Cultural Life: Tony Parsons, author

Books
I am working my way through everything Cormac McCarthy has written, and right now I am 100 pages in to The Road, about a father and son making their way across America after some eco-nightmare, and it is awesome. My non-fiction book is the autobiography of Teddy Atlas, the boxing trainer – Atlas From the Streets to the Ring: a Son's Struggle to Become a Man. The best book I have read over the last year is The Book of Dave by Will Self, which is just so imaginative, funny, gripping and sly. It would have won the Booker if literary life in this country wasn't such a racket.

On sale: the last work by a contented Van Gogh

In the final weeks of his troubled life, Vincent Van Gogh swung between emotional extremes. Lengthy periods of tortuous depression were punctuated by bursts of joy and creativity. The result, notably different in tone from the angst-ridden material he produced immediately before his suicide, was a set of child portraits that radiate the optimism and purity of youth.

Netherlands braced for Muslim anger as politician releases 'anti-Islam' film

For a film that lasts just 10 minutes and for which no one has even seen a trailer, it is creating one hell of an uproar. The cinematic debut from the anti-Islamic politician Geert Wilders has forced the Netherlands to wrestle with the limits of its age-old tradition of free speech and stirred up anxieties about a multicultural society.

Whites fear Mugabe-style evictions as South Africa seizes first farm

South Africa has seized its first farm - in the clearest indication yet that it is bowing to growing pressure to redistribute land to majority blacks.

Honours inquiry finds 'valuable information'

The net was closing on Downing Street last night after the detective leading the inquiry into "cash for peerages" allegations involving Tony Blair said he had uncovered "significant and valuable information".

Stephen King: Economists go back to Victorian values

More attention needs to be paid to the income and wealth distribution consequences of globalisation

Nicholas Volley

Single-minded figurative painter

Thank you for your entry

Win two American Airlines flights to New York

Tracey Emin: My Life in a Column

This brutal witch-hunt of Kate Moss would push anyone further into drink and drugs

My Friend Leonard, by James Frey

A fixer who served up steak and Modigliani

Secret service link to film-maker's killing

A group linked to the suspected killer of the film-maker and critic of Islam Theo van Gogh had a mole inside the Dutch secret services, a court in Rotterdam heard yesterday.

Forget Pim Fortuyn: here are 20 genuine Dutch greats...

A month-long survey in the Netherlands resulted in the murdered politician being named as the greatest person in the country's history. Daniel Howden identifies 20 others with a better claim to that title

Theo van Gogh

Controversial film-maker
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Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
Why the league system no longer measures up

League system no longer measures up

Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system
Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste