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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Prices correct as of 15 May 2015
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific
In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

Dame Colette Bowe - interview
When do the creative juices dry up?

When do the creative juices dry up?

David Lodge thinks he knows
The 'Cher moment' happening across fashion just now

Fashion's Cher moment

Ageing beauty will always be more classy than all that booty
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

Health fears over school cancer jab

Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

Weather warning

Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report
LSD: Speaking to volunteer users of the drug as trials get underway to see if it cures depression and addiction

High hopes for LSD

Meet the volunteer users helping to see if it cures depression and addiction
German soldier who died fighting for UK in Battle of Waterloo should be removed from museum display and given dignified funeral, say historians

Saving Private Brandt

A Belgian museum's display of the skeleton of a soldier killed at Waterloo prompts calls for him to be given a dignified funeral