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Arts & Life

In 'Humankind,' Rutger Bregman Aims To Convince That Most People Are Good

NPR

The historian and author of Utopia for Realists says that research shows that "especially in times of crisis, we show our best selves. And we get this explosion of altruism and cooperation."

'Hollywood Park' Compassionately Depicts The Suffering And Struggles Of Addiction

NPR

Musician Mikel Jollett writes of his youngest years spent in the Synanon cult and how music helped him overcome these dark days; more on music as art or what ideas guide him would have been welcomed.

A Memoir Reflects On What Happens To The 'Fairest' Of Them All

NPR

During a boyhood in the Philippines, Meredith Talusan received positive reactions to the white skin and blonde hair accompanying albinism. She found a different response as a trans woman in the U.S.

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'Brown Album' Centers On The Erasure Of Race In American Culture

Porochista Khakpour's work is strongest when she turns the lens on herself to examine how she, too, is complicit; many essays here are just too tantalizingly brief to allow space for deep analysis.

Books | Arts

New Thriller Challenges Readers To Take Another Look At 'These Women'

Ivy Pochoda keeps up her focus on the overlooked and forgotten in her new novel. Here, it's a group of sex workers and club dancers whose lives are connected — and imperiled — by a serial killer.

Books | Arts

'The Ballad Of Songbirds And Snakes' Is A Lackluster Prequel To 'The Hunger Games'

While Suzanne Collins leaves readers uncertain of the answer to the question she poses in The Hunger Games — how much of character is innate, how much formed — it becomes painfully obvious here.

Books | Arts

'Funny Weather' Asks What Art Can Do In A Crisis

At her best, Olivia Laing turns criticism into an elevated form of hospitality: Like a good party host, she introduces you to someone, tells you what she likes about them, then leaves you to it.

Books | Arts

Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Pandemics In 'The End Of October'

Journalist Lawrence Wright learned a lot about pandemics for his new thriller — and he packs it all into sometimes-clunky dialogue. But right now, all that information is exactly what readers want.

Books | Arts

How To Say No: 'Anti-Guru' Sarah Knight Suggests You Do Less And Live More

Knight has written a series of books about "mental decluttering" — her latest is called F*ck No! "Most people will take no for an answer much more easily than you think they will," she says.

Books | Arts

'Give Them The Damn Information': Questions For George M. Johnson

Journalist and activist George M. Johnson's new memoir All Boys Aren't Blue is an unflinching account of growing up black and queer — from kindergarten bullies to unexpected college brotherhood.

Books | Arts

'A Community Of Desperation' Finding Sympathy And Solidarity In Dorothea Lange

The American photographer intimately documented the upheavals of the Great Depression. Now, amid the upheavals of the coronavirus, Lange's portraits of humanity and adversity still have a lot to say.

Books | Arts

Will Your Kids Love Your Favorite Childhood Reads? Let's Find Out

With few new books coming in, our kids' books columnist turns to the favorite reads of her childhood — beginning with the 19th-century classic Five Little Peppers and How They Grew.

Books | Arts

Joy Harjo Gets A 2nd Term As US Poet Laureate

Joy Harjo, the nation's first Native American to serve as Poet Laureate, was appointed to a second term by Librarian of Congress, Carla Hayden.