Historian Mary Beard says real gladiator competitions were probably not as brutal as the film Gladiator (starring Russell Crowe) would have us believe. Still, she says, "I loved Gladiator and I thought its depiction of gladiatorial combat, although it was an aggrandizing picture, was cleverly and expertly done." Universal/Getty Images hide caption

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Sam Phillips, the founder of the label Sun Records, poses with Elvis Presley. Courtesy of Tom Salva/Little Brown & Co hide caption

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Writer Ta-Nehisi Coates speaks onstage at the 2015 New Yorker Festival last month. Anna Webber/Getty Images for The New Yorker hide caption

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Nordic items clockwise from top left: sugared cloudberries; Norwegian thick salt-pork pancakes, waffles; thick oven-baked pancake; blood pancakes; pancake torte. Erik Olsson hide caption

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Author David Mitchell's Number9Dream and Cloud Atlas were both shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. Paul Stuart /Deckle Edge hide caption

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