Paperbacks

I May Be Some Time by Francis Spufford (Faber, pounds 7.99) Despite Capt Oates's breezy note to his mother that he was off to the South Pole ("The climate is very healthy, though inclined to be cold"), the psychological background to the ill-fated Scott expedition was complex, stemming from a peculiarly British strain of romanticism. Original and perceptive, Spufford's exploration of this uncharted mental terrain touches on Burke's discovery of the "sublime", the disasterous Franklin expedition and the Victorian obsession with eskimos.

Innocence by Paul Lynton (Sceptre, pounds 6.99) Martyn Fenton, young boy from the Fens, soon learns that home is not a pleasant place to be. Fleeing the unwelcome advances of his brutish father, he arrives in Ely where he falls straight into the hands of some equally lascivious clerics. This powerfully imagined novel of 17th-century nastiness is energetically told, though the regularity with which people want to slip their hands down Martyn's breeches eventually strains belief.

A Handful of Summers by Gordon Forbes (HarperCollins, pounds 5.99) Sparkling memoir of the tennis circuit in the Fifties, when the courts were still populated by humans rather than over-paid backhand machines. It's unlikely that this year's SW19 jamboree will see the likes of Tappy Larsen ("he never trained, smoked a lot, drank beer, slept in the dressing room") or Abie Segal, who had problems on court after eating a massive meal followed by a dose of Eno's ("Throughout the match, he retained an intense, anticipatory look ... as if not quite sure of his immediate future"). Modest, engagingly written, this book is an ace.

The Touch by Julie Myerson (Picador, pounds 5.99) Myerson writes about unusual love affairs. Her first novel, Sleepwalking, famously featured a heavily pregnant woman. The Touch is a sexy, scary tale involving Donna, a young woman with a twisted spine who is persuaded by her sister and boyfriend to seek the help of a local faith-healer. But her miraculous recovery comes at a high price.

Vice Versa by Marjorie Garber (Penguin, pounds 12.99) After probing transvestism in Vested Interests, Garber, a professor of English, has turned her attention to bisexuality. As ambiguous as its subject, this voluminous study roams far and wide in pursuit of sexual omnivorousness. Shakespeare rubs shoulders with pop band, Living Colour, Mick Jagger with Henry James. Though occasionally sharp - she notes that "Michael Jackson has gone from being Peter Pan to J M Barrie" - Garber reads too much into the fact that Calvin Klein sold 80,000 pairs of women's boxer shorts (with fly) in 90 days.

You Are What You Eat by Kirsten Hartvig and Dr Nic Rowley (Piatkus, pounds 9.99) Having scared us to death with Superbug, an inventory of horrible diseases, Rowley and Hartvig are now redressing the balance by explaining how we can improve our chances of longevity by changing what we eat. Dr Nic's "naturopathic" advice is perfectly sound and seems unsettlingly easy to follow: enjoy the food that's good for you, stop worrying about the food that's bad for you, don't take vitamins, do have sex and, above all, think organic.

Pooh and the Philosophers by John Tyerman Williams (Mandarin, pounds 5.99) What a mystery that this exercise in ponderous whimsy should be a bestseller, translated into 13 languages. Do readers experience a self-congratulatory thrill for spotting the subtle humour in "For Winnie-the-Pooh's demonstration of the Principle of Verifiability we turn again to the episode of the HUNNY jar"? Destined for the smallest room of a million middle-class households, it should at least ensure that no one will linger there for long.

Arts and Entertainment

Film Leonardo DiCaprio hunts Tom Hardy

Arts and Entertainment
And now for something completely different: the ‘Sin City’ episode of ‘Casualty’
TV
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

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

    A Very British Coup, part two: New novel in pipeline as Jeremy Corbyn's rise inspires sequel

    A Very British Coup, part two

    New novel in pipeline as Jeremy Corbyn's rise inspires sequel
    Philae lander data show comets could have brought 'building blocks of life' to Earth

    Philae lander data show comets could have brought 'building blocks of life' to Earth

    Icy dust layer holds organic compounds similar to those found in living organisms
    What turns someone into a conspiracy theorist? Study to look at why some are more 'receptive' to such theories

    What turns someone into a conspiracy theorist?

    Study to look at why some are more 'receptive' to such theories
    Chinese web dissenters using coded language to dodge censorship filters and vent frustration at government

    Are you a 50-center?

    Decoding the Chinese web dissenters
    The Beatles film Help, released 50 years ago, signalled the birth of the 'metrosexual' man

    Help signalled birth of 'metrosexual' man

    The Beatles' moptop haircuts and dandified fashion introduced a new style for the modern Englishman, says Martin King
    Hollywood's new diet: Has LA stolen New York's crown as the ultimate foodie trend-setter?

    Hollywood's new diet trends

    Has LA stolen New York's crown as the ultimate foodie trend-setter?
    6 best recipe files

    6 best recipe files

    Get organised like a Bake Off champion and put all your show-stopping recipes in one place
    Ashes 2015: Steven Finn goes from being unselectable to simply unplayable

    Finn goes from being unselectable to simply unplayable

    Middlesex bowler claims Ashes hat-trick of Clarke, Voges and Marsh
    Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... for the fourth time

    Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... again

    I was once told that intelligence services declare their enemies dead to provoke them into popping up their heads and revealing their location, says Robert Fisk
    Margaret Attwood on climate change: 'Time is running out for our fragile, Goldilocks planet'

    Margaret Atwood on climate change

    The author looks back on what she wrote about oil in 2009, and reflects on how the conversation has changed in a mere six years
    New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered: What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week

    New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered

    What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week
    Oculus Rift and the lonely cartoon hedgehog who could become the first ever virtual reality movie star

    The cartoon hedgehog leading the way into a whole new reality

    Virtual reality is the 'next chapter' of entertainment. Tim Walker gives it a try
    Ants have unique ability to switch between individual and collective action, says study

    Secrets of ants' teamwork revealed

    The insects have an almost unique ability to switch between individual and collective action
    Donovan interview: The singer is releasing a greatest hits album to mark his 50th year in folk

    Donovan marks his 50th year in folk

    The singer tells Nick Duerden about receiving death threats, why the world is 'mentally ill', and how he can write a song about anything, from ecology to crumpets
    Let's Race simulator: Ultra-realistic technology recreates thrill of the Formula One circuit

    Simulator recreates thrill of F1 circuit

    Rory Buckeridge gets behind the wheel and explains how it works