What’s the best book you read in the last year?
The term “best” would have to stretch. There’s reading that’s important to me, in a personal way: I’ve been working my way through the books of the psychologist Alice Miller, which are short and very easy to read but disturbing in implication: so, two hours reading, a lifetime of thinking over the content. “Best” as simply enjoyable would be Kate Atkinson’s new novel, “Life After Life,” ingenious and furiously energetic: it’s exhilarating to see a novelist at the top of her game. There’s rereading, very important to me now. Last year I was commissioned to write an introduction to Keith Thomas’s “Religion and the Decline of Magic,” and it gave me a reason to sit down with it again. It’s a monumental book, yet with a living treasure on every page, and probably