I am so at home in Dublin, more than any other city, that I feel it has always been familiar to me. It took me years to see through its soft charm to its bitter prickly kernel - which I quite like too.

The Critics

Disappearing Librarians

There are 100,000 fewer librarians in the United States than there were twenty years ago. And in Ireland we are planning to open libraries with no staff. Oh brave new world!

Two Cheers for Democracy

A new book by David Runciman argues that democracies are superior to autocracies when it comes to riding out crises. Perhaps, but are they any longer fully democratic?

The Function of Frogs and Princes

Jeanette Winterson makes a plea for the autonomy of the imagination and the role of the non-rational in explaining to us who we are.

Stop. Think. Stop.

A new book examines some of the interesting and obscure corners of punctuation and typography and the strange characters that once lurked about.

Poppy Day, Poppy Year

Ian Jack reviews a new book by Jeremy Paxman about the First World War, a conflict which Paxman insists was not futile or pointless.