Paperbacks: Who the Hell's in It?
A Chance Meeting
Gold Warriors
Studio A: The Bob Dylan Reader
Mary Magdalen
Selected Poems
The Blind Rider


Who the Hell's in It? By Peter Bogdanovich (FABER £9.99 (528pp))

Though he occasionally tends towards the hagiographic ("Audrey Hepburn was an inspiration to artistry"), Bogdanovich's portraits of 25 movie greats are revealing and perceptive. Blessed with a keen ear, this Hollywood insider brings the stars vividly to life. Here's James Stewart on the early days of the Oscars: "It was just alawta friends gettin' together. I mean it was swell if ya won but it didn't mean this big deal at the bawx office." And Cary Grant's advice about how to behave on a platform: "Never eat... because they take photographs of you all the time, and they'll get one of you with your mouth open, full of food, and that's the one they'll use." The profile of Bogart is a valuable corrective to the recent cult. "As many people hated him as loved him," the director Nunnally Johnson recalls. Though an "arrogant bastard", Bogie emerges as funny and brave in his final illness. We learn that John Wayne was fond of cussing ("Jeez, isn't it too bad you can't talk like this in pictures?") and that Marlene Dietrich would be a good recruit for the pro-smoking lobby: "I stopped 10 years ago and I've been miserable ever since." Reading this book is the next best thing to seeing these giants on screen. "Yeah," mused Cary Grant. "You could park a car in my nostril." CH

A Chance Meeting, by Rachel Cohen (VINTAGE £8.99 (363pp))

This lively, clever book is sui generis: 36 chapters, each dealing with a single relationship, form a chain of connections running through American culture from Henry James to Norman Mailer. Here is William Dean Howells writing to Mark Twain: "The smoke and the Scotch and the late hours nearly kill us... but what a glorious time." And Gertrude Stein inspired by the poet and dandy Carl Van Vechten: "A touching white inlined ruddy hurry". Cohen is an adroit, engagingly acerbic guide to the couplings, bust-ups and knifings (see Mailer) of American literature. CH

Gold Warriors, by Sterling & Peggy Seagrave (VERSO £8.99 (365pp))

The authors begin their fact-packed chunk of a book with a chill warning: "If we are murdered, readers will have no difficulty figuring out who 'they' are." Deep waters. Their yarn concerns a vast hoard of Japanese gold hidden in the Philippines during the war, which was allegedly used by America to fund bribery and insurgency. The narrative includes entombment of slave workers, a psychic, CIA spooks and a one-ton gold Buddha. Fanciful stuff, perhaps, especially when the authors cite "compliant UK journalists" and the "incestuous relationship" between the US and the UK. That can't be true, can it? CH

Studio A: The Bob Dylan Reader Ed. Benjamin Hedin (NORTON £9.99 (336pp))

This eclectic compendium ranges from Dylanesque rhymes by Ginsberg to 18 pages on "Self Portrait" by Greil Marcus (terse for him). Though Dylan declares "Songwriting, any idiot could do it", the book is freighted with much litcrit, including an uncharacteristically turgid critique by Clive James. Christopher Ricks's specious analysis of "All I Really Want To Do" (" 'Finalize' gets its pouncing power not just from being a word that was American before English") is hilarious in its utter wrong-headedness. CH

Mary Magdalen, by Susan Haskins (PIMLICO £8.99 (518pp))

Though the few, brief references to Mary Magdalen in the New Testament "yield an inconsistent, even contradictory vision", she has become an iconic and ubiquitous figure. Haskins explores how female sexuality, as represented by Mary Magdalen, has been characterised and manipulated by the Church from its earliest days. Pursuing her subject through theology and art over the millennia, from the Gnostic association of women with sexuality and evil to the sexually-charged images of Eric Gill, Haskins concludes that the "true Mary Magdalen" remains a "figure of independence, courage, action, faith and love." CH

Selected Poems, by Sharon Olds (CAPE £12 (148pp))

If Robert Lowell was the king of confessional poetry, Sharon Olds is surely its queen. For more than 25 years she has been writing poetry of startling, visceral intensity about love, sex, death and the pains and animal pleasures of family life. Here are poems of breathtaking candour, redeemed by a tender vulnerability that feels like truth. Fiery, moving, passionate and highly controlled, this is poetry to savour. CP

The Blind Rider, by Juan Goytisolo (SERPENT'S TAIL £8.99 (112pp))

Spain's boldest novelist has lived for years in Marrakech, a city glimpsed throughout this eerie novella-cum-elegy. The ageing narrator, who recalls his revolt against Franco's tyranny and the loss of the one woman he loved, shares the author's career. Yet this haunting meditation on love, time and mortality (in Peter Bush's translation) moves beyond memoir. A dream-like last trip to the Atlas mountains blurs the edges of life and death. BT

Arts and Entertainment

Theatre

Arts and Entertainment
V&A museum in London

Art Piece taken off website amid 'severe security alert'

Arts and Entertainment
Over their 20 years, the band has built a community of dedicated followers the world over
music
Arts and Entertainment
The Wu-Tang Clan will sell only one copy of their album Once Upon A Time In Shaolin
musicWu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own only copies of their latest albums
Arts and Entertainment
Bradley Cooper, Alessandro Nivola and Patricia Clarkson on stage

film
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Reese Witherspoon starring in 'Wild'

It's hard not to warm to Reese Witherspoon's heroismfilm
Arts and Entertainment
Word up: Robbie Coltrane as dictionary guru Doctor Johnson in the classic sitcom Blackadder the Third
books

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

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
The Oscar nominations are due to be announced today

Oscars 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Hacked off: Maisie Williams in ‘Cyberbully’

Maisie Williams single-handedly rises to the challenge

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Eddie Redmayne in The Theory of Everything and Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game are both nominated at the Bafta Film Awards
Arts and Entertainment

Academy criticised after no non-white actors nominated

Arts and Entertainment
Damian Lewis shooting a scene as Henry VIII in Wolf Hall
TV

Arts and Entertainment
A history of violence: ‘Angry, White and Proud’ looked at the rise of far-right groups

tv

An expose of hooliganism masquerading as an ideological battle

Arts and Entertainment

art

Lee Hadwin can't draw when he's awake, but by night he's an artist

Arts and Entertainment

TV

Arts and Entertainment
Michael Keaton in the 1998 Beetlejuice original

film

Arts and Entertainment

TV

Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman and David Tennant star in 'Broadchurch'

TV

Arts and Entertainment
Michael Kitchen plays Christopher Foyle in ITV's 'Foyle's War'

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Downton Abbey star Joanne Froggatt will be starring in Dominic Savage's new BBC drama The Secrets

Arts and Entertainment
Vividly drawn: Timothy Spall in Mike Leigh’s ‘Mr Turner’
film
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
News
art

‘Remember the attackers are a cold-blooded, crazy minority’, says Blek le Rat

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.

    Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

    What the six wise men told Tony Blair

    Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
    25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

    25 years of The Independent on Sunday

    The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
    Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

    Smash hit go under the hammer

    It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
    Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

    The geeks who rocked the world

    A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
    Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

    Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

    Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
    America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

    America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

    These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
    A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

    A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

    A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
    Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

    Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

    A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
    Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

    Growing mussels

    Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project
    Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

    Diana Krall interview

    The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
    Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

    Pinstriped for action

    A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
    Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

    Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

    'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

    Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

    Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine
    Michael Calvin: How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us