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.

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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Dubrovnik, the Dalmatian Coast & Montenegro
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Lisbon, Oporto and the Douro Valley
Lake Garda, Venice & Verona
Spain
Prices correct as of 23 January 2015
Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness
Homeless Veterans appeal: Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story

Homeless Veterans appeal

Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story
Front National family feud? Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks

Front National family feud?

Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks
Pot of gold: tasting the world’s most expensive tea

Pot of gold

Tasting the world’s most expensive tea
10 best wildlife-watching experiences: From hen harriers to porpoises

From hen harriers to porpoises: 10 best wildlife-watching experiences

While many of Britain's birds have flown south for the winter, it's still a great time to get outside for a spot of twitching
Nick Easter: 'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

Nick Easter targeting World Cup place after England recall
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore