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Spectator books of the year: Charlotte Moore enjoyed Barry’s novel on Irish drunkenness

23 November 2014 21:00
guinness

Common People by Alison Light (Fig Tree, £20) is a shot in the arm for family historians like me. Her wise, wide-ranging interpretations of her family’s past elevate our dusty… Continue reading

1 Comment

Spectator books of the year: Philip Hensher urges you to read We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves before someone tells you the twist

23 November 2014 18:00
fowler

The books I liked best this year were all richly detailed. Why read a book unless it’s going to go into all the nooks and crannies? Everyone is going to… Continue reading

2 Comments

Spectator books of the year: Christopher Howse was sickened by Charles Saatchi’s collection of thoughts

23 November 2014 15:00
Image: Getty.

Wonderful year for Pevsner, or rather for us who use the guides as we potter about. Four new vols: Bedfordshire, Somerset, Cornwall, Cambridgeshire, too big for the pocket, but a… Continue reading

3 Comments

Spectator books of the year: Melanie McDonagh embraces The Essence of the Brontës

23 November 2014 12:00
Charlotte Brontë. Image: Getty.

Muriel Spark wasn’t only one of the great British novelists but a cracking literary critic and a lovely essayist. Her book on Mary Shelley is extraordinarily perceptive; ditto, but more… Continue reading

1 Comment

Spectator books of the year: Lewis Jones on Ian McEwan and narrow boats

23 November 2014 9:00
Author Ian McEwan

Music Night at the Apollo: A Memoir of Drifting (Bloomsbury, £14.99) describes the year Lilian Pizzichini spent with her cats on the Adam Bonny, a narrowboat moored on the Grand… Continue reading

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Spectator books of the year: Molly Guinness on the ‘oddly adorable’ New York dentist

22 November 2014 21:00
dentist

What You Want, or the Pursuit of Happiness by Constantine Phipps (Quercus, £20). This is a deeply eccentric book — a novel entirely in verse set in a theme park… Continue reading

4 Comments

Spectator books of the year: Sam Leith explains why The Mighty Dead: Why Homer Matters nearly lost him money

22 November 2014 18:00
homer

I liked Adam Nicolson’s The Mighty Dead: Why Homer Matters (William Collins, £25) so much that — if I had had the first idea how to operate in a betting… Continue reading

0 Comments

Spectator books of the year: Marcus Berkmann reveals the only book this year he didn’t want to finish

22 November 2014 15:00
Clive James in 1976. Image: Getty

As someone who spent several years writing TV reviews mainly for laughs, I kneel before the twin idols of Clive James and Nancy Banks-Smith, without whom I wouldn’t have had… Continue reading

1 Comment

Spectator competition: ‘Jabberwocky’ for the digital age (plus: Christmas round robins from fictional characters)

22 November 2014 9:30
The slaying of the Jabberwock (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

The call for scenes describing a well-known character from children’s literature past grappling with a 21st-century problem drew an entry full of wit and variety. Pamela Dow reimagined Louisa May… Continue reading

2 Comments

Spectator books of the year: Jane Ridley on her favourite books about The Great War

22 November 2014 9:00
Image: Getty.

2014 has been the year of 1914. In the same way that Christmas puddings appear in supermarkets in October, many of the contestants in the publishing race for 2014 defied… Continue reading

1 Comment

Seven good reasons why you should avoid taking unnecessary antibiotics

21 November 2014 14:17
antuo

Thanks to Fleming’s discovery of penicillin in 1928, antibiotics put an end to a world where people died from the most innocuous infection. But they’re no longer the panacea they… Continue reading

2 Comments

Russell Brand reveals the pick-up artists he will—and won’t—endorse

20 November 2014 15:00
str

‘Any system for chatting up women is in itself questionable’ says Russell Brand today in response to the Julien Blanc scandal, that has seen the Home Office ban the controversial… Continue reading

69 Comments

The Spectator’s original review of The Graduate, directed by Mike Nichols

20 November 2014 13:57
Mike Nichols collecting an AFI Life Achievement  Award

This review first appeared in The Spectator on 15 August 1968. In the United States The Graduate is already as much a phenomenon as a film. Critics have been treating… Continue reading

5 Comments

The Daily Mail is wrong — homeopathy can’t cure Ebola

20 November 2014 11:49
The Ebola Virus at 108,000 Magnification

Normally this blog is about relatively silly things, I’m happy to admit. Is red wine good for you? (No.) Are high heels good for you? (No.) I mean, it’s worth… Continue reading

192 Comments

Farewell Alex Salmond, hello Nicola Sturgeon

20 November 2014 11:36
Nicola Sturgeon Is Voted In As Scotland's First Minister

And so the Age of Nicola dawns. Elected First Minister by the Scottish Parliament yesterday; sworn in this morning. Taking First Minister’s Questions this afternoon. Alex Salmond’s departure was a… Continue reading

49 Comments

English National Ballet’s star ballerina infuriates fans

19 November 2014 17:06
Alina Cojocaru in ENB's Swan Lake. Photography: ASH

Which would you rather dance in: Milton Keynes or Moscow’s Bolshoi? It’s that age-old dilemma for a star ballerina like Alina Cojocaru, who last week decided not to fulfil a… Continue reading

3 Comments

The BBC's bias is the reason we're arguing about immigration now

19 November 2014 17:02
Survey Indicates Scotland Have Different Views On Migration From Rest Of UK

Wonderful: Labour has a new slogan on immigration, which appears to be the Conservatives’ old slogan from 2005, the one that Labour said was racist. I have far more respect… Continue reading

117 Comments

Spectator books of the year: Alan Johnson on why H is for Hawk is A for Amazing

19 November 2014 15:16
Goshawk

H is For Hawk (Cape, £14.99) is the most ‘A for Amazing’ book I’ve read in a long while. Helen Macdonald weaves together three separate but related strands to produce a… Continue reading

3 Comments

Spectator books of the year: Matthew Parris on his growing fear that Owen Jones might be right

19 November 2014 14:53
Owen Jones: was he right all along? Image: Getty

As the year unwinds I’m rebuked by hints all around me that a book I comprehensively panned in Literary Review is basically true. The Establishment and How They Get Away With It by Owen… Continue reading

44 Comments

Why Paddington is anti-Ukip propaganda

19 November 2014 12:46
article-2654089-1EA238E100000578-170_634x423

Well, I’ve just been to see the new Paddington film – the one Colin Firth bowed out of on account of not feeling up to being the voice of the… Continue reading

28 Comments

Like everyone else, I want to think Bob Geldof’s awful – but I can’t

19 November 2014 12:04
Band Aid 30

Band Aid 30 is officially the fastest selling single of 2014. Yet this attempt by successful musicians to heal Africa through song has not met with universal cheer. Instead, a… Continue reading

18 Comments

Should old people start wearing stilettos?

19 November 2014 11:13
sho

It must, I sometimes think, be exhausting, if you actually take health advice from newspapers; diligently eating eggs one week but not the next, avoiding mobile phones in case they… Continue reading

76 Comments

Kajaki review: never have I seen a more gruesome depiction of war

19 November 2014 11:07
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On September 6th, 2006, a mortar unit from 3rd Battalion, 3 Para, defending the Kajaki dam over the Helmand River in Afghanistan, spotted an illegal road block set up by… Continue reading

9 Comments

Neither the Tories nor Ukip deserve to win the Rochester by-election

19 November 2014 11:05
UKIP Hold A Public Meeting  Before Rochester And Strood By-Election

Let’s be honest, just for a moment. The Rochester and Strood by-election has been a disgrace. It has been a sewer race during which the two leading protagonists have done… Continue reading

233 Comments

Yes, Bob Geldof, Africans know it’s Christmas. Do you know it’s time to pack Band Aid in?

19 November 2014 10:19
(Photo: AFP/Andrew Cowie)

In this week’s Spectator, out tomorrow, our leading article looks at the Band Aid 30 single and why it’s time for Bob Geldof to pack Band Aid in. Pickup a copy tomorrow… Continue reading

179 Comments