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'I'm good with a water cannon'

Kieron Smith, Boy, By James Kelman

The first few pages of this novel reminded me of the first few pages of Joyce's Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. The child's consciousness of the world around him, at once dreamy and acute, is given with the same clarity and faithfulness. But James Kelman's boy grows up slower than Joyce's. Aged around seven at the start, by the end of the book he is still only 12. One of the most remarkable things is the way that the narrator's language gradually alters as he ages; though he retains his working-class Glaswegian dialect throughout, the vocabulary becomes richer, the perceptions more sophisticated.

The Sonnets: 32

By William Shakespeare

The Sonnets: 144

By William Shakespeare

The Sonnets: 111

By William Shakespeare

The Sonnets: 110

By William Shakespeare

The Sonnets: 42

By William Shakespeare

The Sonnets: 30

By William Shakespeare

Culture: A golden age for young 'bromance'

What distinguishes men in their twenties and thirties from men of my generation? For one thing, we were much less obsessed with personal grooming when we were their age. We didn't moisturise, we didn't exfoliate and we didn't make a "feature" of our hair. (I'm talking about straight men, obviously.) More importantly, we didn't engage in close physical contact with our male friends. Unless very drunk, we did not tell other men that we loved them.

Life Support: How to make friends

Essential skills for the modern world

Games Review: The Maw

Xbox Live Arcade, Microsoft, £6.80 or 800 MSP

The Ten Best Beauty Gift Sets

The perfect gift for a friend this Christmas - or yourself!

<a href="http://indyblogs.typepad.com/independent/sleeping_around/index.html" target="_blank">Sleeping Around: Two friends and a baby</a>

A new survey shows that more than half of women would consider asking a male friend to father their child if they failed to find the right partner by a certain age.

Kate Jones

A number of years ago, writes Raja Shahadeh, I was given recommendations of literary agents in London. When I got to ICM and met Kate Jones [obituary by Andrew Franklin, 6 February], I went no further. All the other agents I had met were excellent professionals but with Kate, despite our different backgrounds and experiences, there was an immediate rapport.

Tom Bradby, smooth operator

Successful author, associate of the royal family, dashing denizen of Westminster. Few media figures can match the lustre of ITV's political editor, Tom Bradby. But how much of an Establishment figure is he really?

Sullivan links Ebbers to WorldCom fraud

Bernard Ebbers, the former chief executive of WorldCom on trial for allegedly orchestrating an $11bn (£5.9bn) fraud, yesterday faced the most serious evidence so far when Scott Sullivan, the telcom's giant former chief financial officer, took the stand against him.

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Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
3.	Provence 6 nights B&B by train from £599pp
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Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable