Arts and Entertainment

Given our national obsession with property prices, Tim Walker’s novel is bound to hit a nerve. His fictional couple, the Manvilles, bought their large north London home at a knock-down price in the 1990s, and it became the key to two aspects of their family life. Jerry, a successful advertising executive, undertook all the original plumbing, electrical and redecoration work; Pen devised a series of popular children’s books, The House on the Hill, whose “cheeky brat with the ridiculous schemes” is modelled on, and named after, her real-life son Conrad: 15 years on, they have done a loft conversion, and divorced.

Lady Gaga and Miley Cyrus have both caused a stir on Twitter by tweeting about their diets this week

Celebrity diets: don't try this at home

As so many controversies do these days, it started with a tweet. "Just killed back-to-back spin classes. Eating a salad dreaming of a cheeseburger #Pop SingersDontEat #IWasBornThisWay", tweeted Lady Gaga to her 22 million followers earlier this week.

Album: Ysaÿe, Six Sonatas for Solo Violin, opus 27 – Tai Murray (Harmonia Mundi)

Eugène Ysaÿe's 1924 sonatas anticipate the memorial beauty of Karl Amadeus Hartmann's Suites for Unaccompanied Violin by three years and the desolate fury of Bartók's Sonata for Solo Violin by two decades.

Enough is enough: hoarders often find it impossible to throw
anything away

Hoarding: The art of letting go

Hoarding can take over people's lives and homes, but only now is it being recognised as a distinct psychological disorder. Emily Jupp meets members of the first therapy group for sufferers

Sally May May (with a Korean hornbeam) had always been interested in trees, when a friend took her to a bonsai show in Bournemouth in 2003. 'Between me and my husband, we have more than 100 now. I love their shape and beauty, and the fact that they personify a large tree in a small area. I've got a hornbeam that's my favourite - it has a lovely, crinkly trunk. It's had more and more branches on it in the three years I've had it.' The Mays live in Salisbury, and are members of the Swindon Bonsai society. Has bonsai taken over Sally's life? She laughs. 'It can be a lot of work. I suppose it has in a way. But not so much, as I also have rabbits.'

It's the little things in life: What's driving a bonsai boom in Britain?

It's about intrinsic beauty, inner spirit, a synecdochical relationship with nature. It's also about battling it out on a cold spring morning to see whose tree is tops. Matthew Bell joins Britain's hardcore bonsai enthusiasts – in Swindon, of all places.

Dirty rotten scoundrels: the disappointing 'House of Lies'

House of Lies: A comedy for the one per cent? Don't make me laugh

House of Lies is a new sitcom that makes light of corporate greed

Author Caroline Smailes said fans were unhappy at the gloomy endings of her other work

Did they all live happily ever after? That's up to you...

A new digital novel will overturn centuries of literary tradition by allowing readers to choose how they would like a story to end.

Opium: Afghanistan's new front line

War torn and ravaged by division, Afghanistan has become the focus for the worldwide fight against child drug addiction

Bar Balto, By Faiza Guene (trs Sarah Ardizzone)

Murderous monologues from the citizens of Making-Ends-Meet

Drug addiction may be hereditary, study suggests

The human brain may be “wired up” for addictive behaviour according to a study that shows how some people are more likely than others to become addicted to crack cocaine.

Ketil Kinden Endresen

House of Tolerance (18)

Starring: Hafsia Herzi, Céline Sallette, Jasmine Trinca

Stanford, the Texan who shook cricket, takes his guard

Wearing a grey patterned suit and a blue open-collared shirt, not the green or orange prison jumpsuits which have been his public attire for almost three years, Allen Stanford faced his peers in a Houston courthouse at last.

A famous workaholic, Margaret Thatcher said she could function on about four hours of sleep a night

The boss was right: being workaholic's good for you

They have been lambasted for their long working hours, for taking their laptops on holiday and obsessively checking their emails. But now there is good news for workaholics everywhere – their fixation with work is not necessarily a bad thing.

The Royal College of Physicians has argued in favour of e-cigarettes as a harm-reduction tool

A safer way to puff

Electronic cigarettes could save hundreds of thousands of lives, according to their makers. So why are many health experts opposed to them? Enjoli Liston hears the arguments

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Prices correct as of 17 September 2014
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam