Murder mystery in reverse: Dame Judi Dench reads The Driver’s Seat by Muriel Spark

Are you listening carefully? Audio books for Christmas

There are rich pickings to be harvested from this year’s crop. Jim Crace’s unforgettable Harvest (Whole Story, 7 CDs, £20.41) is a book begging to be read aloud. Had the Booker judges listened to John Keating reading it, they’d have given it the prize unanimously. The story of a pre-lapsarian village facing the end of centuries  of agrarian life is written in blunt and sturdy language that moves seamlessly between Old English accented alliteration and flights of superb iambic pentameter. “Caught between a nettle and a thorn”, the helpless narrator watches as monetary greed and a flagrant injustice destroys a community and creates an avoidable refugee crisis, whose contemporary relevance is unmistakable. It is a work of genius.

Mergermarket sell off has private-equity firms pondering bids

A host of private-equity firms are mulling bids for Mergermarket, the online bible for City rumour and gossip that is being offloaded by Financial Times-owner Pearson.

Anchorman's Ron Burgundy will release an 'autobiography' in November

Anchorman's Ron Burgundy to release 'autobiography'

Will Ferrell's most famous character promises to 'tell all' about his life so far

Another publishing star exits: Chief executive, Victoria Barnsley, leaves HarpersCollins

The boss of Rupert Murdoch's British book publishing arm, HarperCollins, dramatically departed yesterday as parent company News Corporation moved much of the UK responsibilities to its head office in New York.

Penguin Random House: An American takeover

As it gets taken over, Penguin is quitting the UK for the US, while talismanic publisher Gail Rebuck takes a back seat. But can the combine keep its top authors?

Penguin headquarters moved to New York after merger

Book publisher Penguin Random House today completed its merger in a move that will see Penguin’s headquarters move from London to New York and Random House’s UK boss, Dame Gail Rebuck, step back from the day-to-day running of the company.

Pearson braced for challenges following slip in sales to £1.2bn

Financial Times owner Pearson today admitted underlying sales fell 1% to  £1.2 billion in the first quarter, against a 3% rise a year ago, in a sign of the tough task facing new chief executive John Fallon.

Paperback review: Makers, By Chris Anderson

Everyone has the power to invent in these technological times
Penguin and Random House are set to merge

EU watchdog gives go-ahead for Penguin Random House merger

The EU's antitrust watchdog has given the green light to the proposed merger of Penguin and Random House that will create the world's largest book publisher.

Fifty Shades of Grey keeps Random House in the black

Record-breaking sales of the Fifty Shades Of Grey book trilogy have proved more important than The X Factor in holding up profits at German-owned media conglomerate Bertelsmann.

Pearson to swing the jobs axe after plunge in profits

Education giant Pearson will make major job cuts after new chief executive John Fallon today admitted annual profits slumped 59% but insisted, in the strongest terms yet, that the Financial Times is not for sale.

Thomas Pynchon joins Bowie as the second returning recluse of the week

Alice Jones' Arts Diary

Skyfall: The Bond film, the third starring Daniel Craig, was shot in Glencoe, Dalness Lodge, and Rannoch Moor

Skyfall writers leaving on a high - and other literary rivalries

Alice Jones' Arts Diary

Penguin: Set to join Random House

Pearson's Penguin joins Random House

Pearson agreed to combine its Penguin publishing unit with Bertelsmann's Random House to create by far the largest book publisher in Britain and the United States.

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Ryan Reynolds branches out in Woman in Gold

For every box-office smash in Ryan Reynolds' Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. It's time for a rethink and a reboot, the actor tells James Mottram
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The UK horticulture industry is facing a skills crisis - but Great Dixter aims to change all that

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Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head

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Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head. Rhodri Marsden meets mistress of ceremonies Leila Johnston
Sevenoaks is split over much-delayed decision on controversial grammar school annexe

Sevenoaks split over grammar school annexe

If Weald of Kent Grammar School is given the go-ahead for an annexe in leafy Sevenoaks, it will be the first selective state school to open in 50 years
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If your smartphone won’t quite cut it, it’s time to invest in a new portable gadget
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Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now
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Manchester United's talented midfielder has played international football for almost 14 years yet, frustratingly, has won only 32 caps, says Sam Wallace
Tracey Neville: The netball coach who is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

Tracey Neville is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

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