Arts and Entertainment

Germaine Greer planting some trees, is there a whole book in that? The answer is a resounding “yes” after reading this heartfelt, sharp and meticulously researched account of the author’s decade-long efforts to rebuild a small corner of rainforest in her home country of Australia.

The Book of Barely Imagined Beings: a 21st-Century Bestiary, By Caspar Henderson. Granta, £20

The first thing that strikes the reader on picking up Caspar Henderson's Book of Barely Imagined Beings is the care that has gone into its production. Once past the cover (embossed in gold), the foil-blocked spine and illustrated end-papers, the most innovative note is struck by the footnotes that run parallel to the main text, colour-matched to highlighted words.

Postcard from... Tablas de Daimiel

Three years ago, the drought in Spain's most important wetland – the Tablas de Daimiel in the country's vast, largely arid, central plains – was so serious that just 39 acres remained flooded. Then, when a series of underground fires broke out in steadily drying peat banks, the Tablas' ecosystem looked set to be irreversibly destroyed.

How to put on a show in your garden for Halloween

It can be quite a glum time of year in the garden– but it’s easy enough to turn it glam with a little Halloween hocus-pocus, says Emma Townshend.

The Saturday Quiz answers

1. Hilary Mantel.

Revealed: The secrets of UK's migrating painted lady butterfly population

The secrets of the UK's migrating painted lady butterfly population have been revealed by scientists who have discovered where they go in autumn.

The mascot for the 2014 World Cup

Seven-metre high inflatable armadillo mascot for the 2014 World Cup attacked by vandals

An inflatable version of Brazil's mascot for the 2014 World Cup, a smiling three-banded armadillo, has been removed after it was attacked with knives by vandals.

'Fair' green energy deal offered by mutuals

A rival to the Government's Green Deal – which offers homeowners cash incentives to make their homes more energy efficient – was launched this week.

Many species of the poison dart frog are critically endangered

Rainforest wildlife havens on brink of collapse

Outside destruction is threatening lush reserves designed to protect world's richest biodiversity

Ten Billion, Theatre Upstairs, London

Imagine that an asteroid has been discovered and there is hard, predictive evidence that it is going to impinge on the Earth on 25 March 2072 and destroy 70 per cent of the planet’s resources.

Tom Hodgkinson: Why modern travel fills me with horror

Travelling fills me with dread. When a trip is looming – and loom they do these days, because I'm often invited to speak on the benefits of doing nothing at festivals and conferences abroad – I fret. I even panic, sometimes for days before the journey. I stomp around the house grumpily. I worry about clothing. Why did I say yes? Why can't I just stay at home? Where's my passport?

The Word for Snow, Purcell Room, London

Programmes were not distributed until after the show, but you were handed a single sheet of white paper, blank except for one typed word – mine, somewhat dispiritingly, was "sock" – as you made your way into the Purcell Room for this European premiere of a short play by Don DeLillo.

François Hollande set to deliver French left majority

The triumph of the French left in the first round of parliamentary elections threatens to redraw the map of party politics in France.

Is this a drought? No, it's ESRD

When is a drought not a drought? When it's an area of environmental stress due to rainfall deficit, of course. The less-than-catchy term to describe Britain's current state was suggested yesterday by the Environment Agency as it struggles with public perceptions over what "drought" really means.

Portfolio: Jacek Kusz

For years, Jacek Kusz found his mind was elsewhere: in his past, reminiscing; or in the future, planning his next project. Until, that is, a sickly monkey changed his perspective.

Did they sex up their dossiers? Indian ministers 'caught' watching porn

India's right-wing Bharatiya Janta Party is known for its staunch conservatism and hard-line religious views. But it risks developing an image problem after two of its lawmakers were accused of viewing pornography in the Gujarat state assembly, only weeks after two BJP ministers in the south-western state of Karnataka were forced to quit after being caught watching x-rated videos on a mobile phone.

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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Dubrovnik, the Dalmatian Coast & Montenegro
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Lisbon, Oporto and the Douro Valley
Lake Garda, Venice & Verona
Spain
Prices correct as of 30 January 2015
As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links