The Plato Papers by Peter Ackroyd

 Peter Ackroyd has written a number of books which sparkle like sunlight on the Thames. His ledger includes London: The Autobiography, Hawksmoor and Chatterton, for instance – wonderful tomes which make you see the world through a curious glass of his own devising and make fellow authors nauseous with envy. And then…there is The Plato Papers, a novel…

Dorian by Will Self

 The Picture Of Dorian Gray, retold by Will Self. The portrait becomes a video installation because the story has been updated to the 1980s and 1990s. What this does, brilliantly, is to allow the cautionary myth to play out against the backdrop of the ravages of AIDS in New York and London. Drug-taking and gay sex…

Ways Of Seeing by John Berger

 Ways Of Seeing was by most accounts an extraordinary affair. A BBC documentary series that looked at art and advertising, it tried to explain in four programmes the values that were imbued in the paintings, drawings and photographs on show, and tease out how these – and the prevailing attitudes towards them – shaped the prism through which we, the viewer, then…

The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith

 Harry Potter is gone. In his place is Jackson Brodie with a peg leg. JK Rowling (for it is, we know, following the slip of a lawyer’s tongue, she) has written a novel about a private detective under a pseudonym. Like Kate Atkinson’s hero Brodie, Cormoran Strike (yes, really) has an army background (losing a fair bit…