Paperbacks

Accountable to None by Simon Jenkins (Penguin, pounds 7.99) In this cool, impartial analysis, Jenkins probes the real impact of Thatcherite government, which continues little changed under Major. Not only has the public sector ''take'' from GDP remained stable at 40 per cent since 1970, but government has also tightened its grasp on our public bodies, consistently to their detriment. Jenkins' catalogue of ineptitude and high-handednes in successive areas - education, police, NHS, poll tax, city government - will leave readers seething with indignation. The solution, he says, is a written constitution. Without it, any nation ''will lapse into cynicism ... the first step to anarchy.''

The Pillars of Hercules by Paul Theroux (Penguin, pounds 6.99) While no-one would accuse Theroux of excessive geniality, our acerbic hero's circuit of the Med (anti-clockwise from Gib to Tangier) generates less bile than his previous meandering in the South Pacific. Despite his grouchy reputation, Theroux talks to everyone and his vision remains astonishingly fresh. Just occasionally, you wonder where keen observation stops and padding begins but in general, it's superb entertainment. The low point comes not in shell-holed Dubrovnik but in Albania, a place so ''filthy and deranged'' that Theroux escapes as a stowaway.

The Day the War Ended by Martin Gilbert (HarperCollins, pounds 8.99) Hundreds of first-hand accounts of VE Day are expertly woven into a gripping narrative by our greatest historian of 20th century conflict. The tone is darker than might be expected, with the opening of concentration camp gates revealing the ''wild nightmare'' within. But there is also much joy: a POW thrills to hear Crosby singing ''Blue Skies''; an American girl in Paris informs a soldier ''Nope, not even on VE Day...'' And on a Phillipines island, Onoda Hiroo, left behind after the Japanese retreat continues his one- man campaign until ordered to surrender in 1974.

Homebush Boy by Thomas Keneally (Sceptre, pounds 5.99) 1952 was the ''most succulent and the most dangerous'' year of Thomas Keneally's life. This was the year he turned 17 and decided to cast himself in the role of Romantic poet and aesthete extraordinaire. School tie loosened into a cravat, an OUP edition of Gerard Manley Hopkins poetry bulging from his blazer pocket, he wandered the streets of Homebush (a non-descript suburb 15 miles west of Sydney) trying to look like a cross between Thomas Chatterton and Beethoven. What Australian boys were like before Neighbours.

Career Girls by Louise Bagshawe (Orion, pounds 5.99) Rowena Gordon is blonde, cool, virginal and wants to get into the music business. Topaz Rossi, a red-headed Italian-American with attitude, has her eyes on the editor's chair at Vanity Fair. They meet (and fall out) at Oxford over coffee and chocolate hobnobs, and graduate from being screwed by posh English boys on the banks of the Cherwell, to being screwed by brash New Yorkers in 5th Avenue apartments. A blockbuster of the classiest kind - give it to your 14-year-old niece and she'll love you forever (though it may trigger a life-long aversion to post-coital bagels and cream cheese).

At Eighty Two by May Sarton (Women's Press, pounds 8.99) In this, the last of her journals, poet and novelist May Sarton records her on-going battle with the creative act, and the growing impositions of ''real old age''. As ever, her diary entries are a seductive combination of domestic detail (anticipating a slice of lemon cake after a morning's work, or watching a Whoopi Goldberg video), and poetic reflections on the New England weather. Unsurprisingly, as she grows older, Sarton dwells increasingly on childhood memories - at one point noting that ''even at eighty-one, when you are ill, you want your mother''.

Cold Snap by Thom Jones (Faber, pounds 8.99) Hot on the heels of his highly acclaimed first collection The Pugilist at rest, Thom Jones delivers another batch of sotires about manic, violent characters in a world of extremes. Jones's ''misfit individualists'' include aid-workers in Africa, cosmetic- surgeons in La-la Land, a card-playing baboon named George Babbitt, and an advertising genius with a bad case of the ''Congo trots.'' They're all either on drugs or should be.

The Tortilla Curtain by T. Coraghessan Boyle (Bloomsbury, pounds 5.99) Forget that tricky middle name, just call him ''T.C.'' Boyle, and get on with the fun business of reading one of America's most adventurous novelists. Boyle delivers his best work in this social survey of both sides of contemporary southern California's economic divide - yuppies in gated-communities, and disenfranchised illegal aliens sleeping rough in the canyons. The book's protagonist, Delaney Mossbacher, is the perfect liberal environmentalist - he loves nature, just so long as it doesn't move in next door. Funny, fast, sharp, and absorbing - a Grapes of Wrath for the Nineties.

Voices
Lucerne’s Hotel Château Gütsch, one of the lots in our Homeless Veterans appeal charity auction
charity appeal
Arts and Entertainment
Tony Hughes (James Nesbitt) after his son Olly disappeared on a family holiday in France
tv
News
people

Jo from Northern Ireland was less than impressed by Russell Brand's attempt to stage a publicity stunt

Sport
Scunthorpe goalkeeper Sam Slocombe (left) is congratulated by winning penalty taker Miguel Llera (right)
football
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Arts and Entertainment
The Apprentice candidates Roisin Hogan, Solomon Akhtar, Mark Wright, Bianca Miller, Daniel Lassman
tvReview: But which contestants got the boot?
Life and Style
A woman walks by a pandal art installation entitled 'Mars Mission' with the figure of an astronaut during the Durga Puja festival in Calcutta, India
techHow we’ll investigate the existence of, and maybe move in with, our alien neighbours
Arts and Entertainment
Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels ride again in Dumb and Dumber To
filmReview: Dumb And Dumber To was a really stupid idea
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Ian McKellen tempts the Cookie Monster
tvSir Ian McKellen joins the Cookie Monster for a lesson on temptation
News
i100
Travel
Tourists bask in the sun beneath the skyscrapers of Dubai
travelBritish embassy uses social media campaign to issue travel advice for festive holiday-makers in UAE
Arts and Entertainment
Jennifer Saunders stars as Miss Windsor, Dennis's hysterical French teacher
filmJennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress
Life and Style
tech
Sport
Nabil Bentaleb (centre) celebrates putting Tottenham ahead
footballTottenham 4 Newcastle 0: Spurs fans dreaming of Wembley final after dominant win
Voices
Jimmy Mubenga died after being restrained on an aircraft by G4S escorts
voicesJonathan Cox: Tragedy of Jimmy Mubenga highlights lack of dignity shown to migrants
Life and Style
Sebastian Siemiatkowski is the 33-year-old co-founder and CEO of Klarna, which provides a simple way for people to buy things online
tech
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst

    £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established media firm based in Surrey is ...

    Ashdown Group: Java Developer - Hertfordshire - £47,000 + bonus + benefits

    £40000 - £470000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: Java Developer / J2EE Devel...

    Ashdown Group: Head of Finance - Financial Director - London - £70,000

    £70000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Head of Finance - Financial Controller - Fina...

    Recruitment Genius: Business Development Executive - Nationwide - OTE £65,000

    £30000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This small technology business ...

    Day In a Page

    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

    Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

    The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
    Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

    Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

    The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
    Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

    The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

    Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas
    La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

    Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

    The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie
    10 best high-end laptops

    10 best high-end laptops

    From lightweight and zippy devices to gaming beasts, we test the latest in top-spec portable computers
    Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

    Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

    The batsman has grown disillusioned after England’s Ashes debacle and allegations linking him to the Pietersen affair
    Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

    Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

    The Williams driver has had plenty of doubters, but hopes she will be judged by her ability in the cockpit
    Adam Gemili interview: 'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

    'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

    After a year touched by tragedy, Adam Gemili wants to become the sixth Briton to run a sub-10sec 100m
    Calls for a military mental health 'quality mark'

    Homeless Veterans campaign

    Expert calls for military mental health 'quality mark'
    Racton Man: Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman

    Meet Racton Man

    Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman
    Garden Bridge: St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters

    Garden Bridge

    St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters
    Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament: An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel

    Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament

    An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel
    Joint Enterprise: The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice

    Joint Enterprise

    The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice
    Freud and Eros: Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum: Objects of Desire

    Freud and Eros

    Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum