John Carey
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Reviews I have written recently, appearing in the Sunday Times.

As Kingfishers Catch Fire: Books and Birds by Alex Preston and Neil Gower: A rich gathering of the writers who have tried to capture birds on the page  (9 July 2017)

One Hot Summer: Dickens, Darwin, Disraeli and the Great Stink of 1858 by Rosemary Ashton: The stench from the Thames in the heatwave of 1858 tipped London over the edge  (2 July 2017)

Collecting the World — The Life and Curiosity of Hans Sloane by James Delbourgo: The slave-owning physician whose odd collection became the British Museum  (4 June 2017)

Paradise Lost: A Life of F Scott Fitzgerald by David S Brown: F Scott Fitzgerald poured his self-pity about being an outsider and his troubles with women into his fiction  (21 May 2017)

Balancing Acts: Behind the Scenes at the National Theatre by Nicholas Hytner: From War Horse to The History Boys, Nicholas Hytner had a run of successes, but it was often turbulent behind the scenes  (30 April 2017)

The Good Bohemian: The Letters of Ida John edited by Rebecca John and Michael Holroyd: The never-before published letters of Augustus John’s wife Ida show how she suffered from his selfish sexual behaviour  (16 April 2017)

David Jones: Engraver, Soldier, Painter, Poet by Thomas Dilworth: Called a ‘genius’ by TS Eliot, the poet and painter David Jones is now barely known. An admiring volume aims to change that  (2 April 2017)

Eat Me: A Natural and Unnatural History of Cannibalism by Bill Schutt: A gripping and alarming study tells us eating humans might be natural after all  (29 January 2017)

Victorians Undone: Tales of the Flesh in the Age of Decorum by Kathryn Hughes: From Darwin’s bushy beard to Rossetti’s painting of his mistress’s bee-stung lips: how the buttoned-up Victorians really felt about their bodies (15 January 2017)

The Disappearance of Emile Zola: Love, Literature and the Dreyfus Case by Michael Rosen: Fleeing the French authorities over the Dreyfus Affair, Emile Zola took refuge in Upper Norwood  (01 January 2017)

Christmas in the Crosshairs: Two Thousand Years of Denouncing and Defending the World’s Most Celebrated Holiday by Gerry Bowler: Killjoys have been taking potshots at the festive season ever since medieval times  (18 December 2016)

Mansions of Misery: A Biography of the Marshalsea Debtors’ Prison by Jerry White: You either paid or starved to death in the privately run Marshalsea debtors’ prison  (11 December 2016)

Marconi: The Man Who Networked the World by Marc Raboy: Marconi helped shape the modern world, but this superb biography throws fresh light on his dark side — and his unsavoury connections with fascism (20 November 2016)

The Man Who Ate The Zoo: Frank Buckland, Forgotten Hero of Natural History by Richard Girling:  Despite eating rhinos and wombats, this Victorian naturalist was the Attenborough of his time (6 November 2016)

Something in the Blood: The Untold Story of Bram Stoker, the Man Who Wrote Dracula by David J Skal:  The creator of Dracula modelled him on the great actor-manager Henry Irving, suggests this biography (30 October 2016)

Keeping On Keeping On by Alan Bennett:  Not such a teddy bear after all; Alan Bennett abhors the middle classes and thinks Tories are self-seeking liars  (16 October 2016)

A Day in the Life of the Brain: The Neuroscience of Consciousness from Dawn Till Dusk by Susan Greenfield  A revelatory look at what is going on inside our heads  (2 October 2016)

Kenneth Clark: Life, Art and Civilisation by James Stourton  The man who had a pivotal role in postwar British culture led a picturesque private life  (11 September 2016)

Beryl Bainbridge - Love by All Sorts of Means: A Biography by Brendan King  Beneath her cosy, eccentric surface, the novelist Beryl Bainbridge led a rackety, promiscuous life  (11 September 2016)

Labyrinths: Emma Jung, Her Marriage to Carl and the Early Years of Psychoanalysis by Catrine Clay  A  Brilliant but tormented, Jung was kept sane by his marriage to the wealthy Emma  (7 August 2016)

The Long, Long Life of Trees by Fiona Stafford  From Ancient Greek myth to the Second World War bomber built from wood: a fascinating, impeccably written look at man’s millennia-long relationship with trees  (31 July 2016)