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Book lovers at Cheltenham

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On a grey autumn afternoon some of us like to sink into a good book. The gleams of sunshine are diverting, not tempting. The garden does not call, or too faintly to be heard. The dog, tired out from a run, sleeps, quivering with dreams.

For others, Cheltenham calls. More than 70,000 book lovers are arriving this weekend at "the oldest literary festival in the country" to buy books and meet authors - "Michael Palin, Ian Hislop, Stephen Hawking, Andrew Marr, Ian McEwan, Martin Amis, Helen Mirren, Naomi Klein, Michael Ondaatje, Yann Martel, David Dimbleby, Alan Alda, Alastair Campbell and William Hague".

A fascinating cast of characters.

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