The Rev Ian Paisley joins a protest in Edinburgh against the Pope's visit

Heart concerns for Rev Ian Paisley

The Rev Ian Paisley is in intensive care tonight after suffering from acute heart problems.

Schools minister Nick Gibb believes every 11-year-old should have read one Dickens story

Experts ridicule minister's 'Dickens by 11' demands

The Schools Minister has great expectations of Britain's 11-year-olds, singling out Charles Dickens's classic as one of the books all children should read before they leave primary school. But on the eve of Dickens's 200th birthday, his biographer warned that young readers do not have the attention span to appreciate his work.

Schools minister Nick Gibb believes every 11-year-old should have read one Dickens story

Every pupil should read Dickens, says minister... (but he's too hard, says the author's biographer)

The Schools minister Nick Gibb has great expectations of Britain's 11-year-olds, singling out Charles Dickens' classic as one of the books all children should read before they leave primary school. But on the eve of Dickens' 200th birthday, his biographer has warned that young readers do not have the attention-span to appreciate his work.

The Social Animal: A Story of How Success Happens, By David Brooks

Nothing succeeds quite like analysing success

Tatsumi (15)

Voices: Tetsuya Bessho, Motoko Gollent

Three Lives: A Biography of Stefan Zweig, By Oliver Matuschek, trans. Allan Blunden

What is the task of a biographer when his subject has already penned memoirs? Perhaps it lies in composing a counterpoint to what they have omitted from their carefully manicured versions. Where famous men of the 20th century are concerned, the autobiographies tend to concur on the importance of the professional over the private, even (unless the author happens to be a politician) over the political.

Negotiated years of labyrinthine censorship: Skvorecky in Prague in 2004

Josef Skvorecky: Writer who championed dissident Czech authors

Josef Skvorecky, one of Czechoslovakia's leading novelists, gave voice to that country's sardonic optimism, wryly surveying the horrors and compromises that attend life under totalitarianism, whether of the left or the right.

Darren Fletcher faces a prolonged spell on the sidelines

Fletcher can take heart from Moody recovery

Rugby player fought back from the same bowel condition to captain England at World Cup

Lewis Moody was injured playing for Bath at Worcester

Moody out for 12 weeks after surgery on shoulder

Former England captain's dismal year gets worse just as he was hoping to shine for Bath

Suffering for the Burmese people: Aung San Suu Kyi

The Lady and the Peacock: The Life of Aung San Suu Kyi, By Peter Popham

In Freedom from Fear, first published in 1990, Aung San Suu Kyi wrote: "It is not power that corrupts but fear... in any society where fear is rife, corruption in all forms becomes deeply entrenched." Sadly, Burma's military junta retains its grip on power through fraudulent means and intimidation.

The Brontës, By Juliet Barker

Every age has its Brontë interpreters from Mrs Gaskell and Winifred Gerin to Jane Sellars and Lucasta Miller. It was Juliet Barker's 1994 biography, however, that most dramatically reclaimed the sisters as flesh-and-blood human beings – giving wild romantic Emily, love-sick Anne, and "poor" Charlotte long needed makeovers.

Reports of my memoirs have not been exaggerated

Mark Twain's autobiography has been released in instalments over 100 years. Now the final part has arrived – and it's worth the wait, writes Rupert Cornwell

Finest Hours, By Max Hastings

Churchill during the war must be the most thoroughly ploughed field in British biography, but the incomparable Max has achieved a near-miracle. His account of the great warlord is excitingly told and, as Andrew Roberts has pointed out, endowed with "fresh stories".

Frances Partridge: The Biography, By Anne Chisholm

You wouldn't bet on it, but this is possibly the last biography of a major Bloomsburyite. Jolly enjoyable it is too in the manner of Schnitzler's La Ronde, a play performed by Ralph Partridge at a 1924 party (Vanessa Bell: "painfully embarrassing"). When Frances fell for Ralph, he was in a ménage à trois with Dora Carrington and Lytton Strachey.

Album: Evelyn Evelyn, Evelyn Evelyn (Eleven)

If you thought every human story had already been told in pop, you were almost right. Evelyn Evelyn are conjoined twins Lyn and Eva Neville of Kansas.

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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
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served

Homeless Veterans appeal

Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served
Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

Scarred by the bell

The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
The Locked Room Mysteries: As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor Otto Penzler explains the rules of engagement

The Locked Room Mysteries

As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

How I made myself Keane

Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Parting view of Ofcom chief... we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
A look back at fashion in 2014: Wear in review

Wear in review

A look back at fashion in 2014
Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015. Might just one of them happen?

Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015

Might just one of them happen?
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?