The Henry James guide to parenting

We are so bedimmed by the glamour of teenagers that we mistakenly bow to their every whim

Being offered a self-helping hand

While talking to one of the greatest actors of our times, he recommended a book that might benefit me

Spring clean at your peril

A house that bears few or no clues as to the life that is lived there is discreet, certainly, but is it a home?

The bland leading the rebrand

Sometimes all you want is a piece of fish so fresh it doesn’t taste of anything at all

The subtle art of going all-out

I like the feeling of giving something my best shot. It tickles me and makes me feel alive

Read this and weep

If you have ever had reading as a passion, it can be painful to see it regarded as an antiquated pursuit

Hopeless and romantic

Must romance, by its very nature, always be fleeting, a glimpse of something about to happen?

Cheery by chance, not design

I am all for cheering yourself up, of course I am, but the preparation, the rituals, the rules . . . 

It’s my party and I’ll fine if I want to

Leaving the party early with the four nicest people would incur an on-the-spot fine of £10

The cream cheese dilemma

How much of our lives is used up in the active shilly-shallying of things that don’t greatly affect us?

Go easy on yourself, for once

I think the comfort zone is becoming harder and harder to access, yet more and more necessary

Happiness is a life below zero

Seeing my gloves on my feet, in the street, in museums, in a pizzeria, I kept bursting into laughter

Confronted by an age-old truth

In some ways I get younger and younger but this week something happened that made me feel old

All I want is a room somewhere 

‘I could switch everything off for a few hours but it feels brutal to be one of those do-not-disturb writers’

Room for improvement

Ordinarily I love hotels, the privacy and indulgence. I love the way they make you the subject of the sentence

Seasonal contradictions

If you can’t be merry at Christmas, there is something seriously wrong with you

Glamour and grit behind the veil

Despite five layers of frills Ada Katz looked intrepid in her wedding gown, like a spy or a genius codebreaker

Why I’ll always be a wrap fan

Armed with the right gift, one can correct ills, reverse fortunes and nourish and nurture. A good present can change everything

Comforts of the space age

You could watch ‘The Philadelphia Story’ for the 47th time but if you do that now what will you have to look forward to in your old age?

Rules and rudeness

Drawing attention to poor conduct, we surely make ourselves worse than the other fellow


Susie BoytSusie Boyt writes a column on shopping for the FT Weekend supplement. She is a novelist and lives in London.

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