Howard Jacobson: Asking for pornography that's life-affirming is like asking for tragedy with a happy ending

Porn that’s good to us, enhancing rather than degrading, by definition ceases to be porn

The last chapter?: Waterstones (in the days when it still had an apostrophe) championed the printed word; (left) the Amazon Kindle, soon to be sold in the chain

Trending: Hardbacks vs e-books: the sequel

Does the announcement that Waterstones is to sell Amazon's Kindle mean that bookshops are giving up, asks John Walsh

Waterstones unveils partnership with Amazon

Waterstones unveiled a partnership with the internet giant Amazon today in a move that will see it offer Kindle e-reading devices through its shops.

The poster boy of a new generation of on-screen historians, Dan Snow started in 2003 with a documentary on the battle of El Alamein co-presented with his journalist father, Peter Snow.

Young historians 'are damaging academia' in their bid for stardom

Research is being jazzed up too much in the dash for the bestseller lists, says Wolfson judge

HMV eyes profits recovery

Music and film retailer HMV offset anticipated annual losses of £16 million today by predicting a surprise return to profit in the following year.

Parikian: she combined expertise, a scholarly approach and joie de vivre

Diana Parikian: Noted antiquarian bookseller

When she realised the mark-up on an array of Erasmus first editions she knew she had to become a dealer

Take your pick: Amazon staff in a typical distribution centre in Milton Keynes. The US firm is now moving into the industrial-supply business

Amazon aims for supply and command as it moves into industrial supplies

The online giant has already conquered most of the retail world – now it's moving into industrial supplies. Mark Piesing asks what that means for the rest of the industry.

The Blagger's Guide To ...World Book Night

A million books, 25 titles, one big giveaway

Tom Hodgkinson: The bohemian spirit is alive and well

While our image of Notting Hill today may be of a wealthy person's retreat, the area had a more bohemian and radical reputation when I was growing up. A combination of West Indian culture and a punky vibe made it irresistibly glamorous and edgy to me and my friends. It was the land of sound systems, skateboarders, the Clash, the Westway, the Mutoid Waste Company, the carnival and head shops on Portobello Road. It was home to Rough Trade (where I worked for a year when I was 21), Whole Earth foods, second-hand clothes shops and stalls on Portobello Green run by artists. It was the Notting Hill of Jimi Hendrix and of John Michell, the celebrated late cosmologist and author. I suppose it represented creative freedom.

WH Smith looks abroad for travel expansion

WH Smith is stepping up the expansion of its travel shops overseas to places as far flung as Fiji after the division helped to raise its half-year profits and dividend.

Dial M for Murdoch: Details of the book’s publication were kept secret fearing News International would try to damage its launch

New book 'exposes links between Murdoch, politicians and police'

A new book which promises to expose the connections between Rupert Murdoch's British newspaper group and senior politicians and police officers is to be published this week.

Protests over’s China’s inclusion in the book fair

London book fair interrupted by protest at China's rights abuses

Beneath the lavish pavilion devoted to the Chinese publishing at the London Book Fair, Dame Margaret Drabble is discussing the super-power's cultural heritage to approving nods from Beijing officials.

JK Rowling's The Casual Vacancy concerns parish-council elections

'Blackly comic' Rowling book far from Harry

JK Rowling was not joking when she said her next book would be "very different" to the magical world of Harry Potter. Yesterday it emerged her first novel aimed at adults would follow parish council elections in an English market town. The celebrated British author's first book in five years will be called The Casual Vacancy, and will be a "blackly comic" tale of an idyllic English town at war itself, the publishers revealed.

'Independent' Foreign Fiction Prize shortlist: A whole world in their words

It called for soul-searching and sacrifice but, after much impassioned debate, the shortlist for this year's Independent Foreign Fiction Prize took the shape that you see here. If anything, the panel of judges – Xiaolu Guo, Jon Cook, Nick Barley, Hephzibah Anderson and myself – had to contend with an embarrassment of riches. Whatever our perennial regrets about the limited quantity of fiction brought into English from other languages, the quality of translations felt as bold and bright as ever. In Britain, we owe so much of our view of global fiction to independent publishers of various shapes and sizes. Responsible for around two-thirds of all submissions for the Independent prize, they contribute five out of the six titles on this list – although I ought to stress that neither commercial nor geographical provenance ever sways the decision.

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There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
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Elton John and David Furnish will marry on 21 December 2014
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Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
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A still from the 1939 film version of Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone with the Wind'
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J Jefferson Farjeon at home in 1953
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Amir Khan is engaged in a broader battle than attempting to win a fight with Floyd Mayweather
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Stacey Dooley was the only woman to be nominated in last month’s Grierson awards
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Twitchers see things differently, depending on their gender
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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
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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