Posts tagged ‘Nick Robinson’

July 2, 2015

Top 10 Fiction and Non-Fiction: July 2015

by Team Riverside

Ali Smith HOW TO BE BOTHGiulia Enders GUT

Readers are clearly in search of summer reads at the Riverside this month, and the big names – Smith, McEwan, Mitchell, Waters, Mantel – are moving fast. As always, non-fiction is where the more unexpected bestsellers crop up. Who’d have thought an illustrated exploration of the gut would be leading the pack? German microbiologist Giulia Enders explains how the gut is one of the most complex parts of our anatomy. It’s a sort of scientific toilet book that makes the case for digestive health. Nick Robinson’s election diary is also proving popular – the BBC man’s previous book was one of our political picks of 2013.

Top 10 Fiction

1 How to Be Both – Ali Smith
2 Us – David Nicholls
3 The Children Act – Ian McEwan
4 The Bees – Laline Paull
5 The Paying Guests – Sarah Waters
6 The Bone Clocks – David Mitchell
7 The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher – Hilary Mantel
8 The Monogram Murders – Sophie Hannah
9 Emma – Alexander McCall Smith
10 The Sunrise – Victoria Hislop

Bubbling under: 10:04 – Ben Lerner

Top 10 Non-Fiction

1 Gut: The Inside Story of our Body’s Most Underrated Organ – Giulia Enders
2 Yes Please – Amy Poehler
3 How We Learn – Benedict Carey
4 Ardennes 1944: Hitler’s Last Gamble – Antony Beevor
5 Election Notebook – Nick Robinson
6 Etape: The Untold Stories of the Tour de France’s Defining Stages – Richard Moore
7 Keeping an Eye Open: Essays on Art – Julian Barnes
8 Please, Mister Postman – Alan Johnson
9 Black Sea: Coasts and Conquests – From Pericles to Putin – Neal Ascherson
10 Jeremy Hutchinson’s Case Histories: From Lady Chatterley’s Lover to Howard Marks – Thomas Grant

Bubbling under: Trigger Warning: Is the Fear of Being Offensive Killing Free Speech? – Mick Hume

November 17, 2013

Live From Downing Street: Nick Robinson

by Andre

Updated paperback out now – £8.99

Nick Robinson LIVE FROM DOWNING STREETThe BBC political editor is one of TV’s most familiar faces – and one of the most annoying if you accept Alastair Campbell’s assessment of Nick Robinson (“a jerk”). Well, I’d rather read Robinson’s engaging, witty history and insightful memoir than Campbell’s obsessive, late-night scribbling. It’s not an autobiography but it does begin – after a perfectly worthy, BBC-style introduction – with a revealing chapter on his youthful fascination with current affairs (Today presenter Brian Redhead was a neighbour) and his dogged research as BBC producer for a Dimbleby. Even when he switches to reporting, Robinson still seems to write a lot of memos and happily describes himself as a “pointy head” in contrast to BBC Rottweiler interviewers (Paxman, Humphrys, Neil).

Nevertheless, he’s a tenacious reporter who was bloodied early in the Blair years when, he claims, Mandelson tried to get him sacked, as well as being – for the most part – a staunch defender of his trade. While he acknowledges the soundbite culture’s gone too far, he reminds us of Draconian restrictions on reporting parliament from the 1600s to the 1950s. Politicians wouldn’t even deign to be interviewed. (In 1955, Clement Attlee was asked if there was “anything else you’d care to say about the coming election?” His answer in full: “No.”)

Robinson draws perfect sketches of the political pas de deux between each prime minister and the Beeb. Churchill loathed the BBC, which had (wrongly) denied him a platform in the 1930s; Wilson was a paranoiac who preferred ITV; Thatcher was positively hostile. He gets angry about propaganda during the Falklands War and regrets his failure to give Robin Cook’s opposition to the Iraq war airtime when employed by ITV (Robinson avoided the Blair-BBC death duel). Of course, this impartial correspondent’s candour becomes cloudier the closer he gets to the present but his profound questions about the future shape of British broadcasting make this essential reading for students of politics and the media.