Precious snack: In Tolkien's books, lembas was a special bread made by elves that could stay fresh for months — perfect for sustaining travelers on a long journey (or engaging in an all-day movie marathon.) Try it for elevenses.
The latest installment in the Hobbit movie trilogy opens this week. And some hard-core fans plan to celebrate not just with a marathon screening of the Lord of The Ring films that came before it, but with a full day of feasting — seven meals, hobbit-style. We offer up a sample menu.
December 10, 2013 Also: Joan Didion on Martha Stewart; Alice Munro's Nobel interview; the difficulties of judging the National Book Awards.
December 9, 2013 Andre Le Notre helped turn an old hunting lodge into the Versailles we know today, taking his profession way beyond a trade. Experts say Le Notre's work was so groundbreaking, it continues to influence contemporary urban architecture. This year marks the 400th anniversary of Le Notre's birth.
December 9, 2013 Novelist Delia Ephron says that losing her older sister Nora was like "losing an arm." But for all their collaboration and closeness, Delia writes about the complications of sisterhood in her new collection of autobiographical essays, Sister Mother Husband Dog (etc.).
December 9, 2013 Historian Maureen Ogle's new book examines the rise of our modern industrial meat system by examining its roots — all the way back to Colonial America. There's a fundamental disconnect, she argues, in our demands for both cheap, plentiful meat and an end to factory farms. Something, she says, has to give.
December 9, 2013 In the middle of the sitcom's frustrating final run of episodes, even a superfan might begin to wonder why we keep watching when the show just keeps disappointing.
December 9, 2013 Also: comparing Nora Ephron and Joan Didion; more literary celebrations of Nelson Mandela; the best book coming out this week.
December 8, 2013 Former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was assassinated in 2007. Heraldo Munoz, who led the United Nations investigation into her death, portrays the tense political climate that surrounded Bhutto's return to politics and the circumstances of the killing in his new book.
December 8, 2013 Jive-talking, jazz-loving "hep cats" from the 1930s and 1940s are the great-grandparents of today's hipsters. The interest of white fans in black music helped fill Harlem's nightclubs and prompted derision. Hipsters were criticized for being the equivalent of a "pretentious poet laureate."