Arts

The Two-Way
8:21 am
Tue April 22, 2014

Book News: Ex-Supreme Court Justice Wants 6 Changes To Constitution

Former Supreme Court Associate Justice John Paul Stevens, pictured in 2013, has a laundry list of legal changes he'd like to see and thinks "ultimately each will be adopted."
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

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

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Book Reviews
7:03 am
Tue April 22, 2014

'Chameleon Club' Takes On Too Many Colors

Originally published on Tue April 22, 2014 2:10 pm

The narrators of Francine Prose's novel Lovers at the Chameleon Club, Paris 1932 are not to be trusted. In describing the life of Lou Villars, French racecar driver, cross dresser and Gestapo torturer, Prose tells a complex story about the malleability of truth when everybody is a collaborator.

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Book News & Features
7:01 am
Tue April 22, 2014

Exclusive First Read: Colson Whitehead's 'The Noble Hustle'

Originally published on Tue April 22, 2014 11:22 am

In the annals of great first lines, The Noble Hustle's ranks near the top: "I have a good poker face," Colson Whitehead writes, "because I am half dead inside." Hustle is a gritty, grimly funny — and seriously self-deprecating — account of Whitehead's adventures in poker, from home games to seedy $2 tables in Atlantic City and finally a trip to Las Vegas to play in the World Series of Poker — with a few detours for beef jerky, and a discourse on Anhedonia, his gloomy spiritual homeland.

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Book Reviews
5:29 pm
Mon April 21, 2014

The Tawdry Ballad Of A Man, A Casino And A Game Of Chance

Courtesy of Hogarth

Originally published on Mon April 21, 2014 7:26 pm

Millionaire Chinese gamblers, high-class Mongolian escorts, drunken Englishmen — these are the kind of characters who populate Lawrence Osborne's hypnotic new novel, The Ballad of a Small Player. Set in the hotels and casinos of Macau, a former Portuguese colony where ostentatious 21st century glamour meets the faded charms of old Asia, the novel traces the trajectory of a compulsive gambler, the self-styled "Lord" Doyle, a man who seems addicted to failure. "Everyone knows that you are not a real player until you secretly prefer losing," he asserts at the beginning of the novel.

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Pop Culture
2:14 pm
Mon April 21, 2014

For Comic Hari Kondabolu, Explaining The Joke IS The Joke

he says. "You were a minority when you came to this country. Things seemed to have worked out for you."" href="/post/comic-hari-kondabolu-explaining-joke-joke" class="noexit lightbox">
Comic Hari Kondabolu's album Waiting for 2042 is a reference to the year the Census Bureau projects whites will be the minority in the U.S. "Don't worry, white people," he says. "You were a minority when you came to this country. Things seemed to have worked out for you."
Kyle Johnson

Originally published on Mon April 21, 2014 4:23 pm

At first, Hari Kondabolu's comedy was mostly about catharsis: "I was doing some work in detention centers and meeting families who had family members who were going to be deported," he tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "It was really powerful work ... but it was incredibly hard and performing at night was a relief. It was cathartic. It was just a way to get things out."

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