Los Angeles, Oct 24 (AP/UNB) — "To Kill a Mockingbird," a coming-of-age story about racism and injustice, overcame wizards and time travelers to be voted America's best-loved novel by readers nationwide.
The 1961 book by Harper Lee emerged as No. 1 in PBS' "The Great American Read" survey, whose results were announced Tuesday on the show's finale. More than 4 million votes were cast in the six-month-long contest that put 100 titles to the test. Books that were published as a series were counted as a single entry.
The other top-five finishers in order of votes were Diana Gabaldon's "Outlander" series about a time-spanning love; J.K. Rowling's "Harry Potter" boy wizard tales; Jane Austen's romance "Pride and Prejudice," and J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Lord of the Rings" fantasy saga.
Lee's slender, Pulitzer Prize-winning novel proved enduring enough to overcome the popularity of hefty epics adapted as blockbuster movie franchises (the Potter and Tolkien works) or for TV ("Outlander").
Even "Pride & Prejudice," the 200-year-old inspiration for numerous TV and movie versions and with an army of "Janeites" devoted to Austen and her work, couldn't best Harper's novel.
It's been more than five decades since the film based on "To Kill a Mockingbird" debuted, winning three Oscars, including a best-actor trophy for Gregory Peck's portrayal of attorney Atticus Finch.
The book has sold more than 40 million copies worldwide and remains a fixture on school reading lists. Set in the 1930s South, it centers on Finch and his young children, daughter Scout and son Jem.
When Finch defends an African-American man falsely accused of assaulting a white woman, the trial and its repercussions open Scout's eyes to the world around her, good and bad.
Besides the TV series, "The Great American Read" initiative included a 50,000-member online book club and video content across PBS platforms, Facebook and YouTube that drew more than 5 million views.
The 100-book list voted on by readers was based on an initial survey of about 7,000 Americans, with an advisory panel of experts organizing the list. Books had to have been published in English but not written in the language, and one book or series per author was allowed.
Dhaka, Oct 23 (UNB) - A three-day-long International Art Festival 2018 titled ‘Tune of Art’ will begin at the National Art Plaza (Gallery-2) of Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy (BSA) on Thursday.
The festival, organized by Focus Bangladesh, will be inaugurated by renowned Artist Professor Jamal Ahmed, Chairman of Bangladesh Charushilpi Sangsad while Md Shahid Hossain, Rajat Subhra Bandopadhyaya, Praween Karmakar, Gobinda Roy, Debasis Daspal, Mintu Dy and Md Kauser Hossain will be present as special guests.
It’s the third version of this festival where 204 artists from 16 countries including Bangladesh, Iran, India, Italy, Canada, China, Pakistan, USA, UAE, Kosovo, Albania, Hong Kong, Thailand, Nepal, Turkey and Philippines will be participate, said a press release.
The exhibition is an output of an art competition where 181 artist participants on competition and 23 eminent artists participate as Invited Artists.
Rajat Subhra Bandopadhyay, Md Kauser Hossain and Praween Karmakar was the honorable jury of the competition, it said.
During the festival, a two-day long workshop, conducted by artist Rajat Subhra Bandopadhyaya, Praween Karmakar, Gobinda Roy, Debasis Daspal, Mintu Dy and Md Kauser Hossain, will be organized.
The exhibition will be open to all till 26 October from 10:00 am to 8:00pm.
Sydney, Oct 22 (AP/UNB)— The Duke and Duchess of Sussex took separate boats Monday to Queensland's Fraser Island as their tour of Australia and the South Pacific continued with a reduced schedule for the pregnant duchess.
Prince Harry took a barge for the 43-mile (70-kilometer) crossing from Australia's mainland to the island, while the former American actress Meghan rode in a far more comfortable cruiser.
Meghan is some four months pregnant and has had her schedule reduced after a hectic start to the 16-day tour.
The Duchess was expected to rest for the first part of the day while Prince Harry undertook several engagements focusing on environmental issues, before rejoining her husband for a reception.
Harry and Meghan touched down midmorning at Hervey Bay, 745 miles (1200km) north of Sydney, in a Royal Australian Air Force plane. The couple descended the stairs hand-in-hand, before going their separate ways: Harry boarding a bus and Meghan a car.
Harry was scheduled for a range of engagements on the world's biggest sand island, known as K'gari in the local indigenous language, on day seven of their Australian tour.
After taking part in a traditional "Welcome to Country" smoking ceremony with representatives of the local Butchulla indigenous people, Harry was set to unveil a plaque dedicating the popular holiday island's pristine rainforests to Queen Elizabeth's Commonwealth Canopy project.
Harry's itinerary also touched on the history of logging on Fraser Island, whose famed hardwood trees were used to build the London's docks in the 1930s.
Harry and Meghan were due to attend a reception and meet Hervey Bay paramedics Graeme Cooper and Danielle Kellam.
The paramedics were to be recognized for their act of kindness after a photo of them last year granting a dying woman's wish to see the ocean at Hervey Bay one last time went viral and captured hearts around the world.
Harry and Meghan are due to leave Australia for Fiji and Tonga on Tuesday. They will return to Sydney on Friday night for the final days of the Invictus Games, Harry's brainchild and the focus of their tour, before finishing off with a visit to New Zealand.
Nashville, Oct 21 (AP/UNB) — Loretta Lynn says she is doing better after a brief hospital visit to treat an illness that kept her from attending a CMT tribute to her and other female country artists.
A message posted on Lynn's official Facebook page Saturday afternoon said she is feeling better and is now resting at home. Lynn's post said she was sick, but did not provide additional details.
The 86-year-old just released a new album, "Wouldn't It Be Great." She was unable to attend Wednesday's CMT Artists of the Year awards ceremony. Actress Sissy Spacek accepted the honor on Lynn's behalf.
Spacek won an Oscar for her portrayal of Lynn in "Coal Miner's Daughter" and called Lynn a trailblazer.
Lynn wrote she had watched Spacek's tribute several times and appreciated the kind words from her "sweet friend."
New Orleans, Oct 20 (AP/UNB) — A Louisiana professor is in heady company, honored by having one of three newly identified species of snakes from the Galapagos Islands named after him.
"They named one after Charles Darwin — that's a no-brainer — and one after the Greek god of fire, and one after me, of all people," said Robert A. Thomas , an environmental biologist and head of head of the Center for Environmental Communication at Loyola University New Orleans.
The snake in question, a handsome critter with lengthwise brown and creamy yellow stripes, is called Pseudalsophis thomasi (sood-al-SO-fis TOM-uhs-eye).
"I've got a picture of it taped up here in the office, and it makes me smile every time I look at it," Thomas said.
He's been studying snakes since the 1970s and began studying those in the Galapagos Islands in 1984. In 1997, he published an overview of Galapagos snakes based on features such as scale counts, patterns and other shapes and forms.
A team of Brazilian and Ecuadorian biologists led by Dr. Hussam Zaher of the Universidad de Sao Paolo used genetic analysis to restudy the snakes and work out their evolutionary route through the chain of islands. That study identified the three new species. In addition to Pseudalsophis thomasi, they are Pseudalsophis hephaestus, for the island chain's volcanic origins; and Pseudalsophis darwini, for the scientist whose theory of evolution grew out of a voyage through the Galapagos.
Their findings were published online Aug. 22 by the journal Systematics and Biodiversity, and on Sept. 3 in the Brazilian journal Pesquisa.
The scientists invited Thomas to join the team five years ago. He shared the information he had collected and got more from U.S. museums. Then the others told him they wanted to name one of the new species after him, to honor his work studying the islands' snakes.
"I had to drop off the paper. The rules are that you cannot be an author on a paper where something is named after you," Thomas said. "I thought about it deeply and decided there are just some fun honors you shouldn't pass up in life. This is one of them."
Thomas said the species is mildly venomous but not dangerous to people — only to lizards and other small animals. The one used for the species' formal description was 726 millimeters (about 28.6 inches) long and weighed 105 grams (3.7 ounces).
Thomas said he has photos of the snake that he took in 1984, not knowing it was a different species. They weren't very good, he said, because the snake was wriggling, but they did let him describe the belly scales and back pattern.
"A friend could have named a bacterium after me from Outer Slobovia and that would have been a real honor. ... But this is a snake that I've worked on, so it's very meaningful to me," he said. "I'm very honored."