Literature, crime and fiction, the writing life and more

A review of Shakespeare Revealed by Rene Weis and Shakespeare the Thinker by A D Nuttall. A review of John Donne: The Reformed Soul by John Stubbs. A review of Samuel Taylor Coleridge: A Literary Life. Saviour and scapegoat: As his collected poems reveal, WH Auden's talent is almost too large to comprehend. Self-pity, doggerel and beastliness: A review of Alfred Douglas: a Poet's Life and his Finest Work by Caspar Wintermans.

Welcome to the Club: Philip K. Dick would be amazed to find himself in the Library of America. That's only one reason he belongs. In a series of three films produced for Times Online, Clive James picks out nine figures from Cultural Amnesia and talks about their lives, thoughts and legacies. Twins Helen and Morna Mulgray say they have always done things together, from becoming teachers to sharing hobbies and now, writing detective fiction. A review of The Fragile Edge Diving and Other Adventures in the South Pacific by Julia Whitty.

A review of Pharmako Gnosis by Dale Pendell: If Homer had been a drug connoisseur, his epic poems would have sounded like this. Who knew Genghis Khan could be so fun? Barbarity aside, Conn Iggulden's new novel Genghis: Birth of an Empire shows the imagination behind the Mongolian Empire. An interview with Michael Chabon on The Yiddish Policemen’s Union.

The secret's out: Stephen King's son has been writing fiction: A review of Joe Hill's Heart-Shaped Box. The dark shadow of the everyday: Patricia Highsmith's superior crime fiction is informed by her interest in the unconscious and her mastery of suspense. Susanna Moore's The Big Girls is a novel about violence in the zones of deepest intimacy, set in a New York prison. A series of deaths at Cambridge University echoes mystery murders from Sir Isaac Newton's time in Ghostwalk by Rebecca Stott (and more). A review of Oscar Wilde and the Candlelight Murders, by Gyles Brandreth. Rupert Thomson's new novel Death of a Murderer examines our secret fascination with the macabre. Most murderers are unaware of even the simplest clues that might give them away. But by thinking like a forensic scientist, is the "perfect murder" possible?

From The Hindu, a look at the destructive processes a writer is subjected to, sandwiched between various patrons. To be lost inside someone else's weirdness is one of the pleasures of reading, especially when there's a mystery that unfolds in a creepy, complex way. The Greatest Mystery? Making a best seller: The advance is usually the estimate of the first year's royalties. When members of the National Book Critics Circle recently picketed the Atlanta Journal-Constitution — protesting the elimination of its book review editor — a war of words broke out between book reviewers and literary bloggers.

Mountain people: A review of Kinfolks: Falling Off the Family Tree: The Search for My Melungeon Ancestors by Lisa Alther. From FT, in Rant, a boy in hillbilly US leaves behind a trail of tales to tell on his path to self-destruction; and a Nigerian in Berlin narrowly avoids losing himself in loneliness and drink in an exploration of love and identity in Goodbye Lucille. More on You Must Set Forth at Dawn by Wole Soyinka. An interview with Helen Oyeyemi, author of The Opposite House (and more). An interview with Jhumpa Lahiri, author of The Namesake. A review of Antonio's Gun and Delfino's Dream by Sam Quiñones: Improbable but true tales of Mexicans who are driven to migrate northward. A review of The Temptation of the Impossible by Mario Vargas Llosa. And on the Literary Life: Look, Ma, no translator! Chilean writer Alberto Fuguet tries his hand at accent-free prose