February 28, 2013 After journalists on the Oscars red carpet struggled to pronounce the name of 9-year-old Quvenzhané Wallis, Twitter users shared their stories about the funny, annoying butcherings of their own "unconventional" and "ethnic" names. One example: "Jambalayaiah" for Jamelyahweh.
February 28, 2013 Fourteen-year-old Doug Swieteck has the weight of the world upon him — no friends, an alcoholic father and a brother who has just been injured in Vietnam. But the protagonist of this NPR Backseat Book Club book finds solace in an unlikely place — the pages of Audubon's Birds of America.
February 28, 2013 Brad Leithauser likes to look for poetry in graveyards. An author and poet himself, there's something he values greatly in tombstone epitaphs: brevity. In a piece for The New Yorker's Page-Turner blog, Leithauser cites tiny works that speak volumes.
February 28, 2013 Director Dror Moreh interviews six former heads of the Israel's Shin Bet security service in his Oscar-nominated documentary. The men look back on their work and conclude that continued Israeli occupation of the Palestinians will not resolve the conflict.
February 28, 2013 Marisa Silver's new novel imagines the meeting of a Depression-era photographer and her now-iconic subject. Giving the characters different names but similar stories to their real-life counterparts, Silver tackles big questions about the morality of art.
February 28, 2013 Also: DC Comics kills off Batman's legendary sidekick; Jesse Jackson Jr. is reportedly writing a memoir; and banned performance enhancing drugs in literary competitions.
February 28, 2013 Poets are not the world's most visible celebrities. But an exhibit at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C., puts faces to verse, and explores poets' shifting — and sometimes conflicting — public images.
February 28, 2013 Set in 1930s Berlin, Paris and Los Angeles, The Teleportation Accident is a sci-fi-noir-comedy mashup overstuffed with astute social observations, high-brow literary allusions and vivid prose. Critic Jennifer Reese finds this freewheeling farce both brilliant and exasperating.
February 27, 2013 Also: Drag queen is uninvited to Dr. Seuss reading; course syllabi of famous authors; and Russell Brand is working on a new book.
February 27, 2013 Like many other intrinsically boring foods — say, tofu or grits — lentils shine because they get out of the way. They provide a vehicle and a backdrop for other flavors — whether it's good olive oil and gently gilded onions, or ground spices and lemony pesto.
February 26, 2013 Two years ago, the 20th anniversary of Nirvana's Nevermind sparked a slew of retrospectives about the Seattle grunge scene. But those narratives left something out: the influence of women. A new play by Gretta Harley and Sarah Rudinoff aims to update the historical record.
February 26, 2013 In a business where effects-laden movies bring in hundreds of millions of dollars, many of the studios that create those effects are barely staying afloat.