If you’re looking for a beautiful book for both young and old, then snap up Rob Ryan’s gorgeous The Invisible Kingdom. Rob was one of the main contributors to last week’s 200th anniversary edition of Stylist, where he teamed up with Claudia Schiffer for a stunning 5 page spread on shoes. Have a look here.
The Christmas round-ups:
Boyd Tonkin chose as one of his ‘Books of the Year’ An Officer and a Spy by Robert Harris (Hutchinson) – ‘a wholly admirable novel about a wholly admirable man.’ Alice Jones chose Let Me Off at the Top! by Ron Burgundy (Century) as one of her Comedy Books of the Year. Arifa Akbar chose Watching War Films With My Dad by Al Murray (Century)and My Life by David Jason (Century)in her round up of her Celebrity Books of the Year. Andy McSmith chose A Blaze of Autumn Sunshine by Tony Benn (Hutchinson) as one his Political Books of the Year. Max Liu chose Meeting the Devil: A Book of Memoir by the London Review of Books (William Heinemann) as one of his Essay Books of the Year – ‘another ideal Christmas gift’.
The Sunday Times
Jonathan Dean chose One Leg Too Few by William Cook (Preface) as one of his ‘Stage & Screen Books of the Year’ – ‘The author deftly weaves together camaraderie, comedy and collapse – and beloved sketches lift off the page. A nostalgic joy.’
My Life by David Jason (Century) – ‘touching and funny […] It really is a top read’. My Life was also featured in the ‘Christmas Gift Guide’ on The Sun Online as ‘Best for Dad’.
The Observer Magazine
Jeeves and the Wedding Bells by Sebastian Faulks (Hutchinson) – picked for The Observer Magazine’s Gift Guide.
The Financial Times
Simon Kuper picked Immortal by Duncan Hamilton (Century) as one of his Sports Books of the Year – ‘Hamilton is a guarantee of quality’.
Isabel Berwick picked Enon by Paul Harding (William Heinemann) as one of her Fiction Books of the Year – ‘Unflinching it may be, but this is an uplifting tale our attempts to find meaning in our darkest days.’
Scotland on Sunday
Phillip Long chose An Officer and a Spy by Robert Harris as one of his Books of the Year – ‘my ideal read for Christmas. Harris’ masterful retelling draws us in and repulses simultaneously.’
Craig Mathieson chose Shackleton’s Whisky by Neville Peat (Preface) as one of his Books of the Year.
Kerry Hudson chose Closed Doors by Lisa O’Donnell (William Heinemann) as one of her Books of the Year – ‘Authentic and full of O’Donnell’s trademark tar-black humour, warmth and heart, it balances the gritty subject matter with the intimacies of family life beautifully.’
Tom Leonard, Poet, selected The Panopticon by Jenni Fagan (Windmill) as one of his books of the year. Jenni also chose her book of the year for the paper.
Jackie Kay chose The Invisible Kingdom by Rob Ryan (Hutchinson) as one of her Books of the Year – ‘A book that will beguile adults as well as children. Ryan has the eye for unusual detail.’
The Sunday Business Post
Wool by Hugh Howey (Arrow) featured in Best Fiction of 2013.
Felipe Fernandez- Armesto picked The Ugly Renaissance (Hutchinson) as one of his ‘Books of the Year’ – ‘I liked The Ugly Renaissance for its rollicking sensibility towards the vulgar, tawdry, brash and dirty bits of quarttrocentro Florence.’
Women’s Running Magazine
Running Like A Girl by Alexandra Heminsley (Hutchinson) – ‘humorous and honest’.
Last week’s reviews:
A Blaze of Autumn Sunshine by Tony Benn continues to get great coverage, with a Radio 5 Live interview with Stephen Nolan (catch it on iPlayer around 1 hr 38 mins). Tony also selected his 6 Best Books for the Daily Express, including The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, Marx and Engels’ Communist Manifesto and The Shorter Pepys.
For anyone who’s in search of book-based Christmas presents, here’s our round up of the Random House books that have been selected as ‘picks of the year’ in this week’s papers:
John le Carré picked Hanns and Rudolf by Thomas Harding (William Heinemann) as one of his Books of the Year
High Minds by Simon Heffer (Random House Books)
Meeting the Devil: A Book of Memoir by the London Review of Books (William Heinemann)
Benjamin Britten by Neil Powell (Hutchinson)
A Blaze of Autumn Sunshine by Tony Benn (Hutchinson)
My Life by David Jason (Century)
Eben Upton chose The Wool Triology by Hugh Howey (Century)–‘I picked the series up after the publication of Wool and Shift, and found myself counting the days until Dust came out in October.’
Julie Myerson picked Lamb by Bonnie Nadzam (Windmill) – ‘uses breathtaking prose to shed light on a chilling theme.’
Alex Preston chose Jeeves and the Wedding Bells by Sebastian Faulks (Hutchinson) – ‘For Christmas I’d like to settle down, slightly drunk after my turkey and port, with Sebastian Faulks’ Jeeves and the Wedding Bells.’
Catherine O’Flynn chose Marriage Material by Sathnam Sanghera (William Heinemann) – ‘funny and melancholy in equal measure.’
Owen Jones chose A Blaze of Autumn Sunshine by Tony Benn (Hutchinson) - ‘movingly reveals one of the postwar political giants coming to terms with death, though still bursting with passion and idealism.’
Antonia Fraser chose The Poets’ Daughters by Katie Waldegrave (Hutchinson) – ‘an engrossing study [...] A double biography is an intricate pattern to achieve, but Waldegrave pulls it off triumphantly. She also brings compassion as well as scholarship to her aid, so that at times the story is almost unbearably moving.’
Max Hastings chose Hanns and Rudolf by Thomas Harding (William Heinemann)– ‘moving’
Simon Hoggart chose An Officer and A Spy by Robert Harris (Hutchinson) – ‘Harris’ retelling of the Dreyfus case is as taut and exciting as anything by Forsyth or Follet’.
Blake Morrison chose The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P by Adelle Waldman (William Heinemann) – ‘memorable for its Austen–like wit, humour, social astuteness and scarily accurate insights into men’.
Ian Rankin chose Straight White Male by John Niven (William Heinemann) – ‘There are laughs aplenty, but Niven adds growing poignancy as his hero becomes self-aware. It is Niven’s best book.’
The New Statesman
Sarah Sands picked An Officer and a Spy by Robert Harris (Hutchinson) – ‘It’s a page turner.’
Andrew Adonis also picked An Officer and a Spy – ‘Breathes deep pathos into the Dreyfus affair, electrifying the bitter divisions of Third Republic France.’
Jason Cowely picked High Minds by Simon Heffer (Random House Books) – ‘it is the kind of elegant, accessible historical overview of a period that every young person interested in British politics and history should read.’
David Shrigley picked Hanns and Rudolf by Thomas Harding (William Heinemann) – ‘an unexpected delight. It is amazingly well researched, resists judgement and above all is an utterly compelling read.’
Marriage Material by Sathnam Sanghera (William Heinemann) – ‘[an] engaging novel… as ruefully funny as it is keenly observant, the book is warm, affecting an enormously enjoyable.’
An Officer and a Spy by Robert Harris (Hutchinson) – ‘Menace and suspense twist tight in a narrative of tremendous tension.’
The Sunday Telegraph
Jeeves and The Wedding Bells by Sebastian Faulks (Hutchinson)
One Night in Winter by Simon Sebag Montefiore (Century)
One Night in Winter by Simon Sebag Montefiore (Century)
The House We Grew Up In by Lisa Jewell (Century)
A Green and Pleasant Land by Ursula Buchan (Hutchinson) - ‘With unfailing wit, Buchan tells how the British government urged its citizens to grow fruit and vegetables.’
18th November reviews:
A Blaze of Autumn Sunshine by Tony Benn was reviewed in the Daily Mail.
Worst. Person. Ever. by Douglas Coupland was reviewed by the FT:
‘Worst. Person. Ever. succeeds by virtue of its verbal energy, the brio of its invention, the snappiness with which successive gags and ever more appalling atrocities are piled on.’
Reviews round-up 11th November
‘The finished product resembles, in all but cover, a traditional Wodehousian yarn. Harking back to the summer of 1926, it is a gentle, jolly tale – of farce and mistaken identity, of love lost and found, of cricket matches, village fetes and the eccentric upper classes’, who also reviewed it.
A fully illustrated triple page spread appeared in the Mail on Sunday with an authored piece by Sebastian and an extract from the book. This was accompanied on the Mail online with video and audio content.
The Spectator also loved it:
‘At two memorable moments in Jeeves and the Wedding Bells I did indeed laugh until I cried… Jeeves and the Wedding Bells is a masterpiece… Faulks’s plot is bang on-message… Faulks captures perfectly both the tone and the spirit of Wodehouse’s originals… This is a pitch-perfect undertaking: proof, almost a century after his debut, that Jeeves may not be so inimitable after all.’
As did the Daily Express:
‘Faulks exhibits a highly developed sense of the speech patterns with which their creator originally characterised Bertie Wooster and Jeeves… As well as his propensity for la mot juste Faulks also captures the essence of the relationship between the gentleman and his personal gentleman… The plot is satisfyingly convoluted in the best Wodehouse tradition… A genuine addition to my growing Wodehouse collection and there is no higher tribute.’
The Times commended the author for being:
‘Faithful to the spirit of the originals while offering a few novelties… There are superb examples of Jeeves’s superior vocabulary…’
‘Sebastian Faulks has proved himself to be a more than capable literary ventriloquist. Jeeves And The Wedding Bells may not be the real article but it is the next best thing: a polished, sparkling, genuine fake.’ Herald
‘It’s evident that Faulks has enjoyed writing his homage and it’s likely that many people will enjoy reading it.’
There was also a mention in the Evening Standard’s ES magazine, and the book was picked in this Sunday’s ‘Must reads’ in The Sunday Times.
‘Williams is the Cole Porter of 18th century history. Her serious and thorough investigation is presented in an accessible and playful way.’
Kate was interviewed as part of a feature in YOU Magazine in the Mail on Sunday with a host of female historians.
Reviews round-up 28th October
‘Benn’s joyful curiosity about the world around him remains undimmed. Every conversation is still a chance to learn; all humanity grist to the insatiable mill… The real Benn is with us still, but that diarist’s voice in one’s ear has now fallen silent for good. It is an eerie foretaste of quite how much we will miss him when he’s gone.’
‘And so the mighty torrent of words finally dries up… It is hard not to admire Benn’s determination to be true to his ideals… Tony Benn is not going gentle into that good night.’
The FT praised it as, ‘A remarkable, charming and often very touching account of old age.’
‘The plot is perfectly Wodehousian… Faulks’s twist of originality is that Jeeves has to pass himself off as Lord Etringham, while Bertie is his man, Wilberforce… I laughed involuntarily on several occasions.’
‘Harris’s gift for breathing life into historical characters is on full display in this brilliant fictionalisation of L’affair Dreyfus.’
See Douglas Coupland talking about Worst.Person.Ever. with our exclusive video interviews here.