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.

Career Services

Day In a Page

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
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick