IN&OUTTONIGHT REVIEWS 24 Tuesday, 30 June 2009 London Lite I always wondered what actually qualifies somebody to write a sex book. what specialised knowledge do they have that spurs so many keen learners to read on, in the vain hope of transforming themselves from a slightly nervous and possibly boring bed partner to a chandelier-swinging and desirable one instead? Must you have slept around for instance, or just have slept with the right people? an Education answers this question. It seems that a little bit of both works quite well, and a career starting at Penthouse magazine helps, too. This book tells the story of journalist lynn Barbers interesting life so far, beginning with her studious childhood and taking in her first highly unsuitable boyfriend at 16, her wild party phase at Oxford University and her first proper job at Penthouse. It also includes highlights from her varied journalistic career -- including those infamous sex books (How To Improve your Man In Bed, The single womans sex Book and so on). an Education is brutally honest and extremely funny, but equally it has its sad points, leaving you feeling that you have scratched the surface of this notoriously tough writer, if not cracked her completely. while you wont get that sort of education reading this book, you will learn a thing or two about why Barber is qualified to teach it. REBECCA BOYCE Y OU dont reach your thirties as a single girl in London without enduring your fair share of eye-scrapingly aw- ful dates. Several of mine have become urban legend, but sadly most are unrepeatable here. Londoner Jane Bussmanns worst date ever, to which the title of this book refers, involved a heart-stoppingly handsome American peace-broker bloke, a swollen pus-filled lip (hers, the result of trying to operate on a mouth ulcer with a dirty safety pin), a duplicitous army chief and an exotic Ugandan setting. Okay, she wins, but only by virtue of the location. Ive incurred much worse than a pus-filled lip. You might have heard of Bussmann -- she used to write radio and TV comedy, everything from Loose Ends to Brass Eye and Smack The Pony -- with enormous success. But, disillusioned with her career, she legged it to Hollywood, lured by lucrative film deals, to write movie scripts. While (very slowly) crafting her block- buster, she accidentally began earning a crust as a celebrity journalist and became pretty successful at that too, albeit, she claims, by fabricating quotes from Ashton Kutcher and making up entire interviews with Britney. Disillusioned with her new career (do you detect a theme here?), she headed to Africa, her motives lengthy and bonk- ers, but boiled down she pretended to be a foreign correspondent as a ruse to get the dishy do-gooder Washington peace chap John Prendergast to fancy her. The book is based on Bussmanns Edinburgh Fringe show, and for the first 100 or so pages, youll want to slap her. I did. Her one-liners and flippant pay-offs might work in sitcoms and stand-ups, but on the page they seem shallow and juvenile. Her trite observations, vacuous asides and hyperbolic, self-deprecating tosh are hugely irritating. Mercifully, when shes thrust into the middle of a real story -- the kidnap of 30,000 children by vicious Ugandan rebel leader Joseph Kony -- she pulls it back. As she delves further into the horrify- ing tangle of Ugandas child soldiers and sex slaves, the governments complicity, the shambolic food aid and the Aids epidemic, she almost forgets about chasing John and nearly becomes the foreign correspondent she has been masquerading as. As she notes when she meets a woman whose husband has been beheaded in front of her, nothing is funny any more. However, this being a tale that begins and ends in Hollywood, there is a suit- able final act, of course. She has been asked to turn her story into a film. REVIEWSBOOKS A dangerous dating game Thenecessaryqualifications forlessonsinsexeducation Strange turn: Bussmanns pursuit took her to Uganda CRIME The Twelve ByStuartNeville(HarvillSecker,12.99) HHHHH IF DAVID PArKS The Truth Commissioner was the first notable post-Troubles novel to examine the pain and guilt of the protagonists of Northern Irelands sectarian war, then Stuart Nevilles The Twelve is the first classic crime novel to address similar issues. Gerry Fegan, a former republican hitman, is haunted by the ghosts of the 12 people he has slaughtered. Indeed, Fegan is so troubled by the relentless demands for revenge from the 12, that he nightly drowns himself in a sea of whiskey just so he can get some sleep. Then one of the ghosts offers Fegan a solution -- kill those who ordered him to commit the atrocities. Slowly, Fegan shrugs off his alcohol dependency and resolves to take on some of the fiercest characters of the republican movement. Nevilles debut novel may have started out being written on his mobile phone but theres nothing transitory or trashy about The Twelve -- its an accomplished, tightly plotted and compassionate work that has you rooting for a killer who wants to right wrongs even if means making the ultimate sacrifice. This is an unqualified triumph. PAUL CONNOLLY THIs starts with love rat stats: three in four men will cheat at some point in their lives, and one in four will have more than four affairs. while it feels a bit lindsay lohan to label everyone a cheater, this book suggests you might as well assume it will happen to you and prepare accordingly. stimsons nemesis is sarah symonds: the woman who wrote a Handbook For The Other woman, and who claimed to be Gordon Ramsays mistress. Its hard to imagine Tana Ramsay would take much comfort from her words, though. The assumption is that men are lazy halfwits who wont stray as long as theyre getting enough action. If hes playing away, its your fault. Despite being sporadically amusing, this assumes men are womens property, and marriage is a business arrangement to keep you in Tiffany -- and if you dont buy into that idea, youre better off saving your money. AMBER COWAN A YOUNG russian- speaking illegal immigrant turns up in Hamburg armed only with the name of an exclusive British private banker and sketchy details of a mysterious numbered account. His body bears signs of torture, and his case is soon taken up by a human rights lawyer. But is the boy the innocent victim he seems, or is he connected to a Muslim terrorist cell? A little short of le Carrs best, but still streets ahead of the competition.SIMON SHAW A Most Wanted Man ByJohnleCarr (Hodder,7.99) Newpaperbacks AUTOBIOGRAPHY An Education ByLynnBarber(Penguin,8.99) HHHII THE 19TH century, the zenith of the British empire, saw the birth of the mass travel industry, thanks to the advent of Thomas Cook and his package deals. Nicholas Murrays richly entertaining book is mostly concerned with the independent- minded travellers, from idle gentlemen to Christian missionaries, who looked down their noses on the ordinary tourist. SS A Corkscrew Is Most Useful ByNicholasMurray (Abacus12.99) TEENS (and not a few adults) have been swooning over the beautiful vampires of her Twilight books, and now Stephenie Meyer turns to sci-fi for grown-ups. The Earth is invaded by aliens whose souls take over humans. Not original, but the twist is that alien Wanderer cant help listening to the thoughts of Melanie, whose body she inhabits, falling in love with Jared, the man Melanie obsesses over. The (female) reader cant help falling for Jared, either. Scarily addictive. LAUREN PAXMAN The Host ByStephenieMeyer (Sphere,7.99) THE BIG READ The Worst Date Ever ByJaneBussmann(Macmillan,11.99) HHHII JANE MULKERRINS RELATIONSHIPS Beat The Bitch ByTessStimson(Macmillan,11.99) HHIII Wild living: Lynn Barber index.html2.html3.html4.html5.html6.html7.html8.html9.html10.html11.html12.html13.html14.html15.html16.html17.html18.html19.html20.html21.html22.html23.html24.html25.html26.html27.html28.html29.html30.html31.html32.html33.html34.html35.html