Arts and Entertainment

Private Alex Stringer, of the Royal Logistic Corps, was 20 when he was blown up in Afghanistan: "The reason I lost my left leg so high up is because the burning paint cooked my left leg all the way down to the bone. But if I hadn't set myself on fire, I would have bled out and died – as a result of it, all the arteries became cauterised".

The Opposite of Falling, By Jennie Rooney

Writing as sharp as a new pin

Cultural Life: Neil Hannon, singer

Books: The best book I've read recently is "The Rest Is Noise" by Alex Ross. It's a very thick tome about 20th-century classical music. It filled in a lot of blanks my knowledge as well as being a riveting read. Right now I'm reading Graham Greene's "The Heart of the Matter". I went through a phase of reading Henning Mankell's Kurt Wallander series. It's a change coming to Graham Greene which is quite dry and old-style... but beautiful.

Michael McCarthy: How could Catholics do such a thing?

That priests should be in a State of Grace was the foundation of their moral authority

At The Chime of a City Clock, By DJ Taylor

That's three books in a row from DJ Taylor that circle around the turn of the decadent 1920s into the low dishonest decade that followed it. First we had the group biography Bright Young People, which went on to inform the novel Ask Alice, about an American farm girl risen to the shady heights of British society. Now At the Chime of a City Clock advertises itself boldly as "a thriller", rather as Graham Greene designated some of his slighter works "entertainments".

One Minute With: John Simpson

John Cale, Royal Festival Hall, London

Sprightly Cale still sparkles

I, spy: In praise of Callan, the dirty, self-hating British TV detective

'Callan' started the genre, and 'Edge of Darkness' was its high point. But just try telling the Yanks that we Brits invented the brilliant, self-hating TV detective...

Imaginary Homelands, By Salman Rushdie

Anyone picking up this collection of essays might reasonably expect extensive reflection on the events that pushed Rushdie into the headlines. Instead, much of the contents seem fusty and oddly irrelevant.

A beacon amid the rubble, Greene's hotel survives

Amid Haiti's death and devastation, one small but significant piece of good news has emerged. The staff and guests at the country's most historic hotel survived, the building apparently not having suffered extensive damage.

One Minute With: Neil Cross

Solved: The mystery of forgotten Christie play

The queen of detective fiction turned her uneasy relationship with her daughter into a ' brutal' drama - and now it's on the West End

Thomas Sutcliffe: No dignity in this pretence of unity

These proposals are the sexual equivalent of the Nuremberg Laws

Forgotten author: No.22: Marjorie Bowen

A writer whose life was as fascinating as her output, Marjorie Bowen was born Margaret Gabrielle Vere Campbell Long in 1885 on Hayling Island, Hampshire. Her mother had literary aspirations; her father was an alcoholic who died on the London streets.

How to Talk About Books You Haven't Read, By Pierre Bayardtrs Jeffrey Mehlman

A jeu d'esprit stretched out to 185 pages, HtTABYHR maintains, by use of dodgy logic and playful perversity, that talking about books you haven't read is not only a necessity but a creative activity to be proud of. It's full of paradoxes ("Reading is first and foremost non-reading"), and it's part of the joke that Pierre Bayard is obviously extremely well-read, a professor of literature who quotes Proust, Musil, Shakespeare, Valéry, Graham Greene, etc. He has a system of categorising books: SB (skim-read book), FB (forgotten book), HB (heard-of book) and UB (unknown book). A plus sign or double-plus sign indicate positive and extremely positive opinions, a minus or double-minus sign the opposites.

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By Reason of Insanity

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Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

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Vince Cable interview

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Promises, promises

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The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

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The only direction Zayn could go

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Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

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From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor