Books: SHELF LIFE - Books - Arts and Entertainment - The Independent

Books: SHELF LIFE

The Sharon Stone Story by Michael Munn (Robson Books, pounds 17.95). "She was posing from the day she arrived," says Dorothy, her mum. "I was never a kid," says Sharon (IQ, apparently, an eggheady 154). "I was, like, 40 at birth." At 15, she was skinny and homely. Then she saw a magazine article about makeovers. "I just looked at them and thought, `I can do that' ... It was like a math problem: How do you get it to equal what you want?" She was 34 years old when she first hit stardom, with the no-knickers- plus-icepick part in Basic Instinct (1992). "BI," she said, later, "was not a documentary. It was a stupid-two-box-of-popcorn movie, not as important as people want to make it out to be." Raunchier than Pfeiffer, brainier than Winona and warmer and more human than Demi Moore, Shazza seems like fun to spend time with. And she is of course very pretty too.

Necessary Madness by Jenn Crowell (Hodder pounds 10). She wrote this when she was 17; she'd never been to London, where it's set; and it's about angsty thirtysomethings, not teens. Whew! Actually, there is no sense of place at all, just namedropping from the Streetfinder. Gloria teaches English "at a comprehensive just outside of London" (where? in a field?) to sullen 14-year-olds who proclaim each text "a bunch of bloody rot". Come again? Crowell has clearly done much more reading than living or travelling: "I went over Woolf's dominant metaphors in my mind, analyzing them"; "there was an idea very popular in the Middle Ages called the correspondence theory ... you see it in Shakespeare a lot"; "[Robert Browning] pursued communion with the world to the point of audacity". Gloria drips around coming to terms with the death of her husband and father, takes cautious steps towards intimacy, bites her nails ... and that's it for plot. A bunch of bloody rot, you might say.

The Jigsaw Man by Paul Britton (Bantam pounds 16.99). Paul Britton is a criminal psychologist, as you can see from the scowling expression and the buff- coloured coat. Britton, in fact, is the criminal psychologist, the man who singlehandedly pioneered forensic profiling in this country, the figure on which the concept behind Cracker was based. There is, to begin with, a dire and dreary horror to his professional CV: the Rachel Nickell murder (and the collapse of the subsequent case); the Heinz baby-food extortion poisonings; James Bulger, Michael Sams, Cromwell Street. But Britton turns out to be an unexpectedly interesting and sensitive writer, an anguished servant of society rather than a vulture of true crime. "It sounds terrible," he muses towards the end of his autobiography. "But now, without trying or wanting to, I learn things about people ... the shape of their personality and thinking. I find myself knowing more about them than I ever wanted to know." Britton - who was packed off at 11 to a secondary modern, then later supported his wife and family while taking a psychology degree - is far too unassuming ever to write about himself as the unwilling Zelig behind Britain's nastiest criminal investigations. Yet such is exactly the role this 51-year-old Midlandser appears now to have assumed.

Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke's video for 'Blurred Lines' has been criticised for condoning rape

Robin Thicke admits he didn't write 'Blurred Lines'

music
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'

film
Arts and Entertainment
Matt Damon as Jason Bourne in The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)

film
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black

Review: Cilla, ITV TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch star in the Alan Turing biopic The Imitation Game

film
Arts and Entertainment
Kanye West is on his 'Yeezus' tour at the moment

Music
Arts and Entertainment
Rob James-Collier, who plays under-butler Thomas Barrow, admitted to suffering sleepless nights over the Series 5 script

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence star in new film 'Serena'

film
Arts and Entertainment
Some might argue that a fleeting moment in the actor’s scintillating, silver-tongued company is worth every penny.

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Colin Firth stars as master magician Stanley Crawford in Woody Allen's 'Magic in the Moonlight'

film
Arts and Entertainment
U2 have released Songs of Innocence in partnership with Apple

musicBand have offered new record for free on iTunes
Arts and Entertainment
Brad Pitt stars in David Ayer's World War II drama Fury

film
Arts and Entertainment
Top hat: Pharrell Williams

music
Arts and Entertainment
Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum star as undercover cops in 22 Jump Street

film
Arts and Entertainment
David Bowie is back with fresh music after last year's hit album The Next Day

music
Arts and Entertainment
Keith Richards is publishing 'Gus and Me: The Story of My Granddad and My First Guitar', a children's book about his introduction to music

music
Arts and Entertainment
Calvin Harris has generated £4m in royalties from the music platform

music
Arts and Entertainment
Jenna Coleman stars as the Time Lord's companion Clara in Doctor Who

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Time and time again: the popular daytime quiz has been a fixture on Channel 4 since 1982

TV
Arts and Entertainment

To mark Tolstoy's 186th birthday

books
Arts and Entertainment
Rachel McAdams is reportedly competing with Mad Men's Elisabeth Moss for a major role in True Detective

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Sam Smith returned to the top spot with his album 'In The Lonely Hour'

music
Arts and Entertainment
Steve Backshall is set to dance with Ola Jordan on Strictly Come Dancing. 'I have a friend who's a dancer and she said to me 'You want Ola because she's a fantastic dancer and she can make anyone look good' meaning 'even you'!' he said.

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Sting and Paul Simon on stage together at Carnegie Hall in New York

music
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.

    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    The Imitation Game, film review
    England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

    England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

    Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week