Extras

Whether you’re trekking to Machu Picchu or taking in the sun - and football – in Rio, take your pick from these inspirational and useful reads, chosen by Stanfords, the travel information specialists

King Creosote

Music review: King Creosote, The Slaughtered Lamb, London

King Creosote is one of the great outsiders. He occupies the margins in both the songs he sings and in the way he sends his songs out into the world. This short residency in a downstairs room in a pub in Clerkenwell coincided with the release of an album that was previously only available at his live shows, and then only in vinyl form.

The bizarre tale of the 'North Pond Hermit' takes another twist as he receives marriage proposal and an offer to bail him out of jail

Christopher Knight, who has become known as the North Pond Hermit, reportedly spent 27 years in the woods of Maine

Axa warns of house market ruin

Insurance boss claims many homes will be 'unsellable' if ministers fail to agree flood deal

Paperback review: The Green Road into the Trees, By Hugh Thomson

Hugh Thomson sets off to walk through England by ancient pathways from Dorset to Norfolk.

Travel Agenda

From pub apps and Venice in Peril to family camping festivals

Get me out of here - Caribbean, the Azores, camping in France

Now... If you're hankering for some heat, Thomas Cook has a week in the Caribbean for £939pp, departing between 13 April and 30 June. The package includes room-only at the Halcyon Cove By Rex Resorts in Antigua with Virgin Atlantic flights from Gatwick. Tcsignature.com

Rahul Gandhi's India – a beehive of buzzing thoughts

Gandhi’s problem is that he is starting from a very low base in his current bid to win public acceptability

Quiz Show by Rob Drummond

Quiz Show, Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh

The first memory which might be stirred by this complicated but ultimately gripping psychothriller about truth and perspective from rising star Rob Drummond is a faded one of evenings watching garishly designed quiz shows on a four-channel television in the 1980s.

Anatomies, By Hugh Aldersey-Williams

Many people have experienced the odd feeling that although we are our body's "owner-operator", as Hugh Aldersey-Williams puts it, the body is actually a strange appendage: not really us at all, more like one of our plug-ins – a car or computer. Cultures have veered wildly in their attitude to the body. Aldersey-Williams, an excellent, versatile science writer, pitches his book at just the right level of amused and curious enquiry.

The opposition candidate Henrique Capriles at an antiviolence protest on Monday

Violence - and Hugo Chavez - loom large over race for power in Venezuela

The battle to succeed El Comandante has begun

Get me out of here - Madrid, Nepal, Norway

Now... Throughout April, Kirker Holidays is offering three nights in Madrid for £549 per person. The deal includes B&B accommodation at the Vincci Centrum Hotel, tickets to the Thyssen and Prado museums, transfers and BA flights from Heathrow. Kirkerholidays.com

DVD review: Sightseers

Two cosy, cagoule-clad serial killers (played by the film's co-writers Alice Lowe and Steve Oram) pootle around the north of England in Ben Wheatley's dark comedy, tramping through drizzly abbeys and drizzly tram museums, while occasionally bashing strangers over the head with rocks.

Cotswold Outdoor's new range includes the roomy Gelert Sleeping Pod (£45), and the BioLite wood-burning camping stove (£150), which can charge USB-friendly devices (cotswoldoutdoor.com).

New Horizons: Upmarket to Tenerife

Arrivals & departures

Open Jaw

Ultimate European rail journeys

I agree about the Glacier Express journey – beautiful. In spring, you go past houses covered in snow; in summer, Alpine meadows and flowers; while autumn brings the different tree colours. If you can afford it, travel first class. A totally different experience!

Jeanne

Career Services

Day In a Page

Independent Travel
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Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
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