Arts

Book Reviews
6:03 am
Tue May 7, 2013

Postgraduate Post-Mortem In A Smart, Literary Mystery

There are many things to savor about Elanor Dymott's debut suspense novel, Every Contact Leaves a Trace -- among them, its baroque narrative structure and its clever manipulation of the stock, husband-who-hasn't-got-a-clue character. But Dymott really won me over when she pulled Robert Browning out of her crime kit. Nobody reads Robert Browning anymore, do they? As far as I can tell, high schools have thrown in the towel when it comes to teaching Victorian poetry; dissertations on Browning's dramatic monologues have all but dried up.

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Europe
3:57 pm
Mon May 6, 2013

Crowdfunding Effort Seeks To Save Venice's Everyday Gondolas

Nicolo Zen, director of Traditional Boat Museum of Venice, launched a crowd funding project to save one of the last traghetto gondolas — everyday boats used by the city's locals.
Christopher Livesay

Originally published on Mon May 6, 2013 8:00 pm

Even if you haven't been to Venice, you're probably familiar with the city's famous tourist gondolas: With baroque silver ornaments, shiny black lacquer, and sumptuous red seat cushions, they're unabashedly fancy, not to mention ubiquitous. A ride with a gondolier costs at least 80 euros (about $105), rain or shine (and it's 110 — $144 — more to be serenaded).

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Fine Art
3:57 pm
Mon May 6, 2013

Family Fights Sale Of Iconic Thomas Cole Painting

Thomas Cole completed Portage Falls on the Genesee in 1839.
Courtesy Seward House Museum

Originally published on Mon May 6, 2013 8:00 pm

A celebrated 19th century landscape painting by Thomas Cole is at the center of a 21st century fight: The Seward House Historic Museum in upstate New York wants to sell a painting that belonged to former Secretary of State William Seward, but on Tuesday Seward's great-great-grandson will be in court to try to block the sale.

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Book Reviews
3:22 pm
Mon May 6, 2013

Safety Is Relative: A Moving Account Of Life In Chechnya

Russian troops patrol Minutka square in the Chechen capital on Monday, Feb. 28, 2000.
Alexander Zemlianichenko AP

Originally published on Mon May 6, 2013 8:00 pm

How do you write an absorbing novel about unspeakable things? It's always a tricky business, and an editor I know once described the dilemma this way: "A reader needs to want to go there." What "there" means is the self-contained world of the book. And what would make a reader want to go deeply into a world of hopelessness and seemingly perpetual war, a world of torture and intimidation and exploding land mines? There are many answers. One of the most obvious, of course, is the language.

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The Salt
2:34 pm
Mon May 6, 2013

Sandwich Monday: Fried Peanut Butter And Banana

Melissa approaches with caution.
NPR

Originally published on Mon May 6, 2013 2:58 pm

It's strange to find a Fried Peanut Butter and Banana sandwich, famous as Elvis Presley's favorite, on a restaurant menu, given its effect on Elvis. It's like finding a store selling an Isadora Duncan commemorative scarf.

Nonetheless, freelance radio producer Melissa LaCasse and I decided to try the one offered by The Breslin in New York, listed as "fried peanut butter & banana sandwich with bourbon & vanilla."

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