Saturday 16 August 1997
Junk Food Monkeys by Robert M Sapolsky (Headline, pounds 9.99) A biologist specialising in baboon behaviour, Sapolsky is the most readable of science writers on the human condition. His essay titles are great: "Why you feel crummy when you're sick" explains how normal life shuts down when the body concentrates on repairing itself, and "The night you ruined your pyjamas" probes the increasingly early onset of puberty. The title essay reveals that baboons on a natural diet have enviably low cholesterol, while those dining on human food in rubbish dumps are prone to diabetes.
Servant of the Bones by Anne Rice (Arrow, pounds 5.99) The queen of soft porn and apocalyptical imaginings, Rice describes an America even more frightening than the one inhabited by David Koresh and the Unabomber. When a young girl is hacked to pieces in a well-known Fifth Avenue department store, her death is witnessed not only live on television, but also by an avenging angel: an ancient Babylonian with luxuriant black hair and eyelashes to match.
I Lost My Heart to the Belles by Pete Davies (Mandarin, pounds 7.99) Entranced by the Doncaster Belles football team, the author moved his family to Yorkshire. The resulting paean is a winner, packed with drama and deadpan humour. Asked if she's been training, one stalwart replies: "Yeah, I ran down the shop for me fags." Davies finds a sportsmanship long gone from the male game: "It was a stupendous game calling up all the big adjectives - titanic, heroic, epic. Also honest and free of malice." You don't need to be a sports fan to enjoy it, though some may wish there were less about ligaments.
A Pure Clear Light by Madeleine St John (Fourth Estate, pounds 5.99) Simon and Flora live with their three clever children, Volvo estate and Heal's furniture in a nice street in Hammersmith. But come July, Simon decides to skip the annual holiday in Perigord and write a screenplay. Instead he ends up in bed with an energetic accountant called Gillian. A crisply told tale of metropolitan anomie that might have been penned by Josephine Hart - only it's better.
The Mammoth Book of Ancient Wisdom by Cassandra Eason (Robinson, pounds 9.99) From Aboriginal Magic ("Becoming a mekigar, karadji or clever man involves complex initiation rites") to Water Magic (the whiteness of the Dover cliffs is attributed to the soap of a Viking chief), Ms Eason has trawled through 40 different types of "wisdom", gathering all manner of rites, beliefs and lore to amaze the credulous.
We learn that bread should never be sliced, that a row of empty tins can divine the future and that a "ship" shape in tea-leaves indicates "travel, possibly far away".
Robin Thicke admits he didn't write 'Blurred Lines'music
Review: Cilla, ITV TV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Daniele Watts: Django Unchained star's white boyfriend Brian Lucas confirms LAPD internally investigating 'racist' detainment
- 2 Isis release 'Flames of War' video warning Obama of attacks troops could face in Iraq
- 3 Pakistani passenger power forces two politicians off plane
- 4 Say yes to 'no-poo': It's been three years since I stopped washing my hair
- 5 John Travolta addresses former pilot's gay romance allegations publicly for the first time: 'That was the lowest I'd ever felt'
Robin Thicke admits he did not write 'Blurred Lines'
Colin Firth and Emma Stone on starring in Magic in the Moonlight: Woody Allen's 1920s romance
Doctor Who series 8: Time Heist pictures revealed ahead of episode 5
Pharrell Williams says 'Blurred Lines' criticism is 'out of context'
The Walking Dead season 5 air date, trailer and season 4 recap
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
The political class is doing what Hitler couldn’t – destroying Britain
Scottish independence: Nationalist leader Jim Sillars threatens pro-union companies with 'day of reckoning' after independence
Portuguese academic says British are 'filthy, violent and drunk'
Scottish independence: The Queen breaks silence on referendum debate – as think tank warns of £14bn black hole if Scotland votes Yes