The cream of the latest must-read books

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Indy Lifestyle Online
You might think, with the great increase in book clubs and reading circles, that people no longer need to be told what to read.

But of course the reason they join book clubs in the first place is precisely that they do not know what to read and want to be told.

So I feel I am doing a public service in bringing you a round-up today of some of the more interesting books which have recently entered the bookshops.

Pompey by Robert Harris: A retelling of the classic tale of the town that was struck down by fate out of a blue sky.

One moment, Portsmouth was jogging along gently in a mid-table situation, the next moment, without anyone having a clue what was about to happen, its manager Harry Redknapp had resigned and gone to dreaded rivals Southampton, taking half the staff with him.

The novel reaches its ghastly climax as the two teams meet in the FA Cup and, although Portsmouth are down to 10 men, they look to be cruising to a replay when, out of nowhere, they are overwhelmed by a dodgy penalty decision. Harris tells the story beautifully through the eyes of an innocent T-shirt franchise-holder.

The Admiral Nelson Cookbook: The first of the season's 1805 tie-in specials. If you like stewed goat, this is for you.

No Sikhs Please - We're British! by Ray Cooney: The text of the controversial West End smash-hit play, which tells the story of the controversial Birmingham theatre play, which told the controversial story of how the Sikh community found the play just a bit too controversial.

The point seems to be that the Sikh community has not been in Britain long enough to understand that theatre isn't for real, it's just two hours of make-believe, for heaven's sake, and nothing that happens in the theatre is nearly as grim and serious as trying to find a taxi home afterwards.

The 1,000 Best B 'n' B's in Britain by Simon Jenkins: While doing his research for his books on the thousand best churches, and thousand best houses, in Britain, Simon Jenkins had to stay in a lot of out-of-the-way and down-at-heel bed and breakfast establishments.

This has now become his third volume, in which he extols the architectural and historic qualities of myriad overnight lodgings up and down our island. Oddly enough, he says nothing about the food or the accommodation in any of them.

The Admiral Nelson Grog Recipe Book: If you want to know more than 100 ways of mixing rum, lime juice and sugar, this is for you.

Presses, Pants and Flies by Lynne Truss: Lynne Truss's book seems, as far as we can make out, to be a study of the extreme difficulty of writing a sequel to a one-off bestseller.

Oh, the title of the book comes apparently from the story about the man who goes into a bar and orders a drink. Before it comes, he gets up on to the bar counter and does 30 quick press-ups. He gets off, breathing stertorously, and leaves the premises by taking off through the window.

"What the hell ... ?" says the barman.

The man comes back in through the door and says: "I'm a laundryman. Look it up," and departs. The barman and other customers look it up in a dictionary, and it says: "Laundryman: Worker in the cleaning industry who presses pants and flies."

The barman says: "Well, I sort of get the point, but I don't think it works as well as what that panda said yesterday."

The Horatio Nelson Keep Fit Book: If you want a set of exercises to do, and you've only got one eye and one arm, you'll never find a better book than this.