Arts and Culture

The Sellout

Talking about race is fraught these days, so it took guts for Paul Beatty to write his novel "The Sellout." It's a satire about a young black man who winds up on trial at the Supreme Court. And along the way, he enslaves an old friend and re-segregates the local high school.More

Yuval Noah Harari

Sometimes you stumble upon a book that sets you on a whole new path. For Israeli historian and philosopher Yuval Norah Harari — author of "Sapiens," "Homo Deus," and "21 Lessons for the 21st Century" — it wasn’t a novel, a memoir, or even a history book that changed his world. It was a book about chimpanzees.More

Lidia Yuknavitch

The main character in Jeff VanderMeer’s other-worldly tale is a polymorphous bear who moves in magical and unexpected ways, and keeps secrets in his fur. It’s both a futuristic story and one with deep history, the kind of dystopian fiction that drew Yuknavitch in, again, and again.More

Spruce Grain Picea #0909-11A07 (9,550; Sweden) Rachel Sussman

Photographer Rachel Sussman has documented 30 of the oldest living things in the world. Beautiful and romantic, her photos document both the adaptation and fragility inherent to surviving for tens of thousands of years. More

George Saunders

The author of "Lincoln in the Bardo" recommends Victor Klemperer's two-volume diary that reads as a slow-motion picture of what the Holocaust looked like before it was known Holocaust.More

Michael Twitty

Michael Twitty can trace his family’s food history back to the slave cabins and Antebellum kitchens of the South. Honoring his diasporic heritage — he’s both black and Jewish — lead Twitty to the practice of identity cooking. He calls it Kosher/Soul.More

Salt, fat, acid, heat

Chef, author, and Netflix star Samin Nosrat developed her own philosophy of cooking, based on a few universal principles: salt, fat, acid and heat. She says it allows us to cook by following our taste buds, rather than a recipe book.More

A five year vertical of Bourbon County Brand Stout. Older, pre-brewery sale style bottles are on the left, while the newer bottle design is on the right. 

Back in 1995, Goose Island created one of the most iconic craft beers of all time — Bourbon County Stout. Which — as Chicago Tribune beer writer Josh Noel explains — was why it was such a shock when they sold the brewery to Anheuser-Busch.More

Anne Lamott

Writer Anne Lamott says that the children’s classic made her feel like there was room in the world for imaginative, adventurous girls who just might wear mismatched knee socks. More

TC Boyle

How does a hummingbird survive in subzero winter temperatures? Why endure them at all? Author T.C. Boyle couldn’t understand why the small bird would be anywhere near his mountain writing retreat, but he found the answer in Bernd Heinrich’s “Winter World.”More

walrus

Knowing how animals survive winter is good, but how do animals sound in winter? For that we turn to Douglas Quin, an award-winning sound designer and composer whose album "Fathom" contains underwater field recordings from the polar regions of the earth.More

Margaret Atwood

Jean Rhys takes up a "mad" wife’s story in "Wide Sargasso Sea," an overlooked novel recommended by "Handmaid’s Tale" author Margaret Atwood.More

Aluna rendering

British artist Laura Williams talks with Anne Strainchamps about Aluna — her design for the...More

A historic Amundsen Tent in Antarctica.

Lucy Jane Bledsoe is a novelist who's made three trips to Antarctica as part of the National Science Foundation's Artists and Writers in Antarctica Program. She tells Anne Strainchamps that the place is addictive.More

reindeer

Piers Vitebsky is an anthropologist who studies the Eveny — also known as the "Reindeer People of Siberia." He tells Steve Paulson they keep herds of reindeer for meat, but also have personal, consecrated reindeer animal doubles, which they believe will die for them.More

A building at the Zoma Museum

In Addis Ababa, curator Meskerem Assegued and artist Elias Sime have created Zoma Museum as a visionary model of an urban future, using ancient Ethiopian building techniques. They say modern development can be much more than concrete high-rises.More

Teju Cole

Teju Cole grew up in Nigeria and then moved to U.S., joining millions of others in the African diaspora. He became an acclaimed novelist and photographer, and now celebrates the cosmopolitan culture of global cities, including Lagos and New York.More

When you’re visiting a new city, it helps to have a guide. Dejene Hodes took Anne and Steve on a tour of Addis Ababa, from the Mercato to the financial district. He says the city is bursting with entrepreneurial energy and ambition.More

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