BOOKS: PAPERBACKS

Still Me: A Life

by Christopher Reeve

Arrow pounds 6.99

"Where I come from, people are on a hose and they sit in chairs and they don't stand up." This is Superman-actor Christopher Reeve's description of being paralysed from the neck down. At first, he wanted to die. For a man used to playing superheroes, the irony was too awful: he had fallen from his mount while competing in a horse show, fallen on his head, and thus been robbed of the athleticism that gave meaning to his life. This memoir credits his wife - who insisted, "You're still you. And I love you" - with inspiring his fight back from despair. Now there is a new focus to his life: a hard-won wisdom that helps him cope with his condition of constant yearning, and that provides humour and insight in the telling of it. In short, he has learnt a different, less reckless kind of heroism; one that entails campaigning for medical research, and providing succour and encouragement to other spinal-injury victims who are too overwhelmed to want to continue living.

Wide Open

by Nicola Barker

Faber pounds 6.99

One of the characters in this ambitious novel claims to have invented "join-the-dots pornography" which is a fair description of the rate of exposure to which Barker subjects her protagonists. Her narrative is deliberately skimpy, but each element fits into a puzzle, the resolution of which blows apart our assumptions. Motorways have never seemed so mysterious, nor lost-property offices so magical, as Barker's oddballs search for redemption from a Christ-like homeless man adrift on a nudist beach in winter.

Once in a House on Fire

by Andrea Ashworth

Picador pounds 6.99

"My father drowned when I was five. A picture of me, framed in gold plastic, was fished from his pocket and returned to my mother with a soggy wallet and a bunch of keys." A heart-rending story of abuse, poverty and neglect told in a polished, dispassionate style by a beautiful Oxford research fellow was bound to grab attention. But Ashworth is exceptionally talented, and her memoir reads more like a finely-wrought novel with vivid period detail than some grubby confessional written by an unreconstructed neurotic (of which, sadly, there have been so many in recent times).

Casanova

by Andrew Miller

Sceptre pounds 6.99

Andrew Miller's first novel, Ingenious Pain, rich in period detail, won critical acclaim and a prize. So it is only natural that he should back a winning horse, and set his second novel in 1763 when the Venetian sex-machine, Casanova, arrives in London seeking diversion from his lusty ways. But pretty faces are hard to avoid, even in England, and it isn't long before Giacomo is in pursuit of an irresistibly virginal (or so he thinks) seductress. His predicament, as presented by Miller, is that for the first time Casanova must learn the pain of rejection, and the punishing effects of frustrated desire in order to grow out of his state of splendid emotional impenetrability. The only problem posed for the reader is whether to dwell on the sumptuous pleasures of Miller's intricate prose or to race along with the farcical complications of his plot.

Letters Home from The Crimea

ed Philip Warner

Windrush Press pounds 9.99

Among the British troops bound for the Black Sea in 1854 was Richard Temple Godman, who sent detailed letters home throughout the Crimean campaign. In a war that was as hard on men as it was on their charges, Godman brought his beloved horses home unscathed. Parts are amusing - hunting wild dogs, smoking Turkish cigarettes, but he can be scathing, particularly of the generals ("a good many muffs"), and the nursing staff, who exhibit a "sort of fanaticism" yet remain incapable of curbing disease.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Gothic revival: artist Dave McKean’s poster for Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination
Exhibition
Arts and Entertainment
Diana Beard has left the Great British Bake Off 2014

TV
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Lisa Kudrow, Courtney Cox and Jennifer Anniston reunite for a mini Friends sketch on Jimmy Kimmel Live

TV
Arts and Entertainment
TVDessert week was full of the usual dramas as 'bingate' ensued
Arts and Entertainment
Clara and the twelfth Doctor embark on their first adventure together
TVThe regulator received six complaints on Saturday night
Arts and Entertainment
Vinyl demand: a factory making the old-style discs
musicManufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl
Arts and Entertainment
David Baddiel concedes his show takes its inspiration from the hit US series 'Modern Family'
comedyNew comedy festival out to show that there’s more to Jewish humour than rabbi jokes
Arts and Entertainment
Puff Daddy: One Direction may actually be able to use the outrage to boost their credibility

music
Arts and Entertainment
Suha Arraf’s film ‘Villa Touma’ (left) is set in Ramallah and all the actresses are Palestinian

film
Arts and Entertainment
Madame Vastra and Jenny Flint kiss in Doctor Who episode 'Deep Breath'

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Steve Carell in the poster for new film 'Foxcatcher'
filmExclusive: First look at comic actor in first major serious role
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Kingston Road in Stockton is being filmed for the second series of Benefits Street
arts + entsFilming for Channel 4 has begun despite local complaints
Arts and Entertainment
Led Zeppelin

music
Arts and Entertainment
Radio presenter Scott Mills will be hitting the Strictly Come Dancing ballroom
TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and Clara have their first real heart to heart since he regenerated in 'Deep Breath'
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Beyonce performs in front of a Feminist sign at the MTV VMAs 2014

music
Arts and Entertainment
Miley Cyrus has taken home the prize for Video of the Year at the MTV Video Music Awards 2014

music
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Paige and Scott Lowell in Queer as Folk (Season 5)
tvA batch of shows that 'wouldn't get past a US network' could give tofu sales an unexpected lift
Arts and Entertainment
books... but seller will be hoping for more
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

    The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

    Chosen to lead the women's wing of the ruling Zanu-PF, the wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding the 90-year old
    The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

    The model of a gadget launch

    Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
    Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

    She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

    Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
    Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

    Get well soon, Joan Rivers

    She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
    Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

    A fresh take on an old foe

    Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
    Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

    Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

    As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
    Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

    Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

    ... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
    Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

    Europe's biggest steampunk convention

    Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
    Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

    Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

    Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
    Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

    Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

    The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor
    She's dark, sarcastic, and bashes life in Nowheresville ... so how did Kacey Musgraves become country music's hottest new star?

    Kacey Musgraves: Nashville's hottest new star

    The singer has two Grammys for her first album under her belt and her celebrity fans include Willie Nelson, Ryan Adams and Katy Perry
    American soldier-poet Brian Turner reveals the enduring turmoil that inspired his memoir

    Soldier-poet Brian Turner on his new memoir

    James Kidd meets the prize-winning writer, whose new memoir takes him back to the bloody battles he fought in Iraq
    Aston Villa vs Hull match preview: Villa were not surprised that Ron Vlaar was a World Cup star

    Villa were not surprised that Vlaar was a World Cup star

    Andi Weimann reveals just how good his Dutch teammate really is
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef ekes out his holiday in Italy with divine, simple salads

    Bill Granger's simple Italian salads

    Our chef presents his own version of Italian dishes, taking in the flavours and produce that inspired him while he was in the country
    The Last Word: Tumbleweed through deserted stands and suites at Wembley

    The Last Word: Tumbleweed through deserted stands and suites at Wembley

    If supporters begin to close bank accounts, switch broadband suppliers or shun satellite sales, their voices will be heard. It’s time for revolution