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Category Archives: Books


Learning from semi-charmed lives

When famous public figures take a step further and use their personal experience as a literary vehicle for exploring wider social issues, I can happily check my celebrity memoir prejudice at the bookshop door. Read more »

Searching for Mr Salinger

Joanna Rakoff’s book is ‘the truth, told as best [she] could’, of her year as an assistant at one of New York’s oldest literary agencies, a job for which many an Arts graduate would sell a kidney. Read more »

Giving voice to a silent profession

The role editors play in the process of ushering new writing into the world is both vitally important and strangely overlooked. Read more »

Highbrow vs Lowbrow: Hannah Kent defends Highbrow Literature

I understand why many people have a problem with highbrow literature. ‘Intellectual snobbery’ is a common accusation, as though the reason people read and write the stuff is solely to intimidate their dinner guests. ‘Highbrow literature is for wankers,’ I hear them say. Well, ladies and gentlemen, so is Fifty Shades of Grey. Read more »

Highbrow vs Lowbrow: Carody Culver defends Lowbrow Literature

Ladies and gentlemen, I’d like to introduce you to a close friend of mine commonly known as lowbrow literature. Lots of people love lowbrow. He’s a popular guy. He also makes a tonne of money because he’s really good at turning questionable ideas into insane profits, and I’m mostly talking about teenage vampires and fifty shades of pretend bondage. Read more »

Novellas are no short shrift

Somewhere between the novel and the short story is the novella, a frequently overlooked literary form that’s finally enjoying a resurgence, partly thanks to the success of ebooks. Read more »

We need to talk about sexism

Although Everyday Sexism… is compelling, engagingly written and undeniably important in terms of what it contributes to the cultural conversation about feminism and women’s rights, it doesn’t offer any real solutions to the issues it so definitively illustrates. Read more »

Reviving the literary dead

Resurrecting the work of dead writers has become a weirdly meta subgenre of genre fiction. More recently, however, the art of the literary revival – either as a one-off or as a series continuation – seems more common. Read more »

Girls, eat your hearts out

Middle class hipsters, conceptual artists and third-wave feminists have long been easy targets for mockery, so I admit that I wasn’t expecting anything too groundbreaking when I picked up Zoe Pilger’s Eat My Heart Out, a satirical romp through contemporary London that reads like a surreal mash-up of Broad City, Bridget Jones’s Diary and Less Than Zero. Read more »

Houston, we have a fabrication

As someone who doesn’t have children, I’m no less resistant than any of my book-loving friends-with-kids to the charm of a beautiful picture book. So when I spotted Laika: Astronaut Dog by writer and illustrator Owen Davey, with its charming retro-style artwork Read more »