Books of the week

Jetlag - How To Beat It (Ascendant, pounds 11.99) by Dr David O'Connell

If you thought overcoming jetlag was simply a case of drinking lots of water and adapting to your new time zone as quickly as possible, then think again. Here is an entirely new gamut of strategies.

The extensive list of references, which includes: "Effects of flying and of time changes on the menstrual cycle length and performance in airline stewardesses," gives some indication of where Dr O'Connell's knowledge stems from. The book contains everything you could possibly wish to know on the subject of jetlag - and a lot more besides. There are interesting sections on subjects such as the effects of jetlag on women undergoing HRT and the types of wines you should avoid and consume.

The Golden Horde: Travels from the Himalaya to Karpathos (Penguin, pounds 8.99) by Sheila Paine.

Sheila Paine's book, The Afghan Amulet, told of the beginning of this quest to discover the meaning behind a strange triangular talisman which had long held her fascination. But unfortunately her first journey, from Islamabad towards Palas in the Hindu Kush, was inconclusive.

In this new book Paine continues her search along the Karakoram Highway, through the former Soviet Union: from Arctic Russia through the lands of the Golden Horde into Central Asia, and later to Karpathos in Greece. The adventure brings her into contact with a man from Leatherhead buying croissants in an Afghan bakery and a German girl who claims to be the great-granddaughter of Lawrence of Arabia.

It would be easy to make the mistake of thinking that a quest based on an embroidery pattern might be a bit of a yawn. But the reader is soon caught up in the writer's enthusiasm to solve the mystery behind what at first appears to be a scarcely interesting amulet. The Golden Horde is the perfect vehicle for Paine's fresh prose, which makes it an easy read.