Katy Guest

Katy Guest is the literary editor of the Independent on Sunday

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Sorry George. Hair today, headlines tomorrow

What do Jerry Hall, George Osborne and I all have in common? Careful now …. On this occasion, it is not our enormous personal fortunes. Nor is it our love of literature – Jerry and I have both judged prizes but George's author wife, Frances, is the bookish one in the Osborne family. It is not even that we all have the kind of face that you just want to … photograph. What we all share at the moment is that everyone's going on about our hair. Poor us.

My love is like... an avenging sitting hen

Did the Royal Mail divert all the sacks full of Valentine's cards that were sent to you on Friday and redirect them instead to flood-hit areas to be used as makeshift sandbags? Did you receive lots of emails with saucy subject lines which revealed themselves to be romantic pizza-for-two offers from Domino's? Did you battle your way back from work on public transport, buffeted about the head by try-hard couples and competitively large bouquets of imported roses? Or were you one of the lucky ones: did you come home to find your beloved entirely covered in wilting rose petals and brandishing a gift recommended in a "last minute Valentine's" feature? Was it soap? Bad luck.

Well done, Mary Berry! I take my (red) hat off to you

I wonder if Mary Berry is a fan of the Jenny Joseph poem, "Warning", which begins: "When I am an old woman I shall wear purple/ With a red hat which doesn't go, and doesn't suit me …." Ms Berry is of course a style icon and would never wear anything that didn't suit her. But what makes her so cool is that she doesn't seem to care what anyone else thinks of her: she dresses only to please herself. I wouldn't be surprised if, like Jenny Joseph, she spends all her pension "on brandy and summer gloves, and satin sandals, and say[s] we've no money for butter". Apart from the butter. Mary Berry would always have a bit of butter with her brandy.

Breaking news: 'Being a Man' sounds like fun

We shouldn't scoff. In fact, the event sounds like a great idea

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.

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Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

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Broadcasting plays and exhibitions to cinemas is a sure-fire box office smash
Shipping container hotels: Pop-up hotels filling a niche

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Spending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but these mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Native American headdresses are not fashion accessories

Feather dust-up

A Canadian festival has banned Native American headwear. Haven't we been here before?