Arts and Entertainment For music lovers: John Cusack with his vinyl collection in 'High Fidelity'

As a former couple go to court in a bid to carve up their record collection, Tom Hodgkinson rejoices in the fact that our love affair with vinyl is far from over

Lost Hobbit images get first showing

Unseen drawings by J R R Tolkien published this week throw new light on an old classic

The Sound of Fear, Radio 4, Tuesday<br/>One to One, Radio 4, Tuesday

Is that a voice from beyond? Or Lyse Doucet?

1Q84: Book One and Book Two, By Haruki Murakami, trs Jay Rubin

Everything under the two moons

My Father's Fortune, By Michael Frayn

A son takes stock of riches beyond measure

The Lost Diaries, By Craig Brown

Better spaghetti, passing wind, and Madonna's sex

The Sun King, By Nancy Mitford

An age of Regal pomp and dodgy plumbing

Howard Jacobson: Forget Kevin, it's the book we need to talk about

And so, with a dignified nod to anyone who cares to notice, I straighten my bow tie, wipe away a tear, put on my bravest face and leave the stage.

Letters: Libya after Gaddafi

The end of Gaddafi's regime bodes ill for Libya

National Novel Writing Month: Write your novel online

A writer writes, or so the popular dictum has it. In reality, a writer is far more likely to procrastinate – to watch TV, go for a walk, take up macramé – than they are to actually knuckle down to it. This is why an initiative called National Novel Writing Month – or NaNoWriMo for acronym enthusiasts – exists: an online support group that encourages wannabe novelists, over the course of one frantic month, to actually put pen to paper, finger to keyboard.

1Q84, By Haruki Murakami

How odd, but apt, that an author who writes so often and so well about the lure of cults should himself have become the idol of a worldwide sect of votaries. Near the end of the first of the three volumes that make up Haruki Murakami's 1Q84, a policewoman who has investigated a secretive commune reports that "Doctrine-wise, it's kind of deconstructionist". Initiates absorb "a jumble of images of religion" that takes in "new-age spiritualism, fashionable academicism, a return to nature, anti-capitalism, occultism, and stuff". Overall, their creed "has a bunch of flavours, but no substantial core". Ayumi, a traffic cop who likes to pick up strangers in the company of the novel's heroine and enjoy "all-night sex feasts", adds: "In McLuhanesque terms, the medium is the message. Some people may find that cool."

Book Of A Lifetime: Coming Through Slaughter, By Michael Ondaatje

My book of a lifetime? Easy. 'Coming Through Slaughter' by Michael Ondaatje. I discovered it just as the cement was setting around the idea of making the dream, writing, an actual career (to the horror of my coal-miner father, who, when hearing of my vaultingly ridiculous ambition, responded - "waste of time, books".) Ondaatje's slim, early tome was introduced by a university lecturer, a failed and depleted writer himself, and it entered my world like a depth charge of possibility. I've carried my battered Picador paperback around for decades; the pages, now, are almost greasy from being thumbed, flipped, dog-eared and scribbled upon.

Inadmissible Evidence, Donmar Warehouse, London

Having been the voice of the "Angry Young Man" in 1956 with Look Back in Anger, John Osborne became the megaphone of the male mid-life crisis eight years later with Inadmissible Evidence. The play is a devastating account of the meltdown of 39-year-old solicitor Bill Maitland. It opens with a Kafkaesque dream in which Maitland is in the dock for having published the "wicked, bawdy and scandalous object" that is his mediocre life. It then turns into a waking nightmare where the division between the outer reality of the office and the inside of Maitland's head is disturbingly blurred. Clients, colleagues, wife, mistress and daughter turn away from him, so that by the end, he's an almost Beckett-like image of a man left alone in the fading light with no hope.

Brendon Burns: Gervais <i>can</i> be forgiven for what he said

For some reason people think they have the right not to be offended, which is an incredibly self-absorbed stance. When one person is horrified by a joke, another person is laughing their arse off. And the person laughing their arse off would never tell the horrified person they're not entitled to their reaction.

Arifa Akbar: It's a case of choosing the right author in the wrong year

By going for the only literary heavyweight on the list, the decision rung a false note

The sense of a happy ending &ndash; Barnes wins the Booker

He's made the shortlist three times before, but finally the novelist has taken the prize

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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
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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
DJ Taylor: Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

It has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Olivia Jacobs & Ben Caplan: 'Ben thought the play was called 'Christian Love'. It was 'Christie in Love' - about a necrophiliac serial killer'

How we met

Olivia Jacobs and Ben Caplan
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's breakfasts will revitalise you in time for the New Year

Bill Granger's healthy breakfasts

Our chef's healthy recipes are perfect if you've overindulged during the festive season
Transfer guide: From Arsenal to West Ham - what does your club need in the January transfer window?

Who does your club need in the transfer window?

Most Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
The Last Word: From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015

Michael Calvin's Last Word

From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015