Evolving Darwins

April 18: "[W]ould it be too bold to imagine that all warm-blooded animals have arisen from one living filament…?"

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Ford Motors On

April 17: "In less than three years, both GM and Chrysler would be bankrupt, and a resurgent Ford would wow Wall Street..."

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At Home with Books

April 16: ""Blue pottery vases and bowls for flowers are most attractive, and certain blue books...will repeat and emphasize color."

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Obsessive Genius

April 15: "A page...will begin with some principles of astronomy, or the motion of the earth; then come the laws of sound..."

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Bad Times, Good Hearts

April 14: "And we come back to this book because Steinbeck asks us to open our hearts..."

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Death's Dominion

April 12: "The Civil War’s rate of death, its incidence in comparison with the size of the American population, was six times that of World War II."

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Stifling a Yawn

April 11: "[B]ecause of the good deeds by which [Tanonius Marcellinus] rescued the population from endless boredom, the entire people judges that this inscription should be recorded."

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Pulitzer's Pot of Gold

April 10: "In a decade, Pulitzer had gone from hiding his last savings of $300 in a trunk to earning more than that amount every hour."

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On the Big River

April 9: "These ambitions faded out, each in its turn; but the ambition to be a steamboatman always remained."

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Treasure Hunt

April 8: "[I] rescued works of art by Rodin, Rembrandt, and Rockwell, and pieces of history as varied as Geronimo’s headdress and a long-lost copy of the Bill of Rights."

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Ebert Looks Back

April 7: "The best movies aren’t about what happens to the characters. They’re about the example that they set."

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'Nasty' Outlook

April 5: "Our civilization is not suffering from exhaustion so much as a sugar high."

 

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Orwell's Example

April 4: "To mark the paper was the decisive act. In small clumsy letters he wrote: April 4th, 1984."

 

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Yada, Yada, Yada

April 3: "We are on the verge of losing our capacity as a society for deep, sustained focus."

 

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West Coast Wit

April 2: "Think Walter Winchell crossed with Jon Stewart, with a little Anthony Lewis and Lawrence Durrell thrown in."

 

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Romance of the Road

April 1: "Pickup trucks started out as down-and-dirty work tools until Detroit discovered it could make billions by selling lavish designer trucks."

 

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Celestial Sounds

March 31: "This is what I have to say about Bach's life's work: listen, play, love, revere -- and keep your trap shut."

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Scott & Zelda

March 29: "Forget the past -- what you can of it, and turn about and swim back home to me, to your haven for ever and ever..."

 

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Crimean Ghosts

March 28: "Memories of the Crimean War continue to stir profound feelings of Russian pride and resentment of the West."

 

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Making a Splash

March 27: "[A]t thirty minutes after six o'clock on the afternoon of Wednesday, August 19, 1812... this country...became a nationality to be reckoned with..."

 

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Slaughter & Silence

March 26: "That cable...blasted the United States...for showing 'moral bankruptcy' in the face of what [U.S. diplomats] bluntly called genocide."

 

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Balancing the Books

March 25: "Because accounting reduces everything to its monetary value, it has allowed us to value least that apparently free source of life itself: the planet."

 

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Eco-Catastrophe

March 24: "Her 'red light to starboard' declaration would prove to be the last of a litany of signals of impending disaster."

 

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The People's Poet

March 22: "It might even appear that I am heading toward eventually being crowned laureate of my ZIP code."

 

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Stone Walls

March 21: "The incarceration rate in the United States is the highest in the world today."

 

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Sharp Right Turn

March 20: "I watched with a mixture of fascination and foreboding as my party was hijacked by a new crop of opportunists and true believers..."

 

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Woody 'n' Bob

March 19: "Listening to [Guthrie's] records for the first time felt 'like a million megaton bomb had dropped,' Dylan would write..."

 

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Updike's America

March 18: "I read and talked into the microphone and was gracious to the local rich, the English faculty and the college president, and the students with their clear skin..."

 

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Back in the USSR?

March 17: "Russia has also been stoking discontent in Crimea. This region of Ukraine combines several potentially explosive elements."

 

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The Price of Empathy

March 15: "I infiltrate the sorrow of every Syrian who passes before my eyes."

 

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Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch is the winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. James Parker calls this Dickensian coming-of-age novel "an enveloping…

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Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
Poems That Make Grown Men Cry

And women too.  Luminaries from Colin Firth to Nick Cave and Jonathan Franzen chose the poems that bring them to tears, and the result is a stunning collection of poignant verse from writers like Auden, Whitman, Bishop, Larkin, Neruda and many others.  Warning: choking-up hazard.

The King of Pain

Trapped beneath his entertainment system, reality TV mastermind Rick Salter reflects on his life and tries to piece together the events of the previous evening. Seth Kaufman’s romp is an outrageous meditation on pain and entertainment in a deranged world in which the two are often interchangeable.

The Good Inn

Frank Black, frontman for the Pixies, has written a transgressive historical fiction with shades of Thomas Pynchon (focused as it is on the history of explosives and cinematic pornography), all set in a hallucinatory Edwardian Europe.