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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General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
11 best bedside tables

11 best bedside tables

It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

Italy vs England player ratings

Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

An underdog's tale of making the most of it

Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat