culture

The author Salman Rushdie has set his books all over the world. His most famous novels — Midnight's Children and The Satanic Verses — take place in India and the United Kingom, both countries where Rushdie has lived. His latest, The Golden House, is set in the city he now calls home, New York, and its themes are deeply American.

Work: It's just one of the many reasons to explain why Americans love the weekend so much.

This weekend, however, we're going to give you a little bit more of it - in book form, that is. It is Labor Day weekend, after all, so we're celebrating. 

It's a pair of rites we see often at the passing of great authors: first, the tributes from those who loved their books; then, the good-faith effort to find their unfinished works and shepherd them to the bookshelves they never would have found otherwise.

Tobe Hooper, who directed the influential horror movie The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, died on Saturday in Los Angeles.

The LA County coroner's office confirmed the death to NPR, but did not provide a cause.

Hooper was a little-known, barely-funded filmmaker when he made the movie that echoed through the horror genre for years to come.

The Keys are on our minds this week because it's the annual Florida Keys Museums and Attractions Weekend.  If you've ever wanted to explore more about the history, culture and natural environment of the Keys, you can get free and discounted admission to more than 20 museums and attractions from Islamorada to Key West.

If you can't make it, or want to learn more about the Keys on the page, we came up with these recommendations from some people who really know the island chain. If you have suggestions, add them in the comments or tweet them to us @WLRN.

All evidence points out to the fact that the earth is warming and the climate is changing. In Florida, that means more unpleasantly hot days, rising seas and stronger storms. 

So, it may be time to read up on the subject, if you haven’t already. Some concerned members of the community have taken up learning how to teach others about climate change science and solutions. 

The last year has been a divisive one for our national political scene. But one uniting factor has been to turn a lot more of us into political junkies - talking, texting and tweeting about the latest moves in Congress or the White House as if they were episodes of "Game of Thrones."

Sometimes, though, it's nice to take a break from the fire hose of breaking updates and Twitter feeds and read an entire book. We asked some journalists who closely follow politics for their recommendations.

Holly Pretsky / WLRN

Kristina Lahoud, 14, loves to dance. 

"She knows to pull up her Youtube on her tablet, and put on her favorite song. She'll usually go in the bathroom," said Nicola Budham, Kristina's mother. "She likes to go in there and dance and look at herself in the mirror." 

Kristina is the first camper with Down syndrome to attend AileyCamp Miami, where she's been able to take her performances out of the bathroom and into the dance studio. 

"I'm a great dancer," she said.

It's a time-honored tradition for novelists to draw material from their own lives, and author Tom Perrotta is no exception. His 2004 book, Little Children, sprang from his experience as the parent of young kids. Three years later, he published The Abstinence Teacher, which was inspired, in part, by the junior-high and high-school sports his children played at the time.

A museum in Western Massachusettts has found itself as the focus of a recurrent discussion in the art world: Is it ever okay for a museum to sell some of its works for financial reasons?

For Van Shields, executive director of the Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield, the answer is a firm yes.

Simon Cocks / Flickr

Florida takes its hits, from late-night TV jokes to, now, even a ranking as the worst state in the nation for a “staggeringly impressive” “awfulness resume,” according to the website Thrillist.

But for all the Flori-duh jokes (that we make, too, but we live here so it’s OK), this is an astonishingly large, diverse, beautiful, interesting and yeah, sometimes staggeringly awful place — and it has produced some remarkable works of literature.

For an entire generation of writers, Michiko Kakutani acted at times as intrepid champion, hated villain or helping hand. But from her perch as chief book critic at The New York Times, the Pulitzer Prize winner rarely left one thing in doubt: her vast influence over the literary world she assessed.

On Thursday, after 38 years, Kakutani announced she is stepping down.

Courtesy of ruthbehar.com

A few years after Ruth Behar and her family arrived in Queens, New York from Cuba in the early 1960's shortly after Fidel Castro took power, they were in an awful car accident that killed five teenage boys and left her in a full-body cast for most of the next year. She was nine years old, and spent her 10th birthday in that cast. 

We've had mangoes on our mind all month. (Stay tuned for an upcoming story about mango chutney!)

Then we remembered Miami Spice month starts Aug. 1. So, to prepare for deals on delicious meals in South Florida, we asked two writers and a chef about their favorite food books. 

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