Arts and Entertainment

A window on the real world with Danny and his diamond geezers

The 50 books every child should read

Michael Gove says he wants 11-year-olds to read the equivalent of a book a week. So what should they be? We ask the experts

The Wisdom Of Birds, By Tim Birkhead

In the tradition of the greatest naturalist writers, Birkhead makes his area fascinating to those who have only a mild interest.

Diary: Murdoch's sci-fi encounter

An exciting moment for young James Murdoch yesterday, as he took the stage at the second annual Abu Dhabi Media Summit – which went ahead despite the unrest in the region – to interview fiery filmmaker James Cameron. The pair discussed, among other things, 3D – which, conveniently for the Sky boss, Cameron claimed was the future of telly. Given that Murdoch is both a sci-fi fanboy (he used to have a six-foot statue of Darth Vader outside his office at Wapping, and a miniature Imperial Stormtrooper on his desk) and a committed environmentalist (his office chairs are made from cardboard), I imagine an audience with the director of Avatar must have been a wet dream-worthy experience. How inconsiderate of Cameron, then, to bring up the response of Murdoch père's Fox film studio when they were first presented with Cameron's blockbusting vision for Avatar. "Is there any way," the Hollywood execs allegedly inquired, "to reduce this tree-hugging hippy crap?"

IoS letters, emails & online postings (13 March 2011)

You are wrong to say that the 33,000 women born between 6 March and 5 April 1954 who face a two-year delay in their state pension age are "undoubtedly unlucky but nowhere near as unlucky as generations of men" ("There will be losers, but we have to iron out sex inequalities", 6 March). These women, who have already accepted a five-year increase in their state pension age, have also faced a lifetime of workplace inequality. Even now, a 55-year-old man working full time earns a third more than his female equivalent.

Bird Cloud, By Annie Proulx

The retreat to the wilderness is an established literary genre which many writers have either tried themselves or paid homage to, from Thoreau taking himself off to the woods of Walden Pond to WB Yeats with his imagined move to the lake isle of Innisfree. We have come to expect some sort of narrative or character-arc from such an experience; some sort of move towards a realisation of personality or circumstance. Such indeed we find in Annie Proulx's Bird Cloud, although it is perhaps not one we were expecting. She comes to the eventual conclusion that she has built her home in the wilderness in the wrong place.

Eating Animals, By Jonathan Safran Foer

The unpalatable truth about meat

Why Triesman happily put boot into FA's 'macho culture'

Sir Dave Richards blamed for aggressive approach that rejects any notion of reform

Premier League chairman Sir Dave Richards is 'aggressive' claims Lord Triesman

Former Football Association chief Lord Triesman today accused Premier League chairman Sir Dave Richards of using aggressive tactics to pressurise others in the game into blocking the FA's efforts to change.

Leading article: Mercy flight

Take a look at a kakapo and you get a pretty good idea of why it is endangered. It is not just the heaviest parrot in the world; it also can't fly. It is an extraordinarily unsightly bird with a blotched yellow-brown owly face atop its splay-footed body. It only comes out at night. But even in the dark, another kakapo might be forgiven for thinking it too ugly to mate with.

Kurt Geiger – a shining example of a sole trader

As one of a handful of niche-market shoe retailers, the designer brand is thriving

Anthony Rose: 'Because pheasant and partridge aren’t fatty birds, they cope well with wines that are low in tannin'

With grouse done and dusted and snipe and woodcock shortly off the menu, there's still a good month until the end of the season for partridge and pheasant. If I could have just one game bird, it would have to be a plump, tender, not-too-gamey partridge, either roasted with a rasher of streaky bacon or pot roasted with bouquet garni and red wine for maximum succulence. Because pheasant and partridge are not fatty birds, they cope well with wines that are relatively low in tannin and not too oaky or alcoholic. Same goes for rabbit.

PM's impartiality in doubt after Christmas date with Murdoch executive

David Cameron was yesterday accused of "tucking into turkey" with a senior News Corporation executive days after he intervened in the company's bid to take full control of BSkyB.

Last Night's TV: Hattie/BBC4<br />Mary Portas: Secret Shopper/Channel 4

Hattie Jacques is cooking Christmas dinner for family and friends, and it's not going entirely well. One of the turkeys has been burned and, as Hattie is giving the gravy a stir, the ash from her jutting cigarette drops into the saucepan. "Don't tell anyone about the secret ingredient," she hisses at the friend standing next to her, and quickly stirs it in. The subject of Stephen Russell's biopic Hattie – the latest in a line of BBC4 dramas about the private lives of television's early public figures – was the rather more interesting secret ingredient that Hattie was about to add to her marriage a live-in lover called John Schofield, who displaced John Le Mesurier from the marital bed and sent him into glum exile in the attic.

Katy Guest: Rant &amp; Rave (16/01/11)

Rant

Sainsbury's toasts festive sales spurt

Sainsbury emerged as the festive winner among the supermarkets, reporting a 3.6 per cent rise in same-store sales for its third quarter, excluding fuel – comfortably ahead of City forecasts of about 3 per cent.

Life and Style
Marie had fake ID, in the name of Johanna Koch, after she evaded capture by the Nazis in wartime Berlin
historyOne woman's secret life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
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Jihadi John
newsMonikers like 'Jihadi John' make the grim sound glamorous
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newsAnother week, another dress controversy on the internet
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Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft and co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
businessUber, Snapchat and Facebook founders among those on the 2015 Forbes Billionaire List
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music
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Homer’s equation, in an episode in 1998, comes close to the truth, as revealed 14 years later
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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
3.	Provence 6 nights B&B by train from £599pp
Prices correct as of 20 February 2015
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003