The hold a beloved bear can have on a young mind is quite remarkable

Long-lost teddies: The joy of being reunited with a beloved bear

The heart-wrenching loss of a much-loved teddy is one of the trials of childhood. Gillian Orr discovers that surprise reunions and happy endings can happen

Dictator's dinner: Hitler tailored his diet to cope with his chronic flatulence

Dictators' Dinners: From Hitler's vegetarianism to Kim Jong-Il's Iranian caviar

John Walsh reads up on the dos and don'ts of dining with history's great dictators

WIN! 2014's best books

Happy Christmas from The Independent on Sunday! As our gift to you, we have sorted out your Christmas shopping. On 14 and 21 December, the IoS books section will reveal its books of the year, just in time for you to give them as presents. Even better, a handful of lucky readers stand a chance to win a stocking-full of books, so if you win, all you will have to do is the wrapping. Whether you’re struggling to find something for the film buff who has everything, trying to please that cricket-mad auntie, or hoping to keep your kids entertained until at least Boxing Day, we have some ideas for you.

Boy in homemade costume reading a book

Best books for children this Christmas: Part one

In the first of three round-ups, Susan Elkin reviews titles aimed at age 12 and above

The Novel Cure: Literary prescriptions for having a partner who is ill

Ailment: Having a partner who is ill

By royal appointment: two of the volumes released today

Penguin has embarked on a four-year project to chronicle the lives of all 45 of our monarchs

From Athelstan to Elizabeth IIs, Gillian Orr discovers some great pub facts
Halfway to paradise: the last leg of Zekarias Kebraeb’s journey – by sea – was the most frightening

A voyage through hell: One asylum seeker's epic journey from Eritrea to a new life in Europe

Zekarias Kebraeb was 17 when he fled Eritrea to escape conscription. Now he has written an extraordinary book describing his epic journey to Europe. In this extract he describes the most perilous episode of all

Books of the year 2014: Science, from Brian Cox to The Gene that Cracked the Cancer Code

Authors tackle evolution, extinction and the future of cancer treatments

Books of the year 2014: The best short stories

A strong year for short fiction thanks to innovators and exciting newcomers

Books of the year 2014: The best art/gift books

From David Dawson's images of Lucian Freud to TS Eliot's Ariel Poems

Books of the year 2014: Sport, from Oscar Pistorius to Kevin Pietersen's autobiography

John Carlin's The Trials of Oscar Pistorius: Chase Your Shadow contends that, in these post-Mandela days the exceedingly complex Pistorius is a more telling and accurate symbol of South Africa even than Madiba himself

Books of the year 2014: The best biographies

From Andrew Roberts's Napoleon the Great to the dysfunctional relationship between Tennessee Williams and his mother in Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh

Books of the year 2014: Fiction in translation

It has been a strong year for fresh versions of the classics

Books of the year 2014: The best crime fiction

From serial axe murderer in early 20th-century New Orleans to a bitter Venetian saga of suicide and revenge

The best books of 2014: These Christmas reads are so good you won't want to give them away

From the best debut fiction to literary and celebrity memoirs, our reviewers select their pick of this year's crop...

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