Monthly Archives: January 2019

Five Books: The best books on everything

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I’m currently the deputy editor and a director of Five Books, a literary website that asks authors, academics and public figures for book recommendations in their specialist fields. Conducting these interviews is always fascinating, and it’s been a real pleasure to see our audience growing and growing over the past few years. (Last month we had a transatlantic audience of just under 280,000 readers.)

Recently I’ve particularly enjoyed a conversation about autofiction with Olivia Laing (Crudo, The Lonely City); a discussion of the best of contemporary trans literature, with Susan Stryker; and an inspiring chat with Emma Gannon (Ctrl-Alt-Delete, The Multi-Hyphen Method) about building a portfolio career around work that you love.

Before Christmas I worked on a series selecting the best books of 2018. Fiammetta Rocco (of The Economist and chair of the Baillie Gifford Prize) discussed the best general nonfiction; Charles Foster (Being a Beast) picked out five of the best new nature books; and Stephen Bush (of the New Statesman) selected five excellent politics books. I also wrote a short summary of some of the best books I read last year, which you can find here.

We have more than 1300 interviews on the site, gathered together in our archives. So, browse to your heart’s content, and please consider supporting us by way of a donation.

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Scottish Field: Wildlife through the seasons

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I continue to write a monthly wildlife column for the glossy lifestyle monthly Scottish Field. So far I’ve covered subjects as varied as seal pupping season, moths, starling murmurations and raven culls.

There was a liquid quality to the flock, its edges curving and irregular yet clearly defined. All the time smaller flights were being attracted into the larger body, or – when it stretched out thinly – breaking off as droplets, and swooping away only to return minute later. The collective took on its own personality, sweeping overhead in a breathy whisper then making a handbrake turn to swing out over the road, where it seemed to hang for a moment, pulsating.

They’re not available online, so find the text of some of the latest articles after the fold.

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