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WYPR Arts

In the new film adaptation of Dave Eggers' satirical novel The Circle, Tom Hanks says his character is "neither" and "both" a hero and a villain.

Hanks plays Eamon Bailey, co-founder of a giant social media and tech company. In a tech-obsessed culture, the company has a creepy mantra of "Sharing is caring."

Emma Watson stars as Mae Holland, a new hire at the Circle who quickly rises through the ranks and agrees to broadcast her every waking moment to millions of followers on social media.

This month marks 350 years since John Milton sold his publisher the copyright of Paradise Lost for the sum of five pounds.

His great work dramatizes the oldest story in the Bible, whose principal characters we know only too well: God, Adam, Eve, Satan in the form of a talking snake — and an apple.

Except, of course, that Genesis never names the apple but simply refers to "the fruit." To quote from the King James Bible:

A male boss brushes up against his female employee. Off the record, a male politician makes suggestive remarks to a female reporter. These are just a couple of examples of sexual harassment that may be all too familiar to some career women.

Writing good fiction is hard, and doesn't necessarily get easier with practice. Some writers improve over time, others burn brightly but flame out early. Case in point: F. Scott Fitzgerald, who produced most of his best work — This Side of Paradise, The Great Gatsby, Tales of the Jazz Age — in his 20s.

Sometimes, even professionally compassionate people get tired.

Kristin Laurel, a flight nurse from Waconia, Minn., has worked in trauma units for over two decades. The daily exposure to distressing situations can sometimes result in compassion fatigue.

"Some calls get to you, no matter who you are," she says.

When U.S. forces captured Saddam Hussein back in 2003, they sent CIA analyst John Nixon to interrogate him. Nixon is now retired, and has written a book called Debriefing the President, about his interrogation of Saddam and other adventures in the spy trade.

Since Nixon has done both briefing and debriefing, we'll see how much he knows about underwear briefs. Click the listen link above to hear how he does.

Dear Sugar Radio is a weekly podcast from member station WBUR. Hosts Steve Almond and Cheryl Strayed offer "radical empathy" and advice on everything from relationships and parenthood to dealing with drug problems or anxiety.

Reading The Game: Stardew Valley

Apr 29, 2017

For years now, some of the best, wildest, most moving or revealing stories we've been telling ourselves have come not from books, movies or TV, but from video games. So we're running an occasional series, Reading The Game, in which we take a look at some of these games from a literary perspective.

If you're the kind of person who opens the paper in the morning and goes straight to the obituaries, we've got good news for you: There's a new documentary out this week that follows the staff writers of the New York Times obituary desk. It's called Obit.

In a time when most types of government spending are under attack, a few brave souls have stepped up to defend those perpetually endangered hillocks of federally funded refinement, the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities. The defenders haven't always managed so well.

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