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Arts/Life

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New Yorker staff writer Ariel Levy was five months pregnant when she went to Mongolia on assignment. Her doctor had cleared her for travel, and she was excited to pursue one last adventurous story before settling down with an infant.

But things didn't go as planned: Alone in her hotel room, Levy suffered a placental abruption; her baby boy lived for only 10 minutes. Afterward, Levy was haunted by the notion that she had caused her child's death:

"It's a terrible feeling ... that you made this life and failed to bring it through," she says.

"Life is not a novel. Or at least you would like to believe so." That's how Laurent Binet opens his audacious second novel, an intellectual romp about the many ways language exerts power, particularly in politics and fiction.

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The actor Kevin Hart is launching an all-digital streaming comedy service. The Laugh Out Loud Network is the latest entry in a crowded market. NPR's Elizabeth Blair reports.

One hundred years ago, the U.S. entered the first global war — an ugly, dirty, agonizing conflict that cost millions of lives and changed the world. Now, the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., is observing the centennial with art and artifacts in an exhibition called Artist Soldiers.

HBO says it has been hacked, and that the perpetrators have acquired some programming.

The premium cable channel won't confirm what materials were acquired in the cyber breach. But the alleged perpetrators claim to have acquired text related to the popular — and famously spoiler-plagued — Game of Thrones.

Entertainment Weekly broke the story:

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Actor and playwright Sam Shepard has died.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "THE RIGHT STUFF")

SAM SHEPARD: (As Chuck Yeager) I think I see a plane over here with my name on it.

Jeanne Moreau was an actress of the French new wave who broke the rules both on screen and off. She died Monday in Paris at the age of 89.

As a young woman, Moreau kept her acting a secret from her father, who disapproved. When he found out, he hit her and kicked her out of the house, and she never went back. In 1993, Moreau told Fresh Air, "It helped me that he reacted so violently. It gave me the drive to resist."

It's a time-honored tradition for novelists to draw material from their own lives, and author Tom Perrotta is no exception. His 2004 book, Little Children, sprang from his experience as the parent of young kids. Three years later, he published The Abstinence Teacher, which was inspired, in part, by the junior-high and high-school sports his children played at the time.

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Comedian Sasheer Zamata is at a crossroads.

We're recapping Season 7 of HBO's Game of Thrones here on Monkey See. We'll try to turn them around overnight, so look for them first thing on Mondays. And of course: Spoilers abound.

Be honest: You were waiting for that two-shot. We all were.

The previews, the promos, they showed you Dany on the Dragonstone throne, they showed you Jon and Davos gazing up at it, and the only way this episode could have spent more time keeping them sep-a-rate-ed was if its director of photography were Dexter Holland.

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NPR's Invisibilia started a new season this summer examining the forces that shape who we are and who we will become. Today, Invisibilia co-host Alix Spiegel introduces us to a young man whose vision of his future self started at a dance party.

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(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "CALIFORNIA")

JONI MITCHELL: (Singing) Sitting in a park in Paris, France, reading the news. And it sure looks bad. They won't give peace a chance.

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A museum in Western Massachusettts has found itself as the focus of a recurrent discussion in the art world: Is it ever okay for a museum to sell some of its works for financial reasons?

For Van Shields, executive director of the Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield, the answer is a firm yes.

Jason Heller is a senior writer at The A.V. Club, a Hugo Award-winning editor and author of the novel Taft 2012.

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Do you still have old Polaroid pictures stashed away? Are they all washed out and faded? NPR's Neda Ulaby visited a museum exhibition of Polaroid photographs taken some 35 years ago that look as though they had just slid out of a camera yesterday.

Family Life Around The World

Jul 30, 2017

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In the new film Atomic Blonde, British agent Lorraine Broughton (Charlize Theron) shows up in 1989 Berlin and gets a very violent reception. The film shows Lorraine punching, stabbing and shooting her way through the murky world of Cold War espionage — not exactly surprising considering Atomic Blonde was directed by former stuntman David Leitch.

A 'Portable' Overview Of A Complex, Compelling History

Jul 30, 2017

Genevieve Valentine's latest novel is Icon.

Mary Prince's story is, in some ways, a familiar narrative. Born a slave around 1788, she was abused by a mistress, Mrs. Wood — beaten, forced to work when ill, refused the chance to buy her freedom. Eventually, she sought emancipation on English soil. When she declares "All slaves want to be free — to be free is very sweet," it feels of a piece with the general story we, as a nation, are told about black women in the 19th century: downtrodden, then free.

When Carolyn Murnick met her childhood best friend Ashley, it was like love at first sight. They were in elementary school — Ashley had just moved into the area and they became inseparable, sharing all their secrets and dreams. As often happens, as they got older they drifted apart. Ashley would move to Los Angeles, start dating young celebrities and making money dancing at clubs. Carolyn lived in New York and worked in the literary world.

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If there's one thing that brings all of Chicago together, it's agreeing that deep dish pizza is a horrible joke played on tourists. Right after that, it's the Cubs. For our show in Chicago's Millennium Park, we invited Ryan Dempster, former Cubs pitcher, to play our game.

Dempster played for the Cubs for nine seasons before he left to win a World Series with the Boston Red Sox in 2013. He had so much fun he called up his friends back in Chicago and said, "Hey, you guys should try this!" He's now a special adviser to the Cubs and an analyst for MLB network.

Faith "Zephyr" Herbert was the breakout star of Valiant Comics' Harbinger super-team. Now headlining her own Eisner Award-nominated series, she's an ebulliently nerdy — and yes, plus-size — superheroine who fights crime and marauding aliens in the streets of Los Angeles while holding down a day job at a Buzzfeed-esque website. (And making lots of Buffy and Doctor Who references. Faith is my kind of gal.)

Comedians have vastly different styles and sensibilities. Nowhere is this more apparent than at Montreal's annual Just For Laughs comedy festival, where one minute you're riding a speedboat of brainy one-liners from Jerry Seinfeld; the next, you're floating along with the intoxicating tales of Ron Funches.

Comedians are just as varied in their decisions of whether to talk politics on stage.

Etelka Lehoczky has written about books for The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times and Salon.com. She tweets at @EtelkaL.

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Bird's The Word

Jul 28, 2017

Spread your wings and fly to glory in this final round, where every answer contains the name of a bird!

Heard On Janeane Garofalo & Lili Taylor: Returning To 'Marvin's Room'

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