Katy Guest

Katy Guest is the literary editor of the Independent on Sunday

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Book reviews: All The Rage by A L Kennedy

A L Kennedy’s books should come with a warning: “These stories may break your heart.”

Healthy marriages need kindness, not pre-nups

A lovely story being passed around by smug marrieds on social media at the moment concerns a young American man, Nate Bagley, who spent a year interviewing happy couples to try to figure out what successful relationships are made of.

Book review: Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi

“Nobody ever warned me about mirrors”, begins the girl narrator of Boy, Snow, Bird – a novel that is primarily concerned with looks and surfaces, and the deceits that they can conceal.

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.

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Isis hostage crisis

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Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

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Cabbage is king again

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Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

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Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

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The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
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Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

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Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

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