Trotter in his restaurant in 2011; he closed it last year, knowing he had a brain aneurysm

Charlie Trotter: Chef and restaurateur who led Chicago's rise to become a culinary capital

Of all the chefs who shot to international fame in recent times, Charlie Trotter was the most remarkable, and eccentric. He was entirely self-taught – as a cook and restaurateur – though he was a conventionally well-educated man from a well-off family. Yet when he retired in August last year and closed his Chicago restaurant, aged only 52, he said it was in order to travel and perhaps do postgraduate work in philosophy.

Erin Brockovich herself

Erin Brockovich arrested in Las Vegas for being drunk in charge of a boat

Environmental activist spotted struggling to moor her boat in the harbour near Boulder City harbour

Mirror Mirror (PG)

Starring: Julia Roberts, Lily Collins

Julia Roberts in Mirror Mirror

Pretty Woman has ugly side – but still comes out smiling

Julia Roberts is cast against type as a wicked queen in her new film, Mirror Mirror. The Hollywood favourite tells Lesley O'Toole how acting is now more like a hobby

Between The Covers: Tulip Fever and big news at Simon & Schuster

Your weekly guide to what's really going on in the world of books

Album: The Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band, How I Go (Roadrunner)

The world is never short of decent blues guitarists, but Kenny Wayne Shepherd is a bit special, combining a deep knowledge of the form with a genuine Southern upbringing in a way which brings to mind Stevie Ray Vaughan.

Recession, as seen by Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts

The highest-grossing star in the world and America's sweetheart can feel our pain, they tell Gill Pringle ahead of their new movie

Poser: My Life in 23 Yoga Poses, By Claire Dederer

Free the spirit, but don't get carried away

Culture Club: Eat Pray Love (PG)

Readers review this week's film

Eat, Pray, Love (PG)

Julia Roberts smiles on crowds at Eat Pray Love premiere

Hollywood superstar Julia Roberts lit up London with her beaming smile at the gala premiere of her new film, Eat Pray Love.

Eat, Pray, Love: Please don't devour this magical memoir

Is there anything worse than a bad film adaptation of your favourite book? Rebecca Armstrong frets over 'Eat, Pray, Love'

Fireflies in the Garden (15)

In Fireflies in the Garden, Ryan Reynolds heads an overqualified ensemble cast to play a writer who's just finished a warts-and-all novel about his childhood. He then flies to the rural Midwest to visit his parents, Willem Dafoe and Julia Roberts (in old-woman make-up), but, just before he arrives, Roberts is killed in a car accident, which is the cue for hugs, recriminations, and numerous flashbacks to Reynolds' formative years. Emily Watson, his aunt, scolds him for writing a scandalous roman-à-clef which will lay bare the family's darkest secrets, so you'd assume that the flashbacks would reveal some pretty juicy traumas. No such luck. The crux of this dawdling, self-indulgent melodrama is that Dafoe is a cold father, but his paternal tyrannies are so insignificant that Reynolds would be lucky to get a short story out of them.

Charlie Wilson's War (15)<br />Before the Devil Knows You're Dead (15)

Spy story? Nope, more Afghan farce

Green chic: At last top celebrities wake up to plight of the planet

Between the ads for diamond watches and designer bags in one of America's glossiest magazines, A-listers have gone green. By Severin Carrell and Geoffrey Lean
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Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'