Arts and Culture

Flossing is one of those things that you have to do but don't want to be asked about, especially if the person asking is your dentist. But dental floss can be used for more than just making you feel guilty and keeping gums healthy. It's the Swiss Army knife of modern travel, according to's packing expert, Doug Dyment.

The novelist Téa Obreht loves a challenge. Her bestselling debut, The Tiger's Wife, wove modern Balkan history into fairy tale, then transformed fairy tale into reality, tigers and all. In her follow-up, Inland, she makes her job even harder. Inland is a Western, set in the drought-stricken Arizona Territory in 1893 and alternating between two familiar Western protagonists, a lovable outlaw named Lurie and a prickly frontierswoman named Nora.

Don't enter Claiming T-Mo with any immediate need to be comfortable or oriented. This debut novel by African Australian author Eugen Bacon is an instantly confounding and mysterious tour de force of imagination.

On one hand, the release of Ibram X. Kendi's new book, How To Be An Antiracist, couldn't come at a better time.

The book hits bookstores this week amid an ongoing national debate about what qualifies as racist — and who gets to decide. Its August arrival also coincides with the 400th anniversary of the first Africans documented to reach the colony of Virginia, entering involuntary bondage in what would become the United States.

Janet Mock remembers when she saw the documentary Paris is Burning for the first time. She was in 10th grade, living in Hawaii, and had already socially transitioned her gender identity. She was about to embark on her medical transition.

"My friend had a VHS that she got from another friend," Mock says. "It was kind of like this little magic ticket that was passed down to a bunch of us."