• The Book List: JPMorgan’s pick of the best reads for summer
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    The Independent

    The Book List: JPMorgan’s pick of the best reads for summer

    The Third Wave: An Entrepreneur’s Vision of the Future by Steve CaseGrit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela DuckworthFrom Silk to Silicon: The Story of Globalization Through Ten Extraordinary Lives by Jeffrey E GartenOriginals: How Non-Conformists Move the World by Adam GrantThe Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night at a Time by Arianna HuffingtonLab Girl by Hope JahrenHamilton: The Revolution by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarterMap: Exploring the World by Phaidon EditorsClementine: The Life of Mrs Winston Churchill by Sonia PurnellThe End of Average: How We ...

  • Sarah Perry on sexism in publishing, why we don't need 'strong female characters', and inventing her own Gothic monster
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    The Independent

    Sarah Perry on sexism in publishing, why we don't need 'strong female characters', and inventing her own Gothic monster

    Especially if you're a best-seller like Sarah Perry, whose debut – After Me Comes the Flood – was critically acclaimed, and whose follow up – The Essex Serpent – was a big fat hit. Bolder, still, might seem the admission that she doesn’t remember writing Melmoth because she was “basically high”. A monster was born.

  • Macrodosing psychedelics: The story of one straitlaced writer's journey into mindbending drugs
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    The Independent

    Macrodosing psychedelics: The story of one straitlaced writer's journey into mindbending drugs

    If you haven’t heard – but you probably have, from reports of its use at Silicon Valley workplaces, from Ayelet Waldman’s memoir A Really Good Day, from dozens of news stories – to microdose is to take small amounts of LSD, which generate “subperceptual” effects that can improve mood, productivity and creativity. Like many who claim to encounter the divine, trippers often come back with knowledge comically difficult to convey.

  • Pops: Fatherhood in Pieces, Michael Chabon, review: Essay collection explores how to be a father to teenagers
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    The Independent

    Pops: Fatherhood in Pieces, Michael Chabon, review: Essay collection explores how to be a father to teenagers

    Anna Prushinskaya’s essay collection A Woman is Only a Woman Until She is a Mother, and not forgetting Sheila Heti’s new novel, Motherhood, an exercise in auto-fiction in which Heti grapples with the decision of whether or not to have a child. On first glance, Pops suggests that it might be a first step towards redressing this balance, but on closer look, it’s actually a very different beast to those described above.

  • Tom Wolfe: The writer who dissected and deconstructed America's absurdities
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    The Independent

    Tom Wolfe: The writer who dissected and deconstructed America's absurdities

    Effortlessly, elegantly, Tom Wolfe bestrode both fiction and nonfiction. Wolfe’s first collection of essays, originally written for Esquire and the New York Herald Tribune, was The Kandy-Colored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby (1965) in which the author turns on and tunes in to the subcultural obsessions of custom cars, Las Vegas, pop music, and stock car racing (an essay that was turned into the film, The Last American Hero). The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test became a manual of the hippy movement.

  • The Book List: Must-read children's books, according to Premier League footballers
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    The Independent

    The Book List: Must-read children's books, according to Premier League footballers

    Topsy and Tim by Jean Adamson and Gareth Adamson (Brede Hangeland)

  • An author in perfect flux: Jack Grimwood and his latest thriller
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    The Independent

    An author in perfect flux: Jack Grimwood and his latest thriller

    The short answer is that he’s the author of Nightfall Berlin, the second in his series of gritty, Eighties-set spy thrillers featuring troubled British Intelligence officer Tom Fox. Grimwood went quiet for a while after that, resurfacing in 2016 as Jack, and another sea-change that saw the release of his first espionage drama Moskva. This much we know: he was born Jon Courtenay in Valletta, Malta, in 1953, and christened in an upturned ship’s bell.

  • The Divine Heart of Darkness by Catherine Bird review: Challenge to long held assumptions about relationship between light and dark
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    The Independent

    The Divine Heart of Darkness by Catherine Bird review: Challenge to long held assumptions about relationship between light and dark

    With her new book The Divine Heart of Darkness, published by Sacrisity Press, author Catherine Bird seeks to challenge those long held assumptions. An unashamed defender of the dark, she also recounts her personal journeys to Svalbard, a Norwegian archipelago deep within the Arctic Circle which experiences a “Polar Night”, when the sun does not rise for months on end. Throughout the book, she goes on to explore and test that relationship, whether it be locking herself into a submersion tank or encouraging friends and family to dine in complete darkness at London’s Dans Le Noir restaurant.

  • The Saboteur Awards are here to shake up the literary establishment
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    The Independent

    The Saboteur Awards are here to shake up the literary establishment

    “We created the awards to put the spotlight on all the cool things going on in indie literature today that aren’t being celebrated elsewhere,” says Claire Trévien, poet and founder of online publication Sabotage Reviews. The Saboteur Awards and Festival are the “ankle-biter” of the literary world – there to shake things up a bit and bring uncelebrated works into the light. The awards, created to celebrate Sabotage Reviews’ first birthday and still going strong eight years later, are based on public nominations across 12 categories, which include things like most innovative publisher, best spoken word performer, best novella, and best poetry pamphlet.

  • On Michael Jackson by Margo Jefferson, review: As smart as it is readable
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    The Independent

    On Michael Jackson by Margo Jefferson, review: As smart as it is readable

    Two years ago, British readers were introduced to Margo Jefferson’s work in the form of her masterful memoir Negroland, an account of growing up as part of Chicago’s black elite. It won the National Book Critics’ Circle Award in the US, and was shortlisted for the Baillie Gifford Prize here in the UK, so it makes sense that Granta is now publishing a British edition Jefferson’s first book, On Michael Jackson, 12 years after the original American edition. A new introduction – written by Jefferson last year – brings the volume up to date, Jackson having died since the first edition.

  • The Book List: Are these the titles you need to read to get into a top university?
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    The Independent

    The Book List: Are these the titles you need to read to get into a top university?

    The Elements of Style by William StrunkThe Republic by PlatoThe Communist Manifesto by Karl MarxBiology by Neil CampbellFrankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft ShelleyEthics by AristotleLeviathan by Thomas HobbesThe Prince by Niccolo MachiavelliOedipus by SophoclesHamlet by William Shakespeare

  • Karl Marx at 200: Ten left-wing writers who followed in the footsteps of a giant
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    The Independent

    Karl Marx at 200: Ten left-wing writers who followed in the footsteps of a giant

    The great French novelist’s 20-volume series Les Rougon-Macquart sought to encompass all aspects of contemporary society in the manner of Honore de Balzac’s mammoth La Comedie Humaine (1829-47). Zola’s panoramic novel sequence comprised thrilling but naturalistic tales of the working lives of everyone from prostitutes to train drivers and crooked financiers in works like Nana (1880), La Bete Humaine (1890) and L’Argent (1891). The novel captures the same spirit of compassion the young Vincent van Gogh felt when he witnessed the brutal lives of those swinging picks in Borinage, Belgium, presenting the dank horrors of the tunnels in unflinching, journalistic detail.

  • You Think It, I’ll Say It by Curtis Sittenfeld, review: Short stories that deal with shifting power dynamics
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    The Independent

    You Think It, I’ll Say It by Curtis Sittenfeld, review: Short stories that deal with shifting power dynamics

    Curtis Sittenfeld’s short story collection takes its title from a neat little twist on that of a game played between two of her characters, Julie and Graham, in ‘The World Has Many Butterflies’. One day, at another couple’s 20th anniversary celebrations at the local country club, Graham appears by Julie’s side and, nodding to the other guests around them, says to her, “I’ll think it, you say it.” Julie lets fly a series of catty home truths about their fellow guests, forging an intimacy between them, and future social occasions they both attend aren’t as dull as they used to be.

  • The Book List: The literature that gave soldiers solace in the trenches
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    The Independent

    The Book List: The literature that gave soldiers solace in the trenches

    The Centre for Historical Analysis and Conflict Research, the British Army’s think tank, describes itself as “tasked with informing military doctrine and force development and acting as an academic hub for the generation of soldier-scholars”. One way it does that is to produce reading lists – these are all thorough and extensive, but this shorter one is the Army Professional Reading List, which it describes as providing basic professional building blocks “to get an understanding of the context in which you conduct your business and the unchanging nature of being a British soldier”.

  • Tom Perrotta: The author of The Leftovers and Election on why he's writing about porn from a woman's perspective
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    The Independent

    Tom Perrotta: The author of The Leftovers and Election on why he's writing about porn from a woman's perspective

    Tom Perrotta, the man routinely labelled “the American Nick Hornby” for his ability to write novels in which even dysfunctional characters prompt a warm glow within the reader, has spent the past 20 years training a gently arched eyebrow on the lives of ordinary suburban folk. On campus, this will get him into trouble.

  • The Vory: Russia’s Super-Mafia by Mark Galeotti, review: How the state absorbed the criminal underworld
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    The Independent

    The Vory: Russia’s Super-Mafia by Mark Galeotti, review: How the state absorbed the criminal underworld

    Russia hasn’t loomed so potently in the national consciousness since the mid-1980s and the nightmares of Threads and When the Wind Blows. From the Skripal poisonings to the flows of illicit oligarch cash through our capital, to meddling in the Brexit vote and our agonised response to the gas attacks in Syria, understanding this threat is an urgent need, one met with authority in this fascinating book by Mark Galeotti, a senior researcher at the Institute of International Relations in Prague. You’d be hard pressed to find a more exhaustive and compelling guide to the confluence of state and organised crime in Russia than this history of thievery that stretches back to the underworld’s pre-revolutionary roots.

  • Summer reading: The debut novelists to know this year
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    The Independent

    Summer reading: The debut novelists to know this year

    From a seaside dystopia and a romance with a merman to gritty realism on a London estate and B-movie monsters in Singapore, we’ve picked out the best debut novels by writers to know coming out over the next few months. Following her preacher husband to a remote island in the Pacific, Bea Harrison soon realises she’s out of her depth. Ponti is a startlingly poetic and impressive debut from Teo, who has already won Ian McEwan’s stamp of approval.

  • Dave Eggers interview: 'Young readers are the purest. They're so honest'
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    The Independent

    Dave Eggers interview: 'Young readers are the purest. They're so honest'

    With a background in journalism, Massachusetts-born Eggers first broke onto the literary scene in 2000 with creative non-fiction book A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. The partly fictionalised memoir – chronicling the loss of both parents to cancer when Eggers was just 21, and the subsequent responsibility he faced of raising his younger brother – took the world by storm. Praised for its originality and experimental style, its story of trauma struck a chord, and it reached the top of The New York Times bestseller list and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.

  • The Book List: Meet Sir John Lubbock, Godfather of the must-read listicle
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    The Independent

    The Book List: Meet Sir John Lubbock, Godfather of the must-read listicle

    The BibleThe Meditations of Marcus AureliusEpictetus Aristotle’s EthicsAnalects of Confucius St Hilaire’s Le Bouddha et sa religion Wake’s Apostolic Fathers Thomas à Kempis’s Imitation of ChristConfessions of St. ...

  • Circe, Madeline Miller, review: Feminist re-write of The Odyssey turns tale of subjugation into one of empowerment
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    The Independent

    Circe, Madeline Miller, review: Feminist re-write of The Odyssey turns tale of subjugation into one of empowerment

    The Song of Achilles, Madeline Miller’s re-imagining of The Iliad that positioned the love story between Achilles and Patroclus centre stage, was both a bestseller and won the 2012 Orange Prize for Fiction. With this recipe for success in hand, it’s not surprising that Miller – who teaches high school Latin and Greek – has turned to the same model for her thrilling second novel, Circe, though this time it’s The Odyssey that provides the primary text. The powerful witch Circe, who waylays Odysseus and his men – turning the latter to pigs – on their long voyage home to Ithaca, is set free from the few meagre lines of text she’s afforded by Homer, and transformed here into the heroine of her own magnificent story.

  • The Book List: Brian Eno's essential reading for the apocalypse
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    The Independent

    The Book List: Brian Eno's essential reading for the apocalypse

    A Pattern Language by Christopher Alexander et alThe Illustrated Flora of Britain and Northern Europe by Marjorie Blamey and Christopher Grey WilsonThe Discoverers by Daniel BoorstinThe Wheels of Commerce by Fernand BraudelCrowds and Power by Elias CanettiPrinting and the Mind of Man by John Carter and Percy MuirDancing in the Streets by Barbara EhrenreichRoll Jordan Roll by Eugene GenoveseMother Nature: A History of Mothers, Infants, and Natural Selection by Sarah HardyThe Face of Battle by John Keegan

  • James Comey, A Higher Loyalty, book review: A memoir peppered with brutal asides about Trump, but his version of events rings true
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    The Independent

    James Comey, A Higher Loyalty, book review: A memoir peppered with brutal asides about Trump, but his version of events rings true

    “I don’t recall seeing him laugh, ever… his apparent inability to do so… is really very sad in a leader, and a little scary in a president,” writes James Comey, the FBI director fired by Donald Trump last May. In his damning new memoir and broadside against the president, he blasts him as a shabby Mafia don who, he thinks, quite possibly cavorted with urinating prostitutes in a Moscow hotel suite in 2013. A Higher Loyalty is peppered with bitchy asides about Comey's former boss, whom he paints as an insecure ignoramus baffled by words like “calligrapher” and who conducts important White House receptions like an episode of The Price Is Right. “I can be stubborn, prideful, overconfident and driven by ego,” Comey admits at the start of the book.

  • Rosie: Scenes from a Vanished Life, book review: Rose Tremain's memoir is more decorative than elucidating
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    The Independent

    Rosie: Scenes from a Vanished Life, book review: Rose Tremain's memoir is more decorative than elucidating

    “I can sometimes conceive of my childhood as a long journey towards the one-syllable noun I could properly own: Rose,” writes Rose Tremain, explaining that she answered to “Rosie” until she was 20. Rosie: Scenes from a Vanished Life is exactly what the title suggests: no comprehensive autobiography of the celebrated novelist’s life, nor the story of her formation of a young writer (though footnotes do explain the real-life origins of some of her fictional characters, episodes and settings), but rather often dream-like vignettes of a girl – and a world – that no longer exists. Holidays, however, were spent at Linkenholt, her grandparents’ large, gabled manor house in Hampshire, a rural “paradise” for young Rosie and her sister Jo.

  • The Instagram book clubs you need to know about
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    Cosmo

    The Instagram book clubs you need to know about

    From Emma Watson's and Reese Witherspoon's to the feminist girl gang From Cosmopolitan

  • The East End in Colour by David Granick, book review: Stunning throwback into the past
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    The Independent

    The East End in Colour by David Granick, book review: Stunning throwback into the past

    London’s East End has come a long way since David Granick, an amateur photographer born and bred in Stepney, decided to unpack his Kodak and snap photos of everyday life. Granick’s photographs offer a glimpse into the backstreets of Whitechapel, Mile End, Aldgate and the Docklands, all scarred with blitz-induced dereliction yet hazy in summer sunlight. Granick lived in East London up to his death in 1980 and handed over his collection of Kodachrome slides, all in full picturesque colour, to Tower Hamlets Local History Library.