The first morning chill of autumn is the perfect excuse to retire to a comfortable chair with a stack of new books. Publishers know this, and unload most of their big titles at this time of year (544 new hardbacks will be published on “Super Thursday”, otherwise known as 4 October), creating a lively awards and festival season (the Goldsmiths Prize, run in association with the New Statesman, reveals its shortlist here).
In this issue’s books special we have employed some of our finest critics to cut through the clutter. Lives loom large, with Ray Monk gripped by an epic biography of Nietzsche, William Boyd examining Churchill’s relationship with his mother and Jude Rogers reviewing Lily Allen’s brutally honest autobiography.
Among these subjects, it is Nietzsche who, perhaps surprisingly, speaks most directly to the current age of social media self-promotion. In his autobiography Ecce Homo he titled his chapters “Why I am so wise”, “Why I am a Destiny” – and “Why I write such good books”. Other authors are advised to leave such judgements to the critics.
The NS autumn books special:
- John Gray looks for the roots of today’s identity politics in new books by Francis Fukuyama and Kwame Anthony Appiah
- Marina Benjamin on a powerful study of grief and anger by Lisa Appignanesi
- Leo Robson follows Geoff Dyer’s infatuation with the war film Where Eagles Dare
- Catherine Taylor on Sarah Moss’s novel Ghost War
- Richard Evans on Peter Hitchens’s Eurosceptic version of the Second World War
- “A poem from the Voronezh Notebooks” by Osip Mandelstam
- John Harris looks at the ways shared spaces improve lives
- Jane Shilling on a newly translated book by the Polish novelist Olga Tokarczuk
This article appears in the 26 Sep 2018 issue of the New Statesman, The Tory Brexit crisis