Books, Issue 638

22 articles

Sorted by popularity / date

Richard Williams - The Blue Moment

26 Aug 20094 stars

It’s the only jazz album that legions of non-jazz fans possess. It helped define a cultural era and raked out a path for much of what followed. When Miles Davis marched his merry band into a converted Manhattan church in the spring of 1959, even the…

Also published: 5 Unit-Shifters

26 Aug 2009

Dan Brown The Lost Symbol You may have heard of his last book, The Finchley Coat or something. Bob Langdon is back with more ‘history, codes and intrigue’. Some copies are expected to be sold. Bantam Press. James Patterson Alex Cross’s Trial…

Charlie Higson - The Enemy

26 Aug 20094 stars

(Puffin) Take a dose of 28 Days Later, touches of Survivors and Escape from New York and the author’s already-proven track record in writing adult genres for a young audience with the Young Bond series, and you have an impressive first instalment in…


24 Aug 20093 stars

Another dispatch from the world of Scottish underground comics, this time all under the watchful eye of Curt Sibling as he gathers a selection of depraved and funny shorts for the first issue of his Nexion anthology. It has much in common with several…

Valerie Martin - The Confessions of Edward Day

24 Aug 20092 stars

(Weidenfeld & Nicolson) Valerie Martin has had great success as a purveyor of historical fiction, most notably with Mary Reilly, her retelling of the Jekyll and Hyde myth, and her Orange Prize-winning American slavery tale Property. This outing into…

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Eleanor Catton - The Rehearsal

24 Aug 20094 stars

(Granta) Eleanor Catton’s debut novel is a labyrinthine tale of a high school sex scandal, exploring the ways in which it becomes part of the pupils’ lives and is purloined by students at the nearby drama school who use it for their end of term play.

Kids events at the Edinburgh Book Festival

23 Aug 2009

Some big names are rolled out for the final week

With the final embers of the Book Festival starting to do that fading away thing, there are some sparkling treats to occupy the bairns with before Charlotte Square Gardens loses the tents. The Gruffalo’s Birthday (30 Aug) has writer Julia Donaldson and…

Hitlist: Around Town

21 Aug 2009

The best events, books and LGBT

Sheep Heid Inn Summer’s End Beer Festival, Launch of SEEDBOM, Bletherheads, Jeffrey Lewis’ Watchmen, Handmade Heaven, Mary Brennan, Dead Girls’ Dance Club


21 Aug 2009

Literary and performance talent on the cheap

Why would you bother forking out your last twenty quid for a probably patchy big-name comedian when you can see the cream of Scotland’s literary and performance talent, live, for less than the price of a fish supper? The increasingly ubiquitous…

First Word: Jeffery Deaver

21 Aug 2009

The American mystery and murder author waxes lyrical

First record you ever bought The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan. Last time you were chatted up I had a marriage proposal from a woman I’d never met about two years ago at a bookstore in New York City. Does that count as chatting up? I declined.

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Top 5: Authors You'll Have Seen on Telly

21 Aug 2009

Charlotte Square's more recognisable faces

Pauline McLynn It’s probably the kind of thing that really irks an author trying to break out from the shell of their most recognisable role, but with McLynn, all you can really think about is Mrs Doyle determinedly offering a cup of tea with the words…

Hitlist: Books

21 Aug 2009

The best of the literary fest

Suhayl Saadi, Frank Gardner, Steve Toltz, Tobias Hill, Susie Orbach, Mark Millar, Douglas Coupland

David Simon/Richard Price

21 Aug 2009

From Baltimore to Edinburgh

OK, so if you didn’t know it by now, The Wire is officially ‘the best TV drama series ever made’. Everyone from Jay Z to George Osborne have professed their love for the now defunct Baltimore show while arts journalists at The Guardian are forced to…

Five questions: Margaret Elphinstone

21 Aug 2009

The ancient history of Scotland is a subject which fascinates Margaret Elphinstone and provides the basis for her fiction. Here, she dips into our Q&A Give us five words to describe The Gathering Night? Our hunter-gatherer past in Scotland. Which…

The Generation Game: Douglas Coupland

20 Aug 2009

18 years after his breakthrough, the Generation X author, provides us with a sequel. Of sorts.

Fans and critics have known it was coming for months, with rumour and misinformation clogging up chat rooms and columns. Now that Generation A is finally set to be unleashed upon the reading public, we’ll see if the furious debate will have been…

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Frank Gardner

20 Aug 2009

A travel journalist like no other

Frank Gardner is not your average two-weeks-by-a-pool-in-Majorca kind of fella. Words like ‘wanderlust’ and ‘globetrotter’ don’t really do justice to a life spent doing what the BBC Security Correspondent describes as ‘epically hard travelling’.

Planet of the Shapes: Susie Orbach

20 Aug 2009

The bestselling psychotherapist on body fascism

In 1978, psychotherapist Susie Orbach wrote the bestselling Fat is a Feminist Issue, warning against dieting, and outlining the compulsive behaviour linked to eating disorders. Fast forward 30-odd years, and have we paid heed to her warnings? In her…

Jason Donald

20 Aug 2009

Opening doors in other people’s memories

‘The reaction to Choke Chain has been positive and often emotional,’ says Glasgow-based author Jason Donald, whose first novel was published earlier this year. His debut is a tender, at times uncomfortable, coming-of-age tale of two brothers growing up…

Mark Millar

20 Aug 2009

Helping comics go widescreen

Mark Millar is surely the Steven Spielberg of the comics world. It’s a tricky task to be hugely popular while retaining massive critical acclaim, but he’s managed to successfully straddle the world of art and commerce with his love of mainstream heroes…

Steve Toltz

20 Aug 2009

Succeeding with slices of lick and portions of skill

Steve Toltz has been a private detective, a cameraman, an English teacher and telemarketeer, but now the author is doing what his Australian mates have been doing for years: turning up at the Edinburgh Festival. Toltz, whose chunky first novel A…

Tobias Hill

20 Aug 2009

Exposing demons through vigorous research

There’s a fascination with secrets in the works of Tobias Hill. His 1999 début novel, Underground, depicts the unseen world beneath the streets of London, and The Cryptographer, from 2003, features a code breaker caught in a futuristic web of lies and…

Sara Maitland

20 Aug 2009

The cultural history of quiet contemplation

‘We generally tend to be very romantic about silence. People say, “wouldn’t it be lovely to be silent”, but then they don’t do anything to make it happen.’ Having hitherto led a noisy family-filled life as both a prize-winning novelist and outspoken…