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It’s been a while since I scoured the middle-grade section of my local bookstore for a good read. But there’s something about summer that puts me in the mood for that genre, like a kid jockeying for prizes in the library’s summer reading progra
Everybody knows that when you make a mixtape, you gotta kick it off with a killer track, to grab attention . The organizers of last winter’s Sundance Film Festival realized this too, and opened their festival with a banger: Summer of Soul (...O
Every story and review of Zola seems to understandably lead with the movie’s genesis, and if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, so here I will do the same: You want to hear a story about how me and this b**** here fell out? It's kind of long, but it
Are you an out of work historian? I have some good news for you. Bungie, the developer of the video game series Destiny , is looking to hire a historian. But the events this historian will be chronicling will not be those of the production of t
Karen Tucker’s novel, Bewilderness , is a powerful read. Set in rural North Carolina, the book explores drug addiction through the story of Irene and her friend Lucille, or Luce. Irene leads the reader through their world: through her present,
Someone I’ve always wished I’d seen more from is Victor Nunez. He’s made just a handful of films, but two of them were among the very best of the 1990s. He has a style that’s as gentle and patient as I think I’ve ever seen, with a generosity th
Today’s moviegoers are savvy enough that filmmakers have to know they’re going to pick up on similarities between new movies and what’s come out in years past. It’s certainly fine to tread familiar ground, this is mostly unavoidable, but a writ
It’s time for a change. Next Best Thing was intended to be a limited-run commentary focused on ways to stay connected digitally during stay-at-home orders. It will continue on, but as a public service announcement about local events, and we’re
When writing her novel, Songs in Ursa Major , Emma Brodie was inspired when she learned about the relationship between Joni Mitchell and James Taylor.
I knew I wanted to read Death in Her Hands , Ottessa Moshfegh’s newest novel, before I knew anything about it. Moshfegh’s My Year of Rest and Relaxation was one of the best books I read in 2019 —a darkly comic novel about a young woman’s extend
The merger between Manhattan & Queens County in 1898 was known as The Great Mistake. It’s also the title of a new novel by Jonathan Lee. This work of historical fiction focuses on the life of Andrew Haswell Green, mastermind behind The Great Mi
Every year, game companies announce what will be coming up for the next year at the Electronic Entertainment Expo, popularly known as E3. This year, it’s an all-online event. E3 for this year ended yesterday, and there were a lot of announcemen
Freddy Otash is in Purgatory. Literally… literarily. In James Ellroy’s novel, Widespread Panic , the corrupt cop turned sleazy private eye is in Purgatory expiating his sins when he is offered a fast-track to Heaven. All he has to do is write a
Over the years, I’ve come to place less importance on subtlety in art. There was a time when I saw it almost as a virtue unto itself-- I felt like if you were entirely explicit about your message, that was somehow less good than if you found an
How’s this for a pitch—three guys sort of like the conspiracy-minded, tech-savvy trio from The X-Files known as the “Lone Gunmen” team up with a guy sort of like Liam Neeson in the Taken franchise, and they all set out to take revenge on a bike
First up this time is Carnival of the Animals , presented by Ballet Wichita. The free, family-friendly production is described as a “colorful journey through the animal kingdom.” It’s Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. at Naftzger Park, so firm up your pla
258 weeks. That number has probably changed since I spoke with author Jennifer Weiner, but at the time of this interview, 258 weeks was the amount of time that her books have been on the New York Times Bestseller list. That makes up nearly a qu
I took a road trip recently—a long road trip—and downloaded a few audiobooks to pass the time. One was The Push , a debut novel by Ashley Audrain. And oh. My. Gosh.
After Ross Benes left Nebraska for New York, he saw with greater clarity the rural-urban divide overtaking the national conversation. I recently spoke with Benes about his book, Rural Rebellion , in which he explores Nebraska’s shifting politic
The New York Times had an article recently about how because American movie release dates keep getting pushed further and further back, there’s been a mini-Renaissance in Australia regarding Aussie-made movies, which apparently don’t typically
For more than three decades, Japan has been a leader - the leader, in a lot of respects - in the global video game industry. Names like Nintendo, Sony, and Sega were the only names in video games for years, and even since Microsoft joined, Japa
Zakiya Dalila Harris has written a thriller set in the publishing industry. I know, words you never expect to hear in the same sentence. But her novel, The Other Black Girl , is just that.
Just by coincidence, I’ve found myself watching a surprising number of movies from 1971 lately, way more than I’d expect without doing it on purpose. Also, coincidentally, that’s exactly 50 years ago. So, with that in mind, here are some highli
There’s a kind of movie we all know well—I’ll call it a “quest” comedy—where something causes our heroes to venture out to find something or someone, and along the way they get into all sorts of hijinks that keep pushing their goal just out of
For parents wondering how to keep their kids occupied this summer, the Wichita Public Library has a few options:
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