters
How immunity became a political issue: Eula Bliss’s timely study of disease and vaccination
By Steven Poole - 13 February 9:49

With "anti-vaxxers" dominating the headlines, Biss's new book is a thoughtful examination of how people feel about vaccines.

David Cameron unveils this year's campaign poster. Photo: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images
Instant messaging: looking back on the golden age of political advertising
By Bryan Appleyard - 13 February 9:00

Sam Delaney’s Mad Men and Bad Men: What Happened when British Politics Met Advertising captures forty years of politics – through posters.

Vanishing act: Branwell's portrait of the Brontës
The phantom menace: in search of the real Branwell Brontë
By Frances Wilson - 12 February 10:16

Sanctuary: a Novel dramatises the lives of the writerly sisters - and their forgotten artist brother.

Erich Maria Remarque. Photo: Albert Harlingue/Roger Viollet/Getty Images
The Promised Land: Erich Maria Remarque's unfinished final book has a humane power
By Adam Kirsch - 12 February 10:13

The fragmented last work from the author of All Quiet on the Western Front.

Blackfriars tube, circa 1930. Photo: George Davison Reid
Anthony Quinn's Curtain Call: a murder mystery that captures the spirit of a decade
By Libby Purves - 05 February 10:35

With Orwell-clear prose and a Trollope-sized cast, Curtain Call makes the 1930s glitter.

The 18-year-old Antonia Pakenham in 1950. Photo: Hulton-Deutsch Collection/Corbis
Antonia Fraser and David Lodge: A tale of two writers, posh and prole
By John Mullan - 05 February 10:31

New memoirs from Antonia Fraser and David Lodge show very different British upbringings.

David Cameron and the late Margaret Thatcher in Downing Street. Photo: WPA Pool/Getty Images
Where Thatcher feared to tread: Cameron’s Coup shows a man on a mission
By George Eaton - 05 February 10:20

Polly Toynbee and David Walker's Cameron's Coup is an unashamedly caustic review of the last five years.

US Military Police guard detainees at Guantanamo Bay. Photo: Petty Officer 1st class Shane T. McCoy/U.S. Navy/Getty Image
An extraordinary diary from Guantanamo Bay reveals the failure of American democracy
By David Rose - 05 February 10:17

Detainee Mohamedou Ould Slahi's account of the camp is heartbreaking. But it is crucial the truth is told.

The Collier, by Robert Havell (1814). Image: Science and Society Picture Library
To be continued: how much has English society changed since 1714?
By Mark Damazer - 05 February 10:15

Much has changed in English culture since 1710. But a new book argues our systems of power are less different than we might think.

Ernest Hemingway (R), who took revenge on ex-wife Martha Gelhorn in his novel “Across the River and into the Trees”. Photo: AFP/Getty
Should you be wary of writers you know? You might just be providing them with free material
By Oliver Farry - 05 February 9:00

Perhaps the most pervasive source of self-censorship for writers is their relationships with the people around them.

Pulitzer Prize winner and 'To Kill A Mockingbird' author Harper Lee in 2007. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
To Kill a Mockingbird author Harper Lee to publish second novel
By Anna Leszkiewicz - 03 February 15:49

The sequel will be titled “Go Set a Watchman”.

Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss in “The Hunger Games”.
Why I want more unlikeable female characters
By S L Huang - 03 February 12:11

When we don’t let women live the whole range of humanity – making mistakes, screwing things up, not being very nice – we miss out.

Thomas and first wife Vivien Eliot in London, 1916.
The hurt locker: Rowan Williams on the anguish of T S Eliot
By Rowan Williams - 03 February 9:42

Young Eliot, the first volume of Robert Crawford's new T S Eliot biography, shows how a bruising home life led to poetic breakthrough.

Mexican soldiers guarding drugs. Photo: David Maung/Bloomberg via Getty Images
How to beat the dealer: two different approaches to the war on drugs
By Michael Hodges - 29 January 10:08

Johan Harri's Chasing the Scream refutes today's anti-narcotics policy, while Edward Follis and Douglas Century's The Dark Art takes us undercover in the global drugs change.