Arts & Culture

Sometimes, when Philip Pullman is tired or anxious, a floating speck appears in his field of vision. "I first saw it when I was playing the piano and I couldn't read the music because there was a damn dot in the way," he says, as we sit in the pleasantly jumbled living room of his farmhouse in Oxfordshire.

The floating dot will expand into a flickering ring of light, like a miniature, personal aurora. It can happen when he's driving, and he'll pull over to wait it out, or sleep it off when he's at home.

American author George Saunders has won the Man Booker prize for his first novel, Lincoln in the Bardo, a polyphonous meditation on death, grief and American history.

Saunders, widely lauded for his short stories, was considered the favorite to win the award. His novel centers on the death of Abraham Lincoln's beloved son Willie and the night that Lincoln reportedly spent in the graveyard, devastated by his grief and lingering by his son's body.

Richard Wilbur, the former poet laureate and two-time Pulitzer Prize winner renowned for his elegant, exquisitely crafted formal poetry has died at the age of 96.

Amy Tan loves jazz and classical music. "I have a Steinway, which was my life's dream," she says, sitting at her grand piano in the middle of her New York living room. When Tan listens to a piece of music, she imagines stories to go with it, so she always listens when she writes.

I saw Practical Magic the film when I was 14, a little while before I read Practical Magic the book. I loved both, talked passionately about how very different they were from each other, how glad I was that I'd seen the film first so as to appreciate it on its own terms. The film gave me women loving and fighting with and for each other, in a house and garden (and kitchen) to spend the rest of my life lusting after; the book gave me poetry, the names of flowers, and generations of Owens sisters.

This essay is one in a series celebrating deserving artists or albums not included on NPR Music's list of 150 Greatest Albums By Women.

Teresa Frontado / WLRN

It's far from the most important thing you should worry about when preparing for a hurricane — but if you're a reader, you probably thought hard about what book(s) to bring to wherever you were riding out Hurricane Irma.

You're not only choosing what you might read in that time, you are potentially choosing what books you will save from all of those in your home.

Here's what some of WLRN's staffers chose. Share yours in the comments, or tweet us @wlrn.

Teresa Frontado, WLRN digital director

Cortesy SoBe Arts

Here's an idea that a lot of post-Hurricane Irma South Floridians can probably get behind – free, safe, non-polluting electricity for everybody.

That was actually one of the long-cherished dreams of 19th century inventor Nikola Tesla, a groundbreaker in the field of electricity.

Most Americans know something about Thomas Edison and his contribution to the electric age, but not as many are acquainted with Tesla's legacy. Or about how he was ultimately tormented by the thought that his inventions could one day negatively affect the planet.

Patti Smith, Isabel Allende, James McBride and Wallace Shawn are some of the authors participating in the 2017 edition of the Miami Book Fair's "Evenings With ... " series, presented by WLRN.

Participants in "Evenings " will have the opportunity to hear authors read from their latest books for five nights in a row. Some days there will be functions at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Unless otherwise noted, all events are at the Chapman Conference Center, Building 3, 2nd floor, of the Miami Dade College Wolfson Campus in downtown Miami. Tickets are $15 per person. 

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.

If you've seen the hit musical Hamilton — or even if you've only heard about it — you might want to know more about the founding father who was the United States' first Secretary of the Treasury. And if so, the Library of Congress just made it easier to go right to the source.

Just a few pages into My Absolute Darling, Martin Alveston quizzes his 14-year-old daughter, Turtle, on her vocabulary; it's a subject the young girl is having considerable trouble with at her middle school. Frustrated by his daughter's progress, Martin tosses her notebook across the room, and places a semiautomatic pistol in front of her. He holds a playing card in his hand, daring her to shoot it. "You're being a little b----," he says. "Are you trying to be a little b----, kibble?"

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.

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