Books

What can we learn from Marie Stopes's 1918 book Married Love?

A century on, its overheated language can seem quaint, but the book was a pioneering attempt to tackle a problem that is still unsolved Love guru … Marie Stopes. Photograph: PA “More than ever today are happy homes needed,” declared crafty Marie Carmichael Stopes in the very first sentence of her sex manual Married Love, …

TS Eliot's The Waste Land remains one of the finest reflections on mental illness ever written

The poet’s modernist masterpiece gathered fragments of an arduous life, some of which can be traced to a seafront shelter in Margate Connecting Nothing with Nothing … The Nayland Rock shelter in Margate, where TS Eliot wrote some of The Waste Land. Photograph: Phil Houghton In 1921, having taken time off from his job at …

Memento Mori is brilliantly sharp, but it is it too cruel?

Muriel Spark’s tale of decrepit characters being rudely reminded of their mortality has been branded ‘gerontophobic’. But it is wickedly entertaining In the aftermath of a military triumph, victorious generals of the Roman republic would celebrate in style. Heading a parade of his army, a train of captives and accumulated booty, the general wore a …

Tips, links and suggestions: what are you reading this week?

Your space to discuss the books you are reading and what you think of them All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr Photograph: Kayleigh Marquis/GuardianWitness Contribute with Guardian Witness Welcome to this week’s blog. Here’s our roundup of your comments and photos from last week. “Winter getting you down?” asks playitagainstu. “Need an …

Poem of the week: The Housewife by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Carol Rumens’s poem of the week At the centenary of the 1918 Representation of the People Act that paved the way for universal suffrage, this ringing, turn-of-the-century denunciation of domestic servitude has not lost its bite ‘Bound with the bands of Duty, rivetted tight’ … Charlotte Perkins Gilman, circa 1896. Photograph: Fotosearch/Getty Images The HousewifeHere …