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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A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice