AN article in The Guardian newspaper might make you wonder how stressed we Brits are, because it seems that sales of self-help books have reached record levels in the past year.

According to figures from Nielsen Book Research, three million such books were sold – a rise of 20%- turning self-improvement into one of the fastest-growing genres of publishing.

“People come into the shop and they’re really fed up about things. They’re looking for reassurance and peace of mind, so self-help books have become incredibly popular,” said Paul Sweetman, owner of City Books in Hove, Sussex.

Marie Moser, owner of the Edinburgh Bookshop, added: “The new batch of writers are not getting all la-de-da about stuff like mindfulness and mental health – they’re saying this is why it works, this is how you can do it and this is my experience.”

The BBC informs us that a demo tape believed to contain the first recording of David Bowie’s Starman has gone for £51,000 at auction in Newton-le-Willows, Merseyside.

Bowie can be heard on the 1971 demo telling guitarist Mick Ronson he had not finished the song when he tried to end the recording.

Ronson gave the demo to his friend Kevin Hutchinson, but it was packed away in his loft.

Kevin commented: “I remember listening to it and thinking, ‘This is OK.’ I didn’t think, ‘This is fantastic.’”

Dan Hampson, assistant auction manager at Omega Auctions, said the tape was “possibly the first ever demo version of Starman”.

He added: “There’s a lot of Bowie mythology around the writing of this timeless classic, and the raw and truly beautiful version heard here helps to provide a fascinating insight into the creative process of a bona fide genius.”

An exhibition of the work by designer Christian Dior has been extended at the V&A museum in London by seven weeks after it sold out with 19 days of opening, reports The Guardian,

Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams, which was originally scheduled to finish on July 14, will now run until September 1.

“We knew that [the exhibition] would be popular, but we have been overwhelmed by the phenomenal visitor response to-date,” said Tristram Hunt, the director of the V&A, which has so far recorded 121,566 visitors to the exhibition.

It is the largest retrospective of the fashion house ever staged in the UK.

The Independent says that more evidence has been forthcoming about our understanding of prehistoric Britain.

A study of Stonehenge-era archaeological material from large-scale ceremonial feasts reveals that neolithic Britain was, in key respects, much more interconnected and unified than previously thought and that people from virtually every part of the country came together to participate in major, almost certainly politico-religious, ceremonies.

Some participants travelled hundreds of miles from Scotland, north-east England, the Midlands and Wales to significant ritual locations in what are now Wiltshire and Dorset.

The evidence comes from isotopic chemical signatures within the bones and teeth of livestock brought to the feasts by the participants some 4,500 years ago.

Reference list