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An Olympic Preview, From The Canon Of Russian Literature

Southern Russia, the venue for the coming Winter Olympics, is a wild land known for its breathtaking beauty and centuries of conflict. It has long inspired Russian writers; here are three classic books on the region.
NPR

An Oscar Nominee, But Unwelcome At Home In Cairo

Jehane Noujaim's documentary The Square, which chronicles three years of political turmoil in Egypt, is the first film from that country to be nominated for an Academy Award. But the filmmaker has struggled to show the film in its home country.
NPR

100 Years Ago, Writer William S. Burroughs Was Born

He was a central figure of the Beat Generation whose influence extended beyond literature to rock music and visual arts. He lived all over the world but spent his last years in Lawrence, Kansas — he liked the quiet there and the opportunity to fish and hunt.
NPR

A Widow's Quiet Life Leaves Room For Sex, Guns And Literature

Not much happens in An Unnecessary Woman, Lebanese-American author Rabih Alameddine's novel about an elderly recluse who spends her time reading and translating. But what does happen shows a life in all its mundane, unconventional brilliance.
NPR

Sweet Tooth Gone Bad: Why 22 Teaspoons Of Sugar Per Day Is Risky

Americans who got a quarter of their daily calories from sugar were twice as likely to die from heart disease as those who limited their intake to much lower levels, fresh research finds. Unfortunately, most of us have a sugar habit that puts us in the danger zone.
NPR

Are We Having Fun Yet? New Book Explores The Paradox Of Parenting

Kids can be magical and maddening. The title of Jennifer Senior's book — All Joy and No Fun — contrasts the strains of day-to-day parenting with the transcendent experience of raising a child.
NPR

'Borgen' Is Denmark's 'West Wing' (But Even Better)

Critic John Powers says that Borgen, a Danish TV series about a woman who unexpectedly becomes Denmark's prime minister is "irresistibly bingeable." The third and final season has just been released on DVD.
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Art Beat With Lauren Landau, February 4

You can see a blues concert tonight or see a play that lends an interesting twist to a classic fairy tale.

NPR

On Philip Seymour Hoffman, And His Many Appearances

So many of the actor's roles dealt in appearances and self-doubt. Perhaps you don't get that good at communicating insecurity without knowing a little something about those things.
NPR

Wikipedia Archiving Voices So You'll Always Know How Celebs Sound

Because the sound of someone's voice can draw you to them in a different — and sometimes stronger — way than a photograph, Wikipedia editors are adding voice clips to the biographical entries for famous figures.

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