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Let's Explore Diabetes With Owls review recollections of a resolute outsider

A secretly gay child's memories are captured with exacting candour David Sedaris's voice is familiar to listeners of This American Life or Radio 4's Meet David Sedaris : arch, insinuating, slightly world-weary as it winds itself around...

Helen Zaltzman | The Guardian

Charlie Chaplin review a man condemned to journey alone

By his mid-twenties, Charlie Chaplin was the most famous man in the world, recognised by admirers in every one of the markets reached by the new, language-free medium of silent film. In Modern Times the unhoused tramp says that he lives "anywhere", and...

Peter Conrad | The Guardian

Music at Midnight: The Life and Poetry of George Herbert review

John Drury has written an exemplary biography of the influential religious poet

Nicholas Lezard | The Guardian

My Crazy Century: a Memoir by Ivan Klima, review

Keith Lowe enjoys a Czech dissident's witty account of life in the shadow of totalitarianism

Keith Lowe | Telegraph

Music Night at the Apollo by Lilian Pizzichini

Helen Brown is gripped by a writer's odyssey into the murky depths of London's underworld

Helen Brown | Telegraph

Parliament: The Biography review 'Westminster's corruption is rooted in history'

Chris Bryant's vigorous historical account of parliament tries to restore the reputation of Westminster, but fails to embrace the complexities of its chequered past Oh, for a book of the kind this one might have been. There are plenty of narrow studies...

Blair Worden | The Guardian

Whistler: A Life for Art's Sake review

A vain and unpleasant man - but what pictures! Daniel Sutherland is dazzled by Whistler's work, and takes the artist at his own estimation It is one of the great unfairnesses in life that bad people sometimes produce great art. That is certainly true...

Kathryn Hughes | The Guardian

Charlie Chaplin by Peter Ackroyd, book review: An intriguing, if laboured, argument about life and times of a comic genius

When any book on Napoleon, Hitler or Jesus is published (figures with whom the subject of this biography has been compared) the reader might legitimately ask "Why?" Charlie Chaplin has already provided an account of his life, as have several children...

The Independent

‘Louis Armstrong, Master of Modernism’, by Thomas Brothers

Years after the trumpeter Louis Armstrong left New Orleans for Chicago in 1922, he recalled how lucky he was to have travelled alongside a family friend who was carrying an overflowing basket of fried chicken.

Mike Hobart | The FT

Charlie Chaplin by Peter Ackroyd, review

At the age of seven Charlie Chaplin was sleeping on park benches when he wasn’t in the workhouse.

Lucy Hughes-Hallett | Telegraph