Arts and Culture

Arts and culture

'Six Of Crows' Is A Well-Turned Heist Tale

32 minutes ago

There's no one who's going to read Leigh Bardugo's newest book, Six Of Crows, without thinking about Ocean's 11. No one's going to hear the premise — six young criminals hired to break into (and then out of) the most secure prison in the world — without thinking of Danny Ocean and his crew. Certainly no critic is going to write about the thing without making the connection. It would be stupid not to.

Margaret Atwood is one of literature's greatest living interior decorators. Some of her best stories are light on incident, but rich in character, as she examines her protagonists' inner lives at length. In rearranging their mental furniture and dusting the cobwebbed corners of their consciousness, she often comes across complicated truths about human nature, especially about gender relationships: How women and men treat each other, how women see each other, and how sex affects societies both real and metaphorical.

You know the British slogan: Keep calm, and carry on.

That attitude saw the British through World War II, and Americans through the financial crisis.

But apparently it does not apply when Facebook crashes.

Numerous police departments report receiving calls when the site goes down.

The last time it happened, Britain's Independent noticed that the Kingston police tweeted: please don't call us.

Houston, Texas, police also tweeted an advisory: "We cannot fix Facebook."

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Whole Foods Market has announced that by April of next year it will stop sourcing foods that are produced using prison labor.

The move comes on the heels of a demonstration in Houston where the company was chastised for employing inmates through prison-work programs.

Michael Allen, founder of End Mass Incarceration Houston, organized the protest. He says Whole Foods was engaging in exploitation since inmates are typically paid very low wages.

To make wine, you've got to have patience and passion – a lot of it. Cathy Huyghe, who is a wine columnist at and Food52, wanted to understand how and why and where passion for wine runs deep. So she traveled around the world – from Patagonia to New Zealand to South Africa — to document producers for her new book, Hungry for Wine: Seeing the World Through A Glass of Wine.

If you watch the film The Martian, you'll see Hollywood explosions and special effects galore, but you'll also see some serious science.

Actor Matt Damon, who plays stranded astronaut Mark Watney, must calculate his way through food shortages, Martian road trips and other misadventures as he fights to find a way off the Red Planet.

Numbers are a matter of life and death for Damon's astronaut, and in this movie they're not pulled from thin air.

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Alto saxophonist Phil Woods has died. You might recognize his playing on this Billy Joel song.


BILLY JOEL: (Singing) I want you just the way you are.

NPR's Robert Siegel talks to Michael Isikoff and Charles Francis about their documentary Uniquely Nasty, which explores the government's campaign against gay workers starting in the 1950s.

Writer Margaret Atwood says she'll try anything once. That spirit of adventure — coupled with her curiosity about the intersection of storytelling and new technology — led her to write a serialized book for the digital publisher Byliner. That book, The Heart Goes Last, is out now in a physical edition.