Passion, intrigue and feng shui for the discerning reader

A best-seller about the young of the frog? His chapter on Napoleon and Frogspawn is a classic
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The Independent Culture
AS SUMMER approaches, bringing long hours of reading in the garden or on the beach, it's time to bring you another round-up of the best of the fabulous new books on offer.

Love Letters of Blair, Brown and Mandelson, edited by Donald Macintyre, Anathema Press, pounds 29.99

The nation thrilled to the revelations of the three-sided love-hate relationship between Tony, Gordon and Peter, and now this tempestuous menage a trois spawns another major best-seller. "You are the two finest people I know," writes Tony in one particularly lovely passage, "so let's have an end to this crass vendetta or I'll come round and kick your heads in." The language of passion indeed.

Hague - a Lost Leader? by Brian Walden, Peripatetic Press, pounds 29.99

Nobody has ever been sure whether Hague was an inspired leader or a hard-hearted monster who sent thousands of Tory voters to their unnecessary death. Was he an inspired tactician? Or a buffoon who blundered through his years in command before being replaced? Brian Walden wrote this book without notes, never pausing to take a rest, keeping his eye on the screen so obviously there are lots of ums and ers, but the achievement is magnificent. He never quite makes up his mind about Hague - the last half of the book is about Nostradamus and Cardinal Richelieu, suggesting he couldn't keep his mind on the subject - but it is never less than gripping.

The Feng Shui Book of the Eclipse by Geoff Oboe, Tranquillity Press, pounds 29.99

Thought that nobody could think of another reason for writing a book of balderdash about feng shui? Think again! Geoff Oboe (a pseudonym?) has devoted a whole book to where we should be on 11 August, which way we should be facing and what to call your cat if it should be born during the hours of darkness. He also has a list of approved names for Eclipse Babies.

The Post-Feminist Cookbook by Germaine Greer, Polenta Press, pounds 29.99

Fans of her outrageous TV cookery programme, in which Germaine throws ingredients round the kitchen and often at members of the audience she can't stand, will love this boisterous collection of her favourite recipes, swear words and ideas for cooking garden flowers. Germaine Greer has always maintained that alongside the famous male chefs of history there have been talented female cooks who have been forgotten because they weren't pushy enough. Not this one.

The Tadpole in History by Dr. Rabindra Singh, Amber, Wellbred and Truffle, pounds 29.99

"The thinking behind this little volume dedicated to the place of the tadpole in history is that if people could write best-selling books about such minimal historical subjects as the cod, the tulip and longitude," writes Dr Sabindra Singh in his introduction, "maybe I could get away with writing a best-seller about the young of the frog." And so he has. His chapter on Napoleon and Frogspawn is a classic.

An Unsuitable Book by Vikram Seth, Poppadom Press, pounds 29.99.

Vikram Seth's sprawling new novel is about the tragic figure of a writer cut off from the world for half a dozen years, unable to leave his home except to dash out and make occasional broadcasts. This writer, confined to his own quarters, getting older and balder, is gradually consumed by the idea that pop music is important, a fit subject for a grown-up to be interested in. When he comes out of exile he writes an enormous novel set in the world of pop music, because nobody dares tell him it's a non- starter. Seth's message seems to be: Buy a few Haydn CDs and get a life.

Women Are From Venus, Men Are From a Service Area on the M25 by John Greybeard, Garfunkel & Schuster, pounds 29.99.

John Greybeard's theory about the sexes is disarmingly simple. If you write a book with the word "men" in the title and also the word "women", he thinks, you almost certainly have a best-seller on your hands. And he seems to be right.

My Sort of Sunningdale by General Pinochet, Rambling Press, pounds 29.99.

The distinguished Chilean statesman and thinker has been living a secluded life in a leafy suburb of the Home Counties for a year or more, and has had ample opportunity to explore the byways of this still rural part of the world, accompanied only by three armed policemen. He still thinks that his native Chile takes some beating, but has grown very fond of Sunningdale and vastly prefers it to Spain. It is a shame, he says, that such a pretty island as Britain is overcrowded - a few more people should be "disappeared", he jokes, so you don't keep bumping into them. Did he ever bump into Janet Street-Porter? He doesn't say.