Ben Pruchnie/Getty Images

Also: King Richard III's "privileged" diet; novelist Karen Russell on the fantastical.

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Critic Heller McAlpin says readers picking up Paulo Coelho's new Adultery in search of deep philosophical insight on marital infidelity and a lack of cliches might be better off with Madame Bovary.

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Mandee Johnson

It used to be that a TV appearance was the key to success for comedians. In the past five years stand-up comedy has seen a global revival thanks to the Internet, and in particular, thanks to podcasts.

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KBD Photography/Ranchwater Films

Filmmakers Alex and Andrew Smith knew American Indian writer James Welch — he was a family friend. But as non-Native Americans, they had concerns about adapting his iconic novel, Winter in the Blood.

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Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki, about a young man looking for closure, offers Haruki Murakami's trademark blend of fantasy and reality. Some moments fall flat, but many others are intoxicating.

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