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  • January 13, 2012   BY Jeffrey Brown  

    The ukulele has just four strings, a fairly limited range and, historically, a limited appeal. But Jake Shimabukuro has been out to change that, and he seems to be leading something of a ukulele renaissance in pop music.
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  • January 6, 2012   BY Tom LeGro 

    Mortality is a subject Joan Didion has grappled with in recent years, both in life and on the page. In the span of roughly two years, her husband, the writer John Gregory Dunne, and their only child, Quintana Roo, both died. Her new book is “Blue Nights.”
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  • January 4, 2012   BY Jeffrey Brown  

    We’re not making Art Beat into a “how to” or life advice blog. But I began the new year reading a delightful book: “How to Live, or A Life of Montaigne” by Sarah Blakewell — part intellectual history, part biography and, yes, part philosophy of how one might live a better, fuller, richer life.
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  • December 23, 2011   BY Jeffrey Brown  

    As 2011 draws to an end, Jeffrey Brown talks to the New York Times’ A.O. Scott about the year in movies.
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  • December 22, 2011   BY Jeffrey Brown  

    As 2011 draws to a close, we take a look at the the year in pop music and the big changes in the industry, including new cloud services like Spotify. Jeffrey Brown talks with Los Angeles Times critic Randall Roberts.
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  • December 21, 2011   BY Jeffrey Brown  

    What was 2011 like for fiction? And what was it like for books themselves? I recently talked with Washington Post book critic Ron Charles about the novels and authors who stood out from the others and about the business of publishing in a big year for e-readers like the Kindle.
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  • December 19, 2011   BY Saskia De Melker and Jeffrey Brown  

    A new documentary follows Joshua Milton Blahyi, aka General Butt Naked, an African warlord who renounced his violent past to become a Christian evangelist seeking forgiveness from his victims. Filmmakers Eric Strauss and Daniele Anastasion talk to NewsHour about making the film.
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  • December 16, 2011   BY Jeffrey Brown  

    The fictional voyage in Michael Ondaatje’s new novel, “The Cat’s Table,” is like one that he took long ago before becoming the much honored writer of such works as “The English Patient” and “Anil’s Ghost” and “Divisadero.” Jeffrey Brown talks with Ondaatje.
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  • December 16, 2011   BY Molly Finnegan  

    An extended interview and reading with poet Rita Dove.
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  • December 9, 2011   BY Jeffrey Brown  

    Art can soothe, it can inspire, but it also at times stirs heated passions and outright protest. Why does that happen and why in some cases but not others? That’s the subject of the new book, “Not Here, Not Now, Not That!”
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