Arts & Life

Early in To the Bone, writer-director Marti Noxon's harrowing yet utterly approachable drama about eating disorders, Ellen (Lily Collins) considers a plate of food her stepmother has optimistically plopped in front of her. She runs down the calorie count: 280 for the pork, 350 for the buttered noodles, 150 for the roll, and 75 for butter.

“The Ex-suicide: A Mountain Brook Novel”

Author: Katherine Clark   

Publisher: University of South Carolina Press, Story River Books

Pages: 240

Price: $27.99 (Hardcover)

“The Ex-suicide” is the fourth and final novel in Katherine Clark’s Mountain Brook series, books which were among the first in the late Pat Conroy’s imprint Story River Books.

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In Sonoma Valley about an hour north of San Francisco, there are many reminders of the immigrants who built California's wine industry: tasting rooms that look like Italian villas or signs bearing French names. But you won't see any vestiges of the group that made up an estimated 80 percent of the workforce that first put Sonoma vineyards on the map: the Chinese.

With 22 Emmy nominations each, NBC's Saturday Night Live and HBO's Westworld tied for the most mentions in the Television Academy's list of contenders for the 2016-2017 season.

Saturday Night Live saw three of its cast members — Vanessa Bayer, Leslie Jones, and previous winner Kate McKinnon — nominated for best supporting actress in a comedy.

As you may have heard (AND I DEARLY HOPE YOU FRIGGIN' HAVE), our Summer Readers' Poll on Comics and Graphic Novels came out yesterday. You cast thousands of votes, and a crazily accomplished judging panel (which, due to some egregious error in the vetting process, also included me) combed over the top vote-getters, spent hours on the phone arguing for or against each one ...

Truth Is A Fragmentary Thing In 'American Fire'

Jul 13, 2017

"What really happened" is rarely something that can be pinned down: Where I see a pat on the back, you might see an assault; where I remember a rainy day, you may remember a hurricane. And then, of course, people lie. In American Fire, journalist Monica Hesse faces these quandaries of interpretation, faulty memory and lies, and deals eloquently with the he-said-she-said elements of her story.

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Marti Noxon made her name as a TV writer, director and producer, working on shows like "Buffy The Vampire Slayer," "Glee," also, "Mad Men."

Outside a London pub on a sunny afternoon, pints of beer in hand, Brittney Cornwell and Amy Hussey are gabbing about their love lives.

They're in their early 20s and work together at a bank around the corner. They say one thing seems to come up more than ever on dates these days: Brexit.

"You can't avoid it," Hussey says. "It's always a topic!"

Novelist Dina Nayeri always remembers something a professor told her: "You can either have roots or wings, but if you try to have both, you're probably going to fail."

Nayeri says her father, who is from a small town in Iran, is all roots. "He has his habits and his comforts ... " she says. "He feels deeply secure in his life and his place in the world."

For generations of children, the Eloise book series is a favorite. It tells the story of a 6-year old troublemaker who lives at New York's Plaza Hotel. Now "Eloise at the Museum," an exhibition at the New York Historical Society, looks at the creators of the series: author Kay Thompson, who died in 1998, and illustrator Hilary Knight, who's now 90.

Long, long ago, when the Earth was new and ichthyosaurs swam the turbid seas, Iron Man 2 arrived in theaters. [Ed. Note — Simmer down. It was 2010.]

It was, most agreed, a disappointment, compared with its predecessor, despite a fun and deeply, deeply squirrelly Sam Rockwell performance. (Remember how he had bronzer on his palms? And no one mentioned it. It was just a character thing? Remember that? That was cool.)

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Television's most famous amphibian is set to get a new voice.

Steve Whitmire, the puppeteer who for 27 years has performed as Kermit the Frog, is no longer voicing the green lead of the various Muppets TV programs and films, a spokesperson for The Muppets Studio confirmed to NPR. He will be replaced by longtime show veteran Matt Vogel.

The spokesperson did not immediately comment on the reason for the switch.

In his new memoir, actor Curtis Armstrong excerpts passages from a diary he kept while filming the 1983 film Risky Business.

July 1

Tom's an interesting character. Can't really make him out. He would appear to be on the brink of a great career.

The "Tom" mentioned in that section above is, of course, the film's star: Tom Cruise.

Armstrong the young diarist proved insightful about two things: 1. Cruise was indeed about to become a megastar, and 2. He was, and remains ... kinda squirrely.

Back in May, we asked you to tell us about your favorite comics and graphic novels — and you rose to the challenge. We got more than 7,000 nominations, so while you all are lolling around in the frosty air conditioning (or outside in the sun ... weirdos) we've been working away to whittle those thousands of nominations down to an awesome list of 100. Also, OK, I read a lot of Elfquest. For work! Really!

There's no shortage of myths about Henry David Thoreau, even in this American literary superhero's hometown of Concord, Mass. In fact, my informal poll of locals reveals that it's the rare person who knows what the 19th-century naturalist grew at Walden Pond, let alone how he survived.

Apparently, even as the town celebrates Thoreau's bicentennial birthday bash, the truth about his diet is as elusive as any celebrity's.

Jack Shaheen, a researcher and writer who spent his life battling stereotypes of Arab-Americans and Muslims in pop culture, died Sunday in South Carolina. He was 81.

One of Shaheen's notable victories came in 1993, when he helped persuade Disney to change some original song lyrics in the movie Aladdin, on the grounds that they were insensitive.

One of the main characters on HBO's hit series, Game of Thrones, is paralyzed. Another has lost his right hand. We've met an important character with a severe skin disorder and another with an intellectual disability.

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Ever since Peter Minuit bought Manhattan Island from the Native Americans, New York City's character has been defined by money and con artistry. So it is that classic New York stories are always populated by a grifter or two.

In 2013, acclaimed ballerina Wendy Whelan underwent reconstructive surgery that left her hobbled, both physically and emotionally. For Whelan, it wasn't just her career with the New York City Ballet that was at stake; it was also her artistic voice.

In the epicurean world, Northern California is famous for two intoxicants — wine and weed. With recreational marijuana about to be legal in the Golden State, some cannabis entrepreneurs are looking to the wine industry as a model.

On the elegant terrace of a winery overlooking the vineyard-covered hills of Sonoma County, north of San Francisco, a dozen invited guests are sipping pinot noir, nibbling hors d'oeuvres and taking hits off a water pipe.

We'll be releasing the results of this year's Summer Reader Poll on Comics and Graphic Novels later this week — and it's a varied and deeply idiosyncratic list, trust us. Y'all have some fascinating favorite comics.

Not to spoil anything, but the final list skews heavily toward recent offerings, which makes sense: The stuff that's been around a long time may earn people's respect, but new discoveries spark excitement. And that's what any survey that asks folks to name their favorites will naturally turn up.

Octavia Butler used to say she remembers exactly when she decided to become a science fiction writer. She was 9 years old and saw a 1954 B-movie called Devil Girl from Mars, and two things struck her. First: "Geez, I can write a better story than that!" And second: "Somebody got paid for writing that story!" If they could, she decided, then she could, too.

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On-air challenge:

I'm going to give you clues for some 5-letter words. Switch the 2nd and 4th letters to make a new word that answers the second clue.

It can be hard to grow up in an ultra-religious household. I was raised in a strict Pentecostal family, and I remember not being allowed to go trick-or-treating or have any sign of Santa Claus because both were deemed to be inspired by Satan. When you're a little kid, you don't question it — that's just how it is. It takes getting older to realize you're different from everyone else.

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