Arts

3:34pm

Mon July 14, 2014
Author Interviews

How A Factory Man Fought To Save His Furniture Company

Author Beth Macy worked for years as a reporter for the Roanoke Times. "When I became a journalist, I gravitated to those kinds of stories of what I call 'outsiders and underdogs,' " she says.
David Hungate Courtesy of Little, Brown and Co.

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.

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2:12pm

Mon July 14, 2014
The Two-Way

With Bright Benches, London Shows Off Its Love Of Books

Originally published on Tue July 15, 2014 1:36 pm

Jane Headford designed this Dr. Seuss bench, which is spending the summer alongside the River Thames
Courtesy of The National Literacy Trust

Chicago had cows, St. Louis has cakes and now London has benches that look like opened books.

The National Literacy Trust, along with public art promoter Wild in Art, has commissioned and placed 50 benches around town that are painted to look like pages and scenes from famous books.

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1:20pm

Mon July 14, 2014
Goats and Soda

Nadine Gordimer: Wise Words About Bettering A Troubled World

Nadine Gordimer visited Alexandra, the black township near Johannesburg, in 1986 to pay homage to victims of political unrest.
Reuters /Landov

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.

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12:56pm

Mon July 14, 2014
Monkey See

Asking Katherine Heigl The 'Difficult' Question At Press Tour

Katherine Heigl and Alfre Woodard, stars of NBC's new fall drama State of Affairs, speak at the Television Critics Association's summer press tour in Los Angeles.
Frederick M. Brown Getty Images

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.

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8:01am

Mon July 14, 2014
The Two-Way

Book News: Famed Philosopher Accused Of Plagiarizing White Separatist Journal

Originally published on Mon July 14, 2014 8:03 am

Marxist philosopher Slavoj Zizek, photographed in 2012 in London.
Tim Whitby Getty Images

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.")

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5:12pm

Sun July 13, 2014
Movies

Kids' Films And Stories Share A Dark Theme: Dead Mothers

Originally published on Wed July 16, 2014 5:37 pm

Sarah Boxer is the author of Ultimate Blogs and the graphic novel In The Floyd Archives.
Courtesy of Sarah Boxer

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.

Just ask Sarah Boxer.

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5:12pm

Sun July 13, 2014
Author Interviews

William T. Vollmann Explores The Afterlife In 'Last Stories'

Originally published on Sun July 13, 2014 7:10 pm

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.

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9:52am

Sun July 13, 2014
NPR Story

Founders Claimed A Subversive Right To 'Nature's God'

Originally published on Sun July 13, 2014 1:14 pm

The U.S. was not founded as a Christian nation, says historian Matthew Stewart. He tells NPR's Arun Rath about his book Nature's God: The Heretical Origins of the American Republic.

8:03am

Sun July 13, 2014
Sunday Puzzle

A Puzzle With Ch-Ch-Changes

Originally published on Sun July 13, 2014 11:47 am

NPR

On-air challenge: Today's puzzle is called "Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes." Every answer is a word starting with the letters "ch," and your clue will be an anagram of the word.

Last week's challenge: Name a famous actress of the past whose last name has five letters. Move the middle letter to the end to name another famous actress of the past. Who are these actresses?

Answer: Greta Garbo/Eva or Zsa Zsa Gabor

Winner: Craig Moreland from Okemos, Mich.

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5:25am

Sun July 13, 2014
My Guilty Pleasure

Confessions Of A Former 'Sweet Valley High' Addict

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.

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