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.

Man hit by train while trying to flee from police

A man has died after he was hit by a train while trying to flee from police in north-west London.

The Villa di Colonnata, which inspired Pinocchio author Carlo Collodi, is on the market for £8.8m

Pinocchio villa for sale at £8.8m near Florence

The house's gardens feature in Carlo Collodi's 'The Adventures of Pinocchio'

Man jailed for 20 weeks after trying to kill his neighbours’ cat

Karl Dyke had the pet in a noose and ‘moments from death’ when its owners intervened

How many trees have to fall before local councils see their significance?

The year turns inward now. The darkening dusks, the long shadows and the endless leaf-clearing leave few appealing opportunities for gardeners engaging in outdoor work.

A worker at the facility with a handful of fertiliser pellets that it produces

Come, friendly bombs, don’t fall on Slough. It’s doing good for humans now: Berkshire town to launch £2m nutrient-recovery reactor

Once mocked by Sir John Betjeman and Ricky Gervais, the town is now home to a unique machine that is turning sewage into high-grade phosphorous fertiliser - and could hold the key to securing future global food supplies

South Korean President Park Geun-hye is accompanied by Prince Philip at Horse Guards Parade in London

South Korea refuses to forgive Japan’s wartime atrocities

World Focus: In South Korea a sense of vulnerability bred from past humiliations lies just below the surface

So what’s it like to be mugged? Now I know

An arm snaked over my shoulder. My phone was in the palm of my hand…

Cardiff City manager Malky Mackay has been given a vote of confidence from owner Vincent Tan

Malky Mackay to seek assurances over Cardiff City future in meeting with Vincent Tan later today

The Bluebirds manager has had his future thrown into doubt after Tan dismissed Iain Moody to replace him with his son's friend Alisher Apsalyamov

Amana from heaven: Emma Townshend reveals her favourites from the spring seed catalogues

So my aunty was on Facebook last night going on about how Sarah Raven had sucked her in and taken all her money again. OK, you think this might be an exaggeration. But what she actually said was, "Oh Sarah Raven, how you tempt me with your plant porn. In goes a big seed'n'bulb order. Yes." (As a fully paid-up and practising member of the Romantic Novelists' Association, she – Ms Judy Astley – can get away with this kind of saucy stuff.)

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

Spider on a pillow is among non-emergency calls to firefighters

London Fire Brigade has revealed some of the strangest requests their control room has received recently

Two sets of human remains discovered in Nottinghamshire garden

The remains of two people have been found in a garden, police have confirmed.

The kitchen in the 4 bedroom semi detached house for sale at Walney Road, Heworth Village, York. On with Ashtons for £325,000

The kitchen is now the most valuable room in the house

UK homeowners have spent £413 on kitchen gadgets in the past year

Don't let skills of the elderly go to waste

We would view it as a tragedy if young people were left to languish

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Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

Education, education, education

TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

So why don’t we do it and save some lives?
This man just ran a marathon in under 2 hours 3 minutes. Is a 2-hour race in sight?

Is a sub-2-hour race now within sight?

Dennis Kimetto breaks marathon record
We shall not be moved, say Stratford's single parents fighting eviction

Inside the E15 'occupation'

We shall not be moved, say Stratford single parents
Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Talks between all touched by the crisis in Syria and Iraq can achieve as much as the Tornadoes, says Patrick Cockburn
Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

The Tory MP speaks for the first time about the devastating effect of his father's bankruptcy
Witches: A history of misogyny

Witches: A history of misogyny

The sexist abuse that haunts modern life is nothing new: women have been 'trolled' in art for 500 years
Shona Rhimes interview: Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Writer and producer of shows like Grey's Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes now has her own evening of primetime TV – but she’s taking it in her stride
'Before They Pass Away': Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Jimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style