It's that time of year again — the leaves have fallen, the dark comes early, the air brings with it a certain chill — and I've been piling up books on my reading table, books I've culled from the offerings of the past few months, which because of their essential lyric beauty and power stand as special gifts for you and yours.
In the 1950s, the moviegoing world fell in love with a young French ballerina and actress named Leslie Caron. She brightened the silver screen in musical films like 1958's Gigi, where she played a young courtesan-in-training who befriends a rich, handsome suitor in 1900s Paris.
The latest film for Oscar-winning actress Marion Cotillard, Rust and Bone, is a French art film about two broken individuals who find love at the edge of the sea. It's poetic, lyrical — and not necessarily playing at a theater near you.
That was not the case earlier this summer, when Cotillard appeared as one of the central characters in the blockbuster Batman movie The Dark Knight Rises.
The holiday season means parties, shopping and movies. This year brings a new animated feature, Rise of the Guardians,based on William Joyce's series of children's picture books and novels, The Guardians of Childhood. The story follows Santa Claus (voiced by Oscar nominee Alec Baldwin), the Easter Bunny (Hugh Jackman), the Tooth Fairy (Isla Fisher) and the silent Sandman as they unite to fight off the boogeyman, Pitch (Oscar nominee Jude Law). They also get a big hand from Jack Frost (Chris Pine).
Originally published on Mon December 3, 2012 6:54 am
The holidays come in on a rush of cookies and snow (if you are so lucky) and parties and lists, and suddenly it's Jan. 1 and we're wiping the crumbs away and wondering where the year went. I'm currently tiptoeing into the season, my brain still basking in Indian summer despite the rain slated to descend on San Francisco in the coming weeks. "Ready" or not, the time is upon us.
In December 2009, a would-be terrorist boarded a plane for Detroit with a bomb in his underwear. While the explosive failed to properly ignite and the man was arrested upon landing, the ensuing investigation revealed the bomb in question had been made by al-Qaida leaders in Yemen.
This attempted act of terrorism heralded both the small Arabian country's re-emergence into the international consciousness as a refuge for al-Qaida and the ascendance of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), developments that have grown only more pronounced since.
It was almost spooky. Each night after 11 p.m., when nothing was stirring in the Kennedy Center Concert Hall, two men would enter. One would sit at the organ, playing a key or series of keys, and the other would crawl around inside the organ pipes, 40 feet off the floor. The process went on for months.
It was the all but final phase of installing a new organ for the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. And on Nov. 27, the organ makes its formal debut.
Originally published on Wed November 28, 2012 9:22 am
At one point in the film Flight, alcoholic pilot William "Whip" Whitaker, played by Denzel Washington, peers into a hotel-room mini-fridge filled with pretty much every type of wine and liquor imaginable.
The shot showcases wine brands Yellow Tail, Barefoot, Sutter Home, plus Amstel Light and Heineken beers — even Red Bull.
This scene raised a lot of questions for me: When has any hotel minibar ever contained so much alcohol? Why has Denzel done three films focusing on transportation –- two trains and now a plane — in as many years?
On Tuesday's Morning Edition, NPR's Neda Ulaby has a story about Chuck Lorre, the producer whose name is attached to three of the five highest-rated comedies on American television last season: The Big Bang Theory, Two And A Half Men, and Mike & Molly.
I'm often asked how I choose the books that I'm going to talk about on Morning Edition's "Under the Radar" segments. Simple: I just pick some of the titles that I've most enjoyed since the last time I was on, without concern for whether they're fiction or nonfiction, genre or not, or aimed or classified as being for children or teens.
In recent years, the start of the holiday shopping season has meant nothing but gloom for independent bookstores. But this year, the mood seems to be lifting, and a lot of booksellers are feeling optimistic. Even President Obama kicked off his Christmas shopping at a neighborhood bookstore in Northern Virginia.
This year, Hilary Mantel made history when she won a Man Booker Prize for her novel Bring Up the Bodies. She had previously been awarded the prize — England's highest literary honor — for her 2009 novel, Wolf Hall, and is now the first woman to receive the award twice.
NPR still stubbornly refuses to pay for our travel — something about "sullying NPR's image abroad" and "Ian, how many times do we have to tell you, you don't really work here" — so we had to make our own version.
A disclaimer: We tried putting one together according to the specs of the image above, but no one could get down even a single bite. We lowered the butter content slightly.
Peter: I like the crunch of the sugar. It's like your teeth start decaying immediately.
The new film Life of Pi tells the story of a teenage Indian boy who survives a shipwreck, only to find himself in another ordeal: stranded on a lifeboat with a Bengal tiger. The movie is based on the best-selling novel of the same name, and is being mentioned as an Oscar contender by many critics.
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Coming up, we'll meet the star of the new film "Life of Pi," based on the best-selling novel by Yann Martel. The film is getting rave reviews for its amazing special effects, as well as the performance of the young man we are going to meet in a few minutes for whom this was his first professional acting job. That's coming up.
Steve Stern's most recent book is called The Book of Mischief.
I'm about to make insane claims for a book, so the skeptics among you can stop reading now. It's called The Battlefield Where the Moon Says I Love You — an outrageous title, I know. Plus, it's an epic poem, over 500 almost entirely unpunctuated pages in its original edition. Are you still with me? Then trust me, it's like no other book in our literature.
Hortense Calisher, a virtuoso of the form, once called the short story "an apocalypse in a teacup." It's a definition that suits the remarkable stories published this year by three literary superstars, and two dazzling newcomers with voices so distinctive we're likely to be hearing from them again. These stories are intense, evocative delights to be devoured singly when you have only a sliver of time, or savored in batches, at leisure, on a winter weekend.
When you think of mental illness, you don't often think of comics; but for cartoonist Ellen Forney, the two came crashing together just before her 30th birthday. That's when she found out she has bipolar disorder, a diagnosis that finally explained her super-charged highs and debilitating lows.
William Styron was one of the flamboyant literary figures of the 20th Century. He was a Southerner whose novel Lie Down in Darkness received immense acclaim when he was just 26 years old. He would go on to write the Confessions of Nat Turner, for which he received the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1968.
But for the last 27 years of his life, Styron did not write a novel. He battled depression, and wrote a seminal work about it, Darkness Visible, in 1990.
When Philip Hensher realized he didn't know what his best friend's handwriting looked like, he decided to write a book. Host Rachel Martin speaks with Hensher about that book, The Missing Ink: The Lost Art of Handwriting.
Chefs these days stock all sorts of high-tech tools, from liquid nitrogen to $500 blenders. But in kitchens throughout the world, there's one piece of technology that's been the same since the Stone Age: the mortar and pestle.
Time has a way of condensing major historical events into a few key moments, with one-dimensional, legendary figures at the forefront. In his new book, author and archivist Todd Andrlik gives life and depth to one such event — the American Revolution. He uses newspaper reporting from that era to provide a sense of the Revolution as it actually unfolded.
On-air challenge: Every answer consists of a made-up two-word phrase in which the first word starts with CH, and the second word is pronounced the same as the first except with an SH sound. (The spelling may or may not change.) For example, given the clue "some Central African fish," the answer would be "Chad shad."
Princess Marty says the most important thing a princess has to do is smile and be in character — always.
"You can never ruin it for a child, even if you're coming home from work ... and you're in your big dress," she says. "If a child sees you, you have to be a princess for them. You can't say, 'Sorry kid, I'm off the clock.' "
Her highness — known outside the big dress as Mary Alice LeGrow — is a professional party princess. She uses her best princess voice and dresses up in full regalia to charm children.