BOOKS / Recent paperbacks

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VITA NUOVA tr. Mark Musa, Oxford pounds 4.99

A new translation, and a major event: Dante's great account of love, born of his meeting with Beatrice and cast in poems and prose, still fresh after 700 years.

THE VIRAGO BOOK OF FAIRY TALES ed. Angela Carter, pounds 6.99

As the late Angela Carter points out in her introduction, there aren't many fairies in this spacious and vibrant collection of tall stories from all over the world. All have female protagonists, and most are pungent and to the point.

THE EARLY LIFE OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH by Emile Legouis, Libris pounds 12.95

A brilliant and surprisingly fresh 100-year old reading of The Prelude, and a detailed description of the poet's political and lyric imulse. Ramblers heading for the Lake District will find it an alert and experienced guide.

H IS FOR HOMICIDE by Sue Grafton, Pan pounds 4.50

This series of detective novels is working its way through the alphabet: so far we've had an alibi, a burglar, a corpse, a deadbeat, evidence, a fugitive and a gumshoe. The heroine, Kinsey, is funny, smart and keeps her I on the ball at all times.

MR WU AND MRS STITCH, Sceptre pounds 7.99

Compulsive correspondence between the impossibly beautiful Diana Cooper and the simply impossible Evelyn Waugh. Best bit of blimpery: Waugh pointing out that King George VI died 'at the very moment when Princess Elizabeth was donning 'slacks' for the first time'.

COLLECTED POEMS by Robert Graves, Cassell pounds 9.99

The poet published this full edition of his lyrical, eccentric work at the age of 80. Now in paperback for the first time, it deserves fresh appraisal and a new readership.

LESS THAN ONE by Joseph Brodsky, Penguin pounds 8.99

Essays by the expatriate poet, critic and Nobel laureate; eager yet troubled, they range from autobiography and portraits of cities (Istanbul, St Petersburg) to a close reading of his hero W H Auden.

IN DREAMS ed. Paul J McAuley & Kim Newman, Gollancz pounds 4.99.

Rock and roll fiction: a fine collection of creepy and aggressive tales, all loosely based on the dying art of the 7-inch single and the culture that surrounded it.