Paintball Rembrandt

Ralph Steadman, best known for his savage illustrations accompanying the writing of the late Hunter S. Thompson, is a man who thinks best with pen in hand.

The Onion's View of the World Atlas

I love maps. They're useful. They're pretty. And quite often, they're free. I love all kinds of maps—old, new, Mercator, treasure, you name it. And after poring over The Onion's latest parody, "Our Dumb World: Atlas of the Planet Earth," I've decided that I like funny maps best of all.The Onion's map of the United Kingdom, for example, shows the burial site of Mother Goose, a literature mine and the world's grayest building.

Lost in Translations

'War and Peace' has been the Everest of literature for more than 150 years. Two new English versions remind us why Tolstoy's tome is still worth the climb.

A New Mingus Concert

A previously unknown 1964 recording surfaces to supply us with another dazzling look at one of the greatest jazz bands to ever take a stage.

Merv Griffin—the Ultimate 'Jeopardy' Champ

Answer: He created "Jeopardy." Question: Who was Merv Griffin?Answer: He had a hit with "I've got a Lovely Bunch of Cocoanuts" in 1950. Question: Who was Merv Griffin?Answer: He wrote the theme song for "Jeopardy," from which he claimed to have earned $70-80 million in royalties.

U.S. Soldier's Guide to Iraq—Circa 1943

In 1943, U.S. servicemen stationed in Iraq were issued a pocket-size 41-page book entitled "A Short Guide to Iraq." In straightforward prose, the book gave American soldiers a primer to help them through the cultural snarls and byways of the country in which they were stationed.

Rolling Credits on Ingmar Bergman

There were times, while watching an Ingmar Bergman movie, when you'd think to yourself, it's like they invented black and white photography just so this man could make films.

Saying Goodbye to Harry Potter

What a lot of commotion over a book. Not since 19th century New Yorkers anxiously crowded the Manhattan docks to be the first to discover the serialized fate of Dickens's Little Nell have people gotten so excited about fiction.

Music: Producer Joe Boyd Recalls the '60s

Joe Boyd had one No. 1 single in his career as a record producer: Maria Muldaur's "Midnight at the Oasis." But if Boyd was never one to crank out a lot of chart toppers, he had something more valuable in the long run: a nearly infallible ear for talent.

New Book Celebrates America's Show Tunes

Let's begin with a few things that critic and novelist Wilfrid Sheed leaves out of his book about the American popular song circa mid-20th century: "Peach Pickin' Time in Georgia," "Miss the Mississippi and You," "Right or Wrong," "San Antonio Rose," "Stormy Monday," "Smokestack Lightning," "When My Blue Moon Turns to Gold Again," "I Can't Help It if I'm Still in Love With You," "Hey, Good Lookin'," "Crazy" and "Stagger Lee." All of those songs were written or sung to wide acclaim in the period...

Books: The Return of Arkady Renko

I was telling a friend the other day that I was nearly done with the Martin Cruz Smith novel "Stalin's Ghost" and that I was enjoying it. "Well, he's got a good character," my friend commented.

Murakami's Novel of Night

A few days ago, my daughter, who just graduated from high school, was bemoaning the fact that when college runs out she'll never have summer vacation to look forward to again (this is a young woman who thinks ahead).

Books: Philip K. Dick Joins the Club

If there is anyone who would not understand Philip K. Dick's inclusion in the Library of America—those uniform editions of what the Library calls the "best and most significant" American literature—it would be Dick himself.

Books: The Best 'Shrek!' Isn't a Movie

If we're generous, we must allow for multiple Shreks. In order of popularity, there is the Shrek of the movies ("Shrek the Third" opens Friday). Then there is the original "Shrek!" the children's book with story and pictures by William Steig.

Review: A 9/11 Novel Worth Reading

When the planes hit the World Trade Center, Don DeLillo was at home in suburban New York, just another man caught up in the event. But like so many other Americans, he had a personal connection to the madness of that day. "When the second tower went down, I punched the wall.

Books: Southern Discomfort

Fifty years—no, not 50, not even 30 years ago, Robert Goolrick might well have not published his memoir, "The End of the World as We Know It." And he wouldn't have had to wait for someone to forbid it or talk him out of it.

Lethem's Rock and Roll Romance

I haven't kept strict count, but I'm pretty sure this is only the second time Jonathan Lethem has put a kangaroo in one of his novels. If so, maybe I should stick with the ones with the 'roos.

Books: When Murder Ruled Chicago

Michael Lesy's "Murder City" is a creepy book. Fascinating, but creepy. Lesy ("Wisconsin Death Trip") focuses on Windy City murders in the '20s, a time and place we all think we know: Capone, Leopold and Loeb, "Chicago"—merely drop the city's name and people start thinking Tommy guns and bathtub gin.

Books: Reviewed in Brief

'When the Light Goes' by Larry McMurtryThis is the fourth novel McMurtry has written about Duane Moore. All right, "The Last Picture Show" wasn't just about Duane, and "Texasville" was also an ensemble piece of sorts, but "Duane's Depressed" and now "When the Light Fails" are all Duane all the time.

Books: 'Cat in the Hat' Explained at Last

If you were to approach 10 people on the street and ask each one to recite from any narrative poem, the odds are that maybe one of them could get off a few lines of "Hiawatha" or "The Raven." But if you were to suggest that they could include the works of Theodore Geisel, a.k.a.

Books: When Murder Ruled Chicago

Michael Lesy's "Murder City" is a creepy book. Fascinating, but creepy. Lesy ("Wisconsin Death Trip") focuses on Windy City murders in the '20s, a time and place we all think we know: Capone, Leopold and Loeb, "Chicago"—merely drop the city's name and people start thinking Tommy guns and bathtub gin.

The Cat (and Hat) That Came to Stay

If you were to approach 100 people on the street and ask each one to recite from any narrative poem, the odds are that maybe one of them could get off a few lines of "Hiawatha" or "The Raven." But if you were to suggest that they could include the works of Theodore Geisel, a.k.a.

Pages