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Updated: 45 min 41 sec ago

In 'The Homesman,' A Most Unromantic American West

Thu, 11/13/2014 - 4:03pm

Hilary Swank and Tommy Lee Jones play two very different people taking a dangerous trip across the arid plains in a beautifully photographed film.

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Jon Stewart's Debut Film Shows 'Humor Survives' In The Bleakest Conditions

Thu, 11/13/2014 - 12:32pm

Rosewater is based on Maziar Bahari's experience of being tortured in an Iranian prison. "His humor sustained him," the Daily Show host says. "And I found that incredibly empowering."

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Amazon And Hachette Reach A Deal On E-Book Pricing

Thu, 11/13/2014 - 11:16am

The multiyear agreement, which will take effect in early 2015, ends a months-long stalemate between the online retail giant and the publishing powerhouse.

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Book News: Even Good Writers Have Bad Sex Sometimes

Thu, 11/13/2014 - 9:22am

The Bad Sex in Fiction Award honors awful sex scenes in literature, and this year's shortlist boasts plenty of names you might not expect, including a Booker winner and a perennial Nobel favorite.

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Answers So Nice, They Named Them Twice

Thu, 11/13/2014 - 9:02am

They call New York, New York, "the city so nice, they named it twice," and that's the theme for this game. All answers will be phrases that feature repeated words or names.

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Fictional Illnesses

Thu, 11/13/2014 - 9:02am

R2-D2-berculosis? In this game, we've mashed up the names of fictional comic, sci-fi and fantasy characters with medical diseases or conditions. Welcome to the hypochondriac's Comic Con.

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One Letter Away From Fame

Thu, 11/13/2014 - 9:02am

Take a single letter away from a celebrity's name and he's transformed. If the star of World War Z lost a letter in his first name, he becomes a piece of lingerie: "Bra Pitt."

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Heroic Tunes

Thu, 11/13/2014 - 9:02am

It's a bird! It's a plane! It's house musician Jonathan Coulton, performing Five For Fighting's soft-rock classic "Superman (It's Not Easy)" with rewritten lyrics about famous comic book heroes!

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Something Borrowed

Thu, 11/13/2014 - 9:02am

Karaoke. Guru. Opera. This game features "loanwords," English words that have been "borrowed" from other languages. Can you guess the loanword from its language of origin and the English translation?

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300 Spartans Can't Be Wrong

Thu, 11/13/2014 - 9:02am

Inspired by the film 300, all answers rhyme with King Leonidas' notorious line, "This is Sparta!" and should be delivered in your best Spartan yell.

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Neil, Gamin': The Author Is Quizzed On Gilbert & Sullivan

Thu, 11/13/2014 - 9:02am

When he was nine years old, Neil Gaiman won a newspaper contest about Gilbert & Sullivan. See how much he remembers about the duo's 19th century operettas...and whether he can sing his answers.

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It's A Neil Gaiman Universe; We Just Live In It

Thu, 11/13/2014 - 9:02am

How familiar are you with the Gaimanverse? The author of Coraline, American Gods and Sandman tries to stump a superfan with fake descriptions of fantastical characters.

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A New Collection, Well-Furnished With Munro's Best

Thu, 11/13/2014 - 8:30am

Family Furnishings collects 24 of short story master Alice Munro's best works. Reviewer Jane Ciabattari calls it a superb introduction to Munro, and a reminder that she's a writer to be cherished.

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A Great Director — Who's Also A Woman — Might Direct 'Wonder Woman'

Thu, 11/13/2014 - 8:07am

Breaking Bad and Game Of Thrones veteran Michelle MacLaren is reportedly a strong candidate to direct the upcoming Wonder Woman movie.

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'Three-Body Problem' Asks A Classic Sci-Fi Question, In Chinese

Thu, 11/13/2014 - 6:03am

Chinese sci-fi author Cixin Liu bridges the gap between East and West in his new novel, a tale of alien first contact influenced by Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke and Chinese history and mythology.

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How Kodak's Shirley Cards Set Photography's Skin-Tone Standard

Thu, 11/13/2014 - 2:45am

Named for the original model — an employee of Kodak — the portraits were used by photo labs to calibrate printers. But until the 1970s, that model was always white.

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Farewell To Randy Jackson, An Example Of All That Ails 'American Idol'

Wed, 11/12/2014 - 5:08pm

As founding judge Randy Jackson announces his departure from American Idol, NPR TV critic Eric Deggans says he embodies all that's wrong with a pioneering show that's become a pop culture cliche.

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Sacred, Sad And Salacious: With Many Meanings, What Is True Blue?

Wed, 11/12/2014 - 4:41pm

In medieval art, Virgin Mary was cloaked in blue. In Colonial America "blue laws" made it illegal to buy alcohol on Sunday. And more recently, irreverent blue humor made blue the most off-color color.

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Maurice Sendak's Book Collection At Heart Of Legal Dispute

Wed, 11/12/2014 - 3:42pm

Robert Siegel talks with The Philadelphia Inquirer's Peter Dobrin about a dispute between a Philadelphia Museum and the estate of Maurice Sendak, over the late author's rare book collection.

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The Rare Place Where Israelis And Iranians Play Together

Wed, 11/12/2014 - 3:23pm

Iran and Israel are sworn enemies, but Germany is neutral ground where people from those countries can collaborate musically. Sistanglia, an Israeli-Iranian ensemble, is doing just that.

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