Once relegated to a few urban enclaves, the American hipster is suddenly everywhere. And, though it sounds funny, says one aficionado of hip culture, "hipsters in Omaha may actually be cooler than hipsters in New York City."
Woody Allen is the subject of a new two-part, four-hour special on the PBS series American Masters. TV critic David Bianculli says the documentary is "a smart, sometimes serious study of a smart, sometimes serious filmmaker."
Director Alexander Payne finds comedy in the crises of his flawed protagonists: a struggling writer in Sideways, a retired widower in About Schmidt and now a family man who must reassess his life in The Descendents.
On Wednesday, author Jesmyn Ward won the National Book Award. Her novel, Salvage The Bones, takes place in a small town during a hurricane. The story was based on her own experience of surviving hurricane Katrina, which she describes in this essay.
Author and illustrator Peter Sis is known for his fantastical children's books, but his latest project is meant for more grown-up imaginations. Adapted from a 12th century Persian poem, The Conference of the Birds tells the story of thousands of birds who together fly off in search of their king.
"I think of this as my gift to the city," the best-selling novelist says of her Nashville book shop. "If I want to live in a city with a bookstore, then I'm willing to pay for it." Patchett shares her first-day jitters, and the best advice she got about opening a bookstore: Put the children's section in the back.
The best books don't just get inside a character's psyche, they get in the reader's head, as well. Author Ismet Prcic recommends Irvine Welsh's Marabou Stork Nightmares, a funny, provocative, cerebral novel that explores the meaning of violence.
The year is 1622, and a tormented English Puritan strikes out for the Plymouth Plantation in Hugh Nissenson's moody, intelligent novel. Critic Maureen Corrigan says The Pilgrim is a work of straightforward historical fiction — of the sort that you don't see so much anymore.
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