When it comes to short stories, the best insight on how to read them I've ever found came from a new book on writing, “Unless It Moves the Human Heart,” by Roger Rosenblatt. One of Rosenblatt's graduate students said, in effect, that the writer begins by saying, “And so, we have come to this.” Of three new collections out this winter, two rank among the best I've ever read. If this is what we've come to, 2011 should be rich indeed.
Tax deductions ... er, income taxes are on Americans' minds as the April filing deadline approaches. Here are five of the more offbeat tax deductions the IRS allows you to include. Hey, maybe you even qualify!
Egypt’s military has suspended the country’s Constitution and tasked experts with overhauling its fundamental law. Other countries in the region may also soon be in line for such a make-over – redesigning government institutions, enshrining individual liberties, entrenching guarantees of democratic accountability. But not all constitutions are created equal. Here are a list of six big issues to consider when creating a Constitution from scratch:
Okay, let me be honest. There are no "5 best" Dr. Seuss books. Theodor Seuss Geisel published 44 children's books and each one is a marvel in its own way. However, I do have my own personal "5 best list," just as I'm sure that you have yours. Please help me to celebrate Dr. Seuss's birthday (he was born on March 2, 1904) by listing your own. In the meantime, here are mine.
Oscar has always loved films based on true stories – 100 out of 485 Best Picture nominees since 1927 would qualify – but never more than this year. Four of the 10 features on the Best Picture slate are based on real characters and events: “The King’s Speech,” “The Fighter,” “The Social Network,” and “127 Hours.” Eavesdrop on departing moviegoers and you will inevitably hear, “I’d love to know what really happened.” Here are some facts behind the “true-life” stories contending for this year’s Best Picture Academy Award.
The Oscar-winning Best Picture has not always been what people expected. Here are five films that defied the odds at the Academy Awards.
Oscar predictions 2011: The Monitor's film critic Peter Rainer picks which movies, and which actors, should win in five major Oscar categories. Best picture, best director, best actor, best actress, and best documentary. Do you agree?
From the first spark of Middle East unrest in Tunisia in December until the violent suppression of protests in Libya in late February, the price of a barrel of crude oil rose from $88 a barrel to more than $100. But rising demand – from oil-hungry China and other fast-growing nations – was pushing prices up even before the turmoil. How much prices rise depends largely on whether supplies flow unimpeded from the Middle East. Here’s a rundown on oil supply-price issues affecting the US.
The one they called the "quiet Beatle" was born on Feb. 25, 1943 – which would have made today his 68th birthday. If you've been missing the man ranked at No. 21 on Rolling Stone's list of the "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time," you can of course simply turn up the volume on "All Things Must Pass." Or you can pick up a book. I'd advise one of the five below.
Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi is earning widespread condemnation for his brutal tactics against a populist uprising. As the international community wrestles with how best to show their disapproval, one suggested option is imposing sanctions – a step French President Nicolas Sarkozy urged the European Union to take. But their effectiveness is hotly contested. Here’s a look at how useful sanctions have been in changing the behavior of other nations.
What's selling best in independent bookstores across America.
Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi has long elicited chuckles abroad with his outlandish attire and over-the-top rhetoric, but his brutal crackdown this week is no laughing matter. This backgrounder offers a look at how the eccentric dictator came to power – and how he's held on to it for more than 40 years.
What to read for background on Libya? The shelves of English-language libraries and bookstores are not exactly crammed with options. However, there are a handful of works – from histories to fiction to travel literature – which offer a good general grounding in the country's background and culture. Here, at least for starters, are some interesting suggestions.
For 30 years, the space shuttle launch has served as the centerpiece of the US space program. But Feb. 24 will mark the last shuttle launch of Discovery, with the final flight of Endeavour to follow in April and – if there's enough money – Atlantis's last flight of the entire program in June. Here are five questions about what the shuttles have – and haven't – accomplished.
Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi has long elicited chuckles abroad with his outlandish attire and over-the-top rhetoric, but his brutal crackdown this week is no laughing matter. This backgrounder offers a look at how the eccentric dictator came to power – and how he's held on to it for 41 years.
Baseball has been very very good to books. Sure, people like to read about football, basketball, and even (gasp) golf. But no professional athletes seem to have inspired as many words between covers as the boys of summer. The sheer volume of baseball books makes it hard to put together any kind of "best of" list. But I decided to give it a try, enlisting the help of two professional sportswriters (both women, for a fresh perspective). They suggested three personal favorites and then I added three of my own.
If you're an American, you know that George Washington was "the Father of Our Country." But how many of us really know what that means? As we celebrate his 279th birthday, here are five outstanding books that help to bring George Washington and his accomplishments to light.
As recent events in Egypt have shown, international support for aging despots can wane quickly once crowds hit the street and violence kicks off. Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni, in power now for 25 years, already faces declining support outside of his country – but it's unlikely he's going anywhere just yet. It's almost certain he'll win the official count in today's presidential election. Here are some reasons why the international community might not want to push Museveni too hard:
This is the time of year – when it’s been freezing for two months and the city is covered with dirty snow that won’t melt for another six weeks – that I dream of trading it all in for a simpler life. You know, one complete with farm animals, caves for aging cheese, and a vegetable garden large enough to supply all of Manhattan with frisée. I'll never do it – I can't really live without groceries delivered to my apartment, mass transit, and access to Korean food at all hours – but I can at least read about it. Here are five amazing, hilarious, utterly charming books brought to you by people, crazier, more desperate, and with even less impulse control than I: the ones who actually did it.
After a decade of shaky starts, tablet computers have finally arrived. Unlike their bulky, expensive parents, this current generation of slates boasts trim frames, gorgeous screens, and power-house specs. So, here are the 10 most intriguing tablets of 2011, in order of screen size.
There is a long history of innovation in America's relatively short existence; from lone inventors experimenting in garages to collaborating and competing with international scientists. Many of the following 13 inventions have become fixtures in daily life.
Bahrain (officially the Kingdom of Bahrain) doesn't usually receive much international attention. But the uprising that swept through the Middle East last year reached Bahrain's central Pearl Square, as thousands turned out to protest for reforms. Below are some key facts about this small cluster of islands off Saudi Arabia's coast.
Five writers from China, Japan, and India made the cut this week when the Man Asian Literary Prize announced the shortlist for its 2010 award for the best novel by an Asian writer, either written in English or translated into English last year. The winner will be announced at a dinner in Hong Kong on March 17.
Those who said that "winds of change" were blowing through the Middle East were right. The past two months have seen a series of stunning political shifts that began with Tunisians' ousting of their former president in mid-January. Tunis and Cairo's cries, first of first anger and then of jubilation, have been beamed into living rooms across the region and are now reverberating along the North African coast, through the Gulf, and up into the Levant. Here is a look at where those "winds of change" are taking us. (Editor's note: This is an updated version of a story that originally ran on Feb. 2 and will be continually updated.)
President Obama's proposed $3.7 trillion dollar federal government budget works some economic magic, from disappearing programs to mystery funding sources. Here’s a look at five key head-scratchers in the 2012 budget: