Judging by the national mood, I would urge David Cameron to go to the polls now; the mood is good out there

Ocean Sea, By Alessandro Bariccotrs Alexander McEwan

Allessandro Baricco's extraordinary novel describes what happens when several unusual characters, each burdened with a particular problem, meet at a remote seaside hotel.

The Orphanage (DVD)

Optimum Home EntertainmentIn this year's classiest ghost story, Belen Rueda and her husband buy the seaside orphanage where she spent her happy childhood and reopen it at as a home for the disabled. But when her own son goes into detail about his imaginary new friends, she wonders if they really are imaginary, after all. Produced by Guillermo del Toro, this Spanish chiller gets its scares from its unsettling atmosphere, wrenching emotion and stealthy plotting, rather than moments which make you jump. So when those moments do come along, you'll jump all the higher.

Paperbacks: Something Borrowed, by Paul Magrs

In this sequel to his Gothic hit Never the Bride, Magrs continues to out-spook Bram Stoker and Mary Shelley with his over-sized heroine Brenda, the erstwhile bride of Frankenstein.

Murder hunt launched as body found in suitcase

A murder investigation has been launched after the body of a62-year-old man was found in a suitcase buried in Bournemouth – the latest incident in a "sudden escalation of quite horrific violence" in the seaside town.

Paperback: Revenant, by Tristan Hughes

Memorably set among the treacherous rocky shores and forlorn seaside villages of Ynys Mon, this novel braids the voices of three misfit friends into an elegy for their tarnished childhoods. From contrasting angles each remembers Del, the gawky and dauntless girl who led their outsiders' gang until the fateful adventure they have returned to remember. Moods and words, not plot, propel the book (with just a touch of Dylan Thomas-does-the-Famous Five). But Hughes's

Last Punch and Judy 'professor' is left stranded

For more than 300 years, children have loved to jeer as a violent hook-nosed hunchback beats his wife and assaults a policeman. They then cheer as justice is done and the villain is gobbled up by a crocodile.

Street Art Brazil, Gallery 32, London<field name="starRating"> </field>

Brazil provides the art world with some of its most dynamic and inspirational graffiti: it features a dramatic use of distinctive colours, symbolism drawn from a rich South American culture, and, most importantly, the emotional responses that dire social iniquities provoke.

Fishing Lines: A bellyflop by Big Dave could save the Broadsfrom the sea

Looks like I'll be sea-fishing from my back garden soon if gloomy predictions by the Environment Agency come true. Rising sea levels could overwhelm defences around the Norfolk Broads in as little as one year's time, Lady Young, the agency's chief executive, has warned.

Album: Umalali, The Garifuna Women's Project (Cumbancha)

Ten years in the making, recorded in seaside huts and then put through a complex mastering process, this entrancing LP was powered by the enthusiasm of the great Belizean singer Andy Palacio who died suddenly in January, so it now becomes his posthumous tribute.

Out of the Blue (15)

The small seaside town of Aramoana, New Zealand, looks very beautiful in the opening scenes of this true-life drama. Peaceful, too, until one day in November 1990, when a lone gunman, David Gray, went berserk and shot dead 13 people.

Slow death of the seaside slot-machine arcades

A little-noticed change in last year's Gambling Act has had a devastating effect on entertainment complexes. Cahal Milmo reports
Barn owls are among species that could be affected
charity appeal
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricketEoin Morgan reportedly to take over ODI captaincy
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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

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Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas