In a lot of memoirs, it feels safe to assume that the author really knows what they're writing about. But here's an exception: Molly Brodak's new memoir is about her dad, a man she barely knew growing up. Her father is a gambling addict. And when Molly was in middle school, he robbed 11 banks outside of Detroit in 1994 to fuel his addiction — the FBI dubbed him the "Super Mario Brothers Bandit" because of his flat cap and fake mustache.

Look, the debut collection of poetry from Solmaz Sharif, opens with all the grace of an unpinned grenade: "It matters what you call a thing." But this comes as less a warning than a war cry.

Even if you knew nothing about Vijaya, her haunting portrait would likely give you pause. She peers out of the page, unsmiling, her silver hair pulled back and her eyes conveying an unspoken anguish. From the accompanying narrative, we learn that a few years ago, almost overnight, Vijaya became her granddaughter Anjali's primary caretaker. Her daughter, Gayathri, set out to find nutritious food for the family amidst heavy shelling, at the violent end of Sri Lanka's decades-long civil war, and never returned home.

You don't need us to tell you that backyard chickens have become an urban (and suburban) obsession.

But here's what you may not know: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has documented a record high number of salmonella infections linked to these domestic flocks.

"This year saw the largest number of illnesses linked to contact with backyard poultry ever recorded," the CDC writes in an investigation update.

Tourists to the Napa Valley may visit the exclusive wineries and fine-dining restaurants. But locals love a more humble dish called malfatti. It's a little spinach and cheese dumpling, shaped like a pinky finger, smothered in sauce and packed with local history.

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There are few living theater directors who can convince audiences to stay up all night watching the staging of a Sanskrit poem. But 30 years ago, director Peter Brook did just that. He put on what came to be known as one of the great theater events of the 20th century: The Mahabharata. It was nine hours long, and it was epic.

James Beard award-winning chef Marcus Samuelsson says it feels like he's been cooking his entire life. He has a soul food restaurant in Harlem and a new cookbook inspired by that restaurant called The Red Rooster Cookbook: The Story of Food and Hustle in Harlem.

Samuelsson was born in Ethiopia and raised in Sweden so we suspect he's no doubt tired of hearing about the beloved Muppet character, The Swedish Chef. So we'll ask him three questions about other Muppets.

Rabih Alameddine's novel The Angel of History begins with a conversation between Satan and Death. The two are sitting in the home of Jacob, a poet in the midst of a mental breakdown; long after the death of his partner from AIDS, he's begun hearing voices (again), and is currently trying to check himself into a mental hospital.

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