Words: gormless, adj.

DISCRETION VEILS the occasion when an utterance was deemed gormless but, at the same time, there came to mind puzzlement about the gorm that is apparently lacking.

Virgin Mary's `diary' attacked

THE REV David Wilbourne seemed to anticipate a panning for his colourfully modern story of the Virgin Mary. He secured the backing of heavyweights including the Archbishop of York and the Bishop of Liverpool before writing A Virgin's Diary - a mix of the New Testament and Bridget Jones - which is due to be published next month.

Words: spinster, n.

THE Brighton Evening Argus described a murdered woman in Worthing as a spinster. It must use the Collins dictionary, which lets it pass without warning. The Concise Oxford calls it "chiefly derogatory" and Encarta an "offensive term".

Words: salt, adj.

THE GOVERNMENT decree on salt could be more subtle. If palate were on the national curriculum, more would abandon the magnesium-tainted stuff and crumble varieties of sea salt.

Comment: Roll on the new role models

Everywhere you looked there were beautiful women with glacial smiles and guns

Book review: Frissons, foursomes and falling in love

A Girl's Guide to Hunting and Fishing by Melissa Bank Viking pounds 9.99

Diary of a taciturn novelist

A striking wooden sculpture of the central figure in a local story of the 17th century - marriage to Meg was offered as an alternative to the gallows for Willie Scott who had attempted to steal cattle.

Scotland's ugliest woman honoured

She was the Bridget Jones of her day. Desperate to wed, Muckle Mou'd Meg, heroine of a famous Scottish ballad, could find no takers.

Welcome to the locker room

TONY PARSONS asked some (male) friends around for a chat about - you guessed it - women. Are you ready for The Truth?

Books: All hail a new literary genre! And guess what, it's strangely familiar

White City Blue by Tim Lott Viking pounds 15.99



Q: Do you have `Bridget Jones's Diary'? A: No. Can you come back in six months?

MODERN AND popular fiction has borne the brunt of budget cuts to book funds for public libraries, a survey by The Independent has revealed.

Books: Fear and loathing from Newmarket to Las Vegas

Twelve Grand by Jonathan Rendall Yellow Jersey Press, pounds 10, 250pp; Is it a novel? Is it a memoir? Laura Thompson hedges her bets but appreciates some good value from this wayward punter's odyssey

Poor Di - vanquished again by a remorseless Camilla

YESTERDAY I brought you the results of my research into the favourite boys' names of 1998 (based on the frequency of their appearance in the year's news headlines), and today we come to the most popular girls' names for the same period.

Letter: Men as scapegoats

Sir: So, premature spinsterhood afflicts women east of Berlin too, does it? ("Bridget Jones goes to Budapest", 24 November). Having Adam LeBor relay the news doesn't make the analysis any less facile. Once again, men are the problem sex, their fragile egos threatened by independent- minded women. But at least it diverts Bridget's attention from her own inadequacies.
Latest stories from i100
Career Services

Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 15 May 2015
Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific