Arts & Culture

Book Reviews
6:03 am
Wed May 20, 2015

The Science Of 'Collected Fiction' Is Pure Magic

Courtesy of Tachyon Publications

Originally published on Wed May 20, 2015 11:51 am

I have just finished Hannu Rajaniemi's Collected Fiction and I am still recovering.

My mind feels constellated. I am keenly, weirdly, expansively aware of explosions still taking place inside my head. The world has shifted while I read, and the quartz in the necklace I wear is full of super computers breathing sentience against my skin. There are eyes threaded through scarves over the windowsill. I want to learn everything.

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The Salt
5:39 pm
Tue May 19, 2015

Tea Tuesdays: Cold Weather, Gogol And The Rise Of The Russian Samovar

A late 19th-century samovar made in Tula, Russia, a metalworking town south of Moscow. The very first samovar factory opened in Tula in 1778. As demand for samovars grew, the town became almost synonymous with the production of the giant hot-water urns.
Sheldon Luskin Collection The Museum of Russian Art, Minneapolis

Originally published on Wed May 20, 2015 9:33 am

There are two drinks most people associate with Russia — vodka and tea, prepared in a giant hot-water urn known as a samovar.

Yet while vodka may have actually originated in Russia (Poland is another contender), tea is a thoroughly foreign product.

Most historians believe the Chinese first brought tea to Russia sometime in the 1600s. As for the samovar? "The origins are shrouded in mystery," says Maria Zavilova, curator at the Museum of Russian Art in Minnesota.

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Author Interviews
5:09 pm
Tue May 19, 2015

In 'Out Of Line,' The Many, Many Acts Of Jules Feiffer

Jules Feiffer Courtesy of ABRAMS Books

Originally published on Tue May 19, 2015 6:22 pm

A critic once called Jules Feiffer "one of the best cartoonists now writing" and "the best writer now cartooning." That quote is in Out of Line, a new book about Feiffer, a man who does both words and pictures.

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The Salt
12:03 pm
Tue May 19, 2015

Saving The Sweetest Watermelon The South Has Ever Known

Nat Bradford holds a Bradford watermelon, known for its sweet, fragrant red flesh. The melon was created by Bradford's forefathers around 1840 and was once one of the most important and coveted melons of the South.
Heather Grilliot Courtesy of Bradford Watermelons

Originally published on Tue May 19, 2015 2:44 pm

The most luscious watermelon the Deep South has ever produced was once so coveted, 19th-century growers used poison or electrocuting wires to thwart potential thieves, or simply stood guard with guns in the thick of night. The legendary Bradford was delectable — but the melon didn't ship well, and it all but disappeared by the 1920s. Now, eight generations later, a great-great-great-grandson of its creator is bringing it back.

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Book Reviews
9:03 am
Tue May 19, 2015

Fun, Fast-Moving 'Nimona' Is A Perpetual Surprise

Originally published on Tue May 19, 2015 4:48 pm

Over the course of the collected Nimona, it's possible to watch artist Noelle Stevenson blossom from a student to a superstar. Nimona originated as a two-page art-school experiment that expanded into a webcomic, published biweekly on Stevenson's website over the course of two years. What began in a visually and narratively simple style in June 2012 rapidly became more elaborate and sophisticated, expanding into a showcase for Stevenson's rapidly evolving talents.

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