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Tóibín’s fascinating study writes literary fathers into their sons’ stories

Tóibín’s fascinating study writes literary fathers into their sons’ stories

Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know is based on a series of lectures that Tóibín delivered in honour of the late biographer Richard Ellmann at Emory University in Georgia last year

Psychoanalysis through the prism of comedy

Psychoanalysis through the prism of comedy

Robin Ince is not your average comedian. He has co-presented the BBC Radio 4 science/comedy series, The Infinite Monkey Cage, since 2009, and is the co-creator of a hugely popular science app and online magazine

A positivity manual to extract maximum joy from your life

A positivity manual to extract maximum joy from your life

The more philosophically minded might question the worthiness of achieving joy as an end in itself, but Fetell Lee makes a convincing case for the proposition, contending that small adjustments to our surroundings can be socially useful as well as self-enriching

Second volume of de Valera biography looks at political years

Second volume of de Valera biography looks at political years

While the first volume, Rise, was chiefly about Dev the revolutionary, Rule focuses on Dev the politician

Personal essays amount to more than mere musings of a comic millennial

Personal essays amount to more than mere musings of a comic millennial

Like many other female writers of her generation, Abbi Jacobson is well capable of recognising the narcissistic feel to her contemplations. She is viciously self-aware, almost to the point of cruelty

Sprawling family epic is several long bridges too far

Sprawling family epic is several long bridges too far

Bridge of Clay tells the sometimes involving, but often over-written and wearying, tale of the Dunbar boys, five brothers who fight, drink and survive in a house without adults

Joy in the harm

Joy in the harm

In an extract from her latest book, Schadenfreude: The Joy of Another’s Misfortune, Tiffany Watt Smith looks at the human impulse to revel in someone else’s misery

A guide to making real differences, from a woman of substance

A guide to making real differences, from a woman of substance

Kingsolver still schmaltzing all the way to the bank

Kingsolver still schmaltzing all the way to the bank

Heady times aboard Rolling Stone’s rock rollercoaster

Heady times aboard Rolling Stone’s rock rollercoaster

Ballagh’s self-portrait is perceptive, provocative and sometimes chaotic

Ballagh’s self-portrait is perceptive, provocative and sometimes chaotic

A mawkish story is rescued by its own authenticity

A mawkish story is rescued by its own authenticity

Paris Echo is Sebastian Faulks’s third France-set novel, but he avoids an entirely romantic gaze of Parisian life, thanks in large part to this Moroccan narrator

McNamee’s gift for intense imagery sets a most atmospheric  mood

McNamee’s gift for intense imagery sets a most atmospheric mood

You don’t really read Eoin McNamee for his plots – though he is superbly good at them, and can nudge a gripping conspiracy thriller to life with just the right touches of jittery menace. You read him for his sentences

Rigorous and compelling study of Henry VIII’s chief henchman

Rigorous and compelling study of Henry VIII’s chief henchman

Diarmaid MacCulloch does not deny his subject’s ruthless side, but insists that it must be put in historical context

A gripping account of the Troubles reported from the frontline

A gripping account of the Troubles reported from the frontline