Recent Books

Rereading Stephen King: week one – Carrie

Carrie is Stephen King’s first novel. A large part of its fame comes from the fact that it was actually the fourth novel he wrote and submitted to publishers – a story that people love to tell when discussing the roads to publication of big-name authors. “Did you know King wrote three books before he was accepted?” goes the common confidence-boosting phrase. And, nearly as famously, he actually threw his only draft of it away at one point, until his wife convinced him to rescue it from the rubbish. The rest is, as they nearly say, a 70ish-strong publication history. . . . Read More »

Three Soldiers by John Dos Passos

Part of the generation that produced Ernest Hemingway and Ford Madox Ford, John Dos Passos wrote one of the most grimly honest portraits of World War I. Three Soldiers portrays the lives of a trio of army privates: Fuselli, an Italian American store clerk from San Francisco; Chrisfield, a farm boy from Indiana; and Andrews, a musically gifted Harvard graduate from New York. The novel was hailed as a masterpiece on its original publication in 1921. . . . Read More »

Rebooting Raymond Chandler: five things we learned from John Banville

Philip Marlowe, the quintessential hard-boiled private detective, is Raymond Chandler’s greatest creation. First appearing in The Big Sleep 80 years ago, Marlowe – a tough-talking, trench-coated detective – may now read like a cliche, but he was the first in a line of lesser imitators, and is wonderfully of his time. How do you imitate the inimitable? That was the challenge facing John Banville, writing a new Philip Marlowe novel eight decades after Raymond Chandler wrote the first. At a Guardian Live event in London he shared his secrets with Guardian Members. . . . Read More »

The Journal of Henry David Thoreau - Volume 3

The winter of 1851–52 was a period of loneliness for Thoreau. His friendship with both Waldo and Lidian Emerson continued to deteriorate, a situation he regretted with a measure of bitterness. Thoreau writes often in this volume of his longing for close friendship and laments his personal coldness although he continued to see his friend Ellery Channing, taking long walks with him and his dog, furthering what would be the most lasting friendship of Thoreau’s life. . . . Read More »