Arts & Life

The Two-Way
7:21 am
Wed April 10, 2013

Book News: New Editor Named At 'New York Times Book Review'

The New York Times sign is displayed in front of the newspaper's midtown headquarters in New York City.
Mario Tama Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 10, 2013 7:27 am

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

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Book Reviews
7:03 am
Wed April 10, 2013

From Cincinnati To North Korea, We All Wake Up 'Lonely'

When Fiona Maazel published her first novel, Last Last Chance, in 2008, her frenetic imagination and sharply etched characters earned her a spot on the National Book Foundation's 5 Under 35 authors list. Her 29-year-old narrator, Lucy, was heading into her seventh stretch in rehab; Maazel filtered her addiction, grief, self-involvement and fear through a scrim of dark humor.

There's a comic overlay to her second, even more frenzied and inventive novel, Woke Up Lonely. But the tilt toward pathos is stronger.

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Author Interviews
3:21 am
Wed April 10, 2013

'Comandante' Chavez Still Revered By Some, Despite Failings

Hugo Chavez, shown here in February 2012, was the president of Venezuela for over a decade. His career is the subject of a new book by Rory Carrolll.
Juan Barreto AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 10, 2013 9:42 am

Hugo Chavez died in March, but his ghost still lingers in Venezuela. He was president for well over a decade and, according to journalist Rory Carroll, his oversize influence hasn't faded.

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Kitchen Window
2:11 am
Wed April 10, 2013

Preserved Lemons: Older, Wiser And Full Of Flavor

T. Susan Chang for NPR

On many occasions in my longtime relationship with cookbooks, I have had this experience (which will sound familiar, if you like Middle Eastern flavors as much as I do). I'm happily paging through my new Moroccan or Lebanese or Israeli book, lost in dreams of lamb and sumac, saffron and figs. "Mmmm," I murmur over a glossy page, "that looks delicious."

I trace my finger down the ingredients list. Shallots, check. Tomatoes, check. Cinnamon stick, check. And then there it is: Preserved lemon. "Drat," I think. "Foiled again."

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A Blog Supreme
5:42 pm
Tue April 9, 2013

The Creators Of Jazz Appreciation Month Start Celebrating

A group of musicians and major donors pose with Lionel Hampton's vibraphone at the 2013 Jazz Appreciation Month launch. From left: Mark Dibner of The Argus Fund, drummer Horacio "El Negro" Hernandez, Fran Morris Rosman of the Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation, pianist Randy Weston, Richard Rosman of the Ella Fitzgerald foundation and Smithsonian American History Museum Director John Gray.
Patrick Jarenwattananon NPR

The 12th official Jazz Appreciation Month began when April did. But today, the Smithsonian Museum of American History, which founded the JAM campaign, kick started its own celebration with a series of performances, discussions and ceremonies.

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The Record
3:42 pm
Tue April 9, 2013

Brad Paisley's 'Accidental Racist' And The History Of White Southern Musical Identity

Brad Paisley onstage at the 48th Annual Academy Of Country Music Awards Sunday in Las Vegas.
Jerod Harris/ACMA2013 Getty Images for ACM

Originally published on Tue April 9, 2013 4:24 pm

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Movie Reviews
11:57 am
Tue April 9, 2013

Going 'Mental' And Enjoying The Ride

Shaz (Toni Collette), a hotheaded stranger new to the Australian town of Dolphin Heads, becomes the unlikely answer to a local politician's problems when she steps in to nanny his children.
Dada Films

Originally published on Tue April 9, 2013 2:39 pm

Mental is madder than madcap. I heard one critic sniff, "It's kind of broad" — and, Your Honor, the defense agrees! But if broad means "unsubtle," it doesn't have to mean "unreal." Mental makes most other movies seem boringly, misleadingly sane.

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Monkey See
11:26 am
Tue April 9, 2013

Let's Rush To Judgment: 'Carrie'

Sony Pictures

Carrie was Stephen King's first published novel. First released in 1974, it was followed in 1976 by Brian De Palma's film adaptation, for which both Sissy Spacek and Piper Laurie were nominated for Oscars.

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Book Reviews
10:42 am
Tue April 9, 2013

From Wolitzer, Dramas Of The Gifted (And Less So)

Meg Wolitzer's fat, talky new novel begins in 1974 at an arts camp in the Berkshires where six teenagers sit around in a teepee smoking pot and discussing Gunter Grass. Yes, Gunter Grass, which gives you an idea of the kind of kids Wolitzer is writing about: smart, privileged, pretentious.

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First Reads
10:14 am
Tue April 9, 2013

Exclusive First Read: 'Snapper,' By Brian Kimberling

Originally published on Tue April 9, 2013 11:11 am

Brian Kimberling's debut novel, Snapper, is a lovely, loose-limbed collection of stories about an aimless ornithologist named Nate, who as the book opens is possessed of a glitter-covered pickup truck and a massive (somewhat requited) crush on redheaded dream girl Lola. Nate and his friends wander toward marriage and maturity over the course of 13 linked stories — encountering angry snapping turtles, bald eagles and mystic mechanics along the way.

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