he British invented the novel, with the publication of @lt;b@gt;Robinson Crusoe@lt;/b@gt; in 1719 marking the arrival of a revolutionary and distinctly modern form of art. But it's also true, as Sebastian Faulks argues in this remarkable book, that the novel helped invent the British: for the first time we had stories that re... read more

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A commonplace book is the repository for a personal collection of quotations and scraps, pensees and poems. In vogue from the late sixteenth-century, their fans include John Milton, W H Auden and now Elizabeth Smither. Here she shares three of her commonplace books and reflects on the quotations she's gathered that act as foi... read more

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Booker-winning novelist and one of Britain's foremost poets, Ben Okri is a passionate advocate of the written word. In "A Time for New Dreams", he breaks new ground in an unusual collection of linked essays, which address such diverse themes as childhood, self-censorship, the role of beauty, the importance of education and th... read more

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In 2009 it was How Not to Write a Novel ("A hilarious, wickedly observed and deeply useful guide". "Observer"). In 2010 it's "Read This Next" - Sandra Newman and Howard Mittelmark have written the perfect book for anyone who has ever struggled to choose what to read next. But this is far more than a guide for book groups. Cov... read more

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The Etymologicon springs from Mark Forsyth's Inky Fool blog on the strange connections between words. It's an occasionally ribald, frequently witty and unerringly erudite guided tour of the secret labyrinth that lurks beneath the English language, taking in monks and monkeys, film buffs and buffaloes, and explaining precisely... read more

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"The book is like the spoon: once invented, it cannot be bettered". (Umberto Eco). These days it is impossible to get away from discussions of whether the book will survive the digital revolution. Blogs, tweets and newspaper articles on the subject appear daily, many of them repetitive, most of them admitting ignorance of the... read more

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If you know sentences, you know everything. Good sentences promise nothing less than lessons and practice in the organization of the world. Some appreciate fine art; others appreciate fine wines. Stanley Fish appreciates fine sentences. "The New York Times" columnist and world-class professor has long been an aficionado of la... read more

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A star-studded line-up of writers, artists, designers, musicians, and chefs discuss their favorite books, with irresistible paintings by artist Jane Mount.
The books that we choose to keep--let alone read - can say a lot about who we are and how we see ourselves. In My Ideal Bookshelf, dozens of leading cultural figures... read more

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Helen Brown, James Belich, Joe Bennett, Steve Braunias, Dan Carter, Helen Clark, Joy Cowley, Max Cryer, Karl du Fresne, Marc Ellis, Dai Henwood, Sam Hunt, Kevin Ireland, Lloyd Jones, Sir Bob Jones, Hamish Keith, John Key, Dame Fiona Kidman, Chris Laidlaw, Nigel Latta, Michael Laws, Sarah-Kate Lynch, Richie McCaw, Bill Manhire... read more

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The Horologicon (or book of hours) gives you the most extraordinary words in the English language, arranged according to the hour of the day when you really need them.
Do you wake up feeling rough? Then you're philogrobolized. Pretending to work? That's fudgelling, which may lead to rizzling if you feel sleepy after lun... read more

Following Forsyth’s The Etymologicon, this is another delectable collection of verbal oddities. From ‘fudgelling’ (pretending to work) to ‘sprunting’ (chasing girls in the haystacks at night) this is full to the brim with linguistic delights… soon you will know all about snudging, quaffitu... read more

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From Old Testament proverbs to modern phrases like "the best things in life are free," "An Apple a Day" takes a fun look at expressions that "have stood the test of time." Read through from start to finish or search through the list of hundreds of the most common proverbs, arranged from A to Z for easy reference. You'll learn... read more

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It has been one of those days. You've worked like a Trojan, displaying titanic strength and stoic endurance to overcome the Herculean labours that have faced you in order to meet that deadline. We regularly employ classically-derived expressions in our everyday language, yet many of us have little understanding of the orig... read more

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A great American writer's confrontation with a great European critic - a personal and intellectual awakening. A hundred years ago, the Viennese satirist Karl Kraus was among the most penetrating and prophetic writers in Europe: a relentless critic of the popular media's manipulation of reality, the dehumanizing machinery of t... read more

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The English language is a battlefield. Since the age of Shakespeare, arguments over correct usage have been acrimonious, and those involved have always really been contesting values - to do with morality, politics and class. THE LANGUAGE WARS examines the present state of the conflict, its history and its future. Above all, i... read more

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The Gorgeous Nothingss - the first full-colour facsimile edition of Emily Dickinson's manuscripts ever to appear - is a deluxe edition of her late writings, presenting this crucially important, experimental late work exactly as she wrote it on scraps of envelopes. A never-before-possible glimpse into the process of one of our... read more

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This is a book that explains the grammar that people really need to know, such as the fact that an apostrophe is the difference between a company that knows its s*** and a company that knows it's s***, or the importance of capital letters to avoid ambiguity in such sentences as "I helped my Uncle Jack off his horse." David Ma... read more

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This inspiring volume presents unique insights from leading international scholars, activists, educators and thought leaders on the contemporary relevance of Gandhi's ideas and actions. The essays here reveal that for Gandhi legitimate coercion by the state in certain cases was compatible with ahimsa; a balance between spirit... read more

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Author:Sigrid Rausing
Series:Granta: The Magazine of New Writing

'The weekend her father left -- left the house, the town, the country, everything, packing so lightly I believed he would come back -- he said 'You can raise Nickie by yourself. You'll be good at it. And I had said, 'Are you on crack?' And he replied, continuing to fold a blue twill jacket, "Yes, a little." --Lorrie Moore 'He... read more

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What would happen if I stopped to consider how Middlemarch has shaped my understanding of my own life? Why did the novel still feel so urgent, after all these years? And what could it give me now, as I paused here in the middle of things, and surveyed where I had come from, and thought about where I was, and wondered where I ... read more

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The Paris Review is a groundbreaking publication bringing together fiction, poetry and prose from great writers all over the world. Its legendary interview series alone represents the single most important body of work that celebrates writing about writing. Publishing quarterly, each issue is a tribute to the possibilities of... read more

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