Ann Cleeves' book of a lifetime: 'Le Grand Meaulnes'

Le Grand Meaulnes (translated as The Lost Estate in the most recent Penguin classic) was a set text for our A level French and like The Catcher in the Rye it should be read in adolescence.

Nearing the end: January is the beginning of the end for third years, but is that so bad?

They say that in relationships there come several itching points. These are moot: could be two years or five; some even say 18 months. If I’m in a relationship with university – heartbreak, check; crying, check – then we’ve reached one of these hurdles. And the cut-off is not a year or even two, it’s in weeks. Let me introduce the 12-week itch.

Nicolas Anelka appears to make the 'la quenelle' gesture after scoring the first goal for West Brom in the 3-3 draw against West Ham

Kick It Out call for action against Nicolas Anelka following controversial 'quenelle' gesture

The West Brom striker made the gesture, which some view as anti-Semitic, against West Ham

Snapchat apologises for influx of spam - blames increased popularity

Latest bad news from the astonishingly popular app follows a New Years Day hack that publicized data belonging to 4.6m users

Cristiano Ronaldo fights back tears after winning the Fifa Ballon d'Or award

Cristiano Ronaldo admits Rio Ferdinand attempted to persuade him into a Manchester United return following Ballon d'Or success

Ronaldo has confirmed that he seriously considered a return to Old Trafford when his future was uncertain last summer before he signed a new £76m contract

<b>Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Sweden v England, November, selected by Sam Wallace</b><br/>
It would have been hard enough to pull off if he was facing goal with the ball sitting up nicely for him to hit. To lob Joe Hart with an overhead kick executed with his back to goal did rather put the ribbons on it.

Fifa Ballon d'Or: Zlatan Ibrahimovic wins award for 2013 goal of the year (for goal scored against England in 2012)

The goal was one of four scored against England by the Sweden international

John Button celebrates with his son Jenson after he claimed the 2009 Formula 1 drivers' world championship

F1: Father of McLaren driver Jenson Button dies

John Button was often in attendance to watch his son race

Norovirus is common in winter but causes extra problems in hospitals

Stay away, urges norovirus hospital

Visitors have been urged to stay away from a hospital to contain the spread of the winter vomiting bug, norovirus.

Book review: 'Boxer Handsome' by Anna Whitwham

This promising debut novel about boxing shows both its violence and its value

The father of an 11-month-old baby filled out a daycare questionnaire with hilarious answers

Dad fills out funny daycare questionnaire in the voice of his 11-month-old daughter

The baby girl's aspirations apparently include walking and becoming a Dr of theoretical physical cosmology

Gerald Abrahams dons his placard

Lonely landscaper tries alternative approach to dating

In a bid to start his year off successfully, 39-year old landscaper Gerald Abrahams walked the streets of London with a sandwich board displaying the texts: “Hot brunette wanted for 2014!”, “Dates or romance”, “Must like dogs and landscapers” accompanied by his email address.

God's Cadets: Joining the Salvation Army, BBC4 - TV review

You might assume that the participants in the BBC4 documentary God's Cadets: Joining the Salvation Army would all be classic "lark" types, but there was a greater variety of personality than expected in this 90-minute film. It followed the pious, but not pompous "cadets" who had given up their lives to enter into two years of intensive officer training at the William Booth College in south London.

Theo Walcott is stretchered off the pitch during the match against Tottenham Hotspur

Theo Walcott can return 'better and stronger' says Arsenal team-mate Carl Jenkinson

The forward has been ruled out for six months

The Thing About December, by Donal Ryan - book review: an innocent in Ireland is mauled by the Celtic Tiger

Donal Ryan's first novel, The Spinning Heart, was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize and won the 2012 Book of the Year at the Irish Book Awards. Not a bad start to a literary career, the only downside being that he inadvertently set himself a tough challenge to live up to with that tricky second novel. That he has done so, and with aplomb, is testament to this brightest of new writing talents.

People only have a handful of really close friends even though their wider social network may include hundreds of casual contacts

Despite social networks like Facebook and Twitter, most people will only ever have a handful of good friends

Study finds that people tend to drop old friends when new ones are made - keeping our inner circle constant

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Mosul dam was retaken with the help of the US
voicesRobert Fisk: Barack Obama is following the jihadists’ script
Arts and Entertainment
Loaded weapon: drugs have surprise side effects for Scarlett Johansson in Luc Besson’s ‘Lucy’
filmReview: Lucy, Luc Besson's complex thriller
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A cleaner prepares the red carpet for the opening night during the 59th International Cannes Film Festival May 17, 2006 in Cannes, France.
newsPowerful vacuum cleaners to be banned under EU regulations
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A polar bear’s diet is rich in seal blubber and half of its own body weight is composed of fat
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London is the most expensive city in Europe for cultural activities such as ballet
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Flocking round: Beyoncé, Madame Tussauds' latest waxwork, looking fierce in the park
travelIn a digital age when we have more access than ever to the stars, why are waxworks still pulling in crowds?
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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
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Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape