In Wes Anderson's latest film, The Grand Budapest Hotel, a writer relates the long and twisting life story of a hotel owner. It's about youthful love and lifelong obsession, and while the story is original, there's a credit at the end that reads: "Inspired by the Writings of Stefan Zweig."
Russia's takeover of Crimea sent shivers through Latvia.
The tiny Baltic state was itself taken over by the Soviet Union in 1940 and did not regain its independence until the Soviet breakup in 1991. Latvia has a population of just 2 million, and roughly a quarter of those are ethnic Russians.
Given this history, Latvia was eager to align itself with the West. In 2004, under then-president Vaira Vike-Freiberga, Latvia joined both the European Union and NATO and is counting on those allies for protection.
In his latest novel, Iraqi author Sinan Antoon gives readers a stark portrait of contemporary Iraq. Originally written in Arabic and translated into English by Antoon himself, The Corpse Washer was nominated for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize this year.
The book's protagonist is a young man named Jawad, an aspiring artist from a family of traditional Shiite corpse washers and shrouders in Baghdad. Jawad breaks from the family business and attends art school, where he devotes himself to the celebration of life rather than the ritual surrounding death.
As part of a series called "My Big Break,"All Things Consideredis collecting stories of triumph, big and small. These are the moments when everything seems to click, and people leap forward into their careers.
Long before Cesar Millan became the "Dog Whisperer," with TV shows and a best-selling series of books, he had to learn how to ask for a job in English.
Thirty years ago, the small town of Denmark, S.C., had one of the state's highest teen pregnancy rates.
"We had very young grandparents, grandparents were maybe [in their] 30s," says Michelle Nimmons, who has worked for the past 30 years on the issue of teen pregnancy. "Great-grandmamas were in their 40s, and parents were in their teens, so a lot of education had to happen."
Army Capt. Drew Pham, 26, returned from a tour in Afghanistan in October 2011. Since Drew's been back, it's been hard for him to make sense of what he saw there and adjust to his life at home. It's been difficult for his wife, Molly Pearl, to respond to some of the things he would tell her, too.
Pham called once to tell her he had shot a man. He says she didn't know what to say, so she replied, "Well, we'll deal with it when you get home."
Thirty-nine year old widower A.J. Fikry is an unlikely romantic hero: He's cranky, he drinks too much, his bookstore is failing and don't get him started on the state of publishing. He's also at the center of Gabrielle Zevin's new novel, The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry.
Have you ever had a sentence stop you in your tracks? Editors at The American Scholar magazinehave put out their list of the "Ten Best Sentences" in fiction and nonfiction. Associate editor Margaret Foster says the inspiration came from water cooler talk around the office.
"We're sometimes struck by a beautiful sentence or maybe a lousy sentence, and we'll just say, 'Hey, listen to this,' " she says.
Many colleges and universities use race as a factor in admissions, but the approach has been a hot-button issue for decades — even making its way to the Supreme Court several times since the late 1970s.