Books

“Until the 17th century, travel to and on the European continent was commonly the concern of missionaries and pilgrims. With time, it became codified, packaged; it could be visited and ticked off”

“For all that they purport to be intimate, on-the-hoof overflows of feeling and scatterings of snatched apercus, letters are usually just as artificial, laboured, and rehashed as essays, articles, or anything else that is written for public consumption”

“Half a century since their break-up, the Fab Four grimly reaped to the tiresome two, the Beatles go on. Documentaries and dramas continue to be made, interviews are bigged-up, and last year, as so often, the Beatles made the top 10”

“Some woozy sage slumped next to you catches your eye, cueing a directionless odyssey through time and space. The following morning, while drinking your coffee, you are at loss to say whether the man—it is most often a man—had really cracked some great mystery of the mind or was just five spliffs deep”

A chilling, compulsive investigation into online extremist groups

Karen Harvey’s book on the ‘rabbit-breeder’ Mary Toft teases out the painful emotional drama behind an 18th-century medical hoax

The mysticism and pragmatism of Victorian philosopher-psychologist William James

Thomas Piketty is haunted by the failures of social democracy, but his own ideas for fixing society are far from novel

Fans of Clive James cherished his poetry as much as his other accomplishments. This is an excerpt from Ian Shircore’s new biography, “So Brightly at the Last”, the first full-length study of the man and his muse

Radiant description, linguistic precision and super-saturated dreamscapes in new collections by Matthew Francis and Stephen Sexton