Extras

From Apple's latest shiny playthings to the best smartphones from Google, we pick our favourite gadgets of 2013

John Lewis finds a few reasons to be cheerful

John Lewis gave some cause for Christmas cheer yesterday, revealing that its sales last week reached £85.2m, an increase of 11.6 per cent over the previous seven days.

James Moore: Amazon boss must kick his tablet habit

It will be a bitter pill for Jeff Bezos to swallow, but he needs to kick his addiction to tablets. Drug habits are always costly, and Mr Bezos's has already cost him more than $4.5bn (£2.8bn) in terms of the fall in the value of his Amazon shareholding. This came as a result of his company reporting a 73 per cent fall in third-quarter income, well below what analysts had expected, as a result of it pouring money into an attempt to take a bite out of Apple.

James Moore: Amazon chief needs to kick his addiction to tablets and concentrate on what he already has

Outlook It will be a bitter pill for Jeff Bezos to swallow, but he needs to kick his addiction to tablets. Drug habits are always costly, and Mr Bezos's has already cost him more than $4.5bn (£2.8bn) in terms of the fall in the value of his Amazon shareholding. This came as a result of his company reporting a 73 per cent fall in third quarter income, well below what analysts had expected, as a result of it pouring money into an attempt to take a bite out of Apple.

Amazon fights Apple with Fire

Amazon launched the range of products it hopes will take a bite out of Apple's dominance of the tablet market yesterday. But the centrepiece Kindle Fire – a potential rival to the iPad – will only be available in the US, the company's CEO, Jeff Bezos said.

Barnes & Noble pins its hopes on Nook e-reader

Barnes & Noble, the largest chain of bookshops in the US, said sales of physical books are sliding sharply at its stores and it no longer expects any of the company's growth to come from that traditional business.

$84m James Patterson tops best-paid authors list

Author James Patterson earned a thrilling $84m last year, topping Forbes magazine's annual look at the world's best-paid authors.

Tom Sutcliffe: My reading finally meets its Waterloo

The week in culture

Boyd Tonkin: Not one more library must close

The week in books

Brian Viner: How I miss poolside book snobbery

We all know that you can't judge a book by its cover, but you can surely judge people by the covers of their books. Or could, until the Kindle and iPad came along to ruin that peculiar paperback snobbery that the British middle classes take on holiday as surely as they take the Factor 30 and the floppy straw hat.

Katy Guest: Mumsnetters have a code, and they are not alone, BTW

Look away now, all of you who thought that SMOG was an acronym for a society of geeks called the Secret Masters of Gaming.

The sun lounger also rises...but not just yet

Don't even try to kid yourself that this holiday will see you wading through literary tomes or worthy political memoirs. We know what you want

The long-form resurrection: Will snappy websites kill off lengthy magazine reads?

A new set of online curators that collect the best non-fiction suggests otherwise.

Johann Hari: How to survive the age of distraction

Read a book with your laptop thrumming. It can feel like trying to read in the middle of a party where everyone is shouting

Self-published author joins Kindle's elite million-seller list

An insurance salesman from Kentucky has become the first self-published author to sell one million e-books for the Kindle electronic reader.

Leading article: The writing's on the wall

Publishers will be trembling. So will agents and editors. And so will the owners of small bookshops throughout the land, and beyond. A chap called John Locke has just sold his millionth book on Amazon. And all without a tree being felled.

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Barn owls are among species that could be affected
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Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
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The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
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After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricketEoin Morgan reportedly to take over ODI captaincy
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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
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Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas