Originally published on Tue December 11, 2012 7:35 am
Some books paint pictures with words; others use pictures to render us speechless. No matter the method, you'll lose yourself in the best possible way leafing through the volumes in this year's list of recommended gift books. If pages were like musical notes, these titles would produce a pretty great mashup. Envision one of photographer Cindy Sherman's crones in the forest of a Brothers Grimm tale. Set one of graphic novelist Chris Ware's "building stories" inside, say, the curvaceous contours of an architectural masterwork by Frank Gehry.
Earlier this year, Oprah Winfrey announced an updated version of her popular book club, this time called Book Club 2.0. Her first pick, Cheryl Strayed's memoir Wild, experienced best-seller list success thanks to what some people are calling the "Oprah bump." And last week Winfrey announced her second pick, a novel called The Twelve Tribes of Hattie by Ayana Mathis, a first-time author.
We all remember the KFC Double Down: the sandwich that replaced bread with fried chicken and changed our lives for the fatter. Just in time for Hanukkah, the Jewish Journal has created the Latke Double Down, which replaces the bread with latkes, aka fried potato pancakes. They fill theirs with lox.
It's been more than six years since Daniel Handler, aka Lemony Snicket, concluded his enormously popular 13-volume young adult series, A Series of Unfortunate Events. Now Handler has revived the Snicket narrator in his YA novel Who Could That Be at This Hour?
The book is the first of a series — All the Wrong Questions — and a prequel to A Series of Unfortunate Events. It tracks the young Snicket's adventures during his apprenticeship at the V.F.D., a mysterious organization that readers familiar with the Snicket stories will recognize.
Originally published on Mon December 10, 2012 3:26 pm
Since this was an election year, NPR's Backseat Book Club decided to hold an informal poll to identify the best-loved children's books of 2012. We know that "kid lit" is a big category, stretching from baby-proof board books all the way to young-adult titles with fetching werewolves on the covers. But we're interested in books that hit the sweet spot for backseat readers — kids between 9 and 14 years of age. So we reached out to booksellers and one librarian to find out which books bowled them over this year.
Originally published on Mon December 10, 2012 7:36 am
Sean Howe is the author of Marvel Comics: The Untold Story.
In 1980, the comic book artist Frank Miller introduced the raven-haired femme fatale Elektra Natchios in the pages of Marvel Comics' Daredevil. She was the former lover of Daredevil's alter ego Matt Murdock, and his Columbia University classmate until her diplomat father was killed and she left the United States.
Credit The Art Institute of Chicago, Friends of American Art Collection / Courtesy of the Art Institute of Chicago
Edward Hopper is well-known in the U.S. for paintings such as Nighthawks (1942) — pensive, lonely portraits of people sitting together yet alone. He was less well-known in France, but an exhibit of his work at the Grand Palais has drawn impressive crowds.
Credit Columbus Museum of Art/Howald Fund
Edward and Josephine Hopper met as young students in art school in New York and married in 1924. Josephine was his only female model, and posed for his 1952 work,Morning Sun.
Earlier this summer, I looked for Edward Hopper's Morning Sun at its home in the Columbus Museum of Art in Ohio. In the painting, a woman sits on a bed with her knees up, gazing out a window. She's bare, but for a short pink slip. The iconic Hopper is a must-see, but on the day I visited, it was on loan to an exhibition in Madrid.
Justin Lee was raised in a conservative Southern Baptist home. He had two loving parents, and was deeply committed to his faith. In school, classmates even referred to him as "God Boy" because of his devotion.
But, as he was entering high school, Lee's whole world began to change, as he came face-to-face with feelings that he'd tried for many years to suppress.
"I didn't know I was gay at first, because I was the kid who was preaching against folks accepting themselves as gay," he tells Guy Raz, host of weekends on All Things Considered.
A young intelligence officer during the Second World War survives life in a Nazi concentration camp. A music producer in the 1970s falls in love with a young bohemian singer who breaks his heart. A lonely Italian neuroscientist makes a revolutionary discovery: Humans have no souls. These are some of the stories Sebastian Faulks weaves together in his latest novel, A Possible Life.