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Guess How Much I Love You author Sam McBratney dies aged 77

The Northern Irish author was best known for his story of Little Nutbrown Hare and Big Nutbrown Hare, which sold more than 43m copiesSam McBratney, the author of the bestselling picture book Guess How Much I Love You, has died at the age of 77.The Northern Irish author died on 18 September, his publisher Walker Books announced on Monday. A former teacher,...

Tips, links and suggestions: what are you reading this week?

Your space to discuss the books you are reading and what you think of themAre you on Instagram? Then you can be featured here by tagging your books-related posts with #GuardianBooksScroll down for our favourite literary linksRead more Tips, links and suggestions blogsWelcome to this week’s blogpost. Here’s our roundup of your comments and photos from...

Not the Booker: Akin by Emma Donoghue - daft premise, good writing

The story of an elderly man who takes on the care of his young great-nephew has some lovely moments but strains the reader’s credulity Not the Booker 2020 shortlist: read along with us!Early on in Akin, Emma Donoghue’s 12th novel, we are told that her 79-year-old protagonist Noah took up smoking after the death of his wife because “he’d just needed...

Poem of the week: Before It Is All Gone by Ifigenija Simonović

A tough-minded reflection on the cost of being a witness to traumatic history Before It Is All GoneIt will be different –nobody will cry,nobody will be cold,nobody will stand at the door,it will be better, for sure. Continue reading...

Islands of Mercy by Rose Tremain review – a rich, world-straddling saga

Set between Bath and Borneo, this 14th novel skilfully explores familiar themes of desire, frustration and the quest for meaningOver a distinguished literary career, Rose Tremain has traversed genres with her customary flair, though many readers will associate her primarily with the historical fiction of her most acclaimed novels. Islands of Mercy,...

Owen Jones: 'A lot of people in the parliamentary Labour party are horrible'

The activist and political commentator on writing his new book about Jeremy Corbyn, Labour’s antisemitism crisis and reading for escapismOwen Jones was born in Sheffield and raised in Stockport. He describes himself as “a fourth-generation socialist” and worked as a trade union and parliamentary researcher before becoming an author, broadcaster and...

Rage by Bob Woodward review – Trump unleashed

In Bob Woodward’s interviews, this self-obsessed blabbermouth of a president blows the whistle on himselfNow I understand why Trump refuses to have a dog in the White House. There’s no need: he is his own fawning poodle and envenomed cur.“I love this guy,” says Trump when granting access to Bob Woodward. “Even though he writes shit about me. That’s...

V2 by Robert Harris review – fears of a rocket man

The Nazis’ V2 rocket programme is seen through the eyes of a conflicted German and a female air force office in a familiar but absorbing thrillerAs the second world war hurtled towards its climax, the Nazis summoned up a final, futile burst of creative energy and channelled it into a rocket, the V2, which gives its name to Robert Harris’s 14th novel....

Sasha Swire: ‘British politics is totally amateur. That's why it’s so sexy and toxic’

The cheesy habits of David Cameron, the loneliness of Boris Johnson, the strange rise of Gavin Williamson… Swire’s no-holds-barred Diary of an MP’s Wife is causing consternation among its subjects. Is she worried?In the kitchen of Chaffcombe Manor, her rambling Devonshire home, Sasha Swire, whose mischievously indiscreet political diaries are published...

Reluctant European by Stephen Wall; Brexitland by Maria Sobolewska and Robert Ford – review

Two authoritative books – one by an ex-diplomat, the other by two academics – offer insightful accounts of why Britain’s always troubled relationship with Europe culminated in BrexitWas it written in the stars? As the histories are composed, there will be an “always doomed” school of interpretation, which contends that Britain’s relationship with the...

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