Minnesota

Invisible Ink: No 173 - Robert M Pirsig

In the roll-call of student summer reading certain volumes stand out, including Desmond Morris's body language phenomenon The Naked Ape and Richard Bach's Jonathan Livingston Seagull. To those can be added a volume by Robert M Pirsig that snuggled its way into every hitchhiker's hand-crocheted body satchel. Unlike Bach, whose books were like being hit with a wiffle bat full of pot-pourri, Pirsig is the real deal. Born in 1928, this precocious university student was eventually expelled for studying too hard, after growing bewildered by the choice of multiple hypotheses in his chosen field, biochemistry. Overwhelmed by the limitations of science, he tackled Eastern philosophy instead, spending time in India before returning to a US college.

Cold Specks, Union Chapel, London

When Al Spx sings away from the mic, her earthy vocal carries through the airy nave, proving this a fine match of venue and performer: a cavernous church, with its hard, cramped pews, and the stark spirituality of this Canadian singer/songwriter.

Etta James: Acclaimed soul singer who fought to overcome her personal

If Etta James's life had not been weighed down with personal problems, mostly bad management, ghastly lovers, obesity, incarceration and heroin addiction, she would have been acclaimed as a remarkable female soul singer alongside Aretha Franklin, Nina Simone and Tina Turner. Her fans know how good she is but the general public in the UK only know her for her Top 10 single, the gritty and sensuous "I Just Want To Make Love To You", recorded in 1960 but a hit through a TV ad in 1996.

Who wants to be a Kindle millionaire?

This week an unknown US author, Amanda Hocking, joins an elite literary club alongside just 11 others – including Stieg Larsson, James Patterson and Nora Roberts – by racking up her millionth Kindle sale. Unknown is, of course, a relative term in this case (no one can shift that many books by remaining anonymous) but Hocking is unusual because she has sold all of her books via Amazon's electronic Kindle reader. Entirely self-published, her first physical book does not reach traditional bookshops until January.

Stand-in twin denied prize after miracle hockey shot

A boy who hit an ice hockey puck into a tiny hole from the rink's centre line 27 metres away has been denied $50,000 prize money, because his identical 11-year-old twin brother bought the ticket that allowed him to take the shot.

The Hold Steady, Shepherd's Bush Empire, London

Someone walking in off the street might wonder at first what this camply flapping, foggy-spectacled, middle-aged nerd is doing at the microphone. But Craig Finn crosses early Woody Allen with early Bruce Springsteen.

US lawyer specialising in lawsuits against Catholic Church sets up UK

For much of the past 25 years Jeff Anderson has been the American Catholic Church’s bête noire. Working out of a small office in St Paul, Minnesota, the 63-year-old US attorney has spearheaded more than 1,500 lawsuits against the Church, winning millions of dollars for his clients and forcing open one of the world’s most secretive institutions.

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Peter Graves: Actor best known as Jim Phelps in 'Mission: Impossible'

The silver-haired actor Peter Graves had the right name for his role as the stony-faced boss of an élite American government espionage agency in the television series Mission: Impossible. As Jim Phelps, he was in charge of the Impossible Missions Force's team of skilled operatives who carried out daring, top-secret assignments.