Arts & Life

There's no shortage of books about how parents affect their children's lives, but what about vice versa? That's what New York Magazine contributing editor and mother Jennifer Senior sets out to investigate in All Joy and No Fun, a book about parental well-being.

Moms-to-be are often reminded that they're eating for two. It's tempting to take this as an excuse to go for that extra scoop of the ice cream. (Believe me, I've been there.)

But a solid body of research suggests that expectant mothers should be walking away with the opposite message: Pregnancy should be a time to double-down on healthful eating if you want to avoid setting up your unborn child for a lifetime of wrestling with obesity.

The Oscar nominations are so strangely timed (for us) that we didn't get to them last week, so this is the week we take a look at what didn't make the cut that we wish had gotten through. Nothing will cast light on this discussion more than Mark Harris' terrific piece at Grantland about the effect of the expanded Best Picture field on all the other categories, which hasn't been as ...

Transcript

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. "Gloria" is a new film from Chile that centers on a late-middle-aged divorced woman whose life is full of uncertainties. She's played by Paulina Garcia, who won the top acting prize - the Silver Bear - at the 2013 Berlin Film Festival, where the movie was a surprise hit. It opens this week in New York and Los Angeles, and wider next month. Film critic David Edelstein has this review.

As New Year's resolutions go, cutting back on food and drink are right at the top of the list. And while those resolved to change their eating habits may cut the carbohydrates or say a sweet goodbye to sugar, for regular drinkers, the tradition may involve what's known as a dry January: giving up booze for a month.

But could such a short-term breakup with alcohol really impart any measurable health benefits?

The face is the same, but the personality is different. It's a sobering, unfair truth that Vanetia (Maxine Peake) must confront about her husband. Again and again, in fact, once he's returned home from the hospital, after months in a coma and recovery in the wake of a rare kind of stroke.

Each year's Grammy Awards offer their own questions and controversies based on how the nominations pan out, but there are a few points of contention that come up year after year. There's the difference between Song Of The Year and Record Of The Year. How a song can be eligible for nomination this year when the album it came from was nominated last year (or vice versa). The precise eligibility requirements for Best New Artist, a category that can be (and has been) won by performers several albums into their careers.

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

60 Years Of Poems Mix Anger, Ambivalence And Authority

Jan 24, 2014

Derek Walcott, who won the Nobel Prize in 1992, is one of the biggest living figures on the world literary scene. He is a celebrated playwright and a painter, but a new selection of his work focuses on the achievement for which he is best-known: his poetry.

Walcott's home, and the gravitational center of his writing, is the Caribbean Island of St. Lucia, which was tossed restlessly between French and English colonial overlords for hundreds of years until it finally achieved independence in 1979.

The lake in Alain Guiraudie's Stranger by the Lake is gorgeous — aquamarine, pristine, surrounded by pebbly beaches and dense woods. Families cluster on the far side of it, but on the side we see, there are only men. It's a gay cruising spot, frequented by mostly nude sunbathers and swimmers, many of whom come here often enough to know each other by sight if not by name.

Jenny Offill's novel Dept. of Speculation, which weighs in at 192 pages soaking wet and includes a fair amount of white space, is extremely short for a novel. It's an unusual book not only in terms of its size, but also its form. Make no mistake, this is an experimental novel. By which I mean that the narrative isn't a series of flowing scenes that keep you reassuringly grounded in plot, but a collection of vignettes, observations and quirky details that are sometimes pulled from real life.

National Weather Service

Alabama's coldest temperatures of the week are expected early Friday morning, with lows dropping into the single-digits in northern parts of the state.

The National Weather Service will have a wind chill advisory in effect from 9 p.m. Thursday to 6 a.m. Friday for northern Alabama counties that include the cities of Huntsville, Athens, Guntersville, Scottsboro, Fort Payne and Fayetteville. In those areas, forecasters say the wind chill value could be as low as 8 degrees below zero in higher elevations.

The Chilean matron at the heart of the wonderfully unsettling comedy Gloria looks like any ordinary woman confronting the familiar dilemmas of late middle age. For other reasons, though, you may feel as though you've met her before.

There are five named female characters in Joe Swanberg's 24 Exposures, and all of them spend significant portions of the movie ... well, exposed.

Actually, most of the unnamed female characters wind up in various states of undress as well, a fact that's part of a point Swanberg seems to be trying to make about objectification of women in art. In 24 Exposures, though, he straddles the line between criticizing that objectification and engaging in it himself.

As I type this, I'm also reading a blog post on Richard Sherman's Stanford days, emailing back-and-forth with a colleague about an upcoming interview and Google-chatting with my friend Reeve about Sunday's episode of HBO's True Detective. This is probably not unlike your regular media multitasking experience, which I assume is just shortening our attention spans and making us even more easily distracted.

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