Bridget Jones goes to Budapest

The new Eastern European woman has got a career, a home and a mind of her own. What she hasn't got, of course - in common with her fictional Western counterpart - is a man. By Adam LeBor

Cheltenham Festival: Today's Highlights

Today's Highlights

Charlotte Bronte and Bridget Jones

Literary Notes: Brian Wilkes

Clammy hand with an uncertain grip

Crocodile Soup by Julia Darling Anchor pounds 9.99

The 50 best selling books of the 1990s

Every year, top writers compete to win the Booker Prize. This year's shortlist has just been announced. But while the judges debate their choices, what about the public's taste for fiction? Or, for that matter, non-fiction? Which books have average British readers bought and read over the years? Rachelle Thackray examines the evidence

PRESIDENTIAL CRISIS: Tripp told her not to clean the dress

Analysis of A Relationship

Why Bridget Jones didn't need to write a diary at all

ONE OF the most fruitful sources of material for any kind of comedian or humorist is his or her own inadequacies, and when you have exhausted those you can always turn the pocket torch of your wit on the stupid things done by your nearest and dearest. Maybe you even end up writing pieces about "her indoors", which is the lowest form of humour known to woman, or maybe you spread it around the whole family, as Thurber sometimes did and Hunter Davies did with his Father's Day column in Punch and Dave Barry did with his syndicated column in America...

Theatre: Desdemona deserved it...

DESDEMONA THEATRE ROYAL, BATH

Podium: British culture is dumbing down

From a talk by the co-publisher of `LM' magazine, given at the Edinburgh Books Festival

DEBATE: Are women in the Nineties any better off now they can choose when to have a baby? Two writers argue the question

The right to choose is a clarion call we would do well to ignore, says Linda Kelsey

Books: Don't mention Bridget

Cole Moreton meets former agony uncle Mike Gayle, whose first novel invites big-name comparisons

Bridget Jones's favourite tipple falls out of fashion

IT WAS once the way to sound at ease with a wine list: "The chardonnay, please, and a bowl of your plumpest pistachios." But that fat, buttery, oaky taste may have had its day, writes Vanessa Thorpe. This summer, wine experts are predicting a swing away from the grape that has stamped its flavour over the 1990s.

Books: Independent choice - Bridget Jones clones

Welcome to the post-Bridget Jones generation of heroines, invariably single, of fluctuating weight, fond of cardigans and more familiar than is strictly healthy with Saturday night TV schedules. Nothing very "post" about that, you might say. But if Bridget Jones appealed as Everywoman, Jane Green's Jemima J (Penguin, pounds 5.99), Isabel Wolff's The Trials of Tiffany Trott (HarperCollins, pounds 5.99) and Clare Naylor's Catching Alice (Coronet, pounds 5.99) are ambivalent about the extent to which they want their readers to identify with their characters and crises - be it blowing the fuses with the hairdryer, or the all-absorbing search for a man.

American graffiti

THEY'VE ALREADY contaminated the television airwaves with their scatological gross-outs; now South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone are looking to induce nausea on a larger scale with their movie BASEketball. Directed by David Zucker (Airplane!, Naked Gun), BASEketball stars Parker and Stone as two good-for-nothings who invent a new game, a baseball-basketball conflation whose most striking component is the psyche out - distracting the opposition by any means necessary. (Examples: lactating projectile streams of milk at them, pretending to ingest what's left over from a "Marlon Brando liposuction".)

BEST-SELLERS: PAPERBACKS

1 The God Of Small Things Arundhati Roy Flamingo pounds 5.99
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Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
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The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
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