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Biography

My Salinger Year - Joanna Smith Rakoff

At twenty-three, after leaving graduate school to pursue her dreams of becoming a poet, Joanna Rakoff moves to New York City and takes a job as assistant to the storied literary agent for J. D. Salinger. She spends her days in the plush, wood-panelled age

Clothes, Clothes, Clothes. Music, Music, Music. Boys, Boys, Boys - Viv Albertine

Viv Albertine is one of a handful of original punks who changed music, and the discourse around it, forever. In Clothes ... Music ... Boys a story hitherto dominated by male voices is recast through the eyes of one of the most glamorous, uncompromising an

Music, Music, Music. Clothes, Clothes, Clothes. Boys, Boys, Boys by Viv Albertine, book review

"Anyone who writes an autobiography is either a twat or broke. I'm a bit of both," declares Viv Albertine in a no-nonsense memoir that documents her early musical discoveries, her career as guitarist in the punk band The Slits and subsequent incarnations

Must-read on the 'mother of feminism'

Being one of the greatest political thinkers of the 19th century did not always pay very well.

Hans Christian Andersen by Paul Binding review

The hang-ups and huge influence of Mr Fairytale: according to this infectiously enthusiastic study, there are traces of the Danish writer everywhere Hans Christian Andersen's fairytales (he soon dropped the designation "for children") have captivated gene

The Three Lives of Dylan Thomas - Hilly Janes

Dylan Thomas was one of the most extraordinary poetic talents of the twentieth century. Poems such as 'Do not go gentle into that good night' regularly come top of polls of the nation's favourites. His play Under Milk Wood is studied in schools all over t

Coming Up Trumps: A Memoir - Jean Trumpington

In this characteristically trenchant memoir, the indomitable Jean Trumpington looks back on her long and remarkable life. The daughter of an officer in the Bengal Lancers and an American heiress, Jean Campbell-Harris was born into a world of considerable

The Trip to Echo Spring: Why Writers Drink review Olivia Laing's elegant study of alcohol's place in literature

This fluid portrait of six literary greats combines biography, science and superb prose to illuminate the effects of alcohol on their writing It's a niche idea, this one, at first glance. Why do writers drink well, why does anyone? Why not doctors or law

The Three Lives of Dylan Thomas review Hilly Janes's uneven portrait of a family friend

This occasionally intimate study, inspired by three portraits the author's father painted of Dylan Thomas, fades as the poet's career takes off Title aside, Hilly Janes's engaging, accessible biography of Dylan Thomas is more a book of two lives, for it e

The Mighty Dead: Why Homer Matters by Adam Nicolson review beneath the hyperbole is a good book

This enjoyable, if sometimes wordy study of the Greek poet, is impassioned and wide-ranging These days, mention of Homer is more likely to bring to mind the long-suffering Homer of The Simpsons (D'oh!) than the ancient Greek poet. But Homericisms li