A summary of the best reads found behind the paywall of The New York Times.
With the death of Hugo Chavez, George W. Bush and the American right lose perhaps their most effective needler. Ostensibly in service of diplomacy, Chavez showed no fear in posing for photos with a rogue's gallery of world leaders.
Today in books: Not everyone adores Robert Caro's sprawling biography of Lyndon Johnson, Andrew Cuomo is writing a book that sounds very presidential, and a rave for Toni Morrison's new novel from Michiko Kakutani.
Also: Bobby Brown had a brief stay at the blackjack table following Whitney Houston's funeral, Reese Witherspoon remains a charmer, and Oliver Stone's son converts to Islam.
Also in film and television: Murphy's still mad at David Spade, fresh talk of a Dumb & Dumber sequel 17 years after the original, and Samuel. L. Jackson is the highest grossing actor in movie history.