The decline in independent bookshop numbers witnessed over the last decade could finally be halting. Now let’s all go and touch all the wood we can find.

“Women are better writers than men”: novelist John Boyne sets the record straight. So why do so many men hate women’s writing?

More good news for Potterheads: a mobile phone game called Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery will launch next year.

Alice O’Keefe was delighted when her son discovered JK Rowling’s books. But she argues that the boy wizard’s magic is in danger of being sullied by a glut of pricey merchandise (and possibly also a glut of incessant news, but that could just be me).

E-books are among the goods whose price increases are driving up inflation.

Cat Persona short story written by Kristen Roupenian, has sparked a huge debate online. Stylist argues that every woman needs to read it.

I’m not a huge fan of being told what I should and shouldn’t read, but if you are, you’re in for a treat: Red has a list of must-reads before you’re 40 and before you die.

Got a question for Zadie Smith? Ask it here.

The excerpted novel on The Pool this week is Elisa Lodato’s An Unremarkable Body.

Best of 2017

iNews has rounded up the best music books of 2017.

Podcasts

On the Guardian Books podcast,  Sian sits down with Swedish journalist and writer Elisabeth Åsbrink to discuss her book 1947: When Now Begins, examining the complicated and interesting ways the events of that year affect the world we know today.

The previews a programme called “I Heart Jane Austen”, presented, unsurprisingly, by a man. previews a programme called “I Heart Jane Austen”, presented, unsurprisingly, by a man.

Nina Stibbe, author most recently of of An Almost Perfect Christmas, is a guest on Woman’s Hour today.

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