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Mary Louise Kelly

Novelist Laura Lippman doesn't say her stories are "ripped from the headlines" — she says they're "inspired by crimes." Inspiration for Lippman's latest crime novel, Lady in the Lake, came from two real-life disappearances in 1960s Baltimore — one a girl, one a young woman, one white, one black. "When I decided to write a novel set in the '60s, I very much wanted to look at these two different deaths, and how differently they had been portrayed in media," she says.

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Updated at 3:22 p.m. ET

In northern Georgia, near the Tennessee line, the city of Dalton made its fame as the carpet capital of the world. These days, a more accurate title would be floor covering capital of the world. It has diversified into hardwood, tile, laminate and other materials.

When it comes to our working lives, there's a point when we're no longer in our prime. But science shows that we hit our peak professionally far sooner than we think we do.

That's the conclusion social scientist Arthur Brooks draws in a new essay in The Atlantic.

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Two weeks into the fight for Fallujah, Elliot Ackerman's company commander told him he was both the luckiest and the unluckiest lieutenant he'd ever met. The luckiest — because right out of the gate, Ackerman was in the thick of the biggest battle the Marine Corps had experienced in decades. And the unluckiest — because everything he ever did after that would seem inconsequential.

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Roger Cohen is here to help us understand a little bit more about what these election results mean. He is a columnist for The New York Times. He joins us now from Paris.

Roger Cohen, welcome.

ROGER COHEN: Thank you, Mary Louise.

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This weekend in Washington, D.C., the air was full of this sound.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOTORCYCLE ENGINE REVVING)

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Right after Olivia Wilde saw Lady Birdthe 2017 film about the loving, infuriating, infinitely complicated relationship between a teen daughter and her mother — her first impulse was to pick up the phone to call her mom. Now, when the credits roll on Wilde's new film Booksmart, audiences are dialing their old high school best friends.

Updated at 10:53 a.m. ET

Maria Butina says this is all a big misunderstanding.

Was she part of the vast Russian government effort to influence politics within the United States?

"Absolutely not," she said.

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There was a time in Summer Brennan's life when she wore high heels almost every day — when she was working at the United Nations. It was a place, as she describes it, of "suits and ties, skirts and silk blouses ... freshly shined wingtips and yes, high heels."

The heels were critical, as Brennan saw it, to being the kind of woman — professional, feminine, poised — who marched those halls of power with confidence. Brennan is now a writer, and she explores all this in her new book, High Heel. It's a meditation on beauty and power — and stilettos.

It's been 50 years since Woodstock Music & Arts Festival. To celebrate the 50th anniversary of three days of peace, love and music, Woodstock 50 will take place Aug. 16–18, 2019, in Watkins Glen, N.Y. Festival co-founder Michael Lang has announced the official lineup for the anniversary festival with Jay-Z, Dead & Company and The Killers as headliners.

The Grand Canyon National Park — which was established on this day 100 years ago — now receives nearly 5 million visitors each year.

For three days at the end of 2017 and early 2018, some of those visitors encountered something unusual after a 6-mile hike down to a scenic overlook: a $5 typewriter from Goodwill and a note.

Dear Hiker, welcome to Plateau Point. You've hiked a long ways. Please take a seat in the chair and relax. Look around. Take it all in. What does this moment mean to you?

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Now we bring you the story of a daring rescue. It starts inside The Museum of English Rural Life at the University of Reading.

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It was just before Christmas in the museum's rare book archive when something moved.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam is embroiled in controversy for admitting that he wore blackface at a party in the 1980s and for a racist photo on his medical school yearbook page.

The Magical Negro: That's the trope in literature and movies where a black character appears in a plot solely to help a white character — and then vanishes.

Think Will Smith in The Legend of Bagger Vance or Michael Clarke Duncan in The Green Mile. In her new book of poems, called Magical Negro, Morgan Parker strives to reclaim the term.

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie made headlines in early 2016 when he dropped out of the presidential race and subsequently became the first major Republican to endorse Donald Trump.

Soon after, he found himself leading then-candidate Trump's transition team. By the time Trump won the election in November, Christie says, he and about 140 other staff members had compiled some 30 binders filled with shortlists for various positions and strategies for legislative undertakings.

But days after the election, Christie was out — and so were his binders.

There was some surprises in this year's 2019 Oscar nominations, but for people paying attention to the best original song category, Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper's "Shallow" from A Star Is Born was absolutely sure to make the cut.

I missed Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus. Skipped The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

Not that I couldn't use the help! But because I was always a little skeptical — if these books work, why do we need so many of them? Couldn't we all just read one and be sorted? Marianne Power was similarly skeptical, but she also says she found herself, at age 36, convinced her life was in a rut and not quite sure how to climb out of it.

If you have friends or family members who insist they have "no time to read," poet Tess Taylor says you should consider giving them poetry for the holidays: "We are all busy, and poetry is short," Taylor explains. "So you can actually reroute your day productively in like five minutes with something that really captures your imagination, takes you to a different place, and then allows you to return a little altered — which is I think what we all want from reading."

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Our next story is about a pair of journalists covering the war in Syria together. One of them lived. One did not. This story is harrowing, graphic and haunting. Our colleague Mary Louise Kelly takes it from here.

Of all the writers wrestling with the Trump presidency, it's probably safe to say that Jonathan Lethem is the only one who has managed to produce a book featuring a shootout on a decrepit Ferris wheel, hippies living off the grid in California and a detective who keeps a live possum in his desk drawer.

Lethem's new book is titled The Feral Detective. It's in some ways his response to the Trump era. It's also a detective novel.

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If you happen to run Nebraska's tourism commission, you would face three realities in attracting visitors. Here's the first.

JOHN RICKS: Nebraska is in fact the least likely state for people to visit in the country.

Walk into the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. right now and you will find a painting that has been ripped to shreds.

Another one, nearby, hangs half-loose from its stretcher, rumpled. It's a portrait of Thomas Jefferson; behind it, you glimpse a seated black woman.

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Should you happen to be planning a trip to North Korea, you'll have a few logistical hurdles to clear. There is the fact that the State Department bans U.S. passport holders from traveling there.

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