Arts and Entertainment

Sweetness and light among shame and confusion. The greatest of all novels is Leo Tolstoy's final novel, Resurrection. Its effect upon a reader is immense and immediate. Even after eight readings of various translations, I continue to feel its spell and admire its complexity.

Readers' lives; This month: Lunch

This week's winner

Letter: Frozen points

Sir: Evidently Western Siberian Rail was running on time in 1942. I doubt whether Tadeusz Stachowski (letter, 12 November) would be alive to tell the tale of his sub-zero wait on the platform were they under the auspices of today's British railway companies.

Letter: Deep freeze

Sir: Steve Connor writes in "Scott of the Antarctic was killed by a cold snap" (9 November) that the temperature fell to -30F/-34C, with a wind chill factor which must have felt like -45C. The readings quoted are not terribly impressive. I experienced -55C at the Yalutorovsk station in western Siberia while waiting for a train in February 1942. I am still alive to tell the tale.

Travel books: Landscapes and memories

Lilian Pizzichini reviews three books about journeys haunted by ghosts of the past

Russia's Gurkhas: the Cossacks bounce back

Historical Notes

London missed obliteration by four hours

IF YOU were in London on 30 June 1908, you are astronomically lucky to be alive. That day a comet vaporised over Tunguska, Siberia, releasing as much energy as a 12-megaton atom bomb - 1,000 times more powerful than Hiroshima's blast.

Country and Garden: Weekend Work

FORCED HYACINTHS are already available for potting up, though there is no way that I will get round to this job yet. It brings Christmas too close. But if you want to give them as Christmas presents, set bulbs about half an inch apart in a bowl of compost with their noses just showing. Bury the bowl under soil or sand or keep in a cool place indoors.

Books: Over the rainbow

South of the Border, West of the Sun by Haruki Murakami Harvill, pounds 9.99, 192pp: Aamer Hussein finds a fairy-tale at the end of a Japanese dream

Books: A Siberian in Paris

The Books Interview: Andrei Makine swapped rootless Russia for lonely Pigalle - and for a fame that he detests.

Former Soviet Union: That Summer: Altai mountains, Russia, 1995: Siberia, where even bears have bad breath

We'd planned a trip to the mountains and Lake Teletskoye - but we hadn't bargained on getting so close to the wildlife.

Film: In Cannes, a tsar is born

The Russians are coming to the film festival - but don't expect a united front.

Rugby League: Thunder in the sun

Gateshead 22

Wednesday Books: Lives fashioned in exile

DESERT FLOWER BY WARIS DIRIE, VIRAGO, pounds 10.99 SIBERIAN DREAM BY IRINA PANTAEVA, BANTAM, pounds 6.99

Englishman takes dogs out for 1,161 mile walkies across the frozen north

SOME TIME today, if all goes according to plan, a lone exhausted Englishman and his 10 remaining sled dogs will stagger into the Alaskan town of Nome at the end of an epic 1,161-mile race through some of the worst weather the frozen north can throw.

Resign? Over his dead body

Boris Yeltsin is a hobbled figure on the world stage. He has survived double pneumonia, bronchitis, heart trouble and a bleeding ulcer, yet he is a political corpse, hated at home, a laughing stock abroad. And the vultures are hovering. So why is he hanging on to power?
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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Dubrovnik, the Dalmatian Coast & Montenegro
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Lisbon, Oporto and the Douro Valley
Lake Garda, Venice & Verona
Spain
Prices correct as of 23 January 2015
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