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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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on