Arts and Entertainment

Mohammed Ali  used to boast that when boxing,  he would float like a butterfly and sting like a bee. So it is with Germiane Greer. She writes lightly, gracefully even when agitating for a cause. But the words still sting. And unsettle. Here she consciously creates a quasi-religious epic out of a part of her remarkable life when she decided to restore a small, wrecked rainforest in Australia, her homeland. The tone is apocalyptic, themes existential and critical: (wo)man not against, but ardently for wondrous, pitiless and predatory nature. She, the Lionheart, is awed, meets devastation, fears cataclysms, intuits prophecies, bears historical and biological guilt,  seeks redemption and takes stupendous, fervent  action. It really is some story.

Tales from the Water Cooler: Scouting for boys (not in a gay way)

The Boy Scouts of America are doing away with a ban on openly gay members

It's not right until there's a Mr Right

Show me the woman who puts matrimony and children on hold

Review: Big Brother, By Lionel Shriver

He ain't heavy ... he's obese

Oz: Offers no easy answers to the questions he raises

Review: Between Friends, By Amos Oz (Trs Sondra Silverston)

Amos Oz uses beautiful prose to build an evocative portrait – the hopes, dreams, successes and failures – of life on an Israeli kibbutz in the Fifties

DVD & Blu-ray review: Louie: The Complete First Season (15)

Various directors DVD/Blu-ray (282mins)

GTA 5: Rockstar release 3 new character trailers for Michael, Franklin and Trevor

Rockstar has released trailers that show each of the three main characters from Grand Theft Auto 5.

Two Door Cinema Club are the sort of band hacks love to sneer at: softly-spoken, sweet and undeniably generic.

Music review: Two Door Cinema Club, Alexandra Palace, London

Two Door Cinema Club are one of those bands that make you wonder what the point is. Not in a the-end-is-upon-us sort of way (there's very little apocalyptic about this lovely little Northern Irish troupe) but in that, if this is the band that makes it, this is the band that gets massive, this is what people want, then... what do music journalists know about anything? Why bother?

DVD & Blu-ray review: The Mimic (15)

Kieron Hawkes DVD/Blu-ray (118mins)

Sally Bercow: Where Celebrity Big Brother and Leveson meet

How can you regulate someone with opinions and 60,000 Twitter followers?

Race for life: Run Dem Crew, founded by Charlie Dark (seated, centre). Three members will run the marathon at the weekend

On the fast track to happiness

For one crew represented at this year's London Marathon, running is about so much more than keeping fit, discovers Ian Burrell

Thatcher discord sets the clock back 30 years

I arrived back from holiday to find the country divided and inflamed once more

I hope the news that rowing caused Andrew Marr’s stroke won't put anyone off exercising

As I'm a similar age I know it's easy to get carried away. The urge to prove something to oneself – which may indeed be a middle-aged male thing – is strong

Only 19 per cent of GPs said that they would continue to be in the profession beyond the age of 64

More doctors considering early retirement over workloads and pensions

Only 19 per cent of GPs said that they would continue to be in the profession beyond the age of 64

Justin Poore show of temper leaves Wakefield at mercy of Sam Tomkins

Wakefield scored more points against Wigan than any side this season and are bound to wonder what they might have done yesterday if they had not played for 70 minutes with 12 men.

Five-Minute Memoir: Tash Aw recalls the relentless pace of life in Shanghai

Life in Shanghai was beginning to get me down. I could feel myself tiring, feeling breathless from the pollution and breaking out in a nagging cough. The fresh autumn breeze gave way to a bitter winter chill that seeped into my bones, making my joints ache.

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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 timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

Scarred by the bell

The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

Finally, a diet that works

Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
Say it with... lyrics: The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches

Say it with... lyrics

The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches
Professor Danielle George: On a mission to bring back the art of 'thinkering'

The joys of 'thinkering'

Professor Danielle George on why we have to nurture tomorrow's scientists today
Monique Roffey: The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections

Monique Roffey interview

The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections
Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Their outrageousness and originality makes the world a bit more interesting, says Ellen E Jones