Actor and writer Sacha Baron Cohen is famous for taking his characters — Ali G., Borat, Bruno — into the real world, interacting with people who have no idea that they're dealing with a fictional character. But his new movie, The Dictator, is a scripted comedy about a tyrant on the loose in New York.
Saturday Night Live has always had a stealthily big heart. You can see it when the hosts people really like get hugs from everyone at the end of a show, and you can see it when people come back for guest appearances, and you've certainly seen it in some well-known moments in which the show says goodbye. That includes genuinely sad moments like the night Steve Martin hosted the show hours after Gilda Radner died, as well as considerably lighter fare like singing "So Long, Farewell" when Phil Hartman was leaving.
Madeline Miller is the author of The Song of Achilles
Elizabeth von Arnim's The Enchanted April opens with misery — not catastrophic, but ordinary: cold rain, sodden clothes, unhappy relationships, constricted life. It's so vivid you can almost feel your nose running and hear the squelching of your ruined shoes. Miserable March, it might be called, and we've all been there.
Unlike a lot of people I know, my summer reading doesn't differ significantly from the reading I do the rest of the year. I'm always looking for new authors, older titles I might have missed, books I want to reread, and a nice mixture of fiction and nonfiction. While I understand the concept of beach reading, for me it doesn't mean light reading, but rather choosing books whose ultimate destruction by sand and water won't concern me overly much because I know that I can easily replace them.