Spectator books of the year

Spectator Books of the Year: A hundred years of British Vogue

30 December 2016 9:30

I don’t really care — as I’m sure you don’t either — whether Duchess Kate agrees to a photoshoot or…

Spectator Books of the Year: John le Carré examines his own life

21 December 2016 9:30

Back in 2006, David Cornwell, aka John le Carré, hired me as guide for his first trip to the Democratic…

Spectator Books of the Year: Why 1971 was the golden year for rock

19 December 2016 9:30

Lionel Shriver’s The Mandibles: A Family, 2029–2047 (Borough, £16.99) is set in a bankrupt America where the middle classes are foraging to…

Spectator Books of the Year: The version of ‘The Taming of the Shrew’ that’s funnier than the original

10 December 2016 9:30

Anne Tyler’s Vinegar Girl (Hogarth, £16.99), her modern version of The Taming of the Shrew, came as a surprise: the…

Spectator books of the year: Matthew Parris on a rattling great history of the railways

15 December 2015 15:00

Simon Bradley’s compendious yet rattling The Railways: Nation, Network and People (Profile Books, £25) achieves magnificently a difficult double. Learned…

Spectator books of the year: Wynn Wheldon enjoys a new history of the BBC

13 December 2015 15:00

A long time ago the novelist Marghanita Laski opined that the BBC had been the greatest single influence for good…

Spectator books of the year: Mark Cocker on a stake through the heart of pseudoscience

12 December 2015 15:00

The Invention of Nature: The Adventures of Alexander von Humboldt, the Lost Hero of Science by Andrea Wulf (John Murray,…

Spectator books of the year: Thomas W. Hodgkinson on a hair-raising account of Scientology

11 December 2015 15:00

Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, & the Prison of Belief by Lawrence Wright (Vintage). Originally published in the US, this history…

Spectator books of the year: Graham Robb is gripped by an unforgettable story

10 December 2015 15:00

Robert Seethaler’s bestselling novel, Ein ganzes Leben, translated by Charlotte Collins as A Whole Life (Picador, £12.99) is the unaccountably…

Spectator books of the year: Sara Wheeler wallows in a witty grammar memoir

9 December 2015 15:00

My Book of the Year is Between You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen, a grammar memoir by Mary…

Spectator books of the year: a new biography of the Pope changes Christopher Howse’s mind

8 December 2015 15:00

Two biographies that changed my mind. Gerard Kilroy’s Edmund Campion: A Scholarly Life (Ashgate, £80) vividly sketches the intellectual worlds…

Spectator books of the year: Ruth Scurr on a terrific year for women writers

7 December 2015 15:00

2015 has been a terrific year for women writers. I have especially enjoyed Mary Beard’s sceptical and subversive history of…

Spectator books of the year: Julie Burchill discovers the story behind Labour’s self-immolation

6 December 2015 15:00

Now that I’ve given up drugs, I find myself addicted to psychological thrillers written by women, featuring no gore and…

Spectator books of the year: Bevis Hillier on the closest thing to a British War and Peace

5 December 2015 15:00

Though artfully plotted and well written, some of Rachel Billington’s early novels, starting with All Things Nice in 1969, had…

Spectator books of the year: Mark Amory finds Anne Tyler’s latest ‘pure pleasure’

4 December 2015 15:00

Since retiring from coping with new books I have found it a pleasure not to have to glance at any…

Spectator books of the year: Roger Lewis recommends his own unwritten books

3 December 2015 15:00

I wish I could pull off the Anthony Burgess stunt and recommend books of my own — Erotic Vagrancy, about…

Spectator books of the year: Richard Davenport-Hines on a real flirt of a book

2 December 2015 15:00

Laurence Scott’s The Four-Dimensional Human: Ways of Being in the Digital World (Heinemann, £20) is the year’s most surprising book.…

Spectator books of the year: Anna Aslanyan enjoys a passionate take on 21st-century London

1 December 2015 16:00

My top title of the year is Satin Island by Tom McCarthy (Cape, £16.99), convincing proof that the best writers…

Spectator books of the year: Molly Guinness on the inspiring Oliver Sacks

24 November 2015 15:40

Oliver Sacks’s autobiography On the Move (Picador, £20) is full of surprising details —for example, the eminent neurologist was a…

Spectator books of the year: Jonathan Sumption on a thunderous biography of Wellington

22 November 2015 15:00

Richard Bourke’s Empire and Revolution: The Political Life of Edmund Burke (Princeton, £30.95) is a monument of exact scholarship and…