PAPERBACKS

! From the Beast to the Blonde by Marina Warner, Vintage pounds 10.99. As a child, Warner read fairy tales in the knowledge she would soon be expected to grow out of them. But why, she asks, when "there is nothing in the least child-like about fairy stories?" This learned, blissfully written dissection of the genre argues that, belonging peculiarly (if not exclusively) to women storytellers, they are a form of literary guerrilla action against the male appropriation of "serious" narrative literature. In between the wicked stepmothers and talking beasts, the subjects are certainly not trivial - sexuality, economics, crime, death - and Warner provides a useful corrective to Jung and his symbols by pointing up the social conditions under which these stories were produced and continually transformed.

! Ireland and the Irish by John Ardagh, Penguin pounds 7.99. "Ireland has always been a special case." From his opening sentence, Ardagh adopts that hazy focus on Ireland which normally steals over the eyes as a fourth Crested Ten slips down. Every country is a special case, you want to shout, particularly when selling itself to a bemused foreign journalist. Plodding its way through the Irish stereotypes to test them for veracity, the book is larded with I've-been-there pronouncements such as "I liked Northern Ireland much better than I expected". Well, that's all right then. There are undoubtedly insights to be had here, but you'd learn almost as much from Roddy Doyle's Barrytown books and have a better time.

! East, West by Salman Rushdie, Vintage pounds 5.99. For readers intimidated by the author's weightier output, these short stories provide an entirely reader-friendly introduction to Rushdie. The title indicates where the points of his twin compasses are planted: East is represented by three marvellously simple tales set in his native country and West by a trio of more allusive, Eurocentred fictions. The final, previously unpublished three stories are about East-West, the Asian experience of England, the place where the compasses are screwed together. The lovely cadences of the prose and very funny dialogue make this book an unmixed delight.

! You'll Never Be Here Again by Mark Blackaby, Gollancz pounds 5.99. Paul and David went to university together, now they are flatmates. David is the beautiful one who entertains a string of equally gorgeous babes. Paul is the tongue-tied computer nerd who narrates the history of their friendship and the sticky end it comes to, detailing on the way his own stuttering difficulties with girls. In its patient reconstruction of student firsts - poker game, doormat honk, kick in the teeth - Blackaby's Betty Trask winner offers a leisurely, misty-eyed lead-up to an abrupt and bloody finale.

! Going Native by Stephen Wright, Abacus pounds 6.99. With Wright, a novelist of the Robert Stone school, American nihilism is the juice that drives the interstate gypsies, video junkies and crack-pipe suckers who populate his pages. Wylie and his wife are middle-incomers in cake-mix America when, without warning and halfway through his own dinner party, he walks out, steals a car and drives away to become Man With No Name. The incidents in his odyssey are each a short story - hitchers picked up, dreamers and drop-outs met along the way - but though the shifting scenes indicate movement, the moral is static. Motives are artificial. To be natural, to be native, is to act without purpose because life is "a culture for the incubation of mystery".

! Shostakovich: A Life Remembered by Elizabeth Wilson, Faber pounds 12.99. Shostakovich was a musician of astounding natural gifts, arguably the only composer flying on the same plane as Mozart in the known history of music. He was also, by reason of time and place, required to live out the creative dilemma with an intensity rarely visited on artists - a brutal struggle between his private impulses and the political imperatives of Joe Stalin's state. The man's resilience emerges as heroic. This is not a biography but a compilation of contemporary memoirs. It gives a splendidly coherent and occasionally very moving portrait.

! The Quark & the Jaguar by Murray Gell-Mann, Abacus pounds 8.99. No, not a story about German yoghurt smeared across Morse's windscreen, but an attempt (no less) to improve on Hawking and sketch a research strategy to discover the Meaning of Life. As scientific heavyweight, Gell-Mann is entitled to climb in the ring with Hawking. Master of 13 languages, the 1969 Nobel- laureate (he discovered and named the quark which, with the electron, is the ultimate building block of matter) is encyclopedically learned about the world beyond science, and frankly lets it show. You need to be physics-literate to get the most out of this, but even science-flunks might find it worth a dip.

Arts and Entertainment
Tim Minchin portrait
arts + entsFor a no-holds-barred performer who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, Tim Minchin is surprisingly gentle
Arts and Entertainment
Clara takes the lead in 'Flatline' while the Doctor remains in the Tardis
tvReview: The 'Impossible Girl' earns some companion stripes... but she’s still annoying in 'Dr Who, Flatline'
Arts and Entertainment
Joy Division photographed around Waterloo Road, Stockport, near Strawberry Studios. The band are Bernard Sumner (guitar and keyboards), Stephen Morris (drums and percussion), Ian Curtis (vocals and occasional guitar), Peter Hook (bass guitar and backing vocals).
booksNew book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer
Arts and Entertainment
Sean Harris in 'The Goob' film photocall, at the Venice International Film Festival 2014
filmThe Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Streisand is his true inspiration
Arts and Entertainment
X Factor contestant Fleur East
tvReview: Some lacklustre performances - but the usual frontrunners continue to excel
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
On top of the world: Actress Cate Blanchett and author Richard Flanagan
artsRichard Flanagan's Man Booker win has put paid to the myth that antipodean artists lack culture
Arts and Entertainment
The Everyman, revamped by Haworth Tompkins
architectureIt beats strong shortlist that included the Shard, the Library of Birmingham, and the London Aquatics Centre
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Justice is served: Robert Downey Jr, Vincent D’Onofrio, Jeremy Strong and Robert Duvall in ‘The Judge’

Film

Arts and Entertainment
Clive Owen (centre) in 'The Knick'

TV

Arts and Entertainment
J.K. Simmons , left, and Miles Teller in a scene from

Film

Arts and Entertainment
Team Tenacity pitch their fetching solar powered, mobile phone charging, heated, flashy jacket
tvReview: No one was safe as Lord Sugar shook things up
News
Owen said he finds films boring but Tom Hanks managed to hold his attention in Forrest Gump
arts
Arts and Entertainment
Bono and Apple CEO Tim Cook announced U2's surprise new album at the iPhone 6 launch
Music Album is set to enter UK top 40 at lowest chart position in 30 years
Arts and Entertainment
The Michael McIntyre Chat Show airs its first episode on Monday 10 March 2014
Comedy
Arts and Entertainment

Review

These heroes in a half shell should have been left in hibernation
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Flanagan with his novel, The Narrow Road to the Deep North
books'The Narrow Road to the Deep North' sees the writer become the third Australian to win the accolade
Arts and Entertainment
New diva of drama: Kristin Scott Thomas as Electra
theatre
Arts and Entertainment
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Daenerys Targaryen, played by Emilia Clarke, faces new problems

Sek, k'athjilari! (That’s “yes, definitely” to non-native speakers).

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Polly Morgan

art
Arts and Entertainment
The kid: (from left) Oona, Geraldine, Charlie and Eugene Chaplin

film
Arts and Entertainment
The Banksy image in Folkestone before it was vandalised

art
Arts and Entertainment

Review: Series 5, episode 4 Downton Abbey
Arts and Entertainment

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.

    Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

    'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

    If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
    James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

    The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

    Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
    Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

    Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

    Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
    Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

    Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

    Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
    How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

    How to dress with authority

    Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
    New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

    New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

    'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
    Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

    Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

    The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
    Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

    Tim Minchin interview

    For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
    Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

    Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

    Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
    Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

    Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

    Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album
    Hugh Bonneville & Peter James: 'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'

    How We Met: Hugh Bonneville & Peter James

    'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's heavenly crab dishes don't need hours of preparation

    Bill Granger's heavenly crab recipes

    Scared off by the strain of shelling a crab? Let a fishmonger do the hard work so you can focus on getting the flavours right
    Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

    Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

    After a remarkable conversion from reckless defender to prolific striker, Monaco's ace says he wants to make his loan deal at Old Trafford permanent
    Terry Venables: Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England

    Terry Venables column

    Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England
    The Inside Word: Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past

    Michael Calvin's Inside Word

    Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past