Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari, book review: Eloquent history of what makes us human

Welcome wit warms this treatise on human development
Easy eviction: Richard Nixon’s violence-free removal was possible because the alternative left US society essentially unchanged

Best new spy books to read from Watergate: The Hidden History to Churchill's Iceman

Barry Forshaw rounds-up the best non fiction spy releases this month

Nick Leeson arrives back at Changi airport in November 1995 after being extradited from Germany

The Shifts and the Shocks by Martin Wolf;
How to Speak Money by John Lanchester, book reviews

The publisher’s “advance praise” for Martin Wolf’s new book The Shifts and the Shocks is spectacular. According to the former Bank of England Governor, Mervyn King, the work is “masterly”. Larry Summers, the former Treasury Secretary, thinks it is “superb”. To Ben Bernanke, former Federal Reserve chair, the book is “insightful and timely”. After accolades like that from such a gallery of heavyweights a review seems almost otiose. Yet one senses that these paragons were offering advance praise for Wolf the writer and thinker, rather than this particular book.

Elle Kaye demonstrates the art of taxidermy

The Taxidermist's Daughter by Kate Mosse, book review

It is 1912 in Fishbourne, a small Sussex village by the sea prone to flooding. Twenty-two year old Constantia or Connie Gifford lives with her father in lonely old Blackthorn House surrounded by the remnants of his once wildly successful London museum of taxidermy ‘Gifford’s World Famous House of Avian Curiosities’. Stuffed birds, once so beloved of the Victorians, are out of fashion and Connie’s father is a broken man, confused and often drunk by morning.

David Cameron is likely to face fresh questions about his friendship with former News of the World editor Rebekah Brooks, recently cleared of charges relating to phone hacking, after it emerged that a retired police horse she was loaned by the Metropolitan Police was allegedly acquired by her partly for the Conservative leader’s use

The Establishment by Owen Jones, book review

In July 2011, Jeremy Clarkson used his column in the Sunday Times to answer the suggestion that there was something sleazy about the so-called ‘Chipping Norton set’, a circle of friends in Oxfordshire who happened to include in their number Rebekah Brooks and David Cameron.

The Betrayers by David Bezmozgis, book review: Forceful testament to troubled times in Israel and Crimea

Praise was showered on earlier books by David Bezmozgis (such as The Free World), and expectations were high for his new one. The Betrayers is a brave and ambitious novel – and its provocative theme could not be timelier. But does it match the author's earlier work?

Twilight of the Eastern Gods, by Ismail Kadare, trans. David Bellos - book review: Soviet satire skilfully mixes the personal and the political

Ismail Kadare made his name as a forceful example of how to function as a writer under late communism. He trod a delicate line between censorship and lies by critiquing the Stalinism of Enver Hoxha's Albania through fable, allegory and historical transposition, sometimes throwing the dictator a bone, and escaping dissident status by virtue of his international success.

Gin Glorious Gin, by Olivia Williams - book review: How mother's ruin became the toast of London

Even a decade ago, this lively historical cruise round the ocean of gin would have been a publishing non-starter. Towards the end of the last century, London's traditional spirit – neutral alcohol re-distilled with various flavourings and spices known as "botanicals" – was approximately as fashionable as the celluloid collar and the Marcel wave. According to Williams, London Dry Gin was "associated with Betjeman's twee vision of England – of golf clubs, tennis matches and dinner parties". You still encounter red-nosed Sixties types, who, though far from averse to other mind-altering substances, find the very mention of gin to be repugnant.

Invisible Ink No 239: Angela Thirkell

Just as you can enjoy the novels of Virginia Woolf while finding her obsession with servants annoying, so you can appreciate Angela Thirkell even though her concerns about class clearly coloured her life.

Their Lips Talk of Mischief by Alan Warner, book review: Sex, drugs and rock’n’roll – all in an Acton flat

Alan Warner says he started writing in his late twenties because he felt he  ‘could get run over by a bus tomorrow’

The Stone Mattress by Margaret Atwood, book review: These short stories are razor sharp

Margaret Atwood does not so much write short stories as tell tales.

The Children Act by Ian McEwan, book review: Not as good as Atonement, but what modern novel is?

Though not itself perfect, his eighth novel embodied a high-water mark in modern (and Modernist) fiction

Mind Change by Susan Greenfield, book review: A fascinating analysis on the impact digital technologies have on our brains

Susan Greenfield acknowledges that research on the effect of digital technology on our minds is still in its early stages, and that screen activities such as social networking sites, gaming and surfing the net have been shown to have positive as well as negative effects.

Passions Between Women by Emma Donoghue, book review: Dangerous liaisons in a time before ‘the closet’

In her introduction to Passions Between Women Donoghue asks a tantalising question that underscores the book’s rationale.

Michelangelo: Complete Works by Frank Zöllner, book review: An exploration of his life and work

Full-page reproductions and enlarged details allow readers to appreciate fine points in the artist’s vast repertoire

Arts and Entertainment
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music22-year-old confirms he is 2014’s breakout British music success
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Contestants during this summer's Celebrity Big Brother grand finale
tvBroadcaster attempts to change its image following sale to American media group
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tvReview: 'Apprentice' candidate on the verge of tears as they were ejected from the boardroom
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Kate Bush: 'I'm going to miss everyone so much'
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Boy George performing with Culture Club at Heaven

musicReview: Culture Club performs live for first time in 12 years

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Laura Wood, winner of the Montegrappa Scholastic Prize for New Children’s Writing
books

Children's bookseller wins The Independent's new author search

Arts and Entertainment
Pulling the strings: Spira Mirabilis

music
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art
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Hunger Games actress Jena Malone has been rumoured to be playing a female Robin in Batman v Superman

film
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Tim Minchin portrait
For a no-holds-barred performer who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, Tim Minchin is surprisingly gentle
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tvReview: The 'Impossible Girl' earns some companion stripes... but she’s still annoying in 'Dr Who, Flatline'
Arts and Entertainment
Joy Division photographed around Waterloo Road, Stockport, near Strawberry Studios. The band are Bernard Sumner (guitar and keyboards), Stephen Morris (drums and percussion), Ian Curtis (vocals and occasional guitar), Peter Hook (bass guitar and backing vocals).
books
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Sean Harris in 'The Goob' film photocall, at the Venice International Film Festival 2014
filmThe Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Streisand is his true inspiration
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X Factor contestant Fleur East
tvReview: Some lacklustre performances - but the usual frontrunners continue to excel
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Richard Tuttle's installation in the Turbine Hall at the Tate Modern
artAs two major London galleries put textiles in the spotlight, the poor relation of the creative world is getting recognition it deserves
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Hunger Games actress Jena Malone has been rumoured to be playing a female Robin in Batman v Superman
film
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On top of the world: Actress Cate Blanchett and author Richard Flanagan
artsRichard Flanagan's Man Booker win has put paid to the myth that antipodean artists lack culture
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The Everyman, revamped by Haworth Tompkins
architectureIt beats strong shortlist that included the Shard, the Library of Birmingham, and the London Aquatics Centre
Arts and Entertainment
Justice is served: Robert Downey Jr, Vincent D’Onofrio, Jeremy Strong and Robert Duvall in ‘The Judge’

Film

Arts and Entertainment
Clive Owen (centre) in 'The Knick'

TV

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J.K. Simmons , left, and Miles Teller in a scene from

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Team Tenacity pitch their fetching solar powered, mobile phone charging, heated, flashy jacket
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