Mafia take on ‘The Godfather’ and WNBA star detained in Russia

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This weekend, listen to a collection of narrated articles from The New York Times, read aloud by the journalists who wrote them.

Mario Puzo, who wrote “The Godfather,” said the highly observed portrayals of the novel came from his meticulous research. But since the film premiered half a century ago, this perfect example of art mimicking mob life has also continued to work the other way around. Generations of mobsters have turned to ‘The Godfather’ for inspiration, validation and as a playbook on how to talk, act and dress, as seen in wiretaps of the forces order and through interviews with some of the players themselves.

Salvatore (Sammy the Bull) Gravano, an infamous former mobster who admitted to being involved in 19 murders, was a young man who had just entered the world of gangsters when he first saw the film, and he took it as a sign that he was on the right track. “I admired them,” he recalled in a telephone interview, “even more than I ever did.”

Written and narrated by Ben Sisario

Disney’s “Encanto” soundtrack got off to an inauspicious start on the Billboard 200 albums chart, arriving at No. 197 after the animated film was released in November, just below Bob Seger’s “Greatest Hits.” and a Notorious BIG reissue.

But this week the soundtrack, with songs by Lin-Manuel Miranda and a score by Germaine Franco, marks its eighth week at No. 1 – one of only three albums with such a long run in the past five years. – while Miranda’s song “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” slipped to number two on the Hot 100 singles chart after five times at the top.

What happened in between is an object lesson in how songs become hits now, with tracks being elevated by fans via streaming and social media, and radio often lagging behind.

Written by Alanis Thames and Jonathan Abrams | Narrated by Jonathan Abrams

When Brittney Griner is on the basketball court, everyone knows it. At 6-foot-9, she towers over most other players. She grabs rebounds over her opponents’ outstretched arms, and her teammates know the surest way to score: Deliver the ball to her.

Since Phoenix Mercury drafted Griner No. 1 overall in 2013, she’s become one of the most dominant players of all time: a seven-time All-Star, WNBA champion and two-time Olympian with gold medals. corresponding gold.

But now Griner, 31, is embroiled in a geopolitical dilemma. Instead of preparing for the WNBA season in less than two months, she would be detained in Russia on what customs officials described as drug charges, with little word on her case or her well-being during the war in Ukraine. .

Written by Margot Sanger Katz, Claire Cain Miller and Quoctrung Bui | Narrated by Margot Sanger-Katz

In the months since Texas banned all but the first abortions in September, the number of legal abortions in the state fell by about half. But two new studies suggest that the total number of Texan women has fallen by far – about 10% – due to the sharp increase in the number of Texans who visited a clinic in a neighboring state or ordered abortion pills in line.

Two groups of researchers from the University of Texas at Austin counted the number of women using these alternative options. They found that while Texas law – which prohibits abortion after detection of fetal heart activity, about six weeks – reduced the number of abortions, it did so much more modestly than previous measures. didn’t suggest it.

But for the architects of Texas law, even a modest reduction in abortions is a success.

Written and narrated by Dwight Garner

Writers have often sought to capture the experience of the foreigner, the exile, the arid traveler, the wanderer, the migrant. Ovid wrote the letters in his “Tristia” (“Sorrows”) after his banishment from Rome. In “Crime and Punishment,” a desperate man asks, “Do you understand what it means when you have absolutely nowhere to go? I’m not here to suggest that reading necessarily makes us better, more moral. The Nazis also loved Dostoyevsky. But Joyce Carol Oates was surely right when she wrote: “Reading is the only way we slip, unwittingly, often helplessly, into another’s skin, another’s voice, another’s soul. another.

The relentlessly dark news from Ukraine reminds us how literature is fueled by migration crises and their aftermath, and how writers have attempted to capture the texture of shattered lives.



The Times narrated articles are written by Tally Abecassis, Parin Behrooz, Anna Diamond, Sarah Diamond, Jack D’Isidoro, Aaron Esposito, Dan Farrell, Elena Hecht, Adrienne Hurst, Elisheba Ittoop, Emma Kehlbeck, Marion Lozano, Tanya Pérez, Krish Seenivasan, Margaret H. Willison, Kate Winslett, John Woo, and Tiana Young. Special thanks to Sam Dolnick, Ryan Wegner, Julia Simon and Desiree Ibekwe.

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