Our list of this year's best biographies focuses on books about individuals who lived their lives off the beaten path. From the story of a spy turned chef to the story of the real Count of Monte Cristo, these books chronicle subjects who refused to conform to the expectations of others.
Quentin Tarantino's new Django Unchained stars Jamie Foxx as a freed slave turned bounty hunter. The writer and director discusses the film's violence with Audie Cornish and explains why he feels American history can withstand an approach that has more in common with Reservoir Dogs than with Roots.
Wednesday marked the start of Kwanzaa, the seven day festival celebrating African-American culture. In the 1980s and '90s, many considered Kwanzaa a mainstream holiday like Christmas and Hanukkah. But now there seems to be less fanfare. Host Michel Martin speaks with Duke University's Mark Anthony Neal about whether Kwanzaa is still a thing.
The American Dialect Society is about to make a major decision: what will be the Word of the Year for 2012? Since we only live once, will it be YOLO? Or perhaps Frankenstorm, in memory of Hurricane Sandy? Language columnist Ben Zimmer says there's no clear front-runner.
From medieval medicine to18th-century English "crack", gin has come a long way. But according to Richard Barnett, author of The Book of Gin, now is "the best time in the last 500 years to be drinking" it.
Chef Amanda Cohen's Dirt Candy is a turducken of a book: graphic novel, cookbook and memoir in one. Cohen's East Village restaurant in New York City is focused entirely on vegetables — and with just nine tables, it's become a foodie destination.
Conventional wisdom says e-books are destroying the traditional publishing business model. But the story's not that simple. For one thing, flexible pricing allows publishers to hold what amount to one-day-only sales on any given title — which means more people will discover that book.
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