We can't turn back the online shopping tide, but we can change the way we think about high streets

An average of one in eight UK shops now lies empty: in some areas, it's much more

10 things no student should ever waste money on

Somehow, it’s already the middle of 2013. We’ve survived apocalypse scares, generated celebrities who are more influential than politicians, and grown into adulthood without everything we’ve forgotten about Egyptian pharaohs from primary school being a hindrance to everyday life.

In praise of books - proper books

You'll never get an e-book reader with the authentic smell of the library, says Eleanor Doughty

Jacqueline Wilson said most children can not spell her name correctly

Jacqueline Wilson: 'Spelling is not something that seems to be taught at schools'

Tracy Beaker author Jacqueline Wilson has criticised the language skills of British schoolchildren – revealing that her young overseas fans write more eloquent English than UK kids.

Geffrye Museum

Geffrye Museum: The pub for labourers, the museum for the middle classes and an extension that resulted in class war

War of words erupts after council declares derelict building is of benefit to community

Author Judy Blume

Tiger Eyes: Young adult author Judy blooms on on the big screen, but why the wait?

Judy Blume, the beloved “young adult” author, might be 75-years-old now but she’s still proving that when it comes to the trials and tribulations of adolescent girls, nobody understands them quite like Judy.

Librarian Stephen Pearson, left, who has for 15 years been in charge of selecting and hothousing Manchester University contestants for University Challenge,w ith Mr Pearson is Independent reporter Jonathan Brown

Watch out, Paxman: Manchester’s quiz-show guru reveals his secrets

Manchester’s recent University Challenge successes can be credited to one man

Gadgets such as tablets are becoming a familiar tool for pupils, who use them for research, writing and recording video and audio

Do students need an Apple iPad?

We investigated the issue thoroughly, and the answer is a resounding 'maybe'

The Blagger's Guide To: Liverpool literature

World Book Night highlights the quality of Mersey

If this is Justin Bieber 'raising awareness' about Anne Frank and the Holocaust, perhaps he shouldn't

Celebrities 'raising awareness' is not an end in itself. Beyond that there has to be 'creating understanding' – and that’s before we even get to 'taking action'

Jumpers for Goalposts

Theatre review: Jumpers for Goalposts, Watford Palace, London

It was my privilege to present Tom Wells his gong for Most Promising Playwright at the Critics' Circle Awards in 2012. This was in honour of The Kitchen Sink, an adorably funny play which, in calculated contradiction of its class-war-promising title, showed how the family of a milkman who was facing a phase-out because of competition from Tesco fought to cope with life -  in a spirit of quirky resilience and stoical humour - in a North East Yorkshire world of recession and wind-down.

Postcard from... Erbil

A shopper uses a credit card to buy goods on the internet

A guide to life without an internet connection

British people would rather go cold and dirty than lose connection to the internet, a new study suggests.

Campbell: his work was imbued with his self-deprecating humour

Malcolm Campbell: Pioneer in the provision of business information

His accession to president of the Staff Association was marked by a seven-gun salute in Guildhall Yard

Libraries to lend ebooks under new pilot scheme

Libraries could be loaning books electronically as early as this summer after a review commissioned by the government called for new e-lending capabilities in a bid to secure their future.

Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll as Agnes Brown in the 2014 Mrs Brown's Boys Christmas special
tvCould Mrs Brown's Boys have taken lead for second year?
Arts and Entertainment
Madonna is not in Twitter's good books after describing her album leak as 'artistic rape and terrorism'
music14 more 'Rebel Heart' tracks leaked including Pharrell Williams collaboration
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Jack O'Connell stars as Louis Zamperini in Angelina Jolie's Unbroken
film review... even if Jack O'Connell is excellent
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peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
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Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi showing a small mascot shaped like a vagina
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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
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
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