Four years ago, Eels founder Mark Oliver Everett decided to take a break. After 25 years of making music, he says, "I got to the point where if you do any one thing too much in your life, it catches up to you and makes it clear that you need to do something else."
In Men We Reaped, Jesmyn Ward recalls the deaths of five young men in her life, which she believes were all connected to being poor and black in the rural South. "It made me feel that I wasn't promised some long life. ...That's not a given for me."
The Pulitzer Prize-winning former New York Times columnist's new memoir explores her past, present and future — her relationships with her parents and children, her faith, her career and her feelings about herself over the past five decades.
Dana Spiotta's third novel, Stone Arabia, is about an aging musician who never achieved the type of success he'd have liked. Rather than giving up, he chronicles an imaginary version of his life — as a successful rock star recording his career in a series of journals.
Aaron Katz's mumblecore flick Cold Weather is set in Portland, Ore.; Lee Chang-dong's Poetry is from South Korea. Critic John Powers says both films are wonderful, in part because the stories they tell are so unpredictable.
The brother-sister team of Eleanor and Matthew Friedberger has a new album called Bitter Tea, which they describe as "sissy psychedelic Satanism." Their other albums include Rehearsing My Choir, made with the participation of their 82-year-old grandmother.
More than 20 years ago, Jody Arlington was at home when her 18-year-old brother murdered their parents and younger sister. She thought she was next, but instead her brother told her they were now free. He went to prison, and Arlington changed her name and had to learn how to live without her family. A similar family slaying has prompted her to speak out about her experiences.