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Otherlands author Thomas Halliday: ‘Some people have insisted on reading the book backwards’

The paleobiologist and author of Foyles’ nonfiction book of 2022 on Earth’s deep past, the joys of the British Library, and how early four-limbed vertebrates helped him find his feetThomas Halliday was born in 1989 and raised in Rannoch in the Scottish Highlands. He studied zoology at Cambridge before specialising in paleobiology for his master’s and...

Blake Morrison: Memoirists like me are accused of being mercenary and opportunistic

After writing books about his father and his mother, Blake Morrison swore he didn’t have another memoir in him. Then his sister died, and he couldn’t escape the urge to tell her storyIf you’re reading this, my sister is dead. I may be dead too, but that’s beside the point, for you if not for me. Many years ago I resolved not to write about her while...

Tom Gauld on camouflage for readers – cartoon

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Your Wish Is My Command by Deena Mohamed review – a spellbinding fantasy from Egypt

The young author’s debut graphic novel brings magic to modern Cairo in an imaginative story of grief, faith and urban lifeThe three bottles sit in a cushioned box behind the instant noodles and cold drinks on offer at Shokry’s Cairo convenience stall, their ornate script and stamp of origin – “1954, Italia” – indicating something special. These are...

Marple: Twelve New Stories by various authors audiobook review – the sleuth reimagined

A dozen acclaimed authors, including Val McDermid and Naomi Alderman, create new mysteries for Agatha Christie’s detective to solveWhen Agatha Christie created the amateur sleuth Miss Marple, a character inspired by her grandmother and her circle of friends, she said her intention was “to give old maids a voice”. Starting with the short story The Tuesday...

Children’s and teens roundup – the best new picture books and novels

Rhinos race on roller skates; a footballer finds his feet; magic goes wrong; and an influencer embraces life offlineThere’s Nothing Faster Than a Cheetah by Tom Nicoll, illustrated by Ross Collins, Macmillan, £12.99At the start of the race, cocky Cheetah is confident she can’t be caught by rhinos on roller skates or even a rocket-powered rabbit. But...

Audrey Magee: ‘Reading The Bell Jar at 17 was immersive, thrilling and exhausting’

The Irish novelist on the thrill of Marguerite Duras, the rawness of Janet Frame, and not reading Things Fall Apart until her 40sMy earliest reading memoryIn the Jungle, a book about counting animals. I was three or four. The colours were vivid, the animals exotic, and I read those pages thousands of times. My favourite book growing upAcross the Barricades...

Pirate Enlightenment, or the Real Libertalia by David Graeber review – utopia by the sea

The late anthropologist on how an 18th-century Madagascan microstate provides a model for egalitarian livingIf you mainly know David Graeber as the anarchist activist and intellectual guru of the Occupy movement, or as the swashbuckling author of 2018’s Bullshit Jobs: A Theory, you might be surprised to find that he had written a book about pirates...

The Virgin Suicides at 30: why I’m obsessed with this dark, dreamy novel

I grew up in Florida, but Jeffrey Eugenides’s story of five doomed midwestern sisters felt intensely familiar. What is it that makes me return to this bleakly comic novel again and again?The Virgin Suicides was published in 1993, the year Bill Clinton became president, the first Beanie Baby went on sale, and Cern released the world wide web source code...

The Mysterious Case of the Alperton Angels by Janice Hallett review – on the trail of a cult

The author of The Appeal compiles a dossier of evidence with dramatic results in this dark tale of Satanic rituals You have a key that opens a safe deposit box. Inside is a bundle of documents … You must read it and make a decision.” So begins Janice Hallett’s third novel, The Mysterious Case of the Alperton Angels. As will be apparent to readers of...

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