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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FootballGerman sparks three goals in four minutes at favourite No 10 role
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Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
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A long jumper competes in the 80-to-84-year-old age division at the 2007 World Masters Championships
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Radamel Falcao was forced to withdraw from the World Cup after undergoing surgery
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'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
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Walking tall: unlike some, Donatella Versace showed a strong and vibrant collection
fashionAlexander Fury on the staid Italian clothing industry
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Gregory Porter learnt about his father’s voice at his funeral
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Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam