Norway to digitize all books and offer them as free downloads

The country's national library will undertake the project, predicting that it will take twenty to thirty years to complete

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug poster

The Hobbit: How much would you have to pay to own Smaug's home?

Features include a throne room, plenty of storage and a handy back door

Peter Higgs is to be honoured with a new £11m space technology centre named after him

The Nobel Prize for Peter Higgs recognises truth in an ancient Greek idea

The old system was familiar, the modern one somewhat more intimidating

With so many students preparing to spend their Christmas holidays under piles of books and papers, we ask: Is a dissertation worthwhile?

Panic is beginning to set in as third-years across the country start to realise just how many words are actually in "12,000 words"

Jesus Christ named history's most successful meme

Authors of a new book used internet-based metrics to declare Christ 'the most significant person ever' 

Hair time: Colin Wilson breaks another literary rule: don't pose for silly pictures

Colin Wilson: Eternal outsider

For ambitious would-be authors, the life of Colin Wilson presents itself as a cautionary tale. Here, Terence Blacker explains where the self-proclaimed genius went wrong

Colin Wilson: Author

Writer and philosopher whose work, beginning with ‘The Outsider’, searched for the meaning of man’s existence

Nothing: From Absolute Zero to Cosmic Oblivion, Edited by Jeremy Webb - Paperbacks review

What goes on in our brains when we’re not thinking? Why do some animals lounge around all day doing nothing? Is outer space completely empty? Why did it take so long for the number zero to be accepted? These are just some of the questions discussed in this intriguing collection of essays on “nothingness” by science writers including Ian Stewart, Marcus Chown, Nigel Henbest, Michael Brooks, Paul Davies and David Fisher.

Portrait of a Novel: Henry James and the Making of an American Masterpiece, By Michael Gorra - Paperbacks of the Year review

I wish I could give this sublime marrying of the art and the life 10 stars. This is very much a writer’s biography, and an absolutely gorgeous demonstration of how to frame a narrative begins, appropriately enough, with the framing by Gorra of the author, Henry James: “Many years later he would remember the way the book had begun. He was old then, and in England ....” It’s a description that mirrors beautifully the framing by James himself of the entrance of his great heroine, Isabel Archer, in The Portrait of a Lady, as “the girl in the doorway”.

Between The Sheets: What’s really going on in the world of books

All Between the Covers wants for Christmas (apart from a canvas book bag for a stocking) is a whole bunch of stuff signed by the brilliant author David Nicholls. Fortunately he has donated some books and film scripts to The Independent’s charity auction, and they can be found on our website. Bidding ends at 11am on 12 December. Nicholls’s lot comprises three books – one of them a boxed hardback of One Day – and three film scripts, including Great Expectations. Covers is keeping the lot under lock and key, only occasionally taking them out to covet them. We can reveal, therefore, that the script for Great Expectations contains the direction: “Ext. Marshes, Kent – dusk”. And ... action!

The Foundling Boy, By Michel Déon - Review

Michel Déon is one of the most acclaimed French writers of the past 50 years, being one of only 40 authors to be dubbed “un immortel” (an immortal) by his peers at the Académie française. Despite having scooped up many prestigious  literary prizes in his home country, only one of his more than 50 books has been translated into English. Up until now, that is. With the publication of The Foundling Boy, highly praised by William Boyd and Paul Theroux, many more can now enjoy Déon’s quiet, wryly funny prose and story-telling abilities.

The Language of dying, By Sarah Pinborough - Paperbacks review

Sarah Pinborough is a chameleon writer, a renaissance woman even, who can turn her hand to a varied range of genres. In her (almost) 10-year publishing career she has written standalone horror novels with titles including The Reckoning and Breeding Ground; the Dog-Faced Gods urban fantasy trilogy; a young adult fantasy series (under the pen name Sarah Silverwood) and a brace of original novels based on the Doctor Who spin-off TV series Torchwood, as well as writing for the TV crime show New Tricks.

My life in travel - Jodie Whittaker

'Hiking the Tongariro Alpine Crossing in New Zealand was extraordinary'

The novel cure: Distrust of visionaries

Literary prescriptions for modern ailments

Lava land: volcanic scenery in New Zealand

My life in travel - Jodie Whittaker

'Hiking the Tongariro Alpine Crossing in New Zealand was extraordinary'

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<p>Jonathan Ross</p>
<p>Jonathan Ross (or Wossy, as he’s affectionately known) has been on television and radio for an extraordinarily long time, working on a seat in the pantheon of British presenters. Hosting Friday Night with Jonathan Ross for nine years, Ross has been in everything from the video game Fable to Phineas and Ferb. So it’s probably not so surprising that Ross studied at Southampton College of Art (since rebranded Southampton Solent), a university known nowadays for its media production courses.</p>
<p>However, after leaving Solent, Ross studied History at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies, now part of the UCL, a move that was somewhat out of keeping with the rest of his career. Ross was made a fellow of the school in 2006 in recognition of his services to broadcasting.</p>
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Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album
Hugh Bonneville & Peter James: 'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'

How We Met: Hugh Bonneville & Peter James

'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's heavenly crab dishes don't need hours of preparation

Bill Granger's heavenly crab recipes

Scared off by the strain of shelling a crab? Let a fishmonger do the hard work so you can focus on getting the flavours right
Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

After a remarkable conversion from reckless defender to prolific striker, Monaco's ace says he wants to make his loan deal at Old Trafford permanent
Terry Venables: Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England

Terry Venables column

Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England
The Inside Word: Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past

Michael Calvin's Inside Word

Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past