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.

Six Sunflowers by Vincent Van Gogh

Important new discoveries about Van Gogh's 'unknown' Sunflower paintings revealed

An expert on Vincent van Gogh has tracked down two “unknown” Sunflowers, and has revealed an image of the work destroyed in the Second World War never seen outside Japan.

Portugal's Ria Formosa: Spot the exotic visitors as they fly in

Birds and planes are major features of the Ria Formosa. Sophie Lam takes to the water to explore this extraordinary lagoon

Weekend work: Time to divide bearded irises

What to do

Put some cream on it - that'll make it better! Hospital's own brand of moisturiser goes on sale to remedy funding gap

Trust managers are confident they can sell 20,000-30,000 bottles required to make profit

Hungry bumblebees travel more than a mile to find food

Honey, I’m just popping out for some pollen. I may bee some time...

Insect forced to travel more than a mile to find food, study finds

Review: Plants Vs Zombies 2

David Phelan explores the world of zombies, explosive potatoes and in-app purchases

Review: Plants Vs Zombies 2

David Phelan explores the world of zombies, explosive potatoes and in-app purchases

Weekend work: Time to re-pot cyclamen corms

What to do

Great works: Onions (1881) by Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Kimbell Art Museum, Texas

Weekend work: Time to prune climbing roses

What to do

The Welsh dragon: rare tree returns to the Valleys

A tree facing extinction in its native Canary Islands has flowered in Wales for the first time in 25 years.

Andy Murray and heatwave give retailers summer lift

Retailers enjoyed their best July for seven years after the heatwave drove scorching sales of barbecue food, summer clothing and outdoor furniture in a “golden month”.

The 10 Best oils and serums

Learn the true meaning of beauty sleep with a selection of nourishing  and rejuvenating overnight products

Council hunts cannabis cultivating culprits after Newport plant pots display planted pot

By the time the police had been informed the plants had already been harvested

Anna Pavord's A to Z of pests and problems: N is for neighbours, nettles and nutrient deficiency

Our green-fingered correspondent Anna Pavord continues her A-Z of horticultural pests and problems standing between you and your perfect garden

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FootballGerman sparks three goals in four minutes at favourite No 10 role
News
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?
Sport
A long jumper competes in the 80-to-84-year-old age division at the 2007 World Masters Championships
athletics
Sport
Radamel Falcao was forced to withdraw from the World Cup after undergoing surgery
premier leagueExclusive: Reds have agreement with Monaco
Arts and Entertainment
'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
Life and Style
Walking tall: unlike some, Donatella Versace showed a strong and vibrant collection
fashionAlexander Fury on the staid Italian clothing industry
Arts and Entertainment
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