Katy Guest

Katy Guest is the literary editor of the Independent on Sunday

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Cycling, like politics, is not for wimps

Uh oh, watch out: the Government is "encouraging" something. You know you should worry if the Government starts encouraging something that you do, because it only ever encourages things that are somewhere between futile and completely suicidal. Remember when it attempted to solve the crisis of too many single households by "encouraging marriage"? Or when its best policy to get us out of a recession was to "encourage spending"? When governments "encourage" things, it means that it would be better for the country if people acted as no sane individual could be persuaded to. Well, now it is encouraging cycling.

The social trend that it's OK to hate

Perhaps this has not been the most representative week in the media, but did you know that there have been 51 articles in the British press in the past seven days with the word "hate" in the headline? Some of them have been about the "hate cleric" Abu Qatada. Others revealed "phrases that women hate to hear". One was about hating a neighbour's patio. Of course, there were many about hating Margaret Thatcher, and more about hating people who hate her. There ain't much love in Britain at the moment.

Authors signed copies of Granta 123 at last week’s launch

Review: Granta 123 - Best of Young British Novelists 4, Edited by John Freeman

These may well turn out to be the brightest writers of their generation, but while some work truly shines, the list fails to satisfy as a collection

Nick Clegg's NHS is no good if you've got a life

And still he goes on, the masochistic Mr Clegg, with the radio show on which he routinely exposes himself to ridicule, fury, accusations of hypocrisy, and questions about onesies. Last week he waded into a debate about how to change the NHS, the health service formerly known as one of Britain's greatest achievements. Clegg's big idea is to charge people for their treatment in A&E if they are there for alcohol-related injuries.

Review: Running Like a Girl, By Alexandra Heminsley

A tale of bras, sweat and tears

Women who eat cakes wear clothes too

Last week saw the launch of yet another BBC series which seems designed to take off in a country that boasts seven different shades of middle class. The Great British Sewing Bee is made by the same team as The Great British Bake Off, and presumably aims to make smooshing the new plating up, polyester mix the new firm crumb, and puckering seams as popular a catchphrase as Mary Berry's "soggy bottom".

Rant & Rave (07/04/13)

Rant

What's wrong with addressing strangers with their first names? It beats using the wrong one, at least

A new survey says we get annoyed by being addressed in first name terms. But why?

Why it's 'Hello' to Mum and 'Wossup?' to mates

A novel published tomorrow explores, according to its publisher, "the changing nature of personal identity in the age of social media". A Virtual Love by Andrew Blackman is a thoroughly modern novel, much of which takes place online. Its lead character, Jeff, is confident with the different images that he projects on social media and dating websites, and when the beautiful Marie mistakes him online for someone else, he plays along and they fall in love. "We create different versions of ourselves on different sites," says the author, "and reshape or delete them at will." The novel goes as far as to question whether anyone has a "real" identity any more.

Tamara Ecclestone: Hero or Villain?

She's the daughter of a billionaire and a model whose career, such as it is, seems to revolve around "lifestyle and glamour" work. Her most famous TV project was a reality show all about her called Billion $$ Girl. She's 30 and has been engaged three times to a series of unsuitable men. Oh, and she's currently promoting an eight-page photoshoot for Playboy. Tamara Ecclestone seems every inch the pointless modern celebrity. And yet, and yet ….

Day In a Page

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice
Hollywood targets Asian audiences as US films enjoy record-breaking run at Chinese box office

Hollywood targets Asian audiences

The world's second biggest movie market is fast becoming the Hollywood studios' most crucial
Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app - and my mum keeps trying to hook me up!'

Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app'

Five years on from its launch and Grindr is the world's most popular dating app for gay men. Its founder Joel Simkhai answers his critics, describes his isolation as a child
Autocorrect has its uses but it can go rogue with embarrassing results - so is it time to ditch it?

Is it time to ditch autocorrect?

Matthew J X Malady persuaded friends to message manually instead, but failed to factor in fat fingers and drunk texting
10 best girls' summer dresses

Frock chick: 10 best girls' summer dresses

Get them ready for the holidays with these cool and pretty options 
Westminster’s dark secret: Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together

Westminster’s dark secret

Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Dulce et decorum est - a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Dulce et decorum est: a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality
Google tells popular music website to censor album cover art in 'sexually explicit content' ban

Naked censorship?

The strange case of Google, the music website and the nudity take-down requests
Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

As England take on India at Trent Bridge, here is our pick of the high-performing bats to help you up your run-count this summer 
Brazil vs Germany World Cup 2014 comment: David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

Captain appears to give up as shocking 7-1 World Cup semi-final defeat threatens ramifications in Brazil