Arts and Entertainment

Some authors vanish in plain sight, recalled by their most successful work, which comes to define an entire career. A friend of mine has written mytho-logies, Victoriana, crime and magical realism, but publishers are unable to mention her without inserting the title of her greatest success into her name, in the way that pantomime stars are bracketed by their TV shows. Typecasting is a problem that afflicts most successful writers.

Comment: Podium: How the East was won for Britain

From a lecture by the expert on Javanese art given at the British Museum

Best Sellers: Paperbacks

1 About A Boy Nick Hornby/Indigo pounds 6.99

BEST-SELLERS: BOOKS

Hardbacks

Wired Up: Travel India

The biggest advantage that travel guidebooks have over the Internet these days is that they're portable. However, if you're on-line and need to know what's what, the Web wins hands down. Take India for example, perhaps the most exotic of all destinations.

Books: Best Sellers

Hardbacks

Travel: Passport

Getting lost is part of the fun for serious travellers, though it could hurt their chances of romance

There's No Escape

When the first `Lonely Planet' guide was published 26 years ago, travelling was a very different story. Andrew Stalbow on how the trail became a trial

Property: Hot Spot - Cardiff, Barry And Penarth: Posh and poor down on the waterfront

THE HARBOURS in Cardiff and Barry used to work for a living. Soon, they will mostly devote themselves to leisure pursuits.

Focus: So many books, so little time

While booksellers are doing roaring business, many much-praised works are destined only for shelving, or showing off on the Tube

Travel: Turn your gap year into a real winner

Calling all gap-year students - a total of pounds 3,000 is up for grabs (so long as you don't mind travelling with a gnome) plus 100 travel guide and phrase books from Lonely Planet

Travel: Brochures

IF YOU can't judge a book by its cover, you certainly can a travel brochure: the Trips Worldwide brochure for Mexico, Central America and the Alternative Caribbean is vivid proof of this. With its scaly-textured purple cover and smiley lizard logo, this brochure looks promisingly unconventional, if not "dramatically different", as the cover proclaims. The new-agey illustrations of tropical fish and Mayan temples look as if a somewhat exhilarated art student has been let loose with a pack of children's crayons, but the result is surprisingly refreshing. There are the obligatory picture-postcard snaps of beautiful beaches and grinning locals, but on the whole, the design does not rely on them. Rather than being aimed at backpackers, as I at first thought, these tailor-made holidays are aimed at people "just like you", according to the inside front cover. The list of "just like you" types which follows is curious: teachers, naturalists, honeymooners, young people, octogenarians and... lottery winners. A two-week minimum tour is recommended in the "Trip Planner" pull-out section, which also contains all the nitty-gritty details - prices, itineraries, etc. This is a fine idea (if it hadn't been printed in an illegible lurid orange) as it leaves the main brochure unfettered. The result is an inspiring travel guide book-style read.

WEB SITES OF THE WEEK

Fancy a new start Down Under? This is the Australian government's official immigration page, giving advice on how to apply for residency in Oz. It's not particularly user-friendly. but it is comprehensive, allowing you to download application forms.

Rural bliss in N16

Media couple Rob and Clare Steiner have swapped their achingly chic white apartment on the urban front line for the lived-in look, complete with labrador, in that famous oasis of bucolic peace, Stoke Newington. James Sherwood reports. Photographs by Mykel Nicolaou
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Independent Travel
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