How ‘Game of Thrones’ Book Fans Investigated Joffrey’s Murder

One could write several books, or at least media studies doctoral dissertations, on the differences between Game of Thrones and A Song of Ice and Fire, the book series on which it’s based. There are many, ranging from the insignificant (Theon’s sister has a different name) to the more substantial (the original Mrs. Robb Stark was a complete nonentity). Perhaps the most important, though, is the simple difference between the experiences of reading about 5000 pages of material at one’s own pace and watching a show. And there’s no better demonstration of that difference than the mystery of who killed Joffrey Baratheon, an event viewers have had just a few days to process but readers have been picking apart for the last 14 years. … Read More

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5 Reasons Why Indie Bookstores Are Perfect Models for American Small Businesses

I don’t recall exactly which sky-is-falling installment of the 2008 economic meltdown was in the news on a day when I was working at a nonprofit job that entailed dealing with the children of really rich people in Lower Manhattan, but I remember every mother who came in was in a panic. And for good reason: it felt like we, as a nation, were going to lose everything. If the one percent freak out over a financial crisis, the rest of us can only worry we’re mere days away from living like characters in a Steinbeck novel. Fearing the market-inflicted doom, all I could do was go to a reading in a Brooklyn bookstore and drink the free wine there. The plan to get drunk and not think about my future worked until I was about three or four cups in, when I started wondering how the beloved indie bookstore I was standing in expected to survive when pretty much everything else looked like it was going to hell. … Read More

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Why ‘The Mindy Project’ Fails at Everything It Attempts

When Danny and Mindy got together a few episodes ago on The Mindy Project, the reaction from fans rivaled that of New Girl’s Nick and Jess shippers. The difference between the two audiences, of course, was that New Girl fans had earned the Nick and Jess relationship after two seasons that did not rely solely on the “will they or won’t they?” tease to carry them through. Moreover, New Girl fans were given an opportunity to actually enjoy the relationship before — spoiler alert — Nick and Jess broke up. Mindy and Danny shippers got one perfect scene of romantic bliss (the airplane kiss) and a couple episodes rife with drama before the split. One episode later, Mindy is back to guest-star flavors of the week, like New Girl’s Schmidt in tonight’s episode, and Danny is hooking up with Peter’s sister. A show has not made me feel so much like I’m doing dating in New York wrong since Sex and the City. Hell, even Girls gets it right more often than Mindy. … Read More

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The Creepy Victorian-Era Stuffed Rabbits and Squirrels of ‘Walter Potter’s Curious World of Taxidermy’

Great British eccentrics come in all different stripes and colors, and no era produced more interesting ones than during the reign of Queen Victoria. From 1837 to 1901, England produced some of its strangest and most interesting figures, including the master of Victorian whimsy in stuffed animal form, Walter Potter. … Read More

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25 Incredibly Tough Movies for Extreme Viewers

We’ve been talking a lot about Lars von Trier lately, prompted by the release of Nymphomaniac, and now Criterion Collection has given us one more reason to think about his work: their new special edition of his 1996 masterpiece Breaking the Waves. It’s a key entry in the von Trier filmography, its themes echoing throughout Nymphomaniac and Melancholia, but it takes something big like the Criterion release to warrant a revisit; Breaking the Waves is both a masterful movie and one that’s incredibly difficult to subject yourself to. We’ve looked previously at great books and important albums that are just plain hard to take; here’s a few movies that warrant the same kind of… Read More

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FX’s Darkly Funny ‘Fargo’ Is Far More Than a Coen Brothers Rehash

Here are the reservations that we must get out of the way first: Fargo the series is not a strict adaptation of Fargo the film. It is superficially similar but should be seen as a separate entity. Although Fargo borrows settings, themes, accents, violence, and a hell of a lot of snow from the movie, it is a distant cousin, twice removed, not a copycat child. It should also be said that, aside from its origin (and other films from the Coen brothers), Fargo will be compared to a handful of recent television dramas. There are shades of Breaking Bad and True Detective, two shows that are still lingering in our minds. Fargo does not take place in a unique universe. We have already seen detective thrillers, middle-class white dude antiheroes, unfortunate women, questions of masculinity, gleeful acts of disturbing violence, and good people who suddenly realize that they are capable of not-so-good actions. That said? Fargo is a thoroughly enjoyable watch (particularly the first episode), beautifully shot, and very, very funny.  … Read More

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Jim Jarmusch’s ‘Only Lovers Left Alive’ and the Tragedy of Time in Artistic Lives

Mortality has its own way of haunting everyone, but for me it often manifests as vague anxiety about running out of time. In the short term, that means constant, low-level resentment over the inability to write or travel or even sleep as much as I’d like. What upsets me more, though, is when I get to thinking about the half-century or so I have left on this planet (if I’m lucky), and I remember that even if I dropped all my responsibilities and started devouring them in earnest, I could never read all the great books that have ever been published. I won’t ever finish watching every brilliant film or hear every transcendent piece of music or take in every masterpiece of visual art, either. And what if I had any ambitions about adding to that canon? … Read More

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Mouth-Watering Photos of Literature’s Most Famous Meals

When Dinah Fried’s Fictitious Dishes were first posted in June 2012, they caused an online stir, and that was no surprise. She styled, prepared, and shot elaborate recreations of some of the most iconic meals in literature, from The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo‘s open-faced sandwiches, or smørrebrød, to Proust and Swann and his very famous madeleines. You can find these charming images and many more in the new book Fictitious Dishes: An Album of Literature’s Most Memorable Meals, which features Fried’s photos, mouth-watering excerpts from the greatest meals in literature, and trivia. Here’s a selection of three meals, from Alice in Wonderland, Moby Dick, and The Great Gatsby. … Read More

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‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ Season 6 Episode 9: “Queens of Talk”

Maybe this was purposefully timed, maybe not. But on the night that Logo announced it would pull the offending Drag Race episode that features a mini-challenge “Female or She-male” and that they would remove the “You’ve got she-mail” intro to all new episodes of the series (after saying they weren’t going to), trans man Chaz Bono and his grandmother Georgia Holt appeared as guest judges on last night’s show, along with Paula Abdul. Each of the queens were tasked with hosting their own talk show, with Chaz and Georgia as interview subjects. Sometimes their questions about the transgender experience got dicey, most of the time it was fine, so kudos Logo for actually listening. Now, onto the queens! … Read More

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Happy Passover! Links You Need to See

Happy Passover! Celebrate the Jewish holidays with jazz, dancing, and some good clean fun. … Read More

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