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Hump day recommendations 01/03/2023

Read: “All the Pretty Horses,” by Cormac McCarthy. This great American writer published two eagerly awaited new novels in recent months: “The Passenger” and “Stella Maris.” But those unfamiliar with his work should start with an early classic, “All the Pretty Horses,” the first of his “border trilogy.” This page-turner reveals a novelist who, even in his early work, was already a master of vivid character. — Willis

Watch: O Rei & Sly. The late Brazilian soccer GOAT Pelé had a very brief career as a Hollywood actor, appearing in "Victory," a feel-good 1981 film directed by the great John Huston about Allied POWs who plot an escape from Nazi-occupied Paris while playing the German national team. The Allied squad features both big-name actors such as Michael Caine and Sylvester Stallone — who plays goalkeeper — and soccer stars like Argentina's "Ozzie" Ardiles and England's Bobby Moore. The movie is just okay, but if you're a soccer fan, you'll go nuts over the final scene. — Carlos

Read: the limits of what we can know. How did the accidental invention of a pigment famously used by Van Gogh and Hokusai lead to the development of the poison gas used at Auschwitz? What devastating scientific/mathematical discovery moved Albert Einstein to protest that “God doesn’t play dice with the universe!”? And what happens when scientific inquiry reaches a point where it makes the world more uncertain rather than less? Part historical fiction, part philosophical meditation, and part quantum mechanics primer, the short, unclassifiable book “When We Cease to Understand the World” is Chilean author Benjamín Labatut’s exceptional effort to tackle these questions. If you read Spanish, pick up the original, titledUn Verdor Terrible. — Alex

Watch: “All the Beauty and the Bloodshed.” Nan Goldin, a New York-based photographer, anthropologist, and activist, has lived one hell of a life. She left a troubled suburban home at a young age and came of age professionally and sexually in New York City in the 1970s and 80s. Using her camera to document experiential art, sex, and the HIV/AIDS crisis that decimated her community, Goldin, who suffered from drug addiction in her 20s, more recently became entangled with the opioid crisis. “All the Beauty and the Bloodshed,” a documentary, elegantly interweaves the past and present and makes one nostalgic for a New York City where queer counterculture was young and free. — Gabrielle


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