Voices

The new Library of Birmingham ticks all the boxes as far as so-called landmark architecture is concerned. Designed by Mecanoo, a star international practice. Slightly wild façade. Even more dramatic central atrium, spiralling up through the building. And at the  pinnacle, a golden ark containing the city’s original 1882 Shakespeare archive room.

Postcard from... Beirut

The undulating ski slopes of Faraya, with their sweeping views over the Mediterranean, are one place in Lebanon you expect to be able to escape from sniping sectarian politics.

Postcard from... Paris

Five-minute Memoir: Salley Vickers on first-job hell

When I was not quite 15, my dad, who was the kindest of fathers, decided that I should learn what 'real' work meant. He was a trade union leader, head of what is now the PCS – the Public and Commercial Services Union – having come to that brand of socialism via a youthful commitment to communism. His particular union served that branch of the public sector which included office cleaners. Indeed, it was his proud boast that he had been responsible for unionising the public sector cleaners.

Luka Magnotta is suspected of killing his lover, Jun Lin, a Chinese student, and dismembering his body and posting parts to political parties

From Montreal to Berlin via Paris: Canada's 'psycho killer' gay porn actor arrested

Porn actor wanted over murder of ex-lover is captured in police raid on internet café in Germany

Alice Jones: What the new Sgt Pepper cover tells us about modern Britain

Where once stood Marilyn, now stands Delia, in a Norwich City scarf. HG Wells has been ousted by JK Rowling, Marlene Dietrich bumped by Kate Moss. As for John, George and Ringo – they're nowhere to be seen.

Meltdown: Madness, Royal Festival Hall, London

When Ray Davies saunters on in a dapper silver-grey suit to welcome Madness to Meltdown, the band's fans cheer in delight. They understand The Kinks' influence on these subsequent specialists in North London working-class bittersweet vignettes. Saxophonist and non-singer Lee Thompson later jokingly checks if Davies has left the building, before a chucking-out-time pub version of "Where Have All the Good Times Gone". The real tribute comes as Madness stake their place in its tradition, with songs that are worldly-wise, sometimes weary and always for the underdog, played with rare confidence tonight.

Why We Run, by Robin Harvie

It's a curiosity that so many memoirs by runners emphasise the pain rather than the pleasure of an activity that is, after all, wholly optional.

Hérault wines

Ten vintage facts that wine lovers should know about the historic region’s vineyards. By Henry Palmer

We Had It So Good, By Linda Grant

The most exciting day of young Stephen Newman's life is trying on Marilyn Monroe's mink stole. In the warehouse where his father works, caring for movie stars' fur coats, Stephen sees what transformation a draped pelt brings, while "exercising his birthright, the American capacity to be reborn."

Famous wills: They couldn't take it with them...

The last wishes of some of history's most eminent figures have been released. Kevin Rawlinson surveys their legacies

Gangster's Paradise: Jerusalema (15)

Lucky Kunene, anti-hero of this tale of post-apartheid opportunism, announces at the outset that his two icons are Karl Marx and Al Capone.

The Week in Radio: Murder must be handled with great care

I was recently told, by someone who ought to know, that The Archers is ruminating on its own greatest taboo. When, if ever, should the everyday story of country folk stage its first murder? There have, of course, been deaths aplenty in Ambridge.

Observations: A feast of food, art and storytelling in East London

Armed with a map and a brown paper bag of broken savoury biscuits, I, along with a group of other intrepid Londoners, set off to bring the city's past to life through food and art this week. This was Broken Biscuits, a brilliantly devised cultural/gastronomic tour in and around the streets of East London, curated by Isabel de Vasconcellos and the artist and concept chef Caroline Hobkinson for the charity Art against Knives.

By The Sword, by Richard Cohen

For several thousand years, the sword held sway as the pre-eminent weapon of choice. And almost from the start it seems to have been realised that practice in swordplay could be stylised as a sporting contest; an Egyptian relief from Luxor dated around 1190 BC clearly depicts two men fencing, complete with judges.

Voices
Homeless Veterans charity auction: Cook with Angela Hartnett and Neil Borthwick at Merchants Tavern
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm tomorrow
Arts and Entertainment
J Jefferson Farjeon at home in 1953
booksBooksellers say readers are turning away from modern thrillers and back to golden age of crime writing
Sport
Amir Khan is engaged in a broader battle than attempting to win a fight with Floyd Mayweather
boxing Exclusive: Amir Khan reveals plans to travel to Pakistan
News
Stacey Dooley was the only woman to be nominated in last month’s Grierson awards
mediaClare Balding and Davina McCall among those overlooked for Grierson awards
Voices
Joseph Kynaston Reeves arguing with Russell Brand outside the RBS’s London offices on Friday
voicesDJ Taylor: The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a worker's rant to Russell Brand
News
Twitchers see things differently, depending on their gender
scienceNew study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tvReview: 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
Life and Style
A still from the 1939 film version of Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone with the Wind'
life
News
Xander van der Burgt, at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
scienceA Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
Career Services

Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
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'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick