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The best recent crime and thrillers – review roundup. The Dark Remains by William McIlvanney and Ian Rankin; Apples Never Fall by Liane Moriarty; Winter Counts by David Heska Wanbli Weiden; The Whistleblower by Robert Peston; and The Wrong Goodbye by Toshihiko Yahagi
Alan Johnson: ‘I read Animal Farm at 14 and it changed my life’ The author and former home secretary on disliking Elena Ferrante’s My Brilliant Friend and his fondness for PG Wodehouse Alan Johnson: ‘I got to page 677 of A Suitable Boy. The problem was the 672 pages I still had to go’ Photograph: Gary Calton/The Observer
‘A lizard hitched a lift in my bag!’: 10 readers on their most memorable holiday souvenirs. From a fountain that looked like a urinal to a Big Mac wrapper from Beijing, readers reflect on the bizarre, brilliant or downright disastrous purchases they brought home
Nick Cave to publish memoir about the years after his son’s deathFaith, Hope and Carnage will reflect on the singer’s experience of grief and tragedy after Arthur, his child, died six years ago aged 15 ‘That should do me for the duration, I think’ '… Nick Cave Photograph: Andy Hall/The Observer
Deciphering review – a love letter to learning and a deep dive into wonderNew Diorama, LondonThe audience wears headphones for Curious Directive’s complex new production, which takes us into a school – and a network of caves in Indonesia Asha Sylvestre, Lewis Mackinnon and Sarita Gabony in Deciphering. Photograph: Tristram Kenton/The Guardian
From The Sopranos to Fleabag: 10 of the best television finales. Demons, dinosaur attacks, an inspired advertising pitch … There are many ways to conclude a much-loved show. Here are the most memorable
‘The ground is unstable but there are pleasures all around’ – goodbye to the joy of small thingsFor three years, this column has been looking for sources of quotidian joy in the darkness. As it comes to an end, what tiny delights would other writers nominate? Composite: Pauline Doyle/Getty/Alamy
The Magician by Colm Tóibín review – inside the mind of Thomas MannThis compelling fictionalised biography explores the life and times of the exiled German Nobel winner, exquisitely balancing the intimate and momentous ‘Ponderous, ceremonious, civilised’... Thomas Mann in Zurich, 1952. Photograph: A Pfister/AFP/Getty Images
A new start after 60: ‘I was fired at 64 – so I faced my fears and started my first company’. Investors told Paul Tasner, 75, he should put up his feet and enjoy retirement. Instead, he reinvented himself and launched a thriving sustainable packaging business
Have a heavenly holiday by listening to these religious songs on repeat. With Christmas right around the corner, many people are looking forward to a winter season filled with everyone's favorite Christmas songs and freshly baked Christmas cookies. Remembering to read your favorite Christmas Bible verses or making a playlist of the best Christian Christmas songs is a way to keep the true meaning of the holiday top of mind while also spreading joy.