If Beale Street Could Talk

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James Baldwin’s 1974 novel If Beale Street Could Talk has been adapted into a feature film directed by Barry Jenkins. Starring Stephan James, Regina King, and KiKi Layne, the film follows a young woman in 1970s Harlem attempting to prove her fiancé’s innocence when he is arrested for a crime he didn’t commit.

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George R. R. Martin on Stan Lee

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“A story or a character should change. The events that happen change us.” George R. R. Martin, whose book Fire & Blood: 300 Years Before A Game of Thrones (Bantam, 2018) is a history of the Targaryen family from his fantasy novel series A Song of Fire and Ice, talks to John Hodgman about how the realness in Stan Lee’s comic books influenced him as a writer.

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Jenny Xie

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“My frugal mouth spends the only foreign words it owns. / At present, on this sleeper train, there’s nowhere to arrive.” Jenny Xie, a finalist for the 2018 National Book Award in poetry, reads “Rootless” and “Ongoing” from her debut poetry collection, Eye Level (Graywolf Press, 2018). Xie is featured in “Wilder Forms: Our Fourteenth Annual Look at Debut Poets” in the January/February issue of Poets & Writers Magazine.

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Bird Box

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Bird Box (Ecco, 2014), the debut novel by Josh Malerman has been adapted into a feature film. Directed by Susanne Bier, the psychological thriller film stars Sandra Bullock, John Malkovich, Sarah Paulson, and Trevante Rhodes and follows a woman and her two children as they traverse a post-apocalyptic landscape while blindfolded to escape an unseen, supernatural adversary.

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The Kindergarten Teacher

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The Kindergarten Teacher stars Maggie Gyllenhaal as an aspiring poet and elementary school teacher who discovers the talents of a five-year-old boy in her class and becomes obsessed with protecting and encouraging his writing. Gyllenhaal and director Sara Colangelo commissioned poetry from Kaveh Akbar, Dominique Townsend, and Ocean Vuong to include as verses written by the two characters.

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Justin Phillip Reed

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“We live on the unanswerable, assert / that acknowledgment is inartistic, / history is regressive, and aggression / looks like no one we know…” Justin Phillip Reed reads from his debut poetry collection, Indecency (Coffee House Press, 2018), for which he won the 2018 National Book Award in poetry. Reed is featured in “Wilder Forms: Our Fourteenth Annual Look at Debut Poets” in the January/February issue of Poets & Writers Magazine.

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Jeanette Winterson’s Holiday Recommendations

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“This is a great one to give—it’s the sort of thing you can keep in the loo at Christmas when you’ve eaten too much food.” Jeanette Winterson reveals some of her favorite books for the holiday season, including The Trouble With Women (Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2016) by cartoonist Jacky Fleming, Tara Westover’s Educated: A Memoir (Random House, 2018), and her own collection of winter tales and festive recipes, Christmas Days: 12 Stories and 12 Feasts for 12 Days (Grove Press, 2016).

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