Environment

New studies show what experts say is the direct consequence of global warming on Magellanic penguins in South America

The Language of Things, By Deyan Sudjic

"How We Are Seduced by the Objects around Us," declares the cover. To this end, Penguin commissioned a special design for this book from an outfit called YES. The result is a small-format paperback with a tiny, hard-to-read typeface.

Town gets into the Christmas spirit - in August

Town hall bosses were accused of going Christmas crackers today after putting up festive lights - four months early.

Win Marian Keyes' latest novel, 'This Charming Man'

To mark the publication of Marian Keyes' latest book, This Charming Man, Penguin and The Independent are giving readers the chance to win 10 copies of the book.

To enter send us a photograph you have taken which you think best represents a "charming man". A selection of our favourites will be displayed on the site from which we will choose 10 winners.

Enter the competition here.

The competition closing date is 13 April.

Download an extract from This Charming Man (pdf). Visit Marian Keyes' official website.

Terms and conditions apply .

South Georgia on my mind: Simon Calder at the bitter end of the world

This wind-whipped island was the focus for the greatest escape in exploration history. Simon Calder gets on the trail of Ernest Shackleton in a part of the world that is forever British

Do Polar Bears Get Lonely?, Edited by Mick O'Hare

Following on from the ludicrously popular Why Don't Penguins' Feet Freeze, this latest collection of strange and intriguing posers from the New Scientist's "Last Word" column achieves a scientifically improbable feat: it continues to feed the appetite for weird science without seeming to scrape the bottom of the barrel.

Penguin's Poems for Life, ed Laura Barber

This collection tracing life's trajectory of birth, childhood, marriage, work, children, middle-age and death, is nothing but a delight from start to finish. Laura Barber has chosen a mix of well-known favourites (Robert Frost's "The Road Not Taken", Dylan Thomas's "Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night") and lesser known, more recent offerings. Of the latter, Adrian Mitchell's "This Be The Worst", written on hearing that someone once mistook Larkin's famous line, "They fuck you up, your Mum and Dad" for "they tuck you up, your Mum and Dad" is a blast of sunshine through the rain; Fleur Adcock's anti-love poem "Against Coupling" raises a bitter smile, and Carol Ann Duffy's "Mrs Sisyphus" seems to confirm that we live in a more cynical age which could never comprehend the inspiration behind the love poetry of John Clare or Andrew Marvell.

<a href="http://blogs.independent.co.uk/openhouse/2008/10/giant-penguins.html">Farah Mihlar: Giant penguins, sweet potato fudge - but no place for human rights</a>

It's not nice to have to admit you're wrong, as I was to be apprehensive about my role at the IUCN forum in Barcelona. I should really have been tearing my hair out in panic.

Children's author to write sixth instalment of Hitchhiker series

A children's author has been commissioned to write the first posthumous instalment to the best-selling Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy series.

Terence Blacker: Poor old Paxo given a stuffing

It is something of an August ritual. The suits and faces from Televisionland migrate to Edinburgh where, infected by the general atmosphere of alternative politics and comic skittishness, they go a little too far during a speech or a question-and-answer session. Newspapers, desperate for copy, whip up a "debate" about what has been said and ring up the usual suspects – a small coterie of rent-a-quote TV veterans. A predictable row breaks out before, like a summer thunder storm, it passes. In spite of their innate pointlessness, these silly-season episodes now and then provide a small moral lesson which has absolutely nothing to do with television.

New James Bond book breaks sales record

The new James Bond book Devil May Care has smashed the record for Penguin's fastest-selling hardback fiction title.

Paperbacks: Cheating at Canasta, by William Trevor

A heavy sense of inevitability permeates this collection of stories, by a master of the form at his reliable best. Elegantly and sparsely written, they nonetheless carry a weight of guilt, or shame, or just age, through homecomings, goings away and weary stayings put. The title story, set in Venice, describes how cheating at Canasta can be the tenderest act of all, as an old man honours a promise to a beloved wife who can't even remember asking for it.

Walking on thin ice... p-p-pick out the penguin

Summer is coming for the UK, but in the Antarctic winter is on the way and it will soon be colder for this penguin.

Will the good times last at Pearson?

Former rodeo rider Marjorie Scardino steered through some difficult times as the first female chief executive of a FTSE 100 company. But the toughest fences may be yet to come. By Ian Burrell

The English Year: The nation's customs and festivals, from May Day to Mischief Night, By Steve Roud

The origins of our national festivals are both more and less arcane than we had imagined: Mother's Day is as much of an import as Hallowe'en. "Rough Music", the custom of raising hell beneath the windows of malefactors, may have represented mob rule, but at least it was aimed mainly at wife-beaters. Padstow's 'Obby 'Oss is well known, but, if the locals don't watch out, it faces a serious rival in "Darkie Day". This curious relic of the minstrel tradition, so the local MP claimed in 2006, is quite innocent, and the blacked-faces part of "mumming" have nothing to do with racism. A shame the "mummers" sing minstrel songs, then.

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