Read an exclusive excerpt of Chang-rae Lee's upcoming novel, On Such A Full Sea. It's a dystopian tale, set in a future America where corporations have replaced a long-crumbled government, and Chinese immigrant workers have become a new laboring class, repopulating deserted cities.
This past year, many of the best-known technology firms were designing and building new corporate offices. It's the first time Silicon Valley giants like Apple, Google and Facebook, and Amazon in Seattle, have committed to building new headquarters from the ground up.
In addition to Breaking Bad, critic David Bianculli recommends some rare television treats from the '60s and '70s that are now available on DVD. They include Here's Edie: The Edie Adams Television Collection, The Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts, The Rutles: Anthology and Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman.
Set in the geriatric extended-care wing of a California hospital, Getting On is a different kind of workplace comedy. Mark V. Olsen and Will Scheffer adapted the show from a BBC series of the same name, and added new material largely inspired by experiences they had with their own mothers.
If you want to give back while you travel, volunteer vacations are your best bet. Here's how to find the best and most ethical ways to volunteer when traveling. NPR's Rachel Martin speaks with Shannon O'Donnell of Grassroots Volunteering, a website that shares low-cost opportunities.
Juan Vidal recommends three Latin American masterpieces that were translated this year: a boundary-pushing novella, a noir tale of an assassination plot and a complex exploration of identity and history. There are no noble heroes in these pages — instead, they feature hapless, struggling souls in search of meaning.
Two strangers tell their stories to a wandering narrator in Bruce Wagner's new The Empty Chair. It's a pair of novellas meditating on grief, love, spirituality and the nature of storytelling. Reviewer Colin Dwyer says Wagner manages to both tease out the threads that bind the stories, and relish the spaces between.
Over the past decade, the government has been paying farmers to keep their land covered with native grasses instead of crops. But as grain prices have risen, the conservation reserve has shrunk by more than 25 percent. This decline in native grasslands means more soil erosion and less habitat for wildlife.
Saturday is the winter solstice — which means it will be the longest night of the year. For many artists and poets, that thought is far from depressing: instead, night's darkness is invigorating. Filmmaker Phil Cousineau has edited a new collection on the allure of the night, and Jeff Dowd — the inspiration for "The Dude" — wrote the foreword.
The presidential panel on NSA has brought renewed attention to the practice of spying this week. Phone tapping, searching records and general intrigue — these have been popular topics in literature and film for well-nigh a century. But espionage is not often a glamorous task, as author Julia Keller reminds us.