Katy Guest

Katy Guest is the literary editor of the Independent on Sunday

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I can clinically prove that beauty ads are tosh

My favourite way of whiling away the TV ad breaks is about to get easier. When I'm being sold stuff, I like to spot all the bogus science that is made up to get around the rule that advertisers are not allowed to lie. You can usually see it coming when an ad is set in a laboratory, or features a diagram of skin cells, or is for moisturiser. (Notice too that the same ingredients in deodorants that make men's armpits butch and steely make women's armpits soft and lovely, like butterflies.)

Doyle: Avoids wallowing in nostalgia, but throws his ageing fans the odd bone from his early stuff

Review: The Guts, By Roddy Doyle

It is 26 years since Roddy Doyle introduced us to Jimmy Rabbitte. Now he's back with some old friends, but time has moved on for all of them

Read Tash Aw's fourth novel, set in Shanghai

Guest List: The IoS Literary Editor picks the best books for your summer holiday

Before you stuff your luggage with this year's Man Booker longlist titles, Katy Guest makes a case for some varied alternatives

To see the casual link between rising ice cream sales and shark attacks is ridiculous

Benefits fantasies, pippins fit for a prince, honest reading, and a tip

IDS has been trying to justify welfare cuts, Prince George has been given an apple tree and many staff are on zero-hours contracts at Amazon...

We already pay for our doctors through taxation

Pay to see our GP? We already do

Counting the cost of GP visits, stand-up diets and stupid hair

Maria Miller vs the BBC: Tackling sexism in sports coverage is quite the set of hurdles

The Minister for Women and Equalities will have her work cut out

Reading a dull book? Put it down this instant!

One of the best pieces of advice my English teacher ever gave me – one which I would like to share with every teenager in Britain – was never to struggle on with a book that you hate. Life is too short for ironing and bad books, as Schopenhauer nearly said, and the world is not short of wonderful literature: the next book you read could be the one that changes your life. If you're really not getting on with a book, please put it down before you really grow to resent it. One day you may try again and love it, but not if your parents, a newspaper review or Michael Gove has forced you to plough through it to the bitter end.

Church is in sickness, but marriage is in health

A couple found out recently that the devil does not have all the best words when they were forbidden to "have" and to "hold" each other during their wedding vows. The marriage was a civil ceremony, which has a zero tolerance attitude to religious content. Not that having and holding is particularly Christian, but the words come from the Anglican Book of Common Prayer, so were banned along with "in sickness and in health".

Review: Shire, By Ali Smith, with images by Sarah Wood

Bewitching, at least three times over

MPs need a nanny – and some manners

When Russell Crowe piped up recently that the treatment of the former Australian prime minister Julia Gillard lacked "gallantry", he meant well but his choice of words was wrong. Crowe was reacting to a menu at a Liberal fundraiser which included "Julia Gillard Kentucky Fried Quail – small breasts, huge thighs, and a big red box". My dictionary says gallantry is thoughtfulness and courtesy "especially towards women", but it wasn't chivalric valour Gillard was after. She didn't want coats draped over puddles; just a little respect and some manners, the same as any Aussie bloke would expect.

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Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn