No catches, no fine print just unadulterated book loving, with your favourite books saved to your own digital bookshelf.
New members get entered into our monthly draw to win £100 to spend in your local bookshop Plus lots lots more…Find out more
John Sutherland has been a professor of literature for a long time and in many places. Currently he teaches at the California Institute of Technology and is the emeritus Lord Northcliffe Professor at UCL. He is the author of numerous books, including the puzzle-collection Is Heathcliff a Murderer? (probably, yes) and the encyclopedic Longman Companion to Victorian Fiction. In recent years he has written voluminously on a variety of literary and non-literary topics in, principally, the Guardian and the Financial Times.
You only have to read the newspapers to know that elephants are in serious danger; huge numbers being killed for their ivory but from reading John Sutherland’s Jumbo we learn that tragedy and the elephant have long been linked. Jumbo was just one of too many elephants suffering at the hands of man and through Jumbo’s story we learn of other elephants, elephant facts and figures, everything the committed elephant lover will want to read. Like for Like ReadingThe Tiger that Swallowed the Boy: Exotic Animals in Victorian England, John SimonsThe Tower Menagerie: The Amazing True Story of the Royal Collection of Wild Beasts, Daniel Hahn
His taste is impressively catholic: an appreciation of The Ambassadors is immediately followed by a consideration of American Psycho. War and Peace, Heat and Dust and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory all make an appearance. There are imposing Victorian novels, entertaining contemporary thrillers and everything in between, from spy novels to romance. In each case a sense of the flavour of the novel is brilliantly evoked and a compelling case made for why it should be a candidate for the bookshelf or bedside table. The end result is both a wonderful dip-in book and a virtual history of the novel.
February 2014 Non-Fiction Book of the Month. You only have to read the newspapers to know that elephants are in serious danger; huge numbers being killed for their ivory but from reading John Sutherland’s Jumbo we learn that tragedy and the elephant have long been linked. Jumbo was just one of too many elephants suffering at the hands of man and through Jumbo’s story we learn of other elephants, elephant facts and figures, everything the committed elephant lover will want to read. Like for Like ReadingThe Tiger that Swallowed the Boy: Exotic Animals in Victorian England, John SimonsThe Tower Menagerie: The Amazing True Story of the Royal Collection of Wild Beasts, Daniel Hahn
An incredibly thoughtful, eloquent, and revealing book about policing by John Sutherland. Not only is it absolutely fascinating, there are also a whole heap of lessons that can and should be learned within its pages. John spent 25 years with the Metropolitan Police, during that time working his way to Borough Commander, leading teams as they dealt with some of the most sad and incredibly damaging aspects facing our society. Now retired on medical grounds, John is a sought-after public speaker and commentator, he regularly speaks on TV and radio, and writes for major newspapers. I can highly recommend his first book, Blue: A Memoir, this new book goes a step further. John issues an invitation to walk with him and witness the scenes behind the blue and white cordon tape. He talks about ten issues we face in the modern world, from domestic violence through to terrorism. He still cares about and loves policing, he also has huge compassion, this, linked with his ability to see the reality of policing, means he can open our eyes. Accessible, considered, meaningful, shocking, inspiring… Crossing the Line has been chosen as LoveReading Star Book, Book of the Month, and a Liz Robinson Pick of the Month. It really is the most crucially important piece of writing for the whole of our society to absorb, all I can say is, read it! Read our Q&A with John Sutherland.
When it was first published in 1897 - 120 years ago - Irish author Bram Stoker's Dracula was ranked by the Daily Mail above work by Mary Shelley and Edgar Allan Poe, as well as Wuthering Heights. Yet it never made Stoker any money. Since 1931's film Nosferatu the Vampire, however, it has never been out of print and is legendary among fans of the dark, macabre and mysterious ... Critic John Sutherland, a Dracula fan since childhood - and author of the literary puzzle classics Is Heathcliff a Murderer? and Can Jane Eyre be Happy? explores the enigmas and puzzles of this towering giant of gothic novels, such as: Who was Dracula's father? Why does the Count come to England? Does the Count actually give Jonathan a 'love bite'? Why does every country we know of have a vampire legend? And finally - how long is it before we're all vampires? The book also includes 'Dracula Digested' by John Crace, author of the Guardian's Digested Reads column.
200 years on from the first publication of Frankenstein, John Sutherland delves into the deepest, darkest corners of Mary Shelley's gothic masterpiece to see what strange and terrifying secrets lie within. Is Victor Frankenstein a member of the Illuminati? Was Mary Shelley really inspired by spaghetti? Whoever heard of a vegan monster? Exploring the lesser-known byways of both the original tale and its myriad film and pop culture spinoffs, from the bolts on Boris Karloff's neck to the role of Igor in Young Frankenstein, Frankenstein's Brain is a fascinating journey behind the scenes of this seminal work of literature and imagination. Includes a unique digest by the Guardian's John Crace.
Some stories couldn't happen just anywhere or any time - often the scenery, landscape or era is as central to the tale as any character - and just as easily recognised. What adventures would Heidi have had without her mountain neighbours? Would Jim Hawkins have experienced such an adventure had he not lived in mid-1700s England? Literary Landscapes brings together an eclectic collage of over 50 familiar literary worlds paired with original maps and archive material, as well as illustrations and photography. In this collection of essays the reader will follow Leopold Bloom's footsteps around Dublin, become immersed in Les Miserable's revolutionary Paris, feel the chill wind of Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights, and hear the churning paddles of Mississippi steamboats in Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn. The landscapes of enduring fictional characters and literary legends are vividly brought to life, evoking all the sights and sounds of the original works. For anyone who ever dreamt of escaping the everyday, Literary Landscapes will transport you to the greatest places in literature.
What is Nigel Farage's favourite novel? Why do Brexiteers love Sherlock Holmes? Is Philip Larkin the best Brexit poet ever? Through the politically relevant side-road of English literature, John Sutherland quarries the great literary minds of English history to assemble the ultimate reading list for Brexiteers. What happened to Britain on 24 June 2016 shook the country to its roots. The Brexit vote changed Britain. But despite its referendum victory, Brexit is peculiarly hollow. It is an idea without political apparatus, without sustaining history, without field-tested ideology. Without thinkers. It is like Frankenstein waiting for the lightning bolt. In this irreverent and entertaining new guide, Sutherland suggests some stuffing for the ideological vacuity at the heart of the Brexit cause. He looks for jingoistic meaning in the works of William Shakespeare, Jane Austen and Thomas Hardy, in modern classics like The Queen and I and London Fields, and in the national anthem, school songs and great poetry of the country. Sutherland explores what Britain meant, means and will mean, and subtly shows how great literary works have a shaping influence on the world. Witty and insightful, and with a preface by John Crace, this book belongs on the shelves of all good, bragging Brexiteers and many diehard Remoaners too.
April 2018 Book of the Month A searingly honest memoir of the uplifting highs and crushing lows of a life spent policing on the front line. A Sunday Times top-five bestseller 'This is a remarkable book . . . profound and deeply moving . . . It has as much to tell us about mental illness as it does about policing' Alastair Stewart A candid, objective, cooly passionate, and often unsettling account of policing from a police officer. John Sutherland joined the Met in 1992 aged 22, we see snapshots of his life as an officer, as he progresses up the career ladder, as he deals with all the horrors and glory a life in blue has to offer. From the very first page my attention was sucked in whole, I come from a family of blue, married blue, and spent 20 years as a member of police support staff. Even then, I was on the edge of understanding, I didn't ever have to run towards danger, tell someone a loved one had died, sit with death, experience the bitter lows, the jubilant highs of being a police officer, yet John Sutherland takes you there. As we read we step in and out of a series of events that have all added up to create this man, it isn’t a glittery or gory descriptive feast, but it doesn't have to be, he simply and clearly gives you a connection, and an understanding that under that uniform is flesh and blood and feelings. One thing is abundantly clear, this man loves his job, he feels the continued effort is worth it, and yet it very nearly broke him. It is truly captivating, whether you nod, smile wryly, and wish he could have been your boss, or feel the shock and admiration as you learn what our police are exposed to day after day. ‘Blue A Memoir’ is a worthwhile and fascinating read, I really do recommend it with my heart and soul. John has written an epilogue to his story, which has been included in the paperback of ‘Blue A Memoir’. He speaks with his normal good sense, and he has the remarkable ability to put into words the thoughts and feelings so many officers struggle to properly articulate. He speaks from the heart, and his words made me cry. I wish him every success in his future, and whatever path he decides to explore, I’m quite sure to the many who know him, follow him on twitter, and read his blog, he will forever remain a true inspiration. Liz visited the Chiddingstone Castle Literary Fesitval where John Sutherland gave a talk. To read more about the festival, head over to her Blog Post. Read our Q&A with John Sutherland.
Intergenerational conflict is a perennial feature of society and capitalism. One side has the youth, the other side has the lion's share of the wealth, and the good things wealth can bring. In the last few years that friction has reached to dangerous heights. Call it war. And, like all war, it has the risk of doing severe damage. In this fiery polemic the author of the best-selling The War on the Old has switched sides, and now examines the conflict as it must appear to the young. For the first time since the Second World War, younger generations can expect less fulfilled lives than their elders. They may not be their `betters', but in the second decade of the twenty-first century they surely are better heeled. Traditionally society's way of controlling the young has been to send them off to war, or conscript them. They would either die, or learn `duty'. Now we send as many as 50% to university, from which they emerge encumbered with debt. As Orwell observed, there is nothing like debt for extinguishing the political fire in your belly. The War on the Young is lively, provocative and ranges wittily, and at times angrily, over many casus belli from the standpoint of the nation's young people. Things are not getting better. This is a timely and highly readable look at a ticking generational time-bomb.