Books In Black And White

Bloomsbury Books have had their knuckles rapped over their decision to feature a white girl on a book with a black heroine. Australian author Justine Larbalestier has won a fight with her American publishers to feature a black girl on the cover of her novel, but I have to say that the new cover model […]

Gone But Not Forgotten

With the further reduction of the Independent On Sunday’s arts coverage (now down to a couple of pages mostly consisting of big photos) there’s no room for ‘Forgotten Authors’, my column which finds out what happened to once-popular authors and why they went missing from bookshelves. I’ll happily continue it here if there’s enough interest.

Tips On Reading The Bryant & May Novels

News reaches me from Kate Miciak, my tireless New York editor, that ‘Full Dark House’, Mr Bryant and Mr May’s first outing, has just gone into its fourth reprint. While I’m pleased, I’m also a bit puzzled by readers who always start at the beginning of the series, especially when the book is not representative […]

Director John Hughes dies at 59

Hidden London: Leadenhall Market

This counts as hidden because most Londoners are barely aware that it’s even there. It’s a bugger to find, and not a place that’s naturally stored in the memory, probably because it’s rather a dead spot, lacking in atmosphere since the stock exchange boys stopped running through it in their colour-coded jackets. Now it’s like […]

Hillbilly Home Truths

Things The Next Generation Of Kids Won’t Remember

There’s a fun list of things kids won’t remember on the Wired site here that include Spam when it was just a meat product, typewriters, not knowing who’s phoning you, neat handwriting and sending film away to be processed. I feel like I’ve already comprehensively added to the list with everything that’s in my memoir […]

Art imitates Art

Last year the Hollywood movie ‘Disturbia’ popped up, swiping my book of the same title. This year it’s ‘Psychoville’. I’m a huge fan of the League Of Gentlemen, and seem to recall coming home and finding Reece Shearsmith in my lounge for some reason. Was some subconscious memory triggered when they came to name their […]

Books 2: What’s The Funniest Book You’ve Read?

Comic novels get a bad rap; they’re passed over for awards and hard to sell to the public. They’re also very hard to write. When a writer pulls off such a book, though, the results can be joyous. Discounting PG Wodehouse and Evelyn Waugh simply because they steal the top spots again and again, who […]

Books 1: What’s The Worst Book You’ve Ever Read?

Looking down the list of books I couldn’t finish, I’m aware that sometimes it’s my fault, not the writer’s. For example, ‘The Rehearsal’ by Eleanor Catton has been hailed as a brilliant insight into the teenaged mind but I fell so often at about the page 20 mark that I began to think I was […]