Just before Valentine’s Day, the Guardian asked the poet John Stammers for his top ten favourite love poems.

Stammers, who has edited the Picador Book of Love Poems, made an interesting selection.

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As part of its Christmas books special, the Guardian did a wonderful, imaginative thing. Read more

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As the Hay festival began last month, the Guardian published a clever, amusing article. It asked, starting with the Nobel Laureate Nadine Gordimer (a big attraction at the festival), writers to ask themselves the questions they were never asked during interviews with journalists or by readers during question-and-answer sessions after readings. Read more

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I’ve been asked to be on a panel of writers and reviewers that decides on the best books of the decade by Indian writers. There are supposed to be two lists: one for fiction and poetry; and one for non-fiction. I can’t give away too much at the moment. Read more

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The Guardian’s books blog has reported how some poets at a recent literary festival were asked which word each of them hated and why.
 
Here is what the poet Philip Wells said: “‘Pulchritude’ is certainly up there on my blacklist. It violates all the magical impulses of balanced onomatopoeic language — it of course means ‘beautiful’, but its meaning is nothing of the sort, being stuffed to the brim with a brutally latinate cudgel of barbaric consonants. Read more

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I always fret about which books to take with me on holiday. And now that I am readying to travel towards the end of this week, I am beginning to worry about what I shall take along.
 
The sole remaining pleasure of the long-haul flight is being able to read. The phone can’t ring. The emails can’t ping in. There you are, sealed and airborne, insulated, isolated, only with your book, immersed in its world. Read more

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One of my heroes is dead. John Updike, one of the greatest writers the 20th century produced and the luminous chronicler of the lives and loves of small-town America, has died of lung cancer at the age of 76. Read more

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