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Paperbacks

Human Rights In A Big Yellow Taxi by Peter Kerr (Vagabond Voices, £8.95)

Human Rights In A Big Yellow Taxi by Peter Kerr (Vagabond Voices, £8.95)

Are British human rights laws increasingly following American ones? Kerr's provocative analysis may be impassioned but it's also detailed, as he uses the example of a 12-year-old boy who organised a protest against the closure of his local youth club and found the anti-terrorist branch of the local police bearing down on him.

Pfitz by Andrew Crumey (Dedalus Press, £8.99)

A cartographer falls in love with a biographer as they work on the details of an imaginary city in Crumey's splendidly fantastical story. Where is Pfitz, the servant of Count Zelneck? And if he cannot be found, can he be invented? Crumey turns the notion of invention on its head as he explores what makes an individual.

The Sea by John Banville (Picador, £7.99)

Banville's extraordinary yet also controversial 2005 Booker winner is re-released to coincide with a new film of his novel, which may lack, for some, the fluid yet discomfiting sensuousness of his prose. In Max Morden, Banville gives us a man full of regrets, quietly contemplating what might have been, in a grown-up, thoughtful tale.

On Melancholy by Richard Burton (Hesperus Press, £7.99)

Burton's 17th-century opus on the causes and treatments of melancholy - what we now call depression - has some surprisingly modern suggestions, advocating keeping busy as a way of offsetting the things that lay us low. His prose is another surprise, being more accessible than one might think; clear and more concise than his era was known for.

Lesley McDowell

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