Arts

Arts and culture

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

'The Bear And The Nightingale' Is A Rich Winter's Tale

19 hours ago

I read this book of winter nights and northern forests at the turn of the year; snow swirled, ice glazed the trees and bent bare branches low. I'm writing the review now in the kind of unseasonable thaw that makes one want to grab climate change denial by the ear and rub its face in the slush. But I'm only the more grateful for The Bear and the Nightingale in consequence: I love winter with all my December-born Canadian heart, and I love stories that make me feel the full mythic majesty of it even when the weather's wounded and limping into spring.

On-air challenge: Today I've brought a game of categories based on the word COMBS. You probably know how this works. I'm going to give you a series of categories. For each one, name something in it starting with each of the letters C-O-M-B-S.

For example, if the category were "Three-Syllable Boys' Names," you might say Christopher, Oliver, Mathias, Benjamin and Sebastian. Any answer that works is fine, and you can give the answers in any order.

1. Musical instruments

2. Cities in Florida

3. Wild mammals in America

Author Julia Alekseyeva's great-grandmother Lola lived to be 100 years old, long enough to see the birth, and eventual collapse, of the USSR. In 1992, she and her family — including young Julia — moved from Kiev to Chicago.

Unbeknownst to her family, Lola began to write her memoirs, recording the stories of her life as a Jew in the Soviet Union, filled with vivid details and enlivened by a strong, independent spirit. Upon Lola's death, Julia discovered her great-grandmother's memoirs, and has now transformed them into her debut graphic novel, Soviet Daughter.

Children's book doyenne Margaret Wise Brown is having a big week.

A Couple Faces Collapse In Dark 'Futures'

22 hours ago

Psychological research tells us that a surefire path to personal happiness is to make other people happy. In light of this, then Julia, the protagonist of The Futures, is doomed. With Julia and her boyfriend, Evan, debut novelist Anna Pitoniak has created a dark look at recent college graduates who embark on building a life for themselves in New York City. Julia makes a series of grievous mistakes that send her into solipsistic despair; Evan is trapped in a bubble of his own misery. Making anyone happy is beyond them.

With no shortage of material to work with, Saturday Night Live satirized a packed week in American politics, reiterating themes imparted by critics for months.

The episode kicked off by lampooning Russia's role in influencing the U.S. election.

Dear Sugar Radio is a weekly podcast from member station WBUR. Hosts Steve Almond and Cheryl Strayed offer "radical empathy" and advice on everything from relationships and parenthood to dealing with drug problems or anxiety.

It's not fair to compare the 2004 film Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events to the new Netflix series A Series of Unfortunate Events.

But let's do it anyway.

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