With The Ocean at the End of the Lane, best-selling fantasy author Neil Gaiman has written his first adult novel in almost a decade. It's a deceptively simple tale that feels like escapism — until you realize that it isn't.
Ocean is told from the point of view of a melancholy but successful artist returning to his childhood home in Sussex, England. On a lark, he visits an old farm where he played as a boy, and is suddenly overwhelmed by memories of being entangled in a magical conflict with roots stretching back before the Big Bang.
Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today not to mourn the nine-patty T-Rex Burger, but to celebrate its life. It was pulled this week, far too young, from the menu of a rogue Manitoba Wendy's that served it to two or three people a day. It is survived by the few people who ate it and survived.
Said a Wendy's spokesperson: "For obvious reasons, Wendy's ... neither condones nor promotes the idea of anyone consuming a nine-patty hamburger in one sitting."
Here we go into the wild blue yonder again with Colum McCann. In his 2009 novel, Let the Great World Spin, McCann swooped readers up into the air with the French aerialist Philippe Petit, who staged an illegal high-wire stunt walk between the twin towers of the World Trade Center in 1974. Strictly speaking, Let the Great World Spin was not a Sept. 11 novel, and yet almost everyone rightly read it as one, since McCann's tale commemorated the towers at the literal zenith of their history.
Does cast-iron skillet cornbread, hot and crispy from the oven, transport you back to your grandma's kitchen? Do you cook with certain ingredients as a link to your roots in the South? If so, "A Spoken Dish" wants to hear your story.
The Southern Foodways Alliance is teaming up with Whole Foods Market and Georgia Organics in this video storytelling project as a way to celebrate and document food memories and rituals of the American South.
Bonfires light up the Belfast skyline on July 12, 1997, as Protestant loyalists commemorate the 17th century victory of a Protestant king over his deposed Catholic predecessor. Known as the Battle of the Boyne, the confrontation is part of a long history of tensions in the region.
Credit Paul McErlane / AP
The Victoria Square shopping center's observation deck offers a panoramic of Belfast's skyline.
Credit Peter Macdiarmid / Getty Images
Belfast's No Alibis Bookstore has helped launch at least two of Stuart Neville's mysteries.
Credit Noah Adams / NPR
The Palm House in Belfast's Botanic Gardens houses a range of tropical plants.
Credit Robert Young / Flickr
The peace wall on Belfast's Falls Road was traditionally used to display political messages from Irish Republicans. Today, artists use their skills to highlight political messages from around the world.
At 41, with long black hair, Stuart Neville looks more like the rock guitarist he used to be than the author he is now. He lives in a small town with his family — not in Belfast, Northern Ireland, the city that plays a central role in his thrillers, but just outside it.
<a href="http://www.judyblume.com/">Judy Blume</a> is the author of many books for kids and teens, including <em>Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret, Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing</em> and <em>Blubber</em>. Her fans have riffed on Bloomsday (a celebration of James Joyce's<em> Ulysses</em>) and created Blumesday in her honor.
Today is Blumesday. Not the Bloomsday where readers celebrate James Joyce's novel Ulysses — that was Sunday. Today's Blumesday is also a holiday for literature lovers, but of a different sort.
Blumesday creators Joanna Miller and Heather Larimer are writers, and they're pretty well-read. But they were never huge fans of Ulysses. "We sort of self-deprecatingly said, 'Well, the only way we could participate in Bloomsday was if it were Judy Blumesday.' And then the joke turned into, 'Wait, why aren't we doing this?' " Miller explains.
Count plenty of grown-ups among the millions of fans of Adventure Time, a kids' show on Cartoon Network. Some are surely Emmy voters. (It's won three.) Others are very possibly stoners. Still others are intellectuals. Lev Grossman falls in the last category. He wrote two best-selling novels, The Magicians and The Magician King, and he's Time's senior book critic.