Arts and Entertainment

The idea of The Great American Novel feels like an albatross around the neck of that country’s literature. Sooner or later every white middle-class male writer with any kind of reputation feels obliged to have a stab at it, usually with limited success. Eventually they think it’s time to pack away all the fun stuff like storytelling, energy and plot, and make some big state-of-the-nation address, telling people exactly how things stand in the good ol’ US of A. Interestingly, America’s women writers don’t tend to feel the obligation to grandstand so strongly, and their novels are usually all the better for that.

The Cross, Kenilworth: Restaurant review - the grand dowager has had an expert facelift

It's a tricky decision for a lady of mature years. At what stage do you have work done, if at all? Do you slide into comfortable decrepitude? Or undergo a discreet cosmetic procedure, and run the risk of emerging with a startled, over-shiny face that looks too young for your body?

16th-century Book of Hours looted by the Nazis could become the world's most expensive book

The so-called Rothschild Prayerbook will go under the hammer in New York after a world tour

A police officer lays flowers near the scene of a helicopter crash in Glasgow city centre

Glasgow helicopter crash: ‘Everybody helped. There were some real heroes’ - survivors tell of acts of selflessness as death toll rises to nine

Survivors tell of the confusion and acts of selflessness on the night of the crash

Review: The Ring + The Opposite of Death, By Roberto Saviano (trs Abigail Asher)

A powerful and poetic volume of ‘fictional reportage’ on the infamous Camorra

The Great British Bake Off backlash has begun

Quality and cookery do not have to be mutually exclusive

Weekend work: Time to prune elders

WHAT TO DO

Music Review: Bright Phoebus

The parade of musicians onto the Barbican stage has Norma Waterson at its centre, and there's a chair centre-stage for her, set between daughter Eliza and niece Marry, and spread either side stand musical friends and family – Martin Carthy, Olly Knight and Neill MacColl on guitars, multi-instrumentalist Kate St John, brilliant husky-voiced young singer John Smith duetting with an assured Kami Thompson, and committed turns from Richard Hawley and Jarvis Cocker, stick-thin enough to really do "The Scarecrow", one of many strange and wonderful works to trip from the mind of Lal Waterson.

Weekend work: Time to cut back herbaceous perennials

What to do

Still going strong: With the warm air and moist ground, autumn gardens can provide the finest spread of all

The rich, still days that we so often get in the first half of October can provide the best conditions of the year, says Anna Pavord

Moroccan roll: A clutch of hens live it up in the riads of Marrakech

A riad - or guesthouse - in Marrakech's old city is the perfect place for pre-wedding pampering

Weekend work: Time to tie up climbers

What to do

Dressing table: The best new fragrances

With autumn kicking in, it's time to upgrade to a new, warm scent...

Ability of honeybees to collect food and build up stores of honey is being compromised by one of several 'stressors' in their environment

Revealed: traffic fumes are confusing bees in their hunt for food

Gases emitted by diesel engines mask floral odours that honeybees use to navigate

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Australia vs New Zealand live
cricket Follow over-by-over coverage as rivals New Zealand and Australia face off
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Zayn has become the first member to leave One Direction. 'I have to do what feels right in my heart,' he said
peopleWe wince at anguish of fans, but his 1D departure shows the perils of fame in the social media age
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Researchers found that just 10 one-minute swill-and-spit sessions are enough to soften tooth enamel and make teeth vulnerable to erosion
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The Regent Street Cinema’s projection room in the 1920s
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Leah Devine is only the ninth female to have made the Young Magician of the Year final since the contest began more than 50 years
peopleMeet the 16-year-old who has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year
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Jonathan Anderson was born in Northern Ireland but now based between London, where he presents a line named JW Anderson
peopleBritish designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
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Andy Davidhazy at the beginning (left) and end (right) of his hike
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Taylor Swift is applying to trademark song lyrics from 1989
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The popularity of TV shows such as The Liver Birds encouraged Liverpudlians to exaggerate their Scouse accent
voicesWe exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
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Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
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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