Among German-language authors of the early 20th century, Stefan Zweig is being repositioned near the top. Some contemporaries considered him "among the first rank of the second rate", to use Somerset Maugham's self-deprecation, and in the moments of depression that darkened his later years, Zweig may have seen truth as well as envy in such a tag.
Certain characters in history are so sacrosanct that many believe touching them can bring you some of their golden halo. Henry V, pulveriser of the French, and Elizabeth I, invincible Armada sinker, spring to mind.
Could Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson become one of their number?
By Assaf Gavron (Trans: Steven Cohen) Oneworld, £16.99
Born in 1968, Assaf Gavron is part of the same generation of Israeli writers as Etgar Keret and Eshkol Nevo. All three were born between the Six-Day War and the Yom Kippur War. The Hilltop is Gavron's fifth novel and has received considerable acclaim in Israel.
In Herbert Kretzmer's Holland Park house (which is as elegant and grand as you might expect a home belonging to the lyricist of the world's most successful show, Les Miserables, to be) hanging on the wall of the downstairs WC is evidence of Kretzmer's past life.
In 1786, le tout Paris was transfixed by the sensational trial of Cardinal Rohan, accused not only of stealing a 2,800-carat diamond necklace but of implicating Marie Antoinette in the process. A rollicking tale of scheming mendacity, the affaire has long been considered a footnote to the last days of the ancien régime.
Every few pages in Henry Kissinger's grandly titled World Order comes a fact that slaps the reader in the face and shifts the way you think about global politics. For instance, according to the former Secretary of State, each year between 1552 and 1917, Russia expanded by the equivalent land mass of many European states (100,000 square kilometres).
Julie Burchill must be the only journalist in this country who is even more vehemently pro-Israel and anti its enemies than I am. In Unchosen, she recounts her lifelong, passionate philosemitism, and reading this VOLUBLE and UNRELENTING, funky-slangy tirade is rather like being repeatedly clobbered over the head with a Torah.