Arts

8:43am

Fri December 13, 2013
Monkey See

First Novels: Acquiring Minds

iStockphoto

The first in my series of posts on The First Novel Experience was called "The Romance of Agents." A couple of people wrote me after it was posted and asked if I was going to include in this series any stories of any writers who'd had a bad time with their books. I thought about it and decided no – at least not yet.

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7:30am

Fri December 13, 2013
Movie Reviews

A 'Hustle' With Flow (And Plenty Of Flair)

Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 2:46 pm

A '70s con-artist couple (Christian Bale and Amy Adams) are forced to team up with an FBI agent (Bradley Cooper, right) in American Hustle, inspired by a real-life sting targeting corrupt politicians.
Francois Duhamel Columbia Pictures

David O. Russell hovers at the top of my list of favorite directors. He captures the messy collision of self-interests that for him defines America. In American Hustle, he whips up a black comedy based on Abscam, the late-'70s FBI sting that centered on a bogus sheik and led to the bribery convictions of sundry U.S. politicians. But he doesn't tell the real Abscam story; he adapts it to fit his theme, which is that most of us are busy reinventing ourselves and conning one another.

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7:24am

Fri December 13, 2013
The Two-Way

Book News: Publisher's Charity To Pay $7.7 Million Settlement In For-Profit Case

Originally published on Mon December 16, 2013 7:13 am

New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman holds a November news conference on a settlement deal with JPMorgan Chase.
Richard Drew AP

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

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5:19am

Fri December 13, 2013
Poetry

An Elegy For Mandela Looks Back In Mourning, Forward In Hope

Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 7:52 am

On Dec. 8, three days after Nelson Mandela's death, a girl in Johannesburg lights a candle in his memory. Poet Mbali Vilakazi has written an elegy for Mandela that asks the next generation of South Africans to continue his legacy.
Pedro Ugarte AFP/Getty Images

In his youth, Nelson Mandela cut a dashing figure. He was a revolutionary, an outlaw — by the early 1960s, he was living underground. And he had a nickname to match: he was known as the Black Pimpernel.

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5:19am

Fri December 13, 2013
Movie Interviews

Tom Hanks And Emma Thompson On The Magic Of Disney

Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 3:09 pm

Chronicling the behind-the-scenes drama of the Mary Poppins film, Saving Mr. Banks stars Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson as Walt Disney and author P.L. Travers.
Francois Duhamel Walt Disney Pictures

Before the movie Mary Poppins, there were the beloved books about the nanny who swept in on an east wind to care for the Banks children at No. 17 Cherry Tree Lane, London.

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6:57pm

Thu December 12, 2013
Shots - Health News

If You Drank Like James Bond, You'd Be Shaken, Too

Originally published on Mon December 16, 2013 10:27 am

James Bond is famous worldwide for his love of martinis and the ladies. But at six or seven drinks a day, the former was likely to hurt his odds with the latter.
Danjaq/ EON Productions

We all know James Bond had a hankering for martinis. But it looks like the international spy threw back far more Vespers, his martini of choice, than was good for him.

Dr. Indra Neil Guha, a liver specialist, and his colleagues at Nottingham University Hospital in England spent a year poring over Ian Fleming's James Bond books and tabulating how many drinks the suave spy drank a day.

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5:48pm

Thu December 12, 2013
Books

Don't Hate The Players, Learn The Rules Of The Game (Theory)

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 6:44 pm

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., speaks with Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray, D-Wash., on Nov. 13 at the start of a congressional budget conference.
Jacquelyn Martin AP

This week, Congress has been pondering yet another deal with a deadline. Congressional leaders have agreed to a bipartisan budget that would set spending levels for the next two years, and if it passes, as expected, it would mark the first bipartisan budget deal since 2011. News of the deal comes again at the last minute, just as Congress begins packing its bags to adjourn for the holidays.

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5:03pm

Thu December 12, 2013
Movie Reviews

Bilbo's Back, With More Baggage Than Ever

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 6:49 pm

Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) is back for the second installment of the Hobbit trilogy, this time actually spending some time with Smaug the dragon (voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch).
Warner Bros.

Peter Jackson's decision to turn the single volume of The Hobbit into a three-film epic — with a total running time nearly as long as his adaptation of the Lord of the Rings trilogy — was met with considerable skepticism. Did Tolkien's relatively slight book really have enough story to justify stretching it out that much?

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5:03pm

Thu December 12, 2013
Movie Reviews

Making 'Mary Poppins,' With More Than A Spoonful Of Sugar

Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 3:42 pm

Saving Mr. Banks chronicles Walt Disney's (Tom Hanks) long campaign to persuade Mary Poppins author P.L. Travers (Emma Thompson) to allow his movie-musical adaptation of her books.
Francois Duhamel Walt Disney Pictures

"We tell ourselves stories in order to live."

That endlessly quoted line from Joan Didion's The White Album echoes with more than the usual resonance for the two adversaries duking it out for control over the movie adaptation of Mary Poppins in Saving Mr. Banks.

For 20 years Walt Disney, reportedly on his young daughters' say-so, had tried to wrestle a green light from P. L. Travers, who wrote the original novels about the discipline-minded governess who flew in through a London window to save a troubled family from itself.

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4:36pm

Thu December 12, 2013
NPR's Backseat Book Club

'Mr. Terupt' Shows What A Difference One Teacher Can Make

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 8:41 pm

Because of Mr. Terupt cover.

Not to judge a book by its cover, but just take one look at the jacket of Because of Mr. Terupt and you'll see it is the perfect book for December. It shows two mittened hands holding a snowball — a snowball responsible for a life-altering accident.

Mr. Terupt is a popular fifth-grade teacher at Snow Hill elementary school. And for seven students in particular, he is the center of their universe — a sage who gives them advice and confidence and helps them overcome obstacles and rivalries.

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