culture

Actress Greta Gerwig has made a career starring in movies about quirky women. She played a driftless dancer in Frances Ha and a punk photographer in 20th Century Women. Now she's written and directed her first film, an exploration of mother-daughter relationships called Lady Bird.

"I don't know any woman who has a simple relationship with their mother or with their daughter," Gerwig says. "It has a tremendous amount of love — and a tremendous amount of angst."

Updated at 11:05 p.m. ET

At a glitzy gala in New York City on Wednesday night, four writers emerged with one of the world's most illustrious literary prizes, the National Book Award: Jesmyn Ward's Sing, Unburied, Sing, won for fiction; Masha Gessen's The Future Is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia, for nonfiction; Frank Bidart's Half-light: Collected Poems 1965-2016, for poetry; and Robin Benway's Far from the Tree, for young people's literature.

People are fascinated by true-crime stories. It's evident in the television programs and documentaries that are strewn across the network and on-demand landscape. The topic is especially hot right now in the podcasting realm. 

South Florida's Mike Boudet has taken this fascination and turned it into an award-winning podcast that rivals podcasts like Serial and S-Town in popularity and reach.

Boudet, who's been enthralled by the justice system since youth, is the creator of Sword and Scale.

An enigma that has beguiled art enthusiasts for more than eight decades has finally been solved, after Belgian researchers announced they had found the fourth and final missing piece of René Magritte's The Enchanted Pose.

Using X-ray imaging, researchers with the University of Liège and the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium spotted the upper right corner of the work underneath Magritte's 1935 to 1936 painting God is not a Saint last month. The surrealist had simply painted over it.

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Courtesy of Spike TV

For the first time in his career, Desmond Chiam, an Australian actor of Chinese-Singaporean descent, is playing a villain. And he’s having a blast.

In a recent episode of “The Shannara Chronicles,” a Spike TV drama, Chiam’s General Riga has captured two heroes. He’s torturing one of them into cooperating by sticking a thick, unhygienic-looking needle in his neck and blood is pumped through a tube into a gigantic rectangular glass container.

Jeff Stevens decided to give up alcohol when he was 24.

He's 50 now — and he's had no regrets about going sober for the sake of his health. Except for one thing: He has really missed good beer.

"If you're drinking, you have an infinite amount of things you can drink," Stevens says. Shelves are full of craft IPAs, stouts and bitters. "Whereas only about half the bars I've been to have a non-alcoholic beer. And if they do, it's usually just one choice."

Before I finally picked up and read Louise Erdrich's new novel, called Future Home of the Living God, there was a mighty obstacle that had to be faced — an obstacle called The Handmaid's Tale. After Margaret Atwood's magisterial achievement, is there really room for another dystopian feminist novel about the overthrow of democracy by a Christian fundamentalist regime that enslaves fertile women and reduces them to simple vessels of procreation?

The somewhat unsettling answer is "Sure!"

Has anyone — a parent, teacher, or boss — told you to purge the words "um" and "uh" from your conversation?

When these words creep into our narrative as we tell a story at home, school, or work, it's natural to feel that we can do better with our speech fluency.

Becoming a fan of something often means becoming a part of a community. And finding that group of like-minded people can feel like finding a place you truly belong. Other times, that community isn't all that welcoming.

"A busybody." That's how Raven Judd describes her 10-month-old daughter Bailey.

"She loves tummy time. She likes to roll over. She'd dive if you let her," says the 27-year-old mother from Washington, D.C.

There is one thing, though, that will get her baby girl to stop what she's doing: when her mother reads her favorite book, the aptly named My Busy Book.

As we near Halloween, witches, ghosts and zombies are escaping from our screens and appearing all around us — on store shelves and at costume parties. But the other place scary stuff lives year-round is on the page. We asked some experts about their favorite scary reads.

Tananarive Due, author of Ghost Summer and The Living Blood

Barry Blitt drew his first New Yorker cover back in 1992. Ever since, he has been skewering politicians of all stripes. In 2008, he drew Barack and Michelle Obama fist-bumping in the Oval Office, and in 2016, he drew Donald Trump in a tiara and a women's bathing suit.

"I have a sketchbook open and I'm just trying to make myself laugh," Blitt says.

His new book, simply titled Blitt, features some of the cartoonist's most memorable and merciless work.

As someone who lives with obsessive-compulsive disorder, novelist John Green sometimes feels like his mind is spiraling uncontrollably.

"It starts out with one little thought, and then slowly that becomes the only thought that you're able to have," Green says. "It's like there's an invasive weed that just spreads out of control."

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