Bonfires light up the Belfast skyline on July 12, 1997, as Protestant loyalists commemorate the 17th century victory of a Protestant king over his deposed Catholic predecessor. Known as the Battle of the Boyne, the confrontation is part of a long history of tensions in the region.
Credit Paul McErlane / AP
The Victoria Square shopping center's observation deck offers a panoramic of Belfast's skyline.
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Belfast's No Alibis Bookstore has helped launch at least two of Stuart Neville's mysteries.
Credit Noah Adams / NPR
The Palm House in Belfast's Botanic Gardens houses a range of tropical plants.
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The peace wall on Belfast's Falls Road was traditionally used to display political messages from Irish Republicans. Today, artists use their skills to highlight political messages from around the world.
At 41, with long black hair, Stuart Neville looks more like the rock guitarist he used to be than the author he is now. He lives in a small town with his family — not in Belfast, Northern Ireland, the city that plays a central role in his thrillers, but just outside it.
<a href="http://www.judyblume.com/">Judy Blume</a> is the author of many books for kids and teens, including <em>Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret, Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing</em> and <em>Blubber</em>. Her fans have riffed on Bloomsday (a celebration of James Joyce's<em> Ulysses</em>) and created Blumesday in her honor.
Today is Blumesday. Not the Bloomsday where readers celebrate James Joyce's novel Ulysses — that was Sunday. Today's Blumesday is also a holiday for literature lovers, but of a different sort.
Blumesday creators Joanna Miller and Heather Larimer are writers, and they're pretty well-read. But they were never huge fans of Ulysses. "We sort of self-deprecatingly said, 'Well, the only way we could participate in Bloomsday was if it were Judy Blumesday.' And then the joke turned into, 'Wait, why aren't we doing this?' " Miller explains.
Count plenty of grown-ups among the millions of fans of Adventure Time, a kids' show on Cartoon Network. Some are surely Emmy voters. (It's won three.) Others are very possibly stoners. Still others are intellectuals. Lev Grossman falls in the last category. He wrote two best-selling novels, The Magicians and The Magician King, and he's Time's senior book critic.