For all of the novels that have been penned about dramatic kidnappings and abductions, few tell of what life is like after a loved one's return. That's where Bret Anthony Johnston's book, Remember Me Like This, begins.
It follows the Campbell family in a small town in Texas as their son Justin is returned four years after his disappearance. Rather than focusing on the details of the abduction, Johnston tells the story of a family as they struggle to rebuild.
In 1856, two British explorers, Richard Burton and John Speke, set out on a journey for the history books to find the source of the longest river in the world - the Nile. The trip would lead them through some of the most remote and uncharted parts of the African continent.
It's hard to shake the appeal of a plucky small town, underestimated by city folk, trying to pull one over on the outsiders. Set in the Newfoundland harbor of Tickle Head, the dramedy The Grand Seduction focuses on a community of just 120 people attempting to bring in jobs and quality medical care â€” even if it means giving up hockey.
When Laura Silver's favorite knish shop in New York closed it doors, she started to investigate why it shut down. And that led to a years-long research project, she tells Weekend Edition's Rachel Martin.
Her book Knish: In Search of the Jewish Soul Food explores the history of the baked delicacy filled with meat or vegetables and what it means to the people who love it.
In the new documentary Korengal, journalist and director Sebastian Junger again takes viewers into Afghanistan's Korengal Valley â€” once considered one of the military's most dangerous postings.
The film uses footage shot by Junger and the late photojournalist Tim Hetherington. Between 2007 and 2008, Junger and Hetherington spent 10 months with a platoon of about 30 men at an outpost called Restrepo.
As part of a series called "My Big Break,"All Things Consideredis collecting stories of triumph, big and small. These are the moments when everything seems to click, and people leap forward into their careers.
There's no shortage of "it girls" in Hollywood â€” there's 31-year-old Lupita Nyongo, 24-year-old Jennifer Lawrence, 21-year-old Shailene Woodley, and even 16-year-old Elle Fanning. But what will become of their careers when they're older?
The industry is notoriously young; acting roles for women often dry up by the time they're 40. And in her new book I See You Made an Effort, Annabelle Gurwitch shares "compliments, indiginities, and survival stories" from the other side of 50.
With summer approaching, it's time to think about the season's great beach reads. Emma Straub has written a new novel, The Vacationers, that will get you in the mood. NPR's Scott Simon speaks to the young author.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Timothy Spall is a well-known face, not always, at least yet, a name actor. You may have seen him in "Secrets & Lies," "The King's Speech," or in "Harry Potter." Here he is, summoning Lord Voldemort.
(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "HARRY POTTER AND THE GOBLET OF FIRE")
TIMOTHY SPALL: (As Peter Pettigrew) ...The servant, willingly sacrificed - blood of the enemy. The Dark Lord shall rise again.
When the novel, "What Is Visible" opens, one of the most famous people in the world is about to meet a little girl who's supposed to be like her - another freak in bloom, is how Laura Bridgman puts it. The little girl is Helen Keller. Laura Bridgman was 50 years older and heralded around the world for learning language after losing four of her five senses as a child to scarlet fever.
It's only days past Memorial Day, and the prospect of appearing on the beach has got some people getting their swimsuits in a twist. We're joined now by Sally Franson who blogs at the Writer's Block website. Sally, thanks for being with us again.
SALLY FRANSON: It's so nice to be back, Scott.
SIMON: So you've developed a workout for the bookish?
FRANSON: I have, you know, it's swimsuit season and it's also summer book season - time to do reading on the beach. And normally, reading and exercising don't mix until now.
In my small Georgia hometown, which had 144 churches and one bar, Harry Potter was considered the height of devilish devices â€” a conspiracy created to lure innocent children down the wicked paths to moral ruin. I could count on one hand the number of kids I knew who'd read the forbidden books, and they'd been bullied for it. But I'd seen them in stacks at Wal-Mart (the only place books were actually sold in my town) and though I hadn't dared to admit it, they'd whispered to me.
If you were a teenager around 1995 then you probably remember Alicia Silverstone as Cher Horowitz in Clueless -- the world's most peppy, pampered Beverly Hills high schooler. Well, prepare to feel old, because not only is Alicia Silverstone now a mother, but she's written a book about how to be one called The Kind Mama.
Not a single snowflake was present â€” in fact, it was a sunny, 75 degree day â€” when my friend's 6-year-old daughter, Catherine, suddenly sang, "Do you want to build a snowman?" I thought she'd momentarily taken leave of her senses, a swoon brought on by too many Skittles.
Somewhere in liberal-minded but boring Sweden, two teenage girls begin a rebellion. If the premise of Lukas Moodysson's We Are the Best! sounds familiar, that's because it's roughly identical to that of the writer-director's charming 1998 debut, Show Me Love.
A monument outside 730 Riverside Drive in Harlem, N.Y. â€” writer Ralph Ellison's longtime home â€” commemorates his life and his work.The marker, and many biographical sources, list his birth date as being 1914. But in fact, he was born a year earlier.
Still, events in Oklahoma City â€” his birthplace â€” and New York City, where he spent most of his life, are celebrating the centennial of his birth this year.
Bruce Robertson (James McAvoy) swaggers down the street at the start of Filth swiping balloons from children, ogling their mothers, flipping off foreigners and smirking as he ticks down a list of what makes Scotland a place where he feels he can be cock-of-the-walk.
"This nation brought the world television, the steam engine, golf, whiskey, penicillin and, of course, the deep-fried Mars bar," he snorts. "We're such a uniquely successful race."
After reading, watching and listening to news out of Afghanistan for the past 12 years, poet Tess Taylor says she's finally found a book that offers a rare, deep glimpse into Afghan lives. It's a collection of poems - a form called landays - translated by Eliza Griswold, with photographs by Seamus Murphy. The book is called "I Am The Beggar Of The World." Here's Tess Taylor.
The Man Booker Prize is given in England each year to "the best novel in the opinion of the judges." And if you're the gambling type, you can place bets on who you think will win. At one point in 2013, the U.K. gambling service Ladbroke's set betting odds on Harvest by Jim Crace at 6/4; The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton at 11/4, and A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki at 8/1.
The movie studio Lionsgate is exploring the possibility of a theme park based on The Hunger Games films and books. To test the idea's viability, the company announced that it will launch a Hunger Games exhibition at museums around the country next summer.
Communities around the world are increasingly overrun by invasive critters. Gray squirrels, which are native to North America, are an ecological nuisance in England. And nutria â€” or swamp rats, colloquially â€” from South America are destroying wetlands in the Gulf Coast states.
The physical condition of England's King Richard III has been a subject of debate for centuries. Now scientists say 3-D skeletal modeling shows the monarch who lived 500 years ago had a common form of scoliosis and that he's been a victim of spin on a historic scale.
With Glen Weldon tweeting from the various paradises of Barcelona, this week's Pop Culture Happy Hour calls on the services of two familiar Code Switch pals â€” Kat Chow and Gene Demby â€” to discuss the eternal recycling of unlikely pop-culture franchises. We use the July return of Sailor Moon as an excuse to talk about everything from Girl Meets World to Hocus Pocus, George of the Jungle, Newsies, Transformers and more.
Of all Disney heroines, Aurora, aka Sleeping Beauty, was the least inspiring. Not her fault: How much spark can you wring from a Forever Nap, especially one that's cut off by a kiss from a prince named after the Duke of Edinburgh?
Shakespeare calls Richard III "rudely stamp'd," with the king's "hunchbacked" form revealing the twisted soul within. Actors have reveled in playing the monarch as a limping, deformed creature with a withered arm.
But when the bones of the 15th century king were unearthed from beneath a British parking lot in 2012, the skeleton showed no evidence of a hunch. Instead, the vertebrae lay in a curve suggesting that Richard might have had scoliosis.
The natural world has never been the most hospitable place for Kelly Reichardt's characters. In Meek's Cutoff, a group of 19th century settlers nearly lose their lives while traveling west across the scorching Oregon desert. In Wendy and Lucy, when Wendy is forced to sleep in the woods after her car breaks down on the way to Alaska, she wakes up in the middle of the night to a deranged man talking to himself right by her side.
There's a scene in Seth MacFarlane's animated sitcom Family Guy in which the precocious baby Stewie attempts to get his mom's attention through a solid 30 seconds of just repeating her name or variations on the word "mom." That's the whole joke: A kid just keeps repeating essentially the same word for 30 seconds until he wears her down, and then he doesn't have anything more to say than "hi" once he finally gets her attention.