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".

Faith & Reason: A need for compassion but a need to condemn

As two nations wait for the judgment on Louise Woodward, what are we praying for, justice or mercy? Huw Spanner wonders if there is a choice.

Greene burnt his fingers in US cash scam

The novelist Graham Greene (right) lost huge sums of money in a money- laundering racket run by the Hollywood mafia which led to him living in tax exile after an "agreement" with the Inland Revenue, according to a controversial new biography.

THEATRE Love and Understanding Bush Theatre, London

'I wish I had a friend like me," proclaims Richie in Joe Penhall's new play Love and Understanding. It's sad to say that this is a minority sentiment. Richie is to friendship what nemesis is to a relaxing holiday. Charismatically portrayed by Paul Bettany, he's a decadent, self-deceived drifter, who has spent the best part of his twenties bumming around the world in search of instant kicks and pretending to be a brooding Graham Greene creation.

Blunt weapons of the homintern

THE UNTOUCHABLE by John Banville Picador pounds 15.99

Taste: Fantasy book league

The winner of the pounds 150-worth of books from The Folio Society will be announced next weekend. The challenge: to name the best books of the last fifty years. Is this the line up which will coincide closest to the top ten nominated by literary editor Boyd Tonkin?

Reed-Elsevier sells book division

The Anglo-Dutch publishing group Reed-Elsevier said yesterday it had agreed to sell the adult trade division of Reed Books to publisher Random House. It gave no financial details but said it intends to sell the rest of Reed Books in due course, which comprises the children's, illustrated and reference divisions.

Greene papers for sale: dossier on a perfect spy

The most important private archive of works relating to the author Graham Greene is to go up for auction in what will be one of the biggest literary sales of the year.

The book you meant to read; The Quiet American (1955) by Graham Greene

Plot: Set in Vietnam during the French occupation, the novel is narrated by Thomas Fowler, a middle-aged English journalist. The action circles around the murder of Alden Pyle "the Quiet American". He works for the Economic Aid Mission. At once innocent, naive and ignorant he believes religiously in the American way of democracy: as a result he is entangled in guerilla politics, backing the terrorist General The against the French. Pyle also falls for Fowler's girlfriend Phuong (Phoenix). He offers her the chance of marriage. Even though Fowler's distaste for Pyle intensifies, he finds himself dragged into the American's political conspiracies. A bomb explodes in a cafe causing injury and death. Fowler knows that Pyle was involved and, concluding that he must be stopped, betrays him. Pyle is killed with a rusty bayonet. The crime is investigated by Vigot, a vigilant detective familiar with Pascal. Phuong returns to Fowler. He cannot decide whether his act of betrayal was motivated by political necessity or personal malice.

Dear Woo, My dear Nancy; a trove of letters comes to light

Rock 'n' roll and the Suez crisis were just round the corner. But in the fading days of Britain's empire letters written by two of the country's best-known novelists show high society refused to let the old ways and the old days go peacefully.

Book review / Creaky bedsprings and a saxophonist's dream

Four Last Things by William Palmer Secker, pounds 12.99

Draft notebook holds untraced Spender poems

A canvas notebook containing three apparently unpublished poems by Sir Stephen Spender is to go on sale at the end of this month.

Leading Article: Sacking comes to the world of George Smiley

It would never have happened in Smiley's day. Then, spies disgruntled and disaffected with the secret service that employed them fought back by selling secrets to the enemy. Treason, they called it. But it was all done away from the glare of publicity. Between friends who were enemies, and all that. In the eyes of those secretive establishment patriarchs, the Nineties strategy for the disaffected spy will seem an even greater betrayal. One sacked spy wants to take MI6 to the European Court of Human Rights with a claim for unfair dismissal.


! Konin: A Quest by Theo Richmond, Vintage pounds 8.99. The Jewish settlement at Konin, the town of Theo Richmond's ancestors, was among the first to be established in Poland during the Middle Ages. And in 1939 it became one of the first to receive the attentions of the invading Nazis, when in an appalling sweep the entire community was displaced and sent to perish in the camps. Only a few survived. This book is virtually a recreation of the place: streets, buildings, population carefully reassembled piece by piece from painstakingly researched records and living memory. It is an amazing act of obsessional homage, of mourning, even, but Richmond's sense of obligation to the past doesn't obscure the modern relevance.

OBITUARY: Desmond Shawe-Taylor

Chief Music Critic of the Sunday Times for a quarter of a century, without any formal musical training, Desmond Shawe- Taylor belonged to a generation of hard-working and inspired amateurs who learnt their trade as they went along.


At 80, Arthur Miller puts a pail down his well and finds there's still lots of water there
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Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 15 May 2015
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?