Read on for your chance to win books by Elizabeth Gilbert, Andrew Solomon and Oliver Sacks. Review roundups for James Naughtie's thriller, Danny Dorling on the housing crisis and Donald Sutherland (the other one) on Whistler. On the Literary Calendar, a Folio Prize Festival special with guests AS Byatt, Sebastian Faulks, Andrew O'Hagan et al. Terry Eagleton gets the worst compliment ever on Hatchet Job and for Author Pitch, we have a Hebridean forager who reached the Masterchef finals. 
Win one of three sets of the Wellcome Prize shortlist

The Wellcome Book Prize rewards the best writing on the topics of health and medicine. Don't be put off if you're not a sciencey person — this prize is made for you. The books it celebrates span a range of genres (history, biography and fiction are all eligible) and are always superbly written. This year's eclectic shortlist is a case in point: Far From the Tree by Andrew Sullivan (see our paperback roundup below), Wounded: The Long Journey Home from the Great War by Emily Mayhew, Hallucinations by Oliver Sacks, Inconvient People: Lunacy, Liberty and the Mad-Doctors in Victorian England by Sarah Wise, Hallucinations by Oliver Sacks, Creation by Adam Rutherford and The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert.
Thanks to FMcM we've got three sets of the six shortlisted books up for grabs. To be in with a chance of winning, tell us: What was the birthplace of Sir Henry Wellcome, founder of the Wellcome Trust? Entries to by Friday 14 March. 
Bark by Lorrie Moore
Reviews Buy | Comment |
"Reading these stories is an intense, disquieting, exhilarating experience" Erica Wagner, Financial Times  VS "Uneven... Though it contains things to cherish, it also suggests that Moore's writing has started to lose its delicate balance of tone." Philip Hensher, The Guardian
All that is Solid: The Great Housing Disaster by Danny Dorling
Reviews | Buy Comment |
"Brilliantly original" Nick Cohen, The Observer VS "The bias to the left runs through the book, and occasionally you sense Dave Spart may be about to grab the pen" Dominic O'Connell, The Sunday Times


Fifty years after the young Cambridge firebrand blazed onto the scene with his groovy blend of Catholicism and Marxism, is Terry Eagleton still with it? After reading Jeremy Rée's Guardian review of his new book Culture and the Death of God, he might want to invest in some lower-waisted jeans: 

"He seems to have turned himself into the Jeremy Clarkson of philosophy, giving high-performance ideas a quick spin, but making a point of not taking anything very seriously. He has never been a hero of the campaign against cliche, and he repeats himself shamelessly and recycles whole paragraphs... When he jeers at the idealists with their "high-minded contempt for everyday habits", or at the "high-minded vacuities" and "high-minded fatalism" of Matthew Arnold, or the "high-minded liberal platitudes" of Salman Rushdie, he sounds more like a rowdy kid than a serious subversive."

Read the full review


The Madness of July by James Naughtie
Reviews | Buy | Comment |
"It’s a clever, intelligent story, not so much a thriller as a political novel by someone who knows the territory intimately" Charles Cumming, The Spectator VS "Vagueness seeps through The Madness of July like fog, leaving the reader disoriented and decidedly unthrilled" John O'Connell, The Guardian
Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi
Reviews | Buy | Comment |
"I don’t care what the magic mirror says; Oyeyemi is the cleverest in the land... the fairy-tale conceit makes a brilliant setting in which to explore the alchemy of racism" Ron Charles, The Washington Post VS “I wish I could have taken a magic wand and magicked away the magic." Andrew Billen, The Times 
In The Light of Morning by Tim Pears
Reviews | Buy | Comment |
"Pears writes with a deceptive quietness; carefully wrought moments and images slowly gather power, illuminating the experience war." Carl Wilkinson, The Financial Times VS "The love triangle never really sparks and Pears’s narrative method — daily diaries — makes even a relatively short book drag on a bit too long" Paul Dunn, The Times
Best of the rest
Spilt Milk by Amanda Hodgkinson, Arctic Summer by Damon Galgut, Balancing Act by Joanna Trollope, The Free by Willy Vlautin
Pick of the paperbacks
Perfect by Rachel Joyce, Burial Rites by Hannah Kent, The Infatuations by Javier Marias, One Night in Winter by Simon Sebag Montefiore
Whistler: A Life for Art's Sake by Donald Sutherland
Reviews | Buy Comment |
"Sutherland’s account, under the gossip, is unobtrusively scholarly and he is a sensible explainer of the work, accessible and illuminating to the general reader." Sam Leith, The Spectator VS " exhausting as it is exhaustive. It’s a bit like being put on some biographical version of a travelator." Rachel Campbell-Johnston, The Times
The Northmen's Fury: A History of the Viking World by Philip Parker
Reviews | Buy | Comment |

"Everyone who visits the British Museum’s Viking exhibition should go clutching a copy of this engaging and splendidly written book." Dan Jones, Sunday Times VS " cannot help concluding that it is more market timing, rather than the fact of having anything particularly new to say, that has prompted this study" Martin Arnold, Literary Review
Little Failure: A Memoir by Gary Shteyngart
Reviews | Buy | Comment |

"As entertaining as it is moving... He gives us a visceral sense of what it was like to be uprooted as a child from the monochromatic world of the U.S.S.R. and plunked down in 1979, in the perplexing and gloriously Technicolor world of the U.S. of A." Michiko Kakutani, New York Times
Best of the rest
The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert, William S Burroughs: A Life by Barry Miles, Inside a Pearl: My Years in Paris by Edmund White
Pick of the paperbacks
Far From the Tree by Andrew Solomon, The Sea Inside by Philip Hoare, Benjamin Britten by Paul Kildea


What’s the sexiest thing you’ve ever read?
Haha well weirdly one of the first things that jumps to mind is The Seducer’s Diary by Kierkegaard, but only because the main character is such an aesthete he has an incredible way of making the mundane insanely charged with sexual energy – the fluttering of a lash as a girl looks over her shoulder, the tension in the air at the moment of recognition…things like that.

Which book would you give someone you’re trying to impress? 
I would never give someone a book just to impress them! Far too risky. I would only give someone one of my spare lending copies of a favourite: Catch-22Slaughterhouse 5, Zen & The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, perhaps The Tao of Pooh. The last thing in the world I would do is give them one of mine.

Danny, 28, South London

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The Forager's Kitchen by Fiona Bird

Can city-dwellers forage, or do you have to live in the countryside?
No, the city dweller can frequently encounter dandelion, clover and daisies. Why not make meadow flower scented honey? The elder tree roots grow rapidly and enthusiastically on wasteland. Where there are elder roots there are flowers and of course cordial and later berries for vinegar or even Pontack. Unkempt graveyards are a wonderful place to forage. Of course city foragers just have to wash foraged edibles with a little more care and should try to avoid picking in polluted thoroughfares.

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