News Scott Simon, a broadcaster on the US National Public Radio network, staged a Twitter vigil for his terminally ill mother

The American radio broadcaster who won praise for his poignant tweets from the bedside of his terminally ill mother has disclosed that she died on Monday night.

Inside travel: Guidebooks

<b>Andrew Steed</b> reflects on how guidebooks and maps have changed since he started selling them

Santos hold firm on Neymar sale

Santos have no plans to sell teenage striker Neymar and want to keep him at the club for several more years, Santos President Luis Alvaro de Oliveira Ribeiro said on Thursday.

Theodora, By Stella Duffy

The author of twelve novels, including crime and genre fiction, Stella Duffy is a writer who doesn't stand still. Her latest work - a bravura re-imagining of the life of Theodora, Empress of Byzantium - is her best.

All About Love, By Lisa Appignanesi<br />Love: a History, By Simon May

Our shelves groan with love. Out in the visual world, sex sells, but take down any novel, book of poetry or biography and it's clear that, on the page, love is most often the hook. As a magic word that all can use, but few define, its potency might be down to nothing more than the bewildering variety of experiences it covers, next to which the supposedly exotic range of options on the sexual menu seems staid. That this one word can be applied to romantic love, parental love, love between friends and love of God seems perverse, as if it is a deliberate semantic ploy to complicate and intensify our lives.

Shieldwall, By Justin Hill

There are holes in our sense of the past, places where the average person's knowledge does a jump-cut - from Alfred building his kingdom to Ethelred paying the Danes to go away to Canute and the waves and then the Norman Conquest. There is a lot to be said for historical fiction as a way of filling in those gaps, providing us with a sense of events and progression and giving them a human face. After travel books and novels in which Justin Hill dealt with the matter of China, writing about the forging of England must have seemed not only a challenge but a way of coming home: of writing about the landscapes of Sussex and the North before a millennium of agricultural revolutions, and about a very different and more dangerous Britain.

Then, By Julie Myerson

First came The Road and The Rapture; now Then. It's easy to see why the apocalypse appeals to novelists, with its opportunities for metaphor and for putting protagonists in demanding situations. In Julie Myerson's novel, a scorchingly hot February day is followed by sudden darkness, conflagrations and an Impact Winter. Survivors eke out a brutal existence of scavenging and fighting in the city's ruins. Groping her way from one harrowing day to the next, the first-person narrator can't remember anything, not even her name.

Two reporters held hostage in Afghanistan are freed

Two french journalists held hostage in Afghanistan since December 2009 were freed yesterday in good health.

Arsenal chairman Peter Hill-Wood hits back at criticism

Arsenal chairman Peter Hill-Wood has hit back at criticism of the Gunners board from former director Lady Bracewell-Smith.

Johann Hari: My journalism is at the centre of a storm. This is what I have learned

Johann Hari's professional reputation has been subjected to trial by Twitter. Here he explains what the affair has taught him

ICC chief executives agree to mandatory use of review system

The International Cricket Council's Chief Executives' Committee has unanimously agreed to the mandatory use of a modified version of the Decision Review System in all Test matches and one-day internationals.

The 50 Best European beach breaks

Whether it's Britain's bays, stunning Sweden or the magical Med, Enjoli Liston selects the top spots by the sea

John Gielgud: Matinee Idol to Movie Star, By Jonathan Croall

Even before Twitter and Facebook revelled in gossip and rumour, a few whiffs of scandal were recommended to make a theatre biography more commercially pungent. Jonathan Croall's elegantly written and extended edition of his Gielgud biography, first published in 2000, comes duly retitled and scented with the aroma of fresh revelations about the actor's private life.

Video: Alexander on defence spending

Shadow Foreign Secretary Douglas Alexander calls for the Government's Strategic Defence Spending Review to be reopened.

How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe, By Charles Yu

Too clever by half, this is time travel &ndash; but not as we know it

Comedians: Laughing all the way to the bank

Stand-up comedians have big followings for live tours, TV shows and DVDs. Now publishers hope fans will pursue them into bookstores.
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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 15 May 2015
Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine