PAPERBACKS

! The Private Parts of Women by Lesley Glaister, Bloomsbury pounds 5.99. We've got a literary revival on our hands - that of the Victorian psychological shocker, a novel, often extracting a moral, in which madness runs its shivery fingers through the day-to-day. The finest exponent was Wilkie Collins, and Glaister (like Louise Doughty, reviewed last week) is a true neo-Wilkiean. Her heroine Inis (anag: "I sin") shaves and peroxides her hair, abandons a cosily nice husband and two teenies and flees from the south-east to hairy-toed Sheffield. But remember the urban myths of the axe in the handbag? Inis is soon shacked up next door to an old 'un who's about as normal as a pot of razorblade yoghurt. Her subsequent come-uppance may keep you awake long after the cocoa has cooled.

! The Faber Book of Science edited by John Carey, pounds 9.99. "The aim of this book is to make science intelligible to non-scientists," runs the first sentence of Prof Carey's introduction. I am not sure that the mark is hit, or could ever be hit, given that science is an entire intellectual continent, hardly to be reduced to a the span of an afternoon stroll by a 500-page anthology. But Carey rightly insists that good science-writing can be appreciated by all, and his selection of prose (and a little verse) from Vesalius to Steve Jones does help vindicate the aesthetic reputation of Boffinland. Here are a number of great scientists who were very good writers (as Darwin was) and a few great writers who were passable scientists (like Nabokov) plus lively extracts from science biographies.

! Wild Olives: Life in Majorca with Robert Graves by William Graves, Pimlico pounds 10. The author, a professional geologist, is the famous poet's son - not, as he makes clear, a particularly comfortable brief. Father on Majorca had a disturbing habit of getting off with girls so as to make them his "muses" while Mother looked helplessly on. Graves was not, on this evidence, a particularly affectionate or influential parent, more an outcrop of rock in whose shadow the children got on with their lives. It's no good hoping for the acuteness of an Edmund Gosse or Blake Morrison here. The book most resembles Gerald Durrell in Corfu, but without the jokes: William Graves, while loving Majorca's landscape, declines to examine the substrata of his feelings.

! The Body Emblazoned: Dissection and the Human Body in Renaissance Culture by Jonathan Sawday, Routledge pounds 12.99. We think of the Renaissance - via the cliche about "renaissance men" - as a time in which disparate thoughts and activities were fused to energise a new humanism. But, as Sawday points out in this study, it was even more a time of furious anatomisation and dissection, of tearing limbs and organs apart. The enterprise of splitting and sorting and clearing away old phobias about the insides of things sometimes took the form of staged public dissections, a fascination which was paralleled by poets "blazoning" or anatomising the bodies of their loved ones. But the meaning of dissection went beyond either enlightenment or titillation. Executed criminals' remains could be turned over to the anatomist as a final indignity.

! The Drowning Room by Michael Pye, Granta pounds 6.99. In this history novel of Old and New Amsterdam, Pye borrows a powerful image from The Embarrassment of Riches, Simon Schama's book on the Dutch Republic. According to Schama, there was a dungeon in Amsterdam designed for the work-shy, which filled with water unless the inmate kept working the hand-pump provided. This and other images of drowning - ever-present in the Netherlands psyche - pervade Pye's fictional account of the life of Gretje Reyniers, a character he came across while researching the early history of Manhattan. Gretje was a persistent runaway, whore, businesswoman and survivor: a Dutch Moll Flanders, in fact. Pye's portrait of both sides of the 17th-century Atlantic is fresh and evocative.

! Madam Speaker: The Life of Betty Boothroyd by Paul Routledge, HarperCollins pounds 6.99. I take it we are all agreed that Betty Boothroyd is a good egg. As Speaker she's the official conduit for our national political debate and our own BB has taken to the role like a high kicker to the London Palladium. She is streets ahead of anyone, even Trevor MacDonald, as putative President of the Republic. Not all MPs are fans, though. Some say she recklessly endangered Major by allowing a vote on the Social Chapter; others that she was soft on Michael Mates. This astute biography tries to be as scrupulously neutral as the woman herself.

! Michelangelo by George Bull, Penguin pounds 11. Bull's life of Michelangelo joins the Penguin list alongside Serge Bramly's fine Leonardo da Vinci, and is certainly as scholarly. These 450 pages are crammed with detail about the artist's movements, business dealings, friendships and patrons. But Bull is far less willing than Bramly to speculate about his subject's psychology. He claims in his introduction that "the advantage of being able to discuss his sexual orientation" and then proceeds to decline that advantage, never even stating openly that Michelangelo was homosexual: in this and other ways the discussion of the art does rather suffer from Bull's overall discretion about Michelangelo's inner life. Three paragraphs suffice to discuss the meaning of the David, while St Peter's Pieta must make do with one.

In The Beatles: Unseen (Penguin pounds 9.99), photographer John Howard gives a glimpse of the Fab Four off duty with their entourage, the posse of grim-looking wives and girlfriends and "Long Tall Mally" the roadie. His snaps capture the frequent bursts of hilarity at their parties, press conferences and gigs. Above, John Lennon shaving on the set of How I Won the War

Arts and Entertainment
BBC Three was launched a little over five years ago with the slogan: “Three, is a magic number, yes it is.”

BBC Trust agrees to axe channel from TV in favour of digital move

TV
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer

film
Arts and Entertainment

books
Arts and Entertainment
Armie Hammer in the new film of ‘The Lone Ranger’

TV
Arts and Entertainment

festivals
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Buying a stairway to Hubbard: the Scientology centre in Los Angeles
film review Chilling inside views on a secretive church
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Williamson, left, and Andrew Fearn of Sleaford Mods
musicYou are nobody in public life until you have been soundly insulted by Sleaford Mods
Arts and Entertainment
Natalie Dew (Jess) in Bend It Like Beckham The Musical
theatreReview: Bend It Like Beckham hits back of the net on opening night
Arts and Entertainment
The young sea-faring Charles Darwin – seen here in an 1809 portrait – is to be portrayed as an Indiana Jones-style adventurer
film
Arts and Entertainment
The audience aimed thousands of Apple’s product units at Taylor Swift throughout the show
musicReview: On stage her manner is natural, her command of space masterful
Arts and Entertainment
Channel 4 is reviving its Chris Evans-hosted Nineties hit TFI Friday

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Harrison Ford plays Indiana Jones in The Last Crusade (1989)

film
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
A Glastonbury reveller hides under an umbrella at the festival last year

Glastonbury
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Miles Morales is to replace Peter Parker as the new Spider-Man

comics
Arts and Entertainment
The sequel to 1993's Jurassic Park, Jurassic World, has stormed into the global record books to score the highest worldwide opening weekend in history.

film
Arts and Entertainment
Odi (Will Tudor)
tvReview: Humans, episode 2
Arts and Entertainment
Can't cope with a Port-A-loo? We've got the solution for you

FestivalsFive ways to avoid the portable toilets

Arts and Entertainment
Some zookeepers have been braver than others in the #jurassiczoo trend

Jurassic WorldThe results are completely brilliant

Arts and Entertainment
An original Miffy illustration
art
Arts and Entertainment
Man of mystery: Ian McKellen as an ageing Sherlock Holmes
film review
Arts and Entertainment
Kitchen set: Yvette Fielding, Patricia Potter, Chesney Hawkes, Sarah Harding and Sheree Murphy
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Chris Evans has been confirmed as the new host of Top Gear
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Top of the class: Iggy Azalea and the catchy ‘Fancy’
music
Latest stories from i100
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.

    Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

    Making of a killer

    What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
    Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

    Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

    The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
    How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

    How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

    Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
    Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

    One day to find €1.6bn

    Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
    New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

    'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

    Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
    Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

    Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

    The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
    Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

    Historians map out untold LGBT histories

    Public are being asked to help improve the map
    Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

    Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

    This was the year of 24-carat Golden Oldies
    Paris Fashion Week

    Paris Fashion Week

    Thom Browne's scarecrows offer a rare beacon in commercial offerings
    A year of the caliphate:

    Isis, a year of the caliphate

    Who can defeat the so-called 'Islamic State' – and how?
    Marks and Spencer: Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?

    Marks and Spencer

    Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?
    'We haven't invaded France': Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak

    'We haven't invaded France'

    Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak
    Isis in Kobani: Why we ignore the worst of the massacres

    Why do we ignore the worst of the massacres?

    The West’s determination not to offend its Sunni allies helps Isis and puts us all at risk, says Patrick Cockburn
    7/7 bombings 10 years on: Four emergency workers who saved lives recall the shocking day that 52 people were killed

    Remembering 7/7 ten years on

    Four emergency workers recall their memories of that day – and reveal how it's affected them ever since
    Humans: Are the scientists developing robots in danger of replicating the hit Channel 4 drama?

    They’re here to help

    We want robots to do our drudge work, and to look enough like us for comfort. But are the scientists developing artificial intelligence in danger of replicating the TV drama Humans?