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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Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee