The Bookshelf Cafe News

The Polish Anne Frank

There will be few more memoirs of the Holocaust from the living. But there may yet…

The first book on the pandemic is here already

Before long we’ll have a tsunami of books about COVID-19. No surprise, perhaps, that Slavoj Žižek…

America by Meteor

For a year of my childhood, a huge 1966 Meteor sedan was my window on a…

Two fine new novels inspired by climate change

Climate change and the zeitgeist. Two stories of our time Who is John Truthing? A charismatic…

Travelling to the war

Travel writing is mostly seen as a distinct genre. But travel, war and history can come…

Doctor in Jail

Two recent books give a vivid insight into  what goes on in prison. It isn’t pretty  It’s…

The endgame in the age of stupid

Could our society collapse? Yes, and I think I know how Consider this as the plot…

The water jump

A hundred years ago today, a large biplane lumbered into the air at St John’s, Newfoundland.…

Why nations fail

In 2012 two economists claimed they knew why countries succeeded or failed. They didn’t. But they…

A coup, and a departure

Sudanese dictator Omar el-Bashir has fallen. I was in Sudan when he staged his own coup.…

The monkey’s benison: Rumer Godden and imperial India

Rumer Godden was one of the most successful writers of her lifetime. Several of her novels,…

Why Europe? Peace. That’s why

The Brexit debate in Britain has been bogged down in bad-tempered arguments about tariffs and the…

It’s all about the bike

We all have things that make life worthwhile, because it is for them that we love…

Diana Athill: Self-scrutiny, and the writer’s world

Happy 101st birthday to Diana Athill. One of the most successful editors of her day, she…

Flying, fighting, writing

There are thousands of memoirs of the Second World War, including the war in the air.…

An anthology of anger

TheAnti-Austerity Anthology brings together some of the best active indie authors in a collection of original…

In northern waters

Grey seas, icebergs, wrecks and whales. A voyage to the St Lawrence, 50 years ago One of the…

Tonight in the House: Murder, booze and buggery

Two funny, yet disturbing, books have me thinking about who really governs Britain – and who…

Inequality and democracy: Can they coexist?

Equality and democracy are closely related. If one declines, what happens to the other? Thoughts on inequality,…

A Higher Loyalty

James Comey’s A Higher Loyalty is the book of the year (at least, so far), and…