Life and Style

The website that aims to let users 'annotate the world's text' has launched its first iPhone app following a spat with Google

Howard Jacobson: The Milibands have gone against nature

I admire Ed. He might be just what the country needs. But the country isn’t everything

Through the Square Window, By Sinéad Morrissey

Sinéad Morrissey's 1996 debut volume, published when she was 24, marked her out as a poet to watch. Her exceptional fourth collection, Through the Square Window , more than fulfils that early promise.

Howards End is on the Landing, By Susan Hill

Susan Hill's resolution to spend a whole year reading and re-reading nothing but the books in her house – no buying new paperbacks, no sneaky trips to the library – has resulted in this pleasantly opinionated memoir.

Letters of Louis MacNeice, Edited by Jonathan Allison

It appeared that nobody who mattered was capable of being explained," Elizabeth Bowen wrote in an essay in 1946. "Thus was inculcated a feeling for the dark horse." Stress has often been laid on the "dark horse" aspect of Louis MacNeice - backed up, no doubt, by his equine handsomeness. Critical evaluation since his death in 1963 has tended to detach MacNeice from the 1930s pantomime-horse "MacSpaunday" group (with Auden, Spender and Day-Lewis) - a horse of a different colour - and restore his integrity as a poet.

The Choir Outing, By Nigel Forde

Nigel Forde's poetry is, as the Hungarian-born peer George Szirtes says, "deeply English". These poems are mostly in a supple blank verse, sometimes decorated with rhyme; there are allusions to Shakespeare, Hardy, Keats and Herrick; and they are filled with images of the English countryside: streams, woods, owls, blackbirds, buddleia, moths, squirrels, rivers, moons and stars – lots of stars.

True Friendship, By Christopher Ricks

As an undergraduate 45 years ago, I never missed Christopher Ricks's lectures. He was the most engaging expositor of poetry; what's more, he generally had time for serious conversation afterwards with any student who tagged along to the King's Arms. His book Milton's Grand Style taught many of us how to read poetry and was our oblique introduction to the ambiguities of William Empson: we got many things "at one remove" through Ricks as teacher and critic.

De Chirico, Max Ernst, Magritte, Balthus: A Look into the Invisible, Palazzo Strozzi, Florence

Giorgio de Chirico is one of the painters we know so well from all the reproductions we used to display on our walls when we were breathless students: those lonely, wind-swept piazzas, headless statues and tiny humanoids with their weirdly over-stretched shadows... In fact, as with so many other painters, his work often looks better in reproduction. The crudity of application is smoothed away. All we are left with is the strangely disturbing idea of the work itself, and – in the very best of his art – the bald, bold use of contrasting primary colours. Look at the poster created for this exhibition for example, or the laminated cover of the press pack. They are more arresting than the painting called The Enigma of the Arrival and the Afternoon that it used as its starting point.

Rare signed George Orwell book fetches £86,000

A rare signed first edition of the first full-length work by author George Orwell has sold for £86,000, auctioneers said today.

Fionn Regan, University of London Union, London

Dark star of the plaid brigade

The Waste Land, Wilton's Music Hall, London

Lines of beauty worth revisiting

One Minute With: Simon Armitage

Boyd Tonkin: Not so far away as the Booker goes Czech

The Week In Books

The Mao Case, By Qiu Xiaolong

The sixth in Qiu Xialong's Inspector Chen series, The Mao Case is the usual enjoyable mix of murder, poetry and contradictions of contemporary Chinese culture. Chen is asked by the Party to secretly investigate the whereabouts of a mysterious object that the granddaughter of one of Mao's old lovers is thought to possess. The carefully schizoid attitude to Mao is evident: all Chinese deplore the brutalities of the Cultural Revolution, but it's not allowed to blame Mao. Chen himself, no lover of Mao, rebukes a taxi-driver for speaking ill of him.

Eliot revealed as defender of lesbian fiction

New exhibition shows the austere poet as a pioneering publisher and father figure to younger writers

Tom Sutcliffe: I entered a rat maze – and I was scared

I 'm going to do something irritating, which is to recommend an experience that you can't have. Or probably can't, anyway, the Manchester Festival production of It Felt Like a Kiss having sold out not very long after booking opened – on the strength, I take it, of a collaboration which pulls together three potent fanbases: admirers of Damon Albarn, who provides some of the music; devotees of Punchdrunk's site-specific theatre events and fans of Adam Curtis's uniquely suggestive political documentaries.

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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
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm tomorrow
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James May, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond in the Top Gear Patagonia Special
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Claudia Winkleman and co-host Tess Daly at the Strictly Come Dancing final
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peopleLiam Williams posted photo of himself dressed as Wilfried Bony
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Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
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The Apprentice finalists Mark Wright and Bianca Miller
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The monkey made several attempts to revive his friend before he regained consciousness
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Elton John and David Furnish will marry on 21 December 2014
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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
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
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Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
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