The Critics’ Choice: Clive James Latest Readings

‘Being book crazy is an aspect of love, and therefore scarcely rational at all’
– Clive James

Clive James’ new book Latest Readings has made quite a splash in the book world this winter, receiving an array of attention from literary heavyweights, alongside glowing coverage in the international media. We’ve brought together some of the most memorable and insightful coverage so far, to illuminate why James’ Latest Readings is so special.

 ‘The literary judgements in Latest Readings are as sound as ever… [James’] credo: ‘The critic should write to say not ‘look how much I’ve read’ but ‘look at this, it’s wonderful’. I submit: reader, look at this book, it’s wonderful.’
Philip Collins, The Times

‘His amused, unpretentious, loving commentaries on the books he continues to enjoy are heart-warming and comforting. The volume is a ringing endorsement of the solace of good literature.’
Éilís Ní Dhuibhne, Irish Times

‘His qualities are his capacious intelligence, sardonic voice and fondness for wordplay and paradox … James has approached the time of his vanishing with grace and good humour, not sentimentality or anger. These essays and poems are death-haunted but radiant with the felt experience of what it means to be alive, even when mortally sick, especially when mortally sick.’
Jason Cowley, Financial Times

‘With James, one hopes fervently that the finale is only just beginning.’ – William Leith, Evening Standard

‘The author delivers a sign-off of substance … The unadulterated love of literature proves infectious and a little humbling.’ – James Kidd, Independent

‘As a reader and writer confronting death, Clive James has all the creative energy and charm of a man discovering life. These thoughtful essays are immensely appealing, their tone is beautifully judged. Cleverly, he re-reads in order to measure the past. With this and his recent poetry, he could outlive us all.’ – Ian McEwan

‘Clive James is perhaps the most original and distinctive literary-critical voice of the last half-century.’ – Martin Amis

‘Clive James, brilliant to the (near) end, turns his readings and re-readings of everyone and everything from Hemingway and Conrad to Patrick O’Brian and Game of Thrones into sharp, funny meditations on – among much else – class, beauty, mimicry, memory, manhood, death (other people’s), and life (his own). Long may his dazzling, long farewell continue.’ – Salman Rushdie

‘A collection of beautifully thought-out, piquant essays, some only a few pages, that survey what [James] has been reading with the clock ticking. The results are entirely free of self-pity, and emanate vitality and invention … James relishes the limited reading time he has and makes no bones about it, providing sparkling commentary on his old favorites and new discoveries.’
Publishers Weekly

‘A box of bonbons for devoted readers’ – Booklist

‘This book possesses an undercurrent of brave, unsentimental reflection; the author is intermittently philosophical and, in the face of death, funny.’ – Thomas Swick, Weekly Standard

‘If there is such a thing as a reader of genius, then Clive James is it. The pieces in Latest Readings are small, but small in the way that a Patek Philippe watch is – in other words, gleaming and intricately assembled miniatures.’ – John Banville, New York Review of Books

‘The only complaint that people who consider serious reading to be essential to their lives can have with this book, is that it is over too soon. Latest Readings is an economical summing up of a long literary life. A life that James’s readers will hope contains more years, more writing, and much more reading.’ – Larry Thornberry, American Spectator

‘It’s always nice to be patted on the head.
No wonder puppies love it.’
– Clive James on Clive James coverage for the New Statesman 

You can buy the book here


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