Arts and Culture

Albert Camus in the 1950s

Albert Camus’s first novel, "The Stranger," speaks strongly to the search for meaning. It’s the story of an alienated man who commits a senseless murder. Literary critic Alice Kaplan calls it "the perfect Black Lives Matter book."More

chris ware on "society is nix"

When he’s not drawing, Chris Ware likes to read and look at vintage comics. He highly recommends a book that defies even his powers of description — a folio-sized reproduction of some of America’s first newspaper cartoons, made long before super-heroes and adventure stories took over the medium. Back then, he says, the medium could be anything — and was.More

Cheryl Strayed

Cheryl Strayed’s "Wild" is one of the most famous wilderness memoirs of our time. She especially appreciates writers who combine honesty with emotional intensity — writers who reveal themselves unflinchingly on the page. She recommends a memoir by the writer Poe Ballantine.More

a view of the Manhattan skyline from the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge in Queens.

One of the greatest walkers of our time, William Helmreich — known for exploring every street in New York City — was an early casualty of COVID-19. But composer David Rothenberg got to walk with him one last time, around wetlands in Queens.More

Pamuk

The Turkish writer and Nobel laureate says his favorite novel — the 800-plus-page Russian novel bursting with characters living the life of imperial Russian society — is a complex miracle of a book.More

J woodson

The author of "Another Brooklyn" recommends a James Baldwin novel she says belongs on everyone's bookshelf.More

Vijay Iyer

Celebrated jazz pianist Vijay Iyer talks improv and basketball with Steve backstage before a show.More

Nicole Paris

Father-daughter beatboxers Nicole Paris and Ed Cage take vocal percussion from the cradle to the stage.More

Bobby McFerrin

Famous for his smash hit "Don’t Worry Be Happy," Bobby McFerrin is way more than that song. McFerrin talks to Steve about an eight-year project called "Vocabularies."More

Värttinä

Here’s a very short taste of the power of music. It’s the Finnish acapella group Värttinä.More

Brandy Clark

One of Charles’ favorite musician interviews is with country music star Brandy Clark. Brandy and Charles have a similar upbringing and he had a strong connection with her album “Big Day in a Small Town.”More

Famed novelist Kazuo Ishiguro recommends “Prayers for the Stolen,” by Jennifer Clement —a harrowing tale about young children who are abducted in the midst of Mexican drug wars.More

Norwegian novelist Karl Ove Knausgaard has published six volumes of intensely personal descriptions of his daily life. But his “honesty” cost him some of his closest relationships, including his marriage.More

Is the American criminal justice system perpetuating racial castes? Civil rights attorney and activist Michelle Alexander breaks down the systemic racism inherent to our justice system.More

cake

Feeling hopeless? How about cake recipes for the Apocalypse? Shannon O'Malley offers a few of her favorite recipes.More

TTBOOK

How does a suburban dad with three kids find meaning in Thoreau's "Walden"?   Tom Fate says Thoreau helps us examine a basic question:  How much is enough?More

TTBOOK

How relevant are 1001 Nights today? Well, they’re still a powerful influence for some very famous writers. Here' Turkish author, Orhan Pamuk.More

TTBOOK

Nobel Prize-winning writer Orhan Pamuk offers his take on why he writes.More

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