Originally published on Tue July 15, 2014 12:19 pm
When fantasy has gotten so grim and dark that the term "grimdark" has been coined to describe certain authors, things may have gone slightly overboard. With Traitor's Blade, the first installment of a new fantasy series called the Greatcoat Quartet, author Sebastien de Castell seems to be taking a stand against the grimdark wave. Unlike the bleak, bloody work of George R.R. Martin and Joe Abercrombie, Traitor's Blade is a swashbuckling romp packed with charisma, camaraderie, quick wit and even quicker swordplay.
Author Sarah Lotz is terrified of flying, so naturally every time she gets on a plane she imagines the worst. "I imagine how it's going to smell if things start burning," she says. "I imagine the thunk of luggage falling out of the compartments at the top. ... I imagine it all in absolutely horrible detail."
All those horrible imaginings came in handy when Lotz was writing her new book The Three — the story of three children who are the only survivors of four separate plane crashes that occur in different parts of the world on the same day.
For the first time since the 1940s, the Green Turtle is returning to comic bookshelves. The long-forgotten character has been resurrected in The Shadow Hero, a new graphic novel about what many comic fans consider the first Asian-American superhero.
South African writer Nadine Gordimer, who won the Nobel Prize in literature in 1991, died Sunday at the age of 90. Gordimer merged the personal and political to create a compelling portrait of the injustice of life under apartheid.
Here at Sandwich Monday, we love exploring the many varied cuisines of the world. So when we found ourselves in the food court of the Mitsuwa Marketplace Japanese supermarket just outside Chicago, we went directly for the burger stand, Gabutto Burger.
We ordered the Tofu Burger, marinated in teriyaki and deep-fried, which the menu describes as "slightly healthy."
Eva: "Slightly healthy" is how someone might lie about their figure on match.com.
It's probably the most oft-cited literary fantasy of all time: I'm talking about that passage in Catcher in the Rye where Holden Caulfield says: "What really knocks me out is a book that, when you're all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it. That doesn't happen much, though."
In the town of Bassett in southern Virginia, some of the downtown street lights are dark. The lamps, maintained by the once prosperous Bassett Furniture Co., are now funded by voluntary contributions from residents and businesses — when they can afford it.
Bassett is just one of many towns and cities in Virginia and North Carolina where scores of furniture-making plants have closed in the past 20 years, mostly because of competition from China and other foreign countries.
The great novelist Nadine Gordimer, whose stories told of the immorality of apartheid in her beloved South Africa, has died at age 90.
Gordimer was not only a writer. She was an activist in the fight to end apartheid. In her writings and speeches, the Nobel Prize winner offered words of enlightenment for anyone sharing her commitment to bring a better life to those suffering from prejudice, poor health, poverty, and other ills.
It may be the toughest task of all at a press tour in Los Angeles packed with TV critics from across the nation: How to ask a celebrity a tough question about her bad reputation without looking like a jerk yourself.
That moment surfaced for me Sunday, when trying to ask star Katherine Heigl about longstanding rumors in Hollywood that she and her manager/mother have been difficult to work with across many projects.
The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.
Marxist philosopher Slavoj Žižek — who is one of the world's most prominent living public intellectuals — has been accused of plagiarizing from the white separatist magazine American Renaissance. (The magazine calls itself a "race realist" publication, while the Southern Poverty Law Center calls it a hub for "proponents of eugenics and blatant anti-black racists.")
The death of Bambi's mother has moved — and horrified — generations of children. The fleeing, the gunshot, the desperate search and then the gut-wrenching words: "Your mother can't be with you anymore."
For many, that scene was traumatizing; for some it was the very first experience of loss. But Bambi is far from the only animated film featuring a mother's tragic death.
William T. Vollmann has been called a "unique and essential voice in American letters." He's the author of novels, story collections, a memoir and massive works of nonfiction.
His latest book, Last Stories and Other Stories, is his first work of fiction in nine years. And he says at the book's beginning that it will be his final work — as a living human, at least. "Any subsequent productions bearing my name will have been written by a ghost," he writes.
FRANCISCO GOLDMAN: Mexico City skies are always dramatic - sometimes soaring in azure, with long rows of choreographed white clouds moving slowly or swiftly. The city's pollution abetted sunsets are spectacular. Conflagrations blazing up over the Western mountains, filling the sky with balloon-dye colors, igniting the glassy, modern office buildings that I can see out my rear windows into giant, neon rectangles of scarlet.
Often, when people ask me what I read as a young girl, I lie. Or, I should say, I lie by omission. I tell them about my brilliant fourth-grade teacher, Miss Artis, who assigned us Johnny Tremain and Where the Red Fern Grows and Tuck Everlasting, all books that made an impression on me. And people nod in approval.
But the answer I don't usually give is that my favorite books, the ones I read and re-read until the covers were creased and the pages were loosed from the spine, were Sweet Valley High.
The complaint, filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in New Jersey, says that Wal-Mart should have known that the driver of the truck had been awake 24 hours and alleges that he fell asleep at the wheel.
We've all done it - bought an important timely book with great intentions of tearing through it. But then reality sets in. We find ourselves less and less motivated to make it to the end. Author and mathematician Jordan Ellenberg wanted to quantify this phenomenon and has come up with a way to measure when exactly a reader gives up. He's with us from his office at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. Welcome.
JORDAN ELLENBERG: Hi. Thanks for having me.
KEITH: So you call your index the Hawking Index. Why is that?
The film "Boyhood," which opened last night in LA and New York, was shot over 12 years. The result is a time lapse of childhood. No special effects, just the sometimes dramatic changes that can take place from year to year - both physically and emotionally. We are joined now by Ellar Coltrane who plays Mason, Jr. - the boy of "Boyhood" - the main character who we see grow up on screen. And let's get something out of the way. This is not a documentary, right?
If you've ever enjoyed the ghostly weird-old-America wail of Robert Johnson, the deep blues of Charley Patton or Skip James' guitar wizardry, you can thank the 78 collecting community — those dedicated (okay, obsessive) folks who hunt down the rare old shellac records that hold so much of our musical past.
Life Drawing is a novel that will make you want to hug the person you love and never let go.
It's a thriller and a love story. But it isn't about over-the-moon, happy, young love; it's about love when the marriage is no longer easy, when every move the couple makes is haunted by a betrayal.
Life Drawing is Robin Black's first novel. She tells NPR's Tamara Keith why she chose to explore a marriage in crisis and the challenge of writing about Alzheimer's when she had no experience with the disease.