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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Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game
There's a Good Girl exhibition: How female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising

In pictures: There's a Good Girl exhibition

The new exhibition reveals how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover - from advent calendars to doll's houses

UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover

It worked with cupcakes, doughnuts and macarons so no wonder someone decided to revamp the humble biscuit
Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

It's no surprise that the building game born in Sweden in 2009 and now played by millions, has imitators keen to construct their own mega money-spinner
The King's School is way ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology

Staying connected: The King's School

The school in Cambridgeshire is ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology. Richard Garner discovers how teachers and pupils stay connected
Christmas 2014: 23 best women's perfumes

Festively fragrant: the best women's perfumes

Give a loved one a luxe fragrance this year or treat yourself to a sensual pick-me-up
Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition

Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund

The Ox celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition
Billy Joe Saunders vs Chris Eubank Jnr: When two worlds collide

When two worlds collide

Traveller Billy Joe Saunders did not have a pampered public-school upbringing - unlike Saturday’s opponent Chris Eubank Jnr
Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

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