The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.
An education report commissioned by UNESCO found "shocking levels of youth illiteracy" around the world. At least 250 million of the 650 million primary school age children globally aren't learning basic skills in reading and math, the report finds.
When we talk about a triple threat we're often talking about a versatile athlete. Think about a basketball player who can score, defend, and rebound. In show biz, B. J. Novak may be that triple threat. He can do standup, act, and write successfully in all cases. He got his start doing standup comedy. That led to a job on the hit comedy series "The Office" where he had a regular part and was one of the writers.
So here's the setup: It's 1987. Frank, a convicted murderer, has escaped from a New Hampshire prison, and he's holding Adele, a fragile divorcee, and her 12-year-old son, Henry, captive in their own house until they eat his chili.
Turns out it's good chili â€” so good that it inspires Adele, whom the handsome convict has tied up very gently and tenderly, to reminisce about a conversation she and her son had about his sex education class. Seriously, it's some good chili. And did I mention that Frank is handsome?
"This is our tradition, our culture, our release."
So says one of the 12 O'Clock Boys â€” a large group of dirt bike and ATV enthusiasts who, depending on your perspective, either grace or terrorize the streets of Baltimore each Sunday with acrobatic feats on their motorbikes. They weave through the city traffic, popping extended wheelies, the line of their bikes almost at vertical, approximating the hands of a clock at noon.
Cinema owners who don't have a digital projector in their movie house can't show Paramount Pictures' latest release: The Wolf of Wall Street. This year Paramount became the first big studio to distribute a major release in the U.S. entirely in a digital format, and other studios are likely to follow.
By the end of Charlie Victor Romeo, almost 800 people will be dead, with hundreds more injured. But this methodical film, adapted from a theater piece first performed in 1999, doesn't actually show any of that carnage. It focuses tightly â€” very tightly â€” on a few people who are trying to prevent disaster.
Long after many another serviceable movie premise has gone to its grave, the brief encounter will live and be well.
Talk about an unbeatable package: Nothing more urgently captures the disappointment of lives congealed by routine than does the sudden midlife romance; nothing so pointedly speaks to the undying desire for completion by another who understands and accepts us as no one else does; nothing so completely resounds with the fantasy of escape. And nothing so neatly contains all that unruly desire within the 11th-hour return to common sense and responsible self-sacrifice.