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 The final, previously unpublished three stories are about East-West, the Asian experience of England, the place where the compasses are screwed together.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
TVDessert week was full of the usual dramas as 'bingate' ensued
Arts and Entertainment
Vinyl demand: a factory making the old-style discs
musicManufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl
Arts and Entertainment
David Baddiel concedes his show takes its inspiration from the hit US series 'Modern Family'
comedyNew comedy festival out to show that there’s more to Jewish humour than rabbi jokes
Arts and Entertainment
Prince and 3RDEYEGIRL are releasing Plectrum Electrum next month

music
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Madame Vastra and Jenny Flint kiss in Doctor Who episode 'Deep Breath'

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Steve Carell in the poster for new film 'Foxcatcher'
filmExclusive: First look at comic actor in first major serious role
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Kingston Road in Stockton is being filmed for the second series of Benefits Street
arts + entsFilming for Channel 4 has begun despite local complaints
Arts and Entertainment
Led Zeppelin

music
Arts and Entertainment
Radio presenter Scott Mills will be hitting the Strictly Come Dancing ballroom
TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and Clara have their first real heart to heart since he regenerated in 'Deep Breath'
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Beyonce performs in front of a Feminist sign at the MTV VMAs 2014

music
Arts and Entertainment
Miley Cyrus has taken home the prize for Video of the Year at the MTV Video Music Awards 2014

music
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Paige and Scott Lowell in Queer as Folk (Season 5)
tvA batch of shows that 'wouldn't get past a US network' could give tofu sales an unexpected lift
Arts and Entertainment
books... but seller will be hoping for more
Arts and Entertainment
John Kearns winner of the Foster's Edinburgh Comedy Award with last years winners: Bridget Christie and Frank Skinner
comedyJohn Kearns becomes the first Free Fringe act to win the top prize
Arts and Entertainment
Professor Sue Vice
booksAcademic says we should not disregard books because they unexpectedly change genre
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie Muscato performs as Michael Crawford in Stars in Their Eyes

TV
Arts and Entertainment
‘Game of Thrones’

TV
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
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.

    Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

    Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

    Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
    Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

    Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

    The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
    America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

    America’s new apartheid

    Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone
    Amazon is buying Twitch for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?

    What is the appeal of Twitch?

    Amazon is buying the video-game-themed online streaming site for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?
    Tip-tapping typewriters, ripe pongs and slides in the office: Bosses are inventing surprising ways of making us work harder

    How bosses are making us work harder

    As it is revealed that one newspaper office pumps out the sound of typewriters to increase productivity, Gillian Orr explores the other devices designed to motivate staff
    Manufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl records

    Hard pressed: Resurgence in vinyl records

    As the resurgence in vinyl records continues, manufacturers and their outdated machinery are struggling to keep up with the demand
    Tony Jordan: 'I turned down the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series nine times ... then I found a kindred spirit'

    A tale of two writers

    Offered the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series, Tony Jordan turned it down. Nine times. The man behind EastEnders and Life on Mars didn’t feel right for the job. Finally, he gave in - and found an unexpected kindred spirit
    Could a later start to the school day be the most useful educational reform of all?

    Should pupils get a lie in?

    Doctors want a later start to the school day so that pupils can sleep later. Not because teenagers are lazy, explains Simon Usborne - it's all down to their circadian rhythms
    Prepare for Jewish jokes – as Jewish comedians get their own festival

    Prepare for Jewish jokes...

    ... as Jewish comedians get their own festival
    SJ Watson: 'I still can't quite believe that Before I Go to Sleep started in my head'

    A dream come true for SJ Watson

    Watson was working part time in the NHS when his debut novel, Before I Go to Sleep, became a bestseller. Now it's a Hollywood movie, too. Here he recalls the whirlwind journey from children’s ward to A-list film set
    10 best cycling bags for commuters

    10 best cycling bags for commuters

    Gear up for next week’s National Cycle to Work day with one of these practical backpacks and messenger bags
    Paul Scholes: Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United

    Paul Scholes column

    Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United
    Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo music review: A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it

    Kate Bush shows a voice untroubled by time

    A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it
    Robot sheepdog technology could be used to save people from burning buildings

    The science of herding is cracked

    Mathematical model would allow robots to be programmed to control crowds and save people from burning buildings
    Tyrant: Is the world ready for a Middle Eastern 'Dallas'?

    This tyrant doesn’t rule

    It’s billed as a Middle Eastern ‘Dallas’, so why does Fox’s new drama have a white British star?