The Signs as Film Genres
  • Aries: Action
  • Taurus: Biography
  • Gemini: Comedy
  • Cancer: Romance
  • Leo: Drama
  • Virgo: Documentary
  • Libra: Musical
  • Scorpio: Horror
  • Sagittarius: Adventure
  • Capricorn: Thriller
  • Aquarius: Crime
  • Pisces: Fantasy

“He was Russia’s Mad Monk,” writes Nina Martyris. 

“A pale, bearded, wiry, horny, green-eyed debauch who was the preeminent power broker of the Romanov dynasty in its waning years. A party fiend, a drinker, a healer and a prophet who was poisoned, shot, drowned, and burned by his enemies.

But was he really?”

The answer is, we’ll never know – but a new biography of Rasputin debunks some of the main myths, like his legendary sweet tooth. Read more here.

And of course, because YOU KNOW I CAN’T RESIST:

– Petra

I am an unrepentant sensualist. I am an immoderate lover of women and the delights of sexuality, of the greatest French, Chinese, and Japanese cuisine, of wines and spiritous drinks, of smoking cigars and pipes, of gardens, forests, and oceans, of jewels and paintings, of colourful clothes, and of finely bound and printed books.
—  Alan Watts, In My Own Way.
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“Of the more than 100 published and unpublished books written by the intrepid and prolific Margaret Wise Brown, there is probably none more well-worn than Goodnight Moon,” says Friend of the Desk Barrie Hardymon. “In my own nursery no less than four copies have passed through. One became so battered that it fell apart at the old lady whispering hush — split into two parts, invocation (“In the great green room”) and benediction (“Goodnight stars, goodnight air, goodnight noises everywhere”).”

It’s tempting to believe that Brown was herself the old lady whispering hush, but it’s gratifying to find from her two biographies (Amy Gary’s recent In the Great Green Room and Leonard Marcus’ 1992 Awakened By the Moon) that she was a babe — seriously, she glows like Carole Lombard — and more importantly, she was a rebel.

Barrie talked to Weekend Edition’s Lulu Garcia-Navarro about Brown – check out their conversation here.

– Petra 

No, non sono qui perché sono depressa e la mia vita fa schifo. A dire il vero mi piace la mia vita. Mi piace svegliarmi e trovare il buongiorno di chi mi ama, passare le giornate piovose davanti al camino, uscire in giardino col bel tempo. Mi piace litigare con le mie sorelle perché ci rubiamo a vicenda i vestiti, tornare a casa e non trovare mai pronto perché i genitori sono a lavoro. Sì, mi piace la mia vita. Certo, avrei anch'io un paio di desideri, ma tutto sommato non posso lamentarmi. Tumblr mi ha fatto capire che non sempre l'aspetto è quello che conta, che non è necessario essere bionda e occhi azzurri perché degli sconosciuti ti apprezzino. Su Tumblr conosci gente fantastica solo grazie alla loro bio e ai loro pensieri. Nessuna foto troppo scollata, nessun trucco esagerato. Su Tumblr sei tu e basta. E bisognerebbe esser così tutta la vita.

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Image by Raquel Zaldivar/NPR

Fresh Air book critic Maureen Corrigan says her ten best books of the year can best be described as serious: “These books aren’t grim and they’re certainly not dull,” she says, “but collectively they’re serious about tackling big, sometimes difficult subjects — and they’re also distinguished by seriously good writing.”

Check out her list here.

– Petra