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Updated: 1 hour 42 min ago

'Mindy' And The Little Story That Just Might Work

Wed, 03/04/2015 - 12:22pm

There are certain stories that very few shows can tell without falling on their faces. The Mindy Project may be able to beat those lousy odds.

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Black Bodies In White Words, Or: Why We Need Claudia Rankine

Wed, 03/04/2015 - 11:03am

Writer and photographer Syreeta McFadden says that when she's challenged to prove the existence of everyday racism, she directs friends, allies and enemies to Claudia Rankine's powerful Citizen.

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A Vivid Portrait Of Tudor Turmoil In 'Lamentation'

Wed, 03/04/2015 - 9:03am

The sixth volume of C.J. Sansom's Shardlake mysteries is set during the last days of England's King Henry VIII, as a potentially explosive religious manuscript written by his queen has gone missing.

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Rapper Jin Tries To Stretch His '15 Minutes' Of Fame

Wed, 03/04/2015 - 8:50am

In 2004, Jin was one of the first Asian-Americans to drop a major label rap album. One controversial song, "Learn Chinese," raised eyebrows. A decade later, he's trying to rephrase the message.

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Ishiguro's 'Buried Giant' Gets Lost In Its Own Fog

Wed, 03/04/2015 - 6:03am

Kazuo Ishiguro's latest novel is set in a mythical Arthurian England. But though the premise was promising, the book is too vague to make much of an impact.

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Prepare For 'The End Of College': Here's What Free Higher Ed Looks Like

Tue, 03/03/2015 - 1:09pm

In his new book, Kevin Carey envisions a future in which online education programs solve two of colleges' biggest problems: costs and admissions.

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'Welcome To Braggsville' Isn't Quite 'Invisible Man,' But It's Close

Tue, 03/03/2015 - 1:09pm

T. Geronimo Johnson's latest follows four Berkeley students who take an American history class that leads to disaster. It's an ambitious book about race that wants to say something big about America.

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'The Devil's Detective' Is A Grim Tour Through A Noirish Hell

Tue, 03/03/2015 - 9:03am

Hell is actually a bureaucracy in Simon Kurt Unsworth's debut novel. Reviewer Jason Heller says the tale of a demonic murder investigation starts strong but gets mired in the details of infernal life.

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A Life Examined — And Examined, And Examined In 'Ongoingness'

Tue, 03/03/2015 - 6:03am

Writer Sarah Manguso has been a compulsive diarist since childhood; her new memoir documents the ways motherhood has changed her writing. Critic Heller McAlpin says it's full of lovely observations.

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Ever Cheat At Monopoly? So Did Its Creator: He Stole The Idea From A Woman

Tue, 03/03/2015 - 2:36am

The game Charles Darrow sold in the 1930s bore a striking resemblance to a game Lizzie Magie patented in 1904. In The Monopolists, Mary Pilon tells Monopoly's origin story.

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Sandwich Monday: The Funnel Cake Corn Dog

Mon, 03/02/2015 - 4:20pm

For this week's Sandwich Monday, we try a new twist on a classic. It's a corn dog that uses funnel cake in place of corn meal to encase a hot dog.

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Chris Offutt Reveals A Family Secret In 'My Father, The Pornographer'

Mon, 03/02/2015 - 12:17pm

Offutt's late father went from running a small insurance agency to writing more than 400 books, mostly pornography. The writer tells Fresh Air his dad believed he would be "extremely famous" for it.

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Of Con Men And Dames: How Margot Robbie Gets Robbed In 'Focus'

Mon, 03/02/2015 - 12:00pm

Will Smith plays a con man in Focus, but unfortunately, the woman playing opposite him has depressingly little to do.

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'Beholder' Has An Eye For The Absurd, And A Smirk Beneath Its Beard

Mon, 03/02/2015 - 9:03am

Francis Falbo, sad sack hero of Know Your Beholder, hasn't shaved in weeks. His wife's left him, his mom's died, his band's fallen apart. Good thing his author, Adam Rapp, has kept his sense of humor.

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'Downton' Wraps Another Season Of Marriage And (Sigh) Muuuuuurder!

Mon, 03/02/2015 - 7:59am

The fifth season of Downton Abbey, like all of its seasons, certainly wasn't perfect and had way too much murder. On the whole, though: pretty good.

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'The Sellout' Is A Scorchingly Funny Satire On 'Post-Racial' America

Mon, 03/02/2015 - 6:03am

Paul Beatty takes no prisoners in this tale of two men trying to save their dying town through provocative moves like reinstituting segregation. Critic Michael Schaub calls it a comic masterpiece.

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'Battle Creek' Tries To Shake Up CBS' Cop Show Formula

Sun, 03/01/2015 - 7:37pm

CBS' new cop show Battle Creek is based on a 12-year-old script by Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan. It's among three new network shows that aim to reinvent old TV concepts.

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A Most Vibrant Year For Cinematographer Bradford Young

Sun, 03/01/2015 - 5:05pm

The man behind the look of Selma and A Most Violent Year talks about depicting violence, participating in history and being a black cinematographer in Hollywood.

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For An Author In India's Capital, 'Hope, In Many Ways, Is Fiction'

Sun, 03/01/2015 - 4:19pm

In his novel She Will Build Him a City, Raj Kamal Jha weaves the reality he sees as a journalist in New Delhi — where many gravitate looking for a better future — into a fictional, magical world.

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Robert Christgau Reviews His Own Life

Sun, 03/01/2015 - 4:19pm

One of rock music's most loved, feared and prolific scribes, the 72-year-old Christgau says he knew early on that he liked criticism better than journalism: "I didn't want to get into people's faces."

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