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Paperbacks

The Quick by Lauren Owen (Vintage, £7.99)

The Quick by Lauren Owen (Vintage, £7.99)

Owen's debut is a clever and stylish postmodern pastiche of gothic vampire fiction, as her Victorian hero, James, becomes involved with a group of individuals in London calling themselves the Aegolius Club. Owen takes her time setting the scene, but you can discern her enthusiasm in this sophisticated piece of fan fiction.

The Sexual Life Of Catherine M by Catherine Millet (Serpent's Tail, £8.99)

Given the press release's mention of Fifty Shades Of Grey, it's easy to see why this bestseller, first published in 1988 and which shocked even French readers with its explicit account of a woman's sexual experiences, has been re-released, but there the comparisons must end. This is a clearly written and important book, however shocking.

A Love Like Blood by Marcus Sedgwick (Mulholland Books, £7.99)

This is YA author Sedgwick's first adult novel and what an unputdownable read it is. Charles Jackson is a studious and lonely Cambridge haematologist, unremarkable and unnoticeable, but during the war he witnessed a sinister act that subsequently sets him on a dark journey through parts of France. A gripping but intelligent and sensitive thriller.

Scottish Independence: A Feminist Response by Cat Boyd and Jenny Morrison (Word Power, £6.99)

The Yes campaign may be struggling to win women to its side in the referendum but can this timely, if over-expensive pamphlet (at £6.99 for only 92 pages), setting out why independence will benefit women particularly, do the job? The authors consider women and war, domestic violence, cultural sexism and economics in clear, accessible language.

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