Paperbacks: How I Live Now

Night Windows

Blackbird House

I'll Go to Bed at Noon



Like a Fiery Elephant

Meg Rosoff's apocalyptical debut was originally marketed as a children's book but, like all the best novels for early teens, it contains some decidedly adult material. The novel's narrator, Daisy, is an anorexic New Yorker shipped off to England for a summer holiday with her four cousins in rural England. She finds herself falling in love with her new life in the country. Country cousins Edmond, Osbert, Piper and Isaac smoke cigarettes, drive cars and regularly commune with nature. Daisy's aunt Penn, a kindly distant figure, shows her niece a care and attention she hasn't received since her own mother's death. Within days of Daisy's arrival, however, aunt Penn, disappears on a business trip. It's during her absence that a series of terrorist attacks take place in London. The eccentric band of cousins are left to fend for themselves. Rosoff's story of survival and living off the land stumbles into taboo territory only when Daisy and Edmond find themselves kissing in the lambing barn. Wartime offers "the perfect limbo in which two people who were too young and too related could start kissing without anyone or anything to make us stop". Both children and parents will enjoy Daisy's smart, ironic style. Sex and death are to the fore, but hidden in a near mythical landscape of bucolic woods and meadows. EH

Night Windows by Jonathan Smith (ABACUS £7.99 (327pp))

Trailblazing headmaster, novelist and media star, Patrick Balfour is the envy of his London teaching peers. Then one morning, fresh from school assembly, he is arrested. The police seem to have incontrovertible proof that he is a thief, fraudster and a paedophile. This superior psychological thriller captures the power-trip of headship, and the gradual disintegration of a man for whom calm authority is central to his sense of self. Smith's novel has you guessing about the identity of the thief, but it's the identity of the victim that proves more interesting. This whodunnit has a satifyingly logical payoff. EH

Blackbird House by Alice Hoffman (VINTAGE £6.99 (225pp))

In her latest collection of short fiction, Alice Hoffman turns decidedly agricultural, bringing together the stories of the inhabitants of a Cape Cod farmhouse over the course of 200 years. Central to most of them is the humble turnip - apparently Nathaniel Hawthorne's preferred root veg. In the opening story, "The Edge of the World", 18th-century fisherman John Hadley plants a turnip crop, only to be drowned at sea before the first harvest. In the last story , "Wish You Were Here", set in the present day, a cancer survivor moves into the house and teaches a young boy the art of turnip chutney. These are New England fairy tales with a feminist edge. EH

I'll Go to Bed at Noon by Gerard Woodward (VINTAGE £6.99 (437pp))

The poet Gerard Woodward's first novel, August, described a series of camping holidays taken by a London family in the 1960s. His second catches up with the Jones family ten years on, and finds them more interested in alcohol than tents. Mother Colette's addiction to glue has moved on to barley wine. Her brother, Janus Brian, brews up home-made cordials made from garden produce. London's answer to Jonathan Franzen, Woodward writes with black humour about a family for whom drunkenness and dysfunction are the norm. EH

Blockbuster by Tom Shone (SIMON & SCHUSTER £8.99 (339pp))

In this passionate, witty and hugely entertaining book, Tom Shone counters the new orthodoxy, voiced by Susan Sontag among others, that the birth of the blockbuster signalled the onset of "an ignominious, irreversible decline". Starting with Jaws ("fast and funny and tender and oblique") and moving on through Star Wars and Alien to Lord of the Rings, he offers a brilliant, incisive account of the craftsmanship, vision and sheer marketing weight that created these thrill-a-minute, box-office-record-breaking hits. "Sex was everywhere in Alien," he says, "except... between the characters". CP

Ghosting by Jennie Erdal (CANONGATE £7.99 (270pp))

Coverage of this delicious memoir has focused on Erdal's 15 years as the literary alter ego of "Tiger", the "exotic" tycoon and publisher whose books - research-rich interviews, then ludicrous erotica - she brought to birth. Yet Ghosting has many other virtues. Slyly funny in a pawky Scots style, it has plenty of acute things to say about the various forms of masquerade that fill both books and life. When the gossip has died down, a modest classic will surely remain. BT

Like a Fiery Elephant by Jonathan Coe (PICADOR £9.99 (486pp))

Coe's bold life of the "heretic" novelist B S Johnson deserves all the readers that his sad, gifted subject struggled to find. Section by section, Coe gives the tired wardrobe of British literary biography a magnificent makeover, from his blend of anthology and narration to the closing collage of interviews. So why has Picador sold him short with tiny type and bog-standard paper? Shame on them - but do read it.BT

i100 In this video, the late actor Leonard Nimoy explains how he decided to use the gesture for his character
Arts and Entertainment
Secrets of JK Rowling's Harry Potter workings have been revealed in a new bibliography
arts + ents
Robert De Niro has walked off the set of Edge of Darkness
news The Godfather Part II actor has an estimated wealth of over $200m
Arts and Entertainment
Fearne Cotton is leaving Radio 1 after a decade
radio The popular DJ is leaving for 'family and new adventures'
Robbie Savage will not face a driving ban
football'Mr Marmite' faced the possibility of a 28-day ban
Life and Style
Nearly half of all young people in middle and high income countries were putting themselves at risk of tinnitus and, in extreme cases, irreversible hearing loss
It was only when he left his post Tony Blair's director of communications that Alastair Campbell has published books
people The most notorious spin doctor in UK politics has reinvented himself
Life and Style
The new model would be a “pedal assist” bike in which the rider’s strength is augmented by the engine on hills and when they want to go fast
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Life and Style
Arts and Entertainment
James Franco and Zachary Quinto in ‘I Am Michael’
filmJustin Kelly's latest film tells the story of a man who 'healed' his homosexuality and turned to God
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower