Daniel Defoe’s A Journal of the Plague Year resonates with our new way of life

In my twenties and early thirties, I arrived at the book-buying equivalent of a 60-a day habit and slowed down, not just for reasons of financial health but through a realisation that I was acquiring far faster than I was reading.

‘It turns out I have a local authority lending library in part to thank for setting me off as a writer’

‘The best translations can be miracles in and of themselves’

“This was the great discovery: that books could let you in to places of danger. Perhaps inevitably this included places you regretted having gone”