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Graham Greene

Books of the year 2013: War

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".

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.

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

I'm at the dining table in the living room of my house in Wellington, New Zealand, which is where I spend most of my year. It's been a beautiful summer day — blue skies, green hills, a tranquil harbour being criss-crossed by the inter-island ferries.