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To me, Christmas is little more than a Trivial Pursuit (literally)

Trivial Pursuit is our Christmas miracle, something that takes us back to a time when I was a toddler, the USSR was going strong, and Maggie Thatcher was at No. 10

Dopers, nobblers, dibbers and dobbers: 2013 in sports books

A high proportion of the standout books of 2013 deal with dirty dealings of one kind or another. Then again, as Mike Rowbottom points out in Foul Play: The Dark Arts of Cheating in Sport (Bloomsbury, £12.99), athletes have sought an illegal edge since ancient Greece. His excursion into the grey areas of sport’s moral maze is illuminating and entertaining, if somewhat disheartening.

Monkey madness: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes trailer released

The genetically-enhanced apes return to wreak havoc in the new movie

Actor Peter OToole Dies At The age of 81

Peter O’Toole: Film and theatre icon dies at 81

Actor's agent confirms eight-time Oscar nominated star passed away in hospital after a long illness

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.

She, which features Scarlett Johansson only in voice

And the Oscar winner could be... invisible: Scarlett Johansson causes a stir with her voice

Lost in Translation stars voice role in film ‘Her’ has highlighted an unsung art

Book Review: David and Goliath, By Malcolm Gladwell

Malcolm Gladwell is infuriating. As each new book arrives, you think that surely the pop sociologist will have learned from the sneering at the previous ones – The Tipping Point, Blink, Outliers – and created something more than another riff on one idea with cheaply told examples to pad it out. No, and certainly not with David and Goliath.

DVD & Blu-ray review: The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology (15)

DVD channel 4  (136mins)

Video: Television and classic movies

Watch the videos below to see clips from some of the classic films being turned into TV shows.

Album review: Yuck, Glow & Behold (Fat Possum)

With Daniel Blumberg off to pastures new, the slimmed-down Yuck's sound seems svelte of style, having lost most of its rougher edges and lo-fi feistiness. What's left builds on their Teenage Fanclub-style guitars'n'harmonies approach, but takes it in a less intriguing direction. Effectively, the reverberating soft-focus sheets of chiming guitar and slow-burning, methodical arpeggios of tracks like "Out Of Time", "Somewhere" and "Memorial Fields" resuscitate the long-forgotten corpse of shoegazing, albeit with better melodies for the most part.

Album review: Van Morrison, Moondance Deluxe Edition (Warner Bros)

Though already condemned by Van himself, there's much to appreciate about this 4-CD expanded edition of one of the greatest albums ever recorded. It's fascinating to follow the development of a track such as "Caravan" across half a dozen takes; and the previously unreleased "I Shall Sing" is a delight, like discovering a delicious new centre in your favourite box of chocolates. But what should be particularly gratifying for the singer is that throughout, he's clearly made the best choices for each and every song.

Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, and Mark Hamill in a scene from 'Star Wars' movie released by 20th Century-Fox

Star Wars theme voted UK's favourite film soundtrack

John Williams' score took almost a quarter of all votes

Oisin Murphy rides Silver Rime to victory on Saturday, one of four wins

Murphy strikes Highland gold with Ayr Fantastic Four

Apprentice sensation rides 9,260-1 sequence while veteran trainer Easterby bows out

Album review: Mark Lanegan, Imitations (Heavenly)

This album of covers was inspired by Mark Lanegan's childhood recollections of his parents' social evenings, when the tones of such as Andy Williams, Bobby Darin and Frank Sinatra would wrap warmly around proceedings. His own sepia baritone summons some of that warmth on versions of “Solitaire”, “Autumn Leaves” and “You Only Live Twice”. Elsewhere, the crepuscular tone spreads into more recent material such as The Twilight Singers' “Deepest Shade” and a beautiful version of Nick Cave's “Brompton Oratory”.

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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

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

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

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
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

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
Why the league system no longer measures up

League system no longer measures up

Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system
Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste
Diego Costa: Devil in blue who upsets defences is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

Devil in blue Costa is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

The Reds are desperately missing Luis Suarez, says Ian Herbert
Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Former one-day coach says he will ‘observe’ their World Cup games – but ‘won’t be jumping up and down’
Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness