Life and Style A double espresso after revision might be the best way of preparing for an exam, new research suggests

Scientists find first clear evidence of caffeine’s memory-boosting effect, and shown that it lasts for at least 24 hours

House of Holes, By Nicholson Baker

When Nicholson Baker stopped writing about sex after Vox and The Fermata, I thought he'd lost his nerve; now he has returned to it with House of Holes, I fear he's lost his mind. What was so impressive about Baker's previous sexually explicit work (only part of a wide-ranging oeuvre) was that the transgression took place within a thought-out narrative structure. Vox, written entirely in dialogue, contained long male and female fantasies exchanged on a phone-line as they progressed towards mutual satisfaction (the book gained notoriety when Monica Lewinsky made a gift of it to Bill Clinton). The Fermata was a bawdy take on Wells's The Time Machine, featuring a narrator, Arno Stine, who stopped time to undress women without their consent - which he slowly realised was a bad idea.

Records broken in Fastnet Race

Records smashed, boats smashed, but people safe in the 44th Rolex Fastnet Race. The 2007 record of 44 hours and 18 minutes was chopped by one hour and thirty-nine minutes as British Olympic medal winner Ian Walker brought Abu Dhabi’s Volvo race entry Azzam over the finish line just in time for breakfast.

Crew pulled from sea as Fastnet yacht capsizes

Twenty-one crew members on board a racing yacht were dramatically rescued last night after it capsized off the Irish coast.

The Wire's star from the streets admits real-life drug dealing

It was a role that her legion of fans wish she had never taken, but Felicia "Snoop" Pearson, the American actress who was catapulted from a harsh street life to fame by the series The Wire, has pleaded guilty to having joined a shady ensemble that was caught earlier this year distributing heroin and marijuana on the streets of her native Baltimore.

DVD: The Shadow Line (15)

Hugo Blick writes and directs this meditation on the divide between good and evil via the investigation – from both sides of the law – into the death of drug baron Harvey Wratten soon after his extraordinary release by royal pardon from prison.

Former police informants were behind 'stop snitching' campaign

The authors of a campaign encouraging people not to "snitch" in murder cases and serious shootings are today revealed as former police informants desperate to use their experiences to force reform of witness protection schemes.

Album: Randy Newman, The Randy Newman Songbook Vol 2 (Nonesuch)

There used to be an ad campaign claiming that "Nobody sings Dylan like Dylan", a boast that applies equally to Randy Newman.

The Reading List: Cycling

Safety

Bicycle by Helen Pidd £14.99

As The Independent continues its Save Our Cyclists campaign, it's worth mugging up on ways to make cycling safer than it is. Helen Pidd's practical guide for the ordinary or would-be cyclist offers lessons in everything from staying upright to pedalling in high heels.

Public urged not to 'snitch' over child's shooting

Police have said they will not investigate the posting of "no snitching" leaflets through the doors of properties near the shop in south London where a 5-year-old girl was shot.

Dylan Jones: 'Nina Simone didn't enjoy recording 'Baltimore' but it was one of her strongest albums'

One wonders how big a city has to be, or how small a town, to have a song written about it. By now most US state capitals must have had a song written about them and even the most inconsequential conurbations have been celebrated by alt.country's finest minds.

'The Wire' dealer and a real-life drugs bust

Felicia Pearson's criminal past won her a part in the gritty Baltimore drama. Now she's in trouble with the law again

Susan Crosland: Biographer, novelist and journalist who wrote an acclaimed account of the life of her husband Tony Crosland

Susan Crosland had a long career as a journalist and later as a biographer and novelist.

Anne Tyler's Baltimore: Where Charm City meets 'The Wire'

One way of describing Baltimore among the great cities of the north-eastern US seaboard is by making clear what the place isn't. It has none of New York's size and cultural flash. It doesn't have Boston's conceits, or Philadelphia's chip on the shoulder. It is mercifully free of the self-importance of Washington DC, 40 miles and half a universe away to the southwest. On the other hand, it has everything – including its own resident muse.

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Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor
The ZX Spectrum has been crowd-funded back into play - with some 21st-century tweaks

The ZX Spectrum is back

The ZX Spectrum was the original - and for some players, still the best. David Crookes meets the fans who've kept the games' flames lit
Grace of Monaco film panned: even the screenwriter pours scorn on biopic starring Nicole Kidman

Even the screenwriter pours scorn on Grace of Monaco biopic

The critics had a field day after last year's premiere, but the savaging goes on
Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people used to believe about periods

Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people once had about periods

If one was missed, vomiting blood was seen as a viable alternative
The best work perks: From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)

The quirks of work perks

From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)
Is bridge the latest twee pastime to get hip?

Is bridge becoming hip?

The number of young players has trebled in the past year. Gillian Orr discovers if this old game has new tricks
Long author-lists on research papers are threatening the academic work system

The rise of 'hyperauthorship'

Now that academic papers are written by thousands (yes, thousands) of contributors, it's getting hard to tell workers from shirkers
The rise of Lego Clubs: How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships

The rise of Lego Clubs

How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships
5 best running glasses

On your marks: 5 best running glasses

Whether you’re pounding pavements, parks or hill passes, keep your eyes protected in all weathers
Joe Root: 'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

Joe Root says the England dressing room is a happy place again – and Stokes is the catalyst
Raif Badawi: Wife pleads for fresh EU help as Saudi blogger's health worsens

Please save my husband

As the health of blogger Raif Badawi worsens in prison, his wife urges EU governments to put pressure on the Saudi Arabian royal family to allow her husband to join his family in Canada