Updike by Adam Begley, book review: A biography shows that John Updike's talent was for fiction, not domestic drama

In 1999,John Updike contributed an essay about what he called "the Judas biography" to the New York Review of Books. "I raise the possibility," he wrote, "that we resent a fiction writer's manipulation of his private life, including the private life of those around him, and rejoice when he or she loses control."

Bonita Avenue by Peter Buwalda, trans Jonathan Reeder, book review: Dutch bestseller about internet porn lives up to hype

"If everything Gerrit said was true, then it was awful for his father, really and truly, but what did a judo club in Delft have to do with the war in Asia?" This strange question, one of thousands in Bonita Avenue, is asked by Siem Sigerius. By day, he is a university professor, maths genius, intellectual celebrity in Holland and revered patriarch, albeit with father issues. He is sufficiently beloved that a paparazzi snap of his naked torso is a cause for jovial celebration, not public shame.

Autocratic leader: Joseph Stalin in 1950

The Myth of the Strong Leader by Archie Brown, book review: No politician wants to be seen as weak, but allowing ultimate power can be damaging

At one point in this persuasive analysis of political leadership, Archie Brown describes how after Khrushchev denounced Stalin in his 1956 "secret speech" he received a letter from an old Bolshevik recollecting a discussion with Stalin 30 years earlier.

Every Day is for the thief by Teju Cole, book review: Finding hell and hope in Lagos

Many years after leaving home, estranged from his immediate family, Teju Cole's protagonist has made a new life for himself in New York. The book begins with a visit to the Nigerian embassy – an opening that will have anyone who has survived the experience of applying in person for a visa in immediate sympathy with the unnamed protagonist.

A Philosophy of Walking by Frédéric Gros, book review: Re-engaging with physical pursuits can provide an escape from the digital life

Every action has an equal and opposite reaction, Isaac Newton told us long ago. As we enfold ourselves more and more in the digital world a contrary impulse has arisen, the desire for a direct re-engagement with the physical world through activity, whether it be mountaineering, potholing, cycling or walking.

The First Rule of Survival by Paul Mendelson, book review: Twist in tale spoils gripping read

I'm in a quandary over this book. It is astonishingly well written for a first novel, has a fast-moving narrative and fascinating characters. Add to this the complex social questions arising from the South African setting, and it must be a sure-fire gripping read. Which it is – until the very last pages, which I found morally repulsive and in denial of recently established facts. I shan't give the game away: readers must make up their own minds.

A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett, book of a lifetime

I haven't read it for years but it is part of me, so ingrained that I know it formed my tastes and beliefs. A Little Princess has been loved by thousands of little girls, but I claim that it is responsible for the shape of my life.

Jean Shrimpton photographed by Duffy

1965: The Year Modern Britain Was Born by Christopher Bray, book review

The Sixties didn't begin when we think they did – or so this revisionist cultural history claims

The Man Who Couldn't Stop by David Adam, book review: What it's like to live with OCD – and to try to find a cure

David Adam is a successful writer. He also has obsessive-compulsive disorder, OCD. This condition is thought to affect two-to-three per cent of the population at some point, meaning a million people in the UK will experience it. It is a disabling condition, with those who have it more likely to be unemployed, unmarried, celibate, divorced, and childless. Few recover without treatment, yet two thirds never seek psychiatric help. The condition involves frequent irrational, intrusive thoughts which cause distress, and rituals, or compulsions, which are usually physical but can be mental, to try and banish the thoughts. The compulsions offer only temporary relief, and in the long-term, accentuate the obsessions.

Book reivew: Orfeo by Richard Powers

Richard Powers's much-lauded fiction has something of George Eliot's Casaubon about it. Forbiddingly clever, its restless forms strive to offer a Unified Theory of Everything, joining the dots between maths, biology, computing, music, art, nature and literature. Powers seeks a key, not just to all mythologies, but to existence itself.

Book review: Parliament: The Biography by Chris Bryant

Chris Bryant, a former deputy leader of the House of Commons and a Labour MP since 2001, recently tweeted in praise of a "splendid" speech by Hilary Benn dedicated to his deceased father, Tony. MPs burst into applause, which, Bryant reminded his 34,000 followers, is "unparliamentary".

Book review: Everyday Sexism By Laura Bates

Two years ago, journalist Laura Bates set up a website to log the sexist abuse she received on an almost daily basis and invited others to do the same. In a climate in which many believe sexism no longer exists, she wanted to assess the scale of a problem about which the majority of women stay silent.

Young adult book reviews: War's hell, but childbirth and the future are scary too

In the second of our Easter specials, Susan Elkin looks at holiday reading for young adults, from dystopia to the Somme

Book review: Frog Music by Emma Donoghue

Emma Donoghue’s eighth novel is her first since Room (2010), which was inspired by the Joseph Fritzl case and propelled her to global bestseller status from the ranks of the excellent-but-underappreciated historical novelists. Like Room, this novel is also based on a real life crime, but a very different one. Set in 1876 San Francisco, a city sweltering under a heatwave, a smallpox epidemic and festering racism and fear, it begins somewhat daringly with the murder of its best character.

Arts & Entertainment
Who laughs lass: Jenny Collier on stage
ComedyCollier was once told there were "too many women" on bill
Arts & Entertainment

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Don (John Hamm) and Megan (Jessica Paré) Draper are going their separate ways in the final series of ‘Mad Men’
tvReview: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
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James Franco and Chris O'Dowd in Of Mice and Men on Broadway

Review: Of Mice and Men

Arts & Entertainment

By opportunistic local hoping to exhibit the work

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Leonardo DiCaprio will star in an adaptation of Michael Punke's thriller 'The Revenant'

Fans will be hoping the role finally wins him an Oscar

Arts & Entertainment
Cody and Paul Walker pictured in 2003.

Arts & Entertainment
Down to earth: Fern Britton presents 'The Big Allotment Challenge'

Arts & Entertainment
The London Mozart Players is the longest-running chamber orchestra in the UK
musicThreatened orchestra plays on, managed by its own members
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Seeing red: James Dean with Sal Mineo in 'Rebel without a Cause'

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Heads up: Andy Scott's The Kelpies in Falkirk

What do gigantic horse heads tell us about Falkirk?

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artGraffiti legend posts picture of work – but no one knows where it is
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A close-up of Tom of Finland's new Finnish stamp

Finnish Postal Service praises the 'self irony and humour' of the drawings

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Pierce Brosnan as James Bond in 2002's Die Another Day

The actor has confessed to his own insecurities

Life & Style
Green fingers: a plot in East London

Allotments are the focus of a new reality show

Arts & Entertainment
Myleene Klass attends the Olivier awards 2014

Oliviers 2014Theatre stars arrive at Britain's most prestigious theatre awards
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Stars of The Book of Mormon by Trey Parker and Matt Stone of South Park

Oliviers 2014Blockbuster picked up Best Musical and Best Actor in a Musical
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Lesley Manville with her Olivier for Best Actress for her role in 'Ghosts'

Oliviers 2014Actress thanked director Richard Eyre for a stunning production
Arts & Entertainment
Rory Kinnear in his Olivier-winning role as Iago in Othello

Oliviers 2014Actor beat Jude Law and Tom Hiddleston to take the award
Arts & Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch is best known for this roles in Sherlock and Star Trek

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theatreAll hail the temporary venue that has shaken things up at the National Theatre
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musicShe is candid, comic and coming our way
Arts & Entertainment
booksHer new novel is about people seeking where they belong
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