Recommended Books

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The Independent Culture
Cruel and Unusual by Patricia D Cornwell, Little, Brown, pounds 14.99. Tense and bloodstained thriller from the mortician's slab. Interview by Amanda Craig, 10 July.

The Wine Dark Sea by Patrick O'Brian, HarperCollins, pounds 12.95. Enthralling continuation of the novel-sequence about 18th-century seafarers. Interview by Peter Guttridge, 3 July.

Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha by Roddy Doyle, Secker & Warburg, pounds 12.99. Sharp and funny novel about a 10-year-old trapped in an uncosy boyhood. Review by Giles Smith, 26 June.

Life's Dominion by Ronald Dworkin, HarperCollins, pounds 17.50. Learned and judicious essay about abortion, the law and the meaning of life. Review by Conor Gearty, 12 June.

And when did you last see your father? by Blake Morrison. Extremely moving and detailed memoir of the author's late father: elegiac, confessional and funny.

What Henry James Knew by Cynthia Ozick, Jonathan Cape, pounds 12.99. Brilliant argument in favour of the unusual idea that the best response to modern horrors is to read more Henry James. Review by Anthony Lane, 3 July.