In his latest novel, Iraqi author Sinan Antoon gives readers a stark portrait of contemporary Iraq. Originally written in Arabic and translated into English by Antoon himself, The Corpse Washer was nominated for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize this year.
The book's protagonist is a young man named Jawad, an aspiring artist from a family of traditional Shiite corpse washers and shrouders in Baghdad. Jawad breaks from the family business and attends art school, where he devotes himself to the celebration of life rather than the ritual surrounding death.
Originally published on Sun March 30, 2014 4:16 pm
What if William Shakespeare's plays faced off in a tournament, like basketball squads spewing Elizabethan verse? That's the idea behind a bracket that pits 32 of the bard's plays against each another, in a contest arranged by New York's New Victory Theater.
Much like the NCAA basketball tournament that inspired it, the theater has been tallying votes and updating its bracket on its road to Stratford-upon-Avon.
Alex Cornell does not like dinner parties or overly chatty commuters who insist upon talking to him on the bus. So, he created a new app called Tickle, which helps you escape awkward public situations. By simply touching the phone, you can generate a fake phone call, allowing you to politely excuse yourself. The app isn't out yet, but it reminded us of another one of Alex Cornell's attempts to avoid awkward conversations. We spoke to the San Francisco-based blogger and designer last year.
A new feature film about the early days of Cesar Chavez opened this weekend. The story of the legendary activist who took on the powerful agricultural industry was directed by Mexican actor Diego Luna. This past week, the filmmakers treated an audience of California farm workers to an outdoor preview of the movie dubbed into Spanish.
Originally published on Mon March 31, 2014 4:20 pm
It amazes me that those of us who bridle at advice from people we know — parents, spouses, neighbors — crave it from those strangers we call authors. Stand in front of any magazine rack and gaze upon the endless lists of promises on the covers: advice on how to publish your first novel, lose weight, or put that spark back into your love life. Think of that corner in the bookstore devoted to "Self-improvement." Books with "how to" in the title — including my latest effort — number in the thousands.
Filmmaker Errol Morris is famous for trying to get inside other people's minds and understand the motivations behind the choices they've made. In his most famous film, The Fog of War, Morris sat down one-on-one with former Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara to talk about the decisions McNamara made in Vietnam. During the course of the conversation, McNamara makes the stunning admission that some of his actions amounted to war crimes.
A German-based group called PediaPress is trying to raise enough money to make a print copy of all of Wikipedia. That's right, Wikipedia, the ever-evolving, always-changing, inherently digital encyclopedia of information gathered by contributors all over the world. To say this would be a massive project is an understatement.
The genocide in Cambodia in the 1970s at the hands of the Khmer Rouge has inspired many books and movies, most famously the 1984 Oscar-winner The Killing Fields. But the most unusual might be this year's Oscar-nominated filmThe Missing Picture.In it, filmmaker Rithy Panh uses clay figurines to recall his experience of genocide.