Arts and Entertainment

The success of the film's soundtrack has been key

Liotard, Jean-Etienne: La Belle Chocolatire (c.1745)

The Independent's Great Art series

The best world fiction for Christmas

Any honest observer of the book business in Britain will spend much of any year sunk in head-shaking gloom about its condescension to readers, its timid addiction to every passing fad, and its urge to throw good money after feather-light ephemera. Come Christmas, and the chain-store displays wear these marks of shame as badges of pride. Yet plenty of exciting and enduring books do break through the barrier of hype. From fiction to food, art to science, history to biography, this section celebrates a wide variety of the year's finest titles. Any book here can be ordered from Independent Books Direct on 0870 079 8897, or www.independentbooksdirect.co.uk, with a 10 per cent discount and free p&p on all orders: quote X10/06. So give your mind, and imagination, a truly festive feast.

Genetic breakthrough that reveals the differences between humans

Scientists hail genetic discovery that will change human understanding

Joe Ranft

Oscar-nominated writer for Pixar

Toy Story

'If you wake up on Christmas morning and you haven't got Robosapien under the tree, your parents don't love you.' Susie Mesure discovers how a 14in robot battled Barbie and beat the Beanies to become this year's must-have gift

The Incredibles (U)

The fantastic four

FILM: BOX OFFICE

UK films

Letter: Hollywood hype

Sir: Charles Harris is right (letter, 8 November). Hollywood hype is starving the rest of the film industry of oxygen.

The Information on: Randy Newman's `Bad Love'

What Is It?

RECORDS

Randy Newman: Bad Love (Dreamworks) Following a decade of Oscar-nominated film soundtracks, Randy Newman's first "personal" album since 1988 is delectably vintage stuff. There's a glorious breadth and depth both to the music and to the satire as Newman dissects everything from 16th-century European explorers to "froggish men, unpleasant to see" who have procured beautiful young wives. He even has a lunge at rock has-beens ("Each record that I'm making/ Is like a record that I've made/ Just not as good"), a brave move for a 54-year-old. As ever, Newman's trick is to compose vaudeville tunes as cuddlesome as those he wrote for Toy Story, and then to populate them with repugnant characters so believable that it's hard work to remind yourself that they really are just characters and that Newman can be Buzz Lightyear when he wants, too. Bad Love is just as good as any record he's made.

Film: Video Round-Up

Small Soldiers (PG)
Voices
voices
Life and Style
Upright, everything’s all right (to a point): remaining on one’s feet has its health benefits – though in moderation
HealthIf sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Griffin holds forth in The Simpsons Family Guy crossover episode
arts + ents
Sport
Laura Trott with her gold
Commonwealth GamesJust 48 hours earlier cyclist was under the care of a doctor
Arts and Entertainment
Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman
arts + entsFilmmaker posted a picture of Israeli actress Gal Gadot on Twitter
News
Bryan had a bracelet given to him by his late father stolen during the raid
people
Arts and Entertainment
Chris Pratt stars in Guardians of the Galaxy
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Pedro Pascal gives a weird look at the camera in the blooper reel
arts + entsPrince Oberyn nearly sets himself on fire with a flaming torch
News
Danny Nickerson, 6, has received 15,000 cards and presents from well-wishers around the world
newsDanny loves to see his name on paper, so his mother put out a request for cards - it went viral
Career Services

Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

Voted for by the British public, the artworks on Art Everywhere posters may be the only place where they can be seen
Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Blanche Marvin reveals how Tennessee Williams used her name and an off-the-cuff remark to create an iconic character
Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Websites offering your ebooks for nothing is only the latest disrespect the modern writer is subjected to, says DJ Taylor
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
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Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

The woman stepping down as chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund is worried