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Ghost story: Hillary Clinton at a book signing. Photo: Joshua Roberts/Reuters
Mark Lawson on the ghostwriter who popularised the misery memoir
By Mark Lawson - 30 July 10:30

Plus “Virginia Woolf: Art, Life and Vision” at the National Portrait Gallery.

It’s not enough to be funny – these comedians believe comedy has to mean something. Photo: Ed Schipul/Flickr/Creative Commons
Political comedians aren’t funny any more – and that’s a good thing
By James Medd - 30 July 9:50

Feelgood gag-and-punchline stand-up is bigger than ever, but a certain stratum of comedians have already moved on to a place where the audience is laughing inside rather than out, or not at all.

In the Frame: Honest Summer Reading
By Tom Humberstone - 30 July 9:33

Tom Humberstone’s weekly comic.

Not all sun and sea: a beach on the Italian island of Elba. Photo: Getty
Tracey Thorn: Real life always intrudes on holidays. That’s how it should be
By Tracey Thorn - 29 July 10:42

It’s taken me years to face up to the fact that, as Neil Finn so eloquently put it, everywhere you go, you always take the weather with you. Your own emotional weather. 

Go team: John Craven (left) and the other presenters of Countryfile
Vintage cheddar: Countryfile – John Craven’s 25th Anniversary on BBC1
By Rachel Cooke - 29 July 10:14

While I understand the impulse to watch a show about otters and dry stone walling, I can’t understand the success of Countryfile at all. It’s so awful: so cheesy and laboured.

Photo: Getty
Whack down the alpaca poo
By Antonia Quirke - 25 July 12:57

The radio column.

Beastings is set in the Lake District. Photo: Getty
Lakeland Gothic: Beastings by Benjamin Myers
By Tim Martin - 25 July 12:48

A grim chase narrative, set in the Lake District at the turn of the 20th century, in which two characters known as the Priest and the Poacher pursue a speechless runaway and her stolen baby across the unforgiving landscape.

A lesbian couple at Tokyo Pride. Photo: Getty
Lesbian by choice: Eleanor Margolis reviews Julie Bindel's Straight Expectations
By Eleanor Margolis - 25 July 12:43

What Does It Mean to Be Gay Today? asks Julie Bindel in the subtitle of her new book. For me, it means enduring endless dull and pukey nights out on the scene, says Eleanor Margolis.

A Nazi book-burning. Photo: Getty
Don’t read this book: A history of literary censorship
By Leo Robson - 25 July 12:35

Leo Robson reviews three new works concerned with banned literature.

Snowpiercer.
It's some kind of miracle that Snowpiercer was ever released - and it was worth the wait
By Ryan Gilbey - 25 July 12:34

Despite its occasional longeurs and lapses of logic, post-global-freeze thriller Snowpiercer is an intoxicating mishmash of stunts and ideas which deserves to be seen in UK cinemas.

A fan dressed as Captain America at the 2014 World Cup. Photo: Getty
Reluctant Goliath: how America became a superpower
By John Bew - 25 July 10:06

John Bew reviews The Deluge: the Great War and the Remaking of Global Order by Adam Tooze.

A military base. Photo: Getty
Dave Eggers, the world’s most earnest kidnapper, chains up his readers
By Claire Lowdon - 25 July 10:02

Claire Lowdon reviews Your Fathers, Where Are They? And the Prophets, Do They Live Forever? by Dave Eggers. 

Discovering Tutankhamun: How “Tutmania” drowned out Egypt’s reaction to the great discovery
By Anoosh Chakelian - 24 July 15:58

A new exhibition telling the story of the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb at the Ashmolean is briliant on “Tutmania”, but fails to explore the Egyptians’ attitudes. 

Animal rescue: but in this case it was dog that saved master, says John Dolan. Photo: Marcus Peel
How one man escaped homelessness through drawing – and his bull terrier muse
By Sophie McBain - 24 July 13:50

John Dolan spent almost two decades in the “revolving door” between homelessness and prison. That changed when he adopted George in 2009. 

Award winning director Sofia Coppola at the Cannes Film Festival, May 14, 2014. Photo: Antonin Thuillier, Getty Images
The unspoken glass ceiling of the film industry
By Beth Lambert - 24 July 12:57

A new report uncovers the gender imbalance in the film industry, made worse by the issue of class.

The show is over: Christopher Bailey on the catwalk following his Burberry a/w 2014 menswear show in London. Photo: Getty
Ed Smith: Megabucks executive pay isn’t a reward for excellence – it’s a corporate contagion
By Ed Smith - 24 July 10:00

American banker J P Morgan argued that a company’s top brass should never earn more than 20 times what those at the bottom do. Such a ratio now sounds laughably idealistic.

Sonmi (Doona Bae) and Hae-Joo Chang (Jim Sturgess) in the film version of Cloud Atlas
The Great English Novel is dead. Long live the unruly, upstart fiction that’s flourishing online
By Laurie Penny - 24 July 10:00

The reason I’m so excited David Mitchell is writing on Twitter is that he’s one of the few authors who really understands how the medium, as well as the message, makes the story.

As trains regain their prestige, it's time for a trip through their chequered past
By Oliver Farry - 22 July 11:26

While air travel has become progressively less exclusive, rail is edging back towards the prestige it once had. But it has had a chequered historical and cultural past.

Irn-Broon: Gordon Brown at a Labour pro-Union event in Glasgow, 10 March. Photo: Getty
Let’s stay together: Gordon Brown’s My Scotland, Our Britain
By Kevin Maguire - 18 July 16:30

Brown is a difficult opponent for Alex Salmond’s nationalists to knock down. His continued popularity north of Hadrian’s Wall is a powerful threat to the Yes lobby. 

Fluoro feet: Ghanaian players sport colourful boots during a World Cup training session, 18 June. Photo: Getty
Bright boots, shaving foam, dodgy slogans and nice teeth . . . What a World Cup that was
By Hunter Davies - 18 July 13:00

For about ten years, the back pages of football magazines have featured coloured boots. I thought they would never catch on – but blow me, they’re everywhere now!

Why publishers should embrace the film world's enthusiasm for releasing a director's cut
By Andrew Ladd - 18 July 12:56

The film world is keen on releasing a director's cut, which differs from the final version of the movie; publishers should do the same with books.

Andy Serkis as the ape-leader Ceasar.
Monkey business: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is smart, ravishing and bleak
By Ryan Gilbey - 18 July 12:50

The latest addition to the Planet of the Apes franchise is the toughest yet - the transition from playful ape and human interaction to bloody horror comes across as scarily plausible.

Latest squeeze: James Fearnley of The Pogues performs in New York, March 2011. Photo: Getty
How my literary life became an ever-lengthening index of people to avoid
By Nicholas Lezard - 18 July 12:30

With the editors to avoid and the editors to endure, book publishers’ parties can be a minefield – thank heavens for the Pogues’ accordionist...

Having a gander: a goose eats a breadcrumb in a German park. Photo: Getty
Will Self: The humble crumb gets us thinking how one day we’ll all be brown bread
By Will Self - 18 July 11:45

The more you consider the crumb, the more you sense the world about you crumbling – while we ourselves are but crumbs scattered on the face of the earth.

In the frame: Regeneration of the Planet of the Apes
By Tom Humberstone - 18 July 11:19

Tom Humberstone’s weekly comic.

Cave Italia: the Blue Grotto on the Isle of Capri. Photo: Getty
Filling the gaps: Outlook on the World Service
By Antonia Quirke - 17 July 16:40

No radio interviewer inserts themself quite so barmily into a dialogue like Matthew Bannister.

Ice magic: a tribunal has ruled the Snowball is officially a biscuit. Photo: Corbis
Felicity Cloake: Let the Gingerbread Man go naked . . . and save us some tax
By Felicity Cloake - 17 July 16:26

A court has ruled that the Snowball is a cake, not a biscuit, and is exempt from tax. It’s not the first snack to wriggle out of extra charges. 

The French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan.
Jacques Lacan: inspiring and infuriating in equal measure
By Juliet Jacques - 17 July 15:22

A new biography explores the power dynamics of psychoanalysis.

Green crossing: Thomas Heatherwick's proposed Garden Bridge across the Thames at Temple
Bridges are the rarest of industrial constructions: works of utility, yet beautiful and uplifting
By Erica Wagner - 17 July 10:00

Erica Wagner visits the “Bridge” exhibition at the Museum of London Docklands.

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