Katy Guest

Katy Guest is the literary editor of the Independent on Sunday

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Flag up: An anti-government protester in Bangkok earlier this month

A tourist’s take on the protests in the Thai capital

Something to Declare

I'm no toff, but I'd prefer a pro-Oxbridge bias

Educationists were celebrating last week after the announcement by a leading law firm that it will alter its recruitment process to eliminate what it calls its own "pro-Oxbridge bias". Clifford Chance, one of the most prestigious firms in Britain, promises to make final interviews "CV blind", meaning that interviewers will not know which schools or universities applicants attended. It is a move presumably designed to placate left-leaning meritocratists just like me. But I'm furious about it.

Not every childhood heroine grows with us

As a bookish child with an oddly Americanised first name, I was more than once given the 1872 children's book What Katy Did. I was named as I was because my mum happened to have read the Susan Coolidge books, but never Katie Boyle, and to adults the novel must have seemed a perfect gift for a little girl called Katy. Unfortunately, to my young mind, what Katy did was this: had a mind of her own and, apparently somehow linked to this character flaw, unforgivably unruly hair; refused to take "because I said so" for an answer; fell off a swing; ended up paralysed (and deserved it); learnt the lesson that girls are to be seen and not heard; became meek and quiet, and accepted that her role in life was to give up her writing ambitions and mother her five siblings instead.

The best of next year: 2014 book preview

Literary Editor Katy Guest takes a look at what the next 12 months offer the avid reader

It's been a year of geeks bearing gifts

When 2012 ended and we had to look back and reflect, it was easy to label it the year of the Olympics. But 2013 will be harder to categorise. Will we remember it for all the twerking? As the year of the food bank? Finding out that domestic goddesses sometimes have feet of clay? I'm with the Collins Dictionary people and I hope that 2013 will be remembered as the year of the geek. They have announced that "geek" is its word of the year, redefining it in a more positive way and adding that "the idea of future generations inheriting a more positive definition of the word 'geek' is something that Collins believes is worth celebrating."

Join the gold rush with a weighty winner: literary fiction

This was the year of big books: two 800-page-busters on the Man Booker longlist alone had bookworms lifting weights. The winner, Eleanor Catton’s  The Luminaries (Granta, £18.99), is a good old-fashioned page-turner set in New Zealand during the 19th-century gold rush, but it was its narrative structure, mirroring astrological movements in a beautifully-wrought minuet, that really set it apart.

From Malala to Mandela: biography & memoir Christmas reviews

In a year that saw the death of a true 20th-century hero, it seems appropriate to begin the list of best biographies and memoirs with the life of a new one for the 21st: I Am Malala, by Malala Yousafzai and Christina Lamb (W&N, £18.99). It is barely a year since Malala was shot in the face for speaking up for girls’ education in Pakistan, and now the girl-who-would-not-be-shut-up is surviving being a global icon. Honest, insightful, and piercingly wise, this is the celebrity memoir to give your teenaged daughter this Christmas.

People embrace by the ancient stone circle of Stonehenge, in southern England, as access to the site is given to druids, New Age followers and members of the public on the annual Winter Solstice on 21 December 2012 AP Photo/Matt Dunham

Rejoice! The days will get longer from now on

Everything is getting better, unless your other half has listened to the adverts and bought you some anti-wrinkle cream and a diet book

The royal nuts have given me a few ideas

I bet that the Queen is kicking herself on hearing that the law against “being an incorrigible rogue” has been removed from the statute book just as rumours emerged about naughty footmen pinching her nuts.

Stocking fillers: pop-ups, poems and smut

Amazon had better set its drones to attack because beautiful paper books just get better and better. Anyone left disappointed by the Fifty Shades phenomenon might prefer some literary smut in the form of Erotic Stories, edited by Rowan Pelling (Everyman’s Pocket Classics, £10.99). A collection of stories and fragments from Boccaccio to Sarah Waters, it tiptoes from the suggestive – in Guy de Maupassant’s “Idyll”, which begins with a train “plunging abruptly into the black-mouthed tunnels like an animal into its lair” – to the rather shocking – a piece by Edith Wharton, “My Little Girl”, discovered after her death.

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Day In a Page

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Forget little green men

Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
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An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
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Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy
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39.8 degrees recorded on Tube

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From apps that automatically make shopping lists from your recipe books to smart ovens and robot chefs, Kevin Maney rounds up innovations to make your mouth water
Jessie Cave interview: The Harry Potter star has published a feminist collection of cartoons

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The Harry Potter star tells Alice Jones how a one-night stand changed her life
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Education: Football Beyond Borders

Add football to an after-school homework club, and even the naughtiest boys can score
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We've got Bibles to get you grilling and smoking like a true south American pro
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Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power
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‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

Ron Dennis shrugs off a poor start to the season in an exclusive interview, and says the glory days will come back
Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
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The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

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Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most