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EVEN the most hardy of souls will think twice about joining the health service when they read Bodies by Jed Mercurio (Jonathan Cape, pounds 10), a blistering novel about the medical profession.

For here exists a world inside a hospital that no outsider has been allowed to see, not even the young recruits who arrive there to begin their careers in medicine. They find themselves surrounded by death, disease and suffering - and their only outlets are pitch-black humour and functional sex.

Written by a former doctor and the writer of TV medical drama Cardiac Arrest, this focuses on an idealistic young medic. He faces major responsibilities and massive stress in his first job, which cause him to make a mistake, resulting in a woman's death.

Events gather pace when something happens to shock our protagonist into seeking redemption, even though he can gain it only by challenging the most powerful institutions of medicine.

The piercing message here is of a depressing catalogue of cover-ups, negligence and medical error, which makes for quite a painful read.

ANY chocoholics fretting about gorging on Easter eggs at this time of year shouldn't get too worked up, just read A Chocolate A Day by John Ashton and Suzy Ashton (Souvenir, pounds 6.99).

Chocolate is an irresistible delight to many of us and, of course, we want to know how much we can eat and get away with it.

In this light-hearted look at the health properties of chocolate, we learn that this sweet is actually good for you - that's according to this father and daughter-in-law team of respected researchers.

Author Suzy Ashton, who works as a food research assistant, holds a B.Ed and has an interest in nutrition education, while Dr John Ashton is a Fellow of the Royal Australian Chemical Institute and specialises in health and environmental research.

They have found that a bar of chocolate contains more anti-oxidants than six apples. It is also is better for you than red wine and can help protect your cells against damage and ageing. It's not even that fattening and, contrary to popular myth, doesn't rot your teeth!

IF YOU'VE never worked your way around the world wide web, why not have a go in the Easter holidays with the help of the invaluable guide How To Do Just About Anything on the Internet by Jonathan Bastable (Reader's Digest, pounds 29.99).

This is guaranteed to help even those of us who are entirely ignorant about the internet.

In graphic detail it helps you through elementary tasks, like showing you which buttons to press to send an e-mail, and guides you through the first steps to browsing on the internet.

The second section will lead you to the best websites on a huge variety of subjects, whether you want advice on job hunting, organising a wedding or helping your child to learn online.

For those with a bit more savvy, the final part shows how to set up your own website using HTML, the computer language used to structure documents and set up links to other sites on the web.

So, in no time, you'll be doing your weekly shop online, organising your tax returns, seeking medical advice and realising that the world wide web really is your oyster.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2002 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Mar 23, 2002
Previous Article:bestsellers; BOOKS.

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