In an excellent piece at the Press Play blog at Indiewire, Matt Zoller Seitz writes of a screening of From Russia With Love, where he found that much of the audience was too busy guffawing at the elements it found dated to engage the film on its own terms. While he writes eloquently and angrily about the phenomenon of ironic distance, the killer line is this one: "It's up to the individual viewer to decide to connect or not connect with a creative work.
Originally published on Fri September 21, 2012 9:33 am
Nothing like a novel by a young recruit to tell you the truths about an army, as in, say, From Here to Eternity and The Naked and the Dead. In this case it's a book called The People of Forever Are Not Afraid, by Shani Boianjiu, a young female veteran of the Israel Defense Forces. And though it may not be the first of its kind — Moshe Dayan's daughter Yael published some fiction about the Israeli army decades ago — Boianjiu's debut novel has some virtues all its own, and some flaws.
When it comes to healing the wounds of its troubled racial past, the United States is still in its "adolescent phase," says novelist Attica Locke. The 2008 presidential election changed everything she had been taught about race, she says — and, as an African-American writer, she felt compelled to write about that new reality. The result is The Cutting Season, a thrilling, century-spanning story of two murders.
What would happen if two of the biggest names of the Renaissance — Niccolo Machiavelli and Leonardo da Vinci — teamed up as a crime-fighting duo? That's the idea behind Michael Ennis' new historical thriller, The Malice of Fortune. The mystery novel pairs the ruthless political philosopher and the genius inventor and artist together as an unlikely detective team on the trail of a serial killer.
Franklyn Dunbar, 17, practices krumping with his crew at his mother's house in Paynesville, a suburb of Monrovia, Liberia. Dunbar was born in New York, but moved to his home country of Liberia seven years ago.
During his 2008 presidential campaign, Barack Obama ran on the platform of "change we can believe in" — but he has a different approach to the Supreme Court's interpretation of constitutional law.
"Obama is a great believer in stability — in the absence of change — when it comes to the work of the Supreme Court," Jeffrey Toobin, author and senior legal analyst for CNN, tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "He is the one trying to hold onto the older decisions, and [Chief Justice John] Roberts is the one who wants to move the court in a dramatically new direction."
For generations women have been told, if you want a man, learn to cook. That's exactly why feminist writer Shayla Pierce stayed out of the kitchen. But now she finds herself with a boyfriend, learning to cook, and wondering if that makes her a sellout. She speaks with host Michel Martin about her article and her change of heart.
Originally published on Mon September 17, 2012 11:28 am
Shani Boianjiu is the author of The People of Forever Are Not Afraid.
When I was 11, I found a book that did not know it was a book. It was a yellowing Hebrew translation of Tarjei Vesaas' Norwegian novel The Ice Palace. I found it on the shelf in my room that belonged to my parents' old books. Usually, these books were too long for me.
On Sunday, the annual Toronto International Film Festival came to a close after 11 days of screenings, meetings and, of course, parties. It's become an important place to kick off the fall film season. But this year, the festival wasn't only looking west to Hollywood — it was also sharpening its focus on the East, and the rise of new cinema from India, in particular.
One of the films at this year's Toronto festival was called Shanghai; it comes from Mumbai, and was directed by Dibakar Banerjee.
Just a reminder now that Round 9 of our Three-Minute Fiction Contest is open. It's where we ask you to write an original short story that can be read in about three minutes, so no more than 600 words. In each round, we have a judge with a new challenge. And this time, it's novelist Brad Meltzer, and he's come up with this.
BRAD MELTZER: Your story must revolve around a U.S. president who can be fictional or real.
Campaigns today are collecting information that goes way beyond demographics. Data points as disparate as the catalogs you peruse or the car you drive all make up a picture that campaigns use to find common ground with their candidates — and get you to the voting booth.
Journalist Sasha Issenberg describes this data-driven world in his new book, The Victory Lab. There were two "major innovations" that spurred the modern approach to voter outreach, he tells Weekend Edition guest host Linda Wertheimer.
Originally published on Sun September 16, 2012 7:20 am
Maggie Stiefvater is a young-adult author with a passionate fan base — she describes her subject matter as everything from "homicidal faeries" to "werewolf nookie."
She wrote the best-selling Shiver trilogy and the novel The Scorpio Races. Her most-recent book, The Raven Boys, is the first in a series of four that will follow Blue Sargent, daughter of the Henrietta, Va., town psychic, as she becomes involved with the lives of four students at the local private school who call themselves the Raven Boys.
Harvest season is upon us, but in the U.S.'s northern lakes, it's not just the last tomatoes and first pumpkins. Through the end of this month, canoes will glide into lakes and rivers for the annual gathering of wild rice, kick started with the popular Wild Rice Festival in Roseville, Minn., on Saturday.
The Beverly Hills Hotel as it looked when it opened in 1912. The bleak landscape would eventually be replaced by lush tropical foliage, and after the depression, the white Spanish Mission-style hotel would be painted its now-famous pink.
The Beverly Hills Hotel, a place fondly known as the Pink Palace, has preserved guests' privacy and indulged their every whim for 100 years, and the entire year will be filled with celebrations of its centennial.
There have been parties for the neighbors, parties for the staff, and a celebration this week as the hotel becomes the first historic landmark in the city of Beverly Hills, Calif.
On-air challenge: Every answer is a familiar phrase in the form of "___ and ___." You'll be given the two missing words, each with a letter removed, and you give the phrases. For example, given "lot and fund," the answer would be "lost and found."
Last week's challenge from listener Erica Avery of Wisconsin: Name a world capital whose letters can be rearranged to spell a popular and much-advertised drug. What's the capital, and what's the drug?
Originally published on Sat September 15, 2012 3:50 pm
A reminder from weekends on All Things Considered host Guy Raz that Round 9 of our Three-Minute Fiction, our writing contest where our listeners write an original short story, is now open. The story must be based on the following challenge from our judge Brad Meltzer: The story must revolve around a U.S. president, who can be fictional or real and that the short story has to be 600 words or less. Listeners can submit their story online at www.npr.org/threeminutefiction.
Time magazine named author and pastor Brian McLaren one of the 25 most influential evangelicals in America.
McLaren has written more than 20 books, and he is a principal figure in the Emerging Church, a Christian movement that rejects the organized and institutional church in favor of a more modern, accepting community.
McLaren's new book is called Why Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha and Mohammed Cross the Road?: Christian Identity in a Multi-Faith World.
Co-founders of Lynx Exhibits, Michael Churchman and Laurie Paternoster, along with Education Director Deborah Chaney, talk about El Paso's only locally-owned museum specializing in engaging, hands-on traveling exhibits that make learning fun.
Twenty years ago, writer George R.R. Martin left the television industry because TV executives kept telling him his ideas were too expensive to shoot. So he went home and wrote A Game of Thrones. It was the first novel in an epic fantasy series that's now sold millions of copies and has been made into a hit TV series by HBO ... where executives keep telling him his ideas are too expensive to shoot.
Gen. Thomas-Alexandre Dumas was one of the heroes of the French Revolution — but you won't find a statue of him in Paris today.
He led armies of thousands in triumph through treacherous territory, from the snows of the Alps to the sands of Egypt, and his true life stories inspired his son, Alexandre Dumas, to write The Count of Monte Cristo and The Three Musketeers.
In Paul Thomas Anderson's The Master, Amy Adams plays Peggy Dodd, the spouse of a charismatic spiritual leader, played by Philip Seymour Hoffman. Adams says her character is smart and educated but feels "more powerful behind a man than in front of a man."
Amy Adams has played a Disney princess, a puckish Amelia Earhart, an innocent young nun and a blogging Brooklynite who wants to follow the recipe for being Julia Child.
But she takes a more steely turn in her latest role in The Master, which has just opened in New York and Los Angeles. The film, written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, also stars Joaquin Phoenix and Philip Seymour Hoffman.
One night in 1947, an intensely curious 5-year-old boy named Michael McCleery asked his father for a story. So his father, William McCleery, produced a tale that revolved around a wolf named Waldo, a hen named Rainbow, and another little boy, the son of a farmer, named Jimmy Tractorwheel. Over weeks and weeks, William serialized the story, telling it in installments to Michael and his best friend during bedtimes and Sunday afternoon outings.
Challah is a rich, eggy bread baked every week for the Jewish sabbath, or shabbat. But for Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year that starts tomorrow at sundown, it gets a few tweaks. There's a little extra honey or sugar, for a sweet new year. And instead of the usual long braid, it's round.
We taped this week's show with half of us in D.C. and half of us — me and Trey, plus NPR's own Bob Mondello — in a studio in Toronto. Why? Because of the Toronto International Film Festival, which provides the front half of the show. Trey, Bob and I talk about a bunch of the films we saw, many of which you can see covered on the blog's TIFF '12 section.