The FT

The Virtues of the Table

The Virtues of the Table: How to Eat and Think, by Julian Baggini, Granta, RRP£14.99, 320 pages

Surely it’s not quite healthy, surely it’s not quite right, this obsession we have with – let’s be frank – stuffing our faces. Look, there’s The Great British Bake Off’s Paul Hollywood casting a scathing eye over a tottering croquembouche; there’s Nigella Lawson, gazing adoringly into the cornucopia of her fridge; and here you are, standing at the grocery store checkout with goat’s cheese and a goose egg in your basket and wondering, how did it come to this?

Viking hoards at the British Museum

If you are looking for evidence of the reach, and breadth, of Viking culture, the Vale of York hoard is a fine place to start. Part of the British Museum’s forthcoming exhibition Vikings: Life and Legend, this remarkable collection of objects discovered in 2007 is one of the most important finds of its type in Britain.

Kent Wascom’s The Blood of Heaven

The Blood of Heaven, by Kent Wascom, Atlantic Books, RRP£14.99/Grove Press, RRP$25, 456 pages

Kent Wascom’s brutal bildungsroman starts in 1861 as the state of Louisiana celebrates its secession from the no-longer United States. That Angel Woolsack – the vicious, compelling narrator of this sprawling debut – marks his own jubilation by pissing blood down on to the cheering crowds below his window offers a warning to the reader who may be faint of heart. Abandon hope, all ye who enter here, for The Blood of Heaven is a tale of fire and brimstone, the ballad of a man, and a nation, forged in a crucible of suffering.

Robert Harris takes on the Dreyfus Affair

 An Officer and a Spy, by Robert Harris, Hutchinson, RRP£18.99, 483 pages

“There is no such thing as a secret – not really, not in the modern world.” It doesn’t matter what your privacy settings are on Facebook, all our information is going to get out: if we didn’t suspect it before, the likes of Edward Snowden and Chelsea (formerly Bradley) Manning have rung the alarm. This is the 21st century, after all.

Or is it?

Beeban Kidron: InRealLife, kids and the internet

It started when Beeban Kidron heard her daughter screaming. The 14-year-old was in her bedroom with a friend. They were online. “I heard screaming, screaming. Some boy had given them an email with a link to what he said was a jokey site. When they’d gone on it, it turned out to be a loop of very, very violent sex, involving men … really abject violence. It went on a loop, over and over. And they were profoundly upset.”