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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Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

How to make your own Easter egg

Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

Cricket World Cup 2015

Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing