Arts

Remembrances
3:57 pm
Fri October 26, 2012

Cultural Historian Jacques Barzun Dies At 104

Pioneering cultural historian Jacques Barzun was the author of dozens of books and essays on everything from philosophy to music to baseball. He died Thursday in San Antonio at the age of 104.
Eric Gay AP

Jacques Barzun, one of the most influential historians, educators and thinkers of the 20th century, died Thursday, just one month shy of his 105th birthday. Barzun seemed to have a limitless capacity to understand and translate complex ideas — about the evolution of Western culture, what it means to be free, and even the value of American baseball. He shared his observations in numerous books and magazine articles and at Columbia University, where he held forth for half a century.

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Movie Reviews
3:57 pm
Fri October 26, 2012

Navigating The Shift From Complex To Cineplex

Halle Berry's characters in Cloud Atlas crisscross time and space. The actress plays six roles, including German intellectual Jocasta Ayrs (above) and an Asian man.
Reiner Bajo Warner Bros.

David Mitchell's epic philosophical novel Cloud Atlas was widely considered unfilmable — even by its author — when it came out in 2004. That's because the book's ornate structure, with stories nested inside stories across five centuries, seemed too complicated to be taken in quickly in a movie. But those complications were what attracted The Matrix's Andy and Lana (nee Larry) Wachowski, and Run Lola Run's Tom Tykwer to the project. Turning complexity into cineplexity is kind of what they do.

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Author Interviews
3:57 pm
Fri October 26, 2012

History Inspired Travel Tales Of Donoghue's 'Astray'

Originally published on Sat October 27, 2012 4:29 am

A young mother sets sail from Ireland after the potato famine to meet her husband in Canada; two gold prospectors seek their fortune in the frozen Yukon; a slave poisons his master and the master's wife escapes with him.

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How We Watch What We Watch
2:36 pm
Fri October 26, 2012

The Future Of 'Short Attention Span Theater'

iStockphoto.com

We've been looking at how technology has totally changed what it means to watch television or a movie. One of the biggest changes has been in demand — people want a baseball game — on their smartphone, wherever they are, right now. They want to pull up a video and stream it — on their laptop or phone, immediately, with no wait.

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Television
2:07 pm
Fri October 26, 2012

'Sábado Gigante' Celebrates 50 With Lots Of Variety

Mario Kreutzberger, aka Don Francisco, has served as host of Sábado Gigante since the show's debut in 1962. The variety show will mark its 50th anniversary on Saturday.
Alan Diaz AP

For 50 years, Spanish-speaking TV viewers have tuned into the weekly variety show Sábado Gigante. Host Don Francisco commands a festive live audience in Miami, with celebrity interviews, musical performances, goofy sidekicks and scantily clad dancers. The three-hour show is broadcast throughout the Americas.

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The Salt
1:04 pm
Fri October 26, 2012

Lasagna Cupcakes, Anyone? Science Says We Can't Get Enough Mini Stuff

Five savory cupcakes: Chicken potpie, lasagna, grilled cheese, mac n' cheese and the Thanksgiving leftovers.
Courtesy of @LisaSKim

A few weeks ago, my friend came back from Brooklyn raving about the food served at a baby shower.

"Savory cupcakes!" she exclaimed. Lasagna, grilled cheese, chicken potpies and even a mac n' cheese cupcake — all shaped like the trendy dessert and served on a cupcake tree.

Despite all the enthusiasm, my first response was quite cynical. Isn't that just baked macaroni and cheese in a muffin tin?

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Movie Reviews
12:43 pm
Fri October 26, 2012

'Cloud Atlas': You're Better Off Reading The Book

Zachry and Meronym are only two of the combined 12 characters Tom Hanks and Halle Berry play in Cloud Atlas. It is a challenge that bests both actors, according to David Edelstein.
Jay Maidment Warner Bros.

First I need to talk about the book, because it's not as if Cloud Atlas the movie came from nowhere — and if you think it's only the movie you want to know about, I think you need a context for what's onscreen.

Author David Mitchell writes exquisite pastiches, and Cloud Atlas is in the form of six distinct and enthralling novellas set in six different eras with six different literary styles.

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Monkey See
8:59 am
Fri October 26, 2012

Pop Culture Happy Hour: Halloween Stories And Very Good Taste

NPR
  • Listen to Pop Culture Happy Hour

It's Halloween — or it will be soon — and that means BOO! We talk about the scariest of holidays (if you don't count Valentine's Day). Not scary at all: with Trey on vacation, we're joined by the charming Tanya Ballard Brown, who kicks off with a delightful tale of a clothes-wearing friend of hers. We get the update on what Stephen's kids are doing this year (the World's Saddest Banana is retiring!) and I once again make the case for my favorite dog photograph of all time.

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Hardcover Fiction Bestsellers
7:03 am
Fri October 26, 2012

NPR Bestsellers: Hardcover Fiction, Week Of October 25, 2012

Justin Cronin's tale of a world run over by vampires continues with The Twelve. It debuts at No. 3.

Book Reviews
2:14 pm
Wed October 24, 2012

'Middlesteins' Digs Into The Dark Side Of Food

Originally published on Wed October 24, 2012 3:53 pm

Food appears so often and takes on so much importance in Jami Attenberg's novel The Middlesteins, that while reading it I sometimes felt like I was on a kind of literary cruise ship. But excess isn't presented here wantonly; instead, it's laid out and explored with sympathy, thought and depth. Early on, the parents of the main character think, "Food was made of love, and was what made love, and they could never deny themselves a bite of anything they desired." And so the novel takes off from the evocative starting point known as appetite.

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Author Interviews
12:44 pm
Wed October 24, 2012

Tom Wolfe Takes Miami's Pulse In 'Back To Blood'

Author and journalist Tom Wolfe's books include The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, The Bonfire of the Vanities and I Am Charlotte Simmons, among others.
Jim Cooper AP

Originally published on Thu October 25, 2012 7:37 am

Tom Wolfe wrote his new novel, Back to Blood, entirely by hand. But the author of The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test and The Bonfire of the Vanities also says that wasn't entirely by choice — he'd rather have used a typewriter.

"Unfortunately, you can't keep typewriters going today — you have to take the ribbons back to be re-inked," Wolfe tells Fresh Air's Dave Davies. "There's a horrible search to try to find missing parts."

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Food
10:03 am
Wed October 24, 2012

Fine Dining Turns To Familiar Favorites

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Now, it's time to open up the pages of the Washington Post Magazine. That's something we do just about every week for interesting stories about the way we live now. The Post's Fall Dining Guide is out this week and that means food critic Tom Sietsema has been going all over town, eating and drinking up a storm, trying to narrow down his list of favorite restaurants.

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Monkey See
9:11 am
Wed October 24, 2012

"Take This Job and Planet!": Why Clark Kent Quit His Day Job

DC Comics

Originally published on Wed October 24, 2012 2:42 pm

By now you've likely heard that in the pages of Superman #13, on stands today, Clark Kent quits his once-beloved great metropolitan newspaper.

Disillusioned by his employer's increasing predilection for glitzy infotainment over hard-hitting news, Clark takes a principled stand and abandons print journalism for the web, a medium blissfully free of petty, frivolous, celebrity-driven content OH WAIT

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First Reads
8:38 am
Wed October 24, 2012

Exclusive First Read: 'Hallucinations,' By Oliver Sacks

Hallucinations can be terrifying, enlightening, amusing or just plain strange. They're thought to be at the root of fairy tales, religious experiences and some kinds of art. Neurologist Oliver Sacks has been mapping the oddities of the human brain for decades, and his latest book, Hallucinations, is a thoughtful and compassionate look at the phantoms our brains can produce — which he calls "an essential part of the human condition." In this chapter, Sacks examines auditory hallucinations.

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Monkey See
6:40 am
Wed October 24, 2012

Morning Shots: Are You Planning On Dressing Up Like Thor? You're Not Alone

iStockphoto.com

A Fandango poll says that The Avengers is leading the pack for Halloween costume choice, and then goes on to explain that most of the top picks across the board are action heroes. Which does make some sense, as dressing up like a rom-com heroine would make it hard for people to tell who you are. [The Hollywood Reporter]

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My Guilty Pleasure
5:03 am
Wed October 24, 2012

Rewriting Homer, With Some Lurid Twists

Originally published on Wed October 24, 2012 7:49 am

Annalisa Quinn is the Books intern at NPR.

During my senior year of college, I plowed through all 27,803 lines of the Iliad and the Odyssey in Greek, with a lot of coffee and a reasonable amount of crying in library cubicles.

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Book Reviews
5:03 am
Wed October 24, 2012

¡No Más! 'Back To Blood' Is Much Too Much

Little, Brown and Company

It took cojones for Tom Wolfe to write about Miami for his latest novel, Back to Blood. In the "Republic of Fluba" where Florida, Cuba and the rest of Latin America are shaken and mezclado, truth trumps fiction each day of every year. This is the city where, a few months ago, a man ate another man's face on a downtown causeway in broad daylight. Police shot and killed the wannabe zombie.

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How We Watch What We Watch
3:03 am
Wed October 24, 2012

So Many Screens, And So Little Time To Watch

A visitor looks at a bank of TV screens at a consumer electronics show in Berlin. While TV and movies are available on many devices, consumers often struggle to find exactly what they want, television critic Eric Deggans says.
Adam Berry Getty Images

Originally published on Wed October 24, 2012 5:30 am

While sitting on a couch and gazing at a 50-inch TV remains a popular pastime in America, smaller screens have also edged their way into our lives. Phones, tablets and video game devices crowd pockets and coffee tables, offering access to what used to be called "TV," at any time of the day.

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Kitchen Window
2:19 am
Wed October 24, 2012

Blood And Guts For Halloween

Lauren Rock NPR

Originally published on Thu November 1, 2012 6:30 am

As the father of two rambunctious boys (ages 4 and 7), Halloween is a holy day at my house. Kids have forced me to shed the cynicism that I associated with this holiday, and I've fully embraced the celebration. Just don't ask me to wear a costume.

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Asia
12:24 pm
Tue October 23, 2012

Cambodia Vs. Sotheby's In A Battle Over Antiquities

The United States and Cambodia are locked in a legal battle with the auction house Sotheby's over this 1,000-year-old statue of the Hindu warrior Duryodhana that may have been looted from the Cambodian temple complex at Koh Ker.
Courtesy of the U.S. Attorney's Office

Originally published on Wed October 24, 2012 2:18 am

The governments of Cambodia and the United States are locked in a legal battle with the auction house Sotheby's over a thousand-year-old statue. The two governments say the statue was looted from a temple of the ancient Khmer empire. Sotheby's says this can't be proved, and a court in New York will decide on the matter soon.

The case could affect how collectors and museums acquire artifacts, and how governments recover lost national treasures.

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Movies
12:05 pm
Tue October 23, 2012

Bollywood's 'King Of Romance' Took India To The Alps

Yash Raj Chopra, shown celebrating his 80th birthday earlier this year in Mumbai, died Sunday.
Getty Images

Originally published on Wed October 24, 2012 11:42 am

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How We Watch What We Watch
6:43 am
Tue October 23, 2012

The Afterlife Of A TV Episode: It's Complicated

Despite having aired its final episode in May, the medical drama House lives on, in reruns and on digital services like Hulu, Netflix and Amazon Prime. But not every episode is available in all formats.
Adam Taylor AP

Have you ever seen a rerun episode that made you want to watch more of a show — even a whole season? With so many TV channels and so many shows to keep up with, it's possible that some of them could completely pass you by.

But there are also many ways to watch a show, even if it's no longer on the air. Take the medical drama House, which ended its run on FOX in May.

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Book Reviews
5:03 am
Tue October 23, 2012

Comic Struggles Of A Frustrated Writer In 'Zoo Time'

Courtesy of Bloomsbury

Originally published on Tue October 23, 2012 9:01 am

"My aim," writes English novelist Guy Ableman to his agent, "is to write a transgressive novel that explores the limits of the morally permissible in our times."

Sounds quite serious, even brow-wrinkling, doesn't it? A dangerous act of experimental writing, perhaps something Norman Mailer might have tried, or Henry Miller before him?

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Author Interviews
2:38 am
Tue October 23, 2012

Running Toward Redemption On 'Ransom Road'

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Originally published on Tue October 23, 2012 3:53 am

Meet a man with a powerful addiction — to running. Caleb Daniloff says he believes the sport saved him from addictions that were far worse, and he's written a new book, called Running Ransom Road: Confronting the Past, One Marathon at a Time, about his experiences.

Daniloff has run some familiar marathons — New York and Boston — but he's also been to a place not famous for outdoor running: Moscow.

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Books News & Features
2:38 am
Tue October 23, 2012

America's Facebook Generation Is Reading Strong

Pew's study found that 60 percent of Americans under 30 used the library in the past year.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue October 23, 2012 3:53 am

In what may come as a pleasant surprise to people who fear the Facebook generation has given up on reading — or, at least, reading anything longer than 140 characters — a new report from the Pew Research Center's Internet and American Life Project reveals the prominent role of books, libraries and technology in the lives of young readers, ages 16 to 29. Kathryn Zickuhr, the study's main author, joins NPR's David Greene to discuss the results.

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Movie Interviews
1:44 pm
Mon October 22, 2012

Ava DuVernay: A New Director, After Changing Course

Ava DuVernay also directed the documentary My Mic Sounds Nice: The Truth About Women in Hip Hop.
Liz O. Baylen Contour by Getty Images

Originally published on Mon October 22, 2012 1:59 pm

In January, Ava DuVernay became the first African-American woman to win Sundance's best directing award for her second feature-length film, Middle of Nowhere. The film is about a young black woman named Ruby, who puts her life and dreams of going to medical school on hold while her husband is in prison.

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The Salt
11:13 am
Mon October 22, 2012

Sandwich Monday: The Grilled Cheese Donut

The Gronut.
NPR

Originally published on Mon October 22, 2012 2:25 pm

Celebrity couples always get our attention: Kim & Kanye, Brangelina, Gosling & Totenberg. The Grilled Cheese Doughnut is just such a pairing: Two titans together as one. We'll call it Gronut.

Take a glazed doughnut, slice it open, flip both halves around so they're cut-side out, slap on some cheese, and grill it in butter. We think Ohio's Tom & Chee Restaurant did it first, and we're guessing they did a better job than we did.

Ian: Ew. I think the proper pronunciation here is "grilled cheese DO NOT."

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Monkey See
7:01 am
Mon October 22, 2012

Morning Shots: NBC's Surprising Success And Louis C.K.'s Next Gig

iStockphoto.com

From my beloved ex-hometown: The Minnesota Orchestra put on a show Thursday night, in spite of the fact that they're currently locked out in a contract dispute. [The Star Tribune]

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New In Paperback
5:03 am
Mon October 22, 2012

New In Paperback Oct. 22-28

Fiction and nonfiction releases from Jodi Picoult, David B. Agus, Nathan Wolfe, Dava Sobel and Charles J. Shields.



Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

PG-13: Risky Reads
5:03 am
Mon October 22, 2012

Love And Death At The Toss Of A Die

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue October 23, 2012 6:44 am

Sheila Heti is the author of How Should a Person Be?

My father gave me The Dice Man when I was 13 years old. It's a novel narrated in the voice of Luke Rhinehart, a jaded psychoanalyst, whose home and professional life have become so boring that he decides, one night, to rule his life by the whim of a die. Starting out, he thinks: if the die turns up a one, I'll cheat on my wife. The die turns up a one.

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