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

The Atmospheric Railway, By Shena Mackay

This collection of 13 short stories, named after an experimental railway which ran for some months in the 1860s at Crystal Palace Gardens in London, takes the reader on richly imagined, metaphorical journeys through the minutiae and small mysteries of individual lives.

Leading article: We can't resist market forces

In a world that is changing so fast, there is consolation to be found in identifying the things that stay the same. One of these, a survey has found, is the attraction of the English market town. Lloyds TSB has established that house-buyers are prepared to pay a £30,000 premium to live in one, compared with other locations in the same county.

Armed police clear drug gangs from Rio favela

Police searched homes and secured the perimeter yesterday of a Rio de Janeiro shantytown that has long been a stronghold for drug gangs and a symbol of their ability to rule vast areas of the seaside city with impunity.

Adrift (12A)

Starring: Laura Neiva, Vincent Cassel, Débora Bloch

Holloway still hopes to keep Gilks beside the seaside

Blackpool manager Ian Holloway is determined to retain the services of his goalkeeper Matt Gilks. Holloway knows, however, he could be fighting a losing battle with the player out of contract come next summer.

Italian town set to ban 'skimpy' skirts

Just how mini can a miniskirt be? If the mayor of a small Italian town has his way, law enforcement officials, and not fashion gurus, will be the ones to decide.

A Fair Maiden, By Joyce Carol Oates

On a walk one afternoon, 16-year-old Katya Spivak, a nanny in the town of Bayhead Harbor, New Jersey, is approached by Henry Kidder, an elderly illustrator; he offers her money to pose for a series of portraits and she agrees, only vaguely aware of his more sinister intentions.

Tips and deals of the week: 24/10/2010

Take a festive break in Dublin for £163

Throughout December, Irish Ferries is offering three nights at the three-star Mount Herbert Hotel for £163 per person, a saving of £42. The deal, based on two sharing, includes return car ferry crossings, free parking in Dublin and B&B.

Go to irishferries.com/holidays

Book Of A Lifetime: The Pursuit Of The Millennium, By Norman Cohn

One year, my mother inherited £500. This was a princely sum. My parents put the money towards a tiny, flint-faced cottage on the Kent coast. Their hope, a regular injection of sea air into the lungs of our urban childhood. And indeed religiously, every holiday and half-term, we would wind our way down (fewer motorways then) to the seaside town of Hythe.

Howard Jacobson: The end of the pier is too big a loss to bear

A pier never feels entirely English. Isn’t that what we love – its foreignness, its riskiness?

Book Of A Lifetime: Berg, By Ann Quin

I first came to read Ann Quin's mesmerising 'Berg' by accident in 2001. I was browsing a favourite bookshop in Brighton, looking for rare editions of Blaise Cendrars. When I asked the bookseller if he stocked anything by Cendrars he simply shook his head and held up a Calder edition of Quin's 'Berg'. "Have you ever read Ann Quin?" he asked me. "No, who's Ann Quin?" I answered.

I'm in charge, says Clegg, as PM goes to the seaside

A year ago it would have been considered a pipe-dream for all but the most incurable of Liberal Democrat romantics. Their leader will return from his Spanish holiday tomorrow to take charge of Britain for the next fortnight.

Design beside the seaside: Get the fresh coastal look without the sailing clichés

Combine white-painted furniture, striped linen and the right vintage accessories

Bodies of married couple found

The bodies of a married couple were discovered at their seaside flat after neighbours were alerted by their two young sons. It is believed the mother had been strangled by her husband before he killed himself.

'Doughnut' ride man in propeller horror

A man was seriously injured after being thrown from a rubber ring pulled by a speedboat and struck by the vessel's propeller.

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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform