Arts

The Salt
8:40 am
Wed January 29, 2014

Frogs And Puffins! 1730s Menus Reveal Royals Were Extreme Foodies

Britain's King George II: Snazzy dresser, adventurous eater.
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 31, 2014 9:10 am

You think 21st century foodies will go to great lengths for a culinary thrill? (Lion meat, anyone?) Turns out, they've got nothing on 18th century English royals.

Frogs, puffins, boar's head and larks and other songbirds were all fair game for the dinner table of England's King George II, judging by a chronicle of daily meals served to his majesty and his wife, Queen Caroline.

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The Two-Way
5:34 am
Wed January 29, 2014

Book News: Nurse's Debut Novel Wins Prestigious Costa Award

Costa Book of the Year author Nathan Filer poses with his prize for his debut novel Tuesday in London.
Sang Tan AP

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

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Book Reviews
5:02 am
Wed January 29, 2014

Allende Creates Realism Without The Magic In 'Ripper'

Chilean writer Isabel Allende is the author of 20 books, including The House of Spirits and City of the Beasts.
Lori Barra Courtesy of HarperCollins

I've been wanting to read Isabel Allende's work for years now, for the praise it's received as an exemplar of the magical realist tradition (which I love) and for its focus on the lives of women (which I applaud). So it's with some bemusement that I discovered my first experience with it would be a crime novel about a San Francisco serial killer.

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Book Reviews
5:02 am
Wed January 29, 2014

Anna Quindlen Is (Still) The Voice Of Her Generation

Courtesy of Random House

Originally published on Wed January 29, 2014 11:04 am

Back in the 1980s, Anna Quindlen's New York Times column, "Life in the 30s," delineated — with humor and grace — what so many of her fellow newly liberated female Boomers were going through: the complications of using your maiden name after you have children. Check. The challenges of balancing a career with parenting. Check. Grocery shopping with small children in tow, "an event I hope to see included in the Olympics in the near future." Check again.

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Author Interviews
12:48 pm
Tue January 28, 2014

Entrepreneurs Looking For 'Windfall' Cash In On Climate Change

A boat skims through the melting ice in the Ilulissat fjord in August 2008, on the western coast of Greenland.
Steen Ulrik Johannessen AFP/Getty Images

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Monkey See
7:35 am
Tue January 28, 2014

Pete Seeger And The Public Choir

Pete Seeger performs during a concert marking his 90th birthday at Madison Square Garden in New York on May 3, 2009.
Timothy A. Clary AFP/Getty Images

Much will be said and has been said about Pete Seeger, who died Monday at 94, as an activist and musician. Blacklisted, tireless, stubborn, and funny, he wrote a lot of songs that seem to have simply always existed: "Where Have All The Flowers Gone?", "If I Had A Hammer," "Turn, Turn, Turn."

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The Two-Way
5:22 am
Tue January 28, 2014

Book News: Mexican Poet Jose Emilio Pacheco Dies At 74

Mexican writer Jose Emilio Pacheco poses for the photographers after the Cervantes Prize ceremony on April 23, 2010, in Madrid.
Carlos Alvarez Getty Images

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

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New In Paperback
5:02 am
Tue January 28, 2014

Jan. 26-Feb. 1: Stanley McChrystal, Jeff Bridges And James Salter

Stanley McChrystal's new memoir, My Share of the Task, recounts lessons from his years in the military.
Penguin Books

Originally published on Thu February 13, 2014 9:51 am

*Some of the language in the summaries above has been provided by publishers.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Book Reviews
5:02 am
Tue January 28, 2014

Conflict And Colonization Under Alien Ice In 'A Darkling Sea'

A Darkling Sea, James Cambias' first novel, is the perfect action romp for people who miss old-fashioned stories of planetary colonization. It has all the gee-whiz wonder of a classic space opera tale, complete with weird aliens. But it also reflects contemporary concerns like environmental contamination, and the political problems that can arise from first contact between very different civilizations. The result is an exciting, if ultimately flawed, tale of first meetings between alien groups.

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Author Interviews
1:44 am
Tue January 28, 2014

'Founding Mothers' Helps Kids 'Remember The Ladies'

Deborah Franklin defended her home against a mob that was angry about the Stamp Act.
Courtesy of Harper

Originally published on Tue January 28, 2014 6:20 am

In 2004, Morning Edition contributor Cokie Roberts published a book about the ways in which the wives, mothers, daughters and sisters of America's Founding Fathers helped forge the nation. Now she's back with an illustrated version aimed at children. It's called Founding Mothers: Remembering The Ladies.

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Book Reviews
4:12 pm
Mon January 27, 2014

A New Look At George Eliot That's Surprisingly Approachable

English novelist George Eliot (1819 - 1880), pseudonym of Mary Ann Evans, poses for a photograph.
Hulton Archive Getty Images

Originally published on Wed January 29, 2014 11:17 am

Meg Wolitzer's latest novel is The Interestings.

I have to admit that the first time I tried to read Middlemarch by George Eliot, I ended up putting it aside after only 20 pages. My teenage self, feeding heavily at the time on Pearl S. Buck and Go Ask Alice, found the novel difficult and dry. But then one day, when I was older and more discerning and less antsy, I tried again, and this time I was swept in. This time, I guess I was ready.

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All Tech Considered
3:01 pm
Mon January 27, 2014

For Taiwanese News Animators, Funny Videos Are Serious Work

In their effort to make their animations seem more realistic, the Next Media team models various facial expressions it will use in a piece. These are models of singer Leslie Cheung.
Elise Hu NPR

Originally published on Wed January 29, 2014 11:17 am

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Book Reviews
3:01 pm
Mon January 27, 2014

Book Review: 'The Guts,' By Roddy Doyle

Originally published on Wed January 29, 2014 11:17 am

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

"The Commitments" was the first novel from Irish writer Roddy Doyle. The story introduced us to a young Dubliner named Jimmy Rabbitte, the founder of a neighborhood soul band. Subsequent books stayed with the Rabbitte family, detailing life's trials as they've aged. Well, now a new novel and we have the story of a middle aged Jimmy Rabbitte recovering from cancer surgery.

Alan Cheuse has our review.

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The Salt
12:58 pm
Mon January 27, 2014

Sandwich Monday: The White Castle Slider

Sliders come in five-packs, or as White Castle calls them, "swarms."
NPR

Originally published on Mon January 27, 2014 1:19 pm

Time magazine recently named The White Castle Slider the Most Influential Burger of All Time, above the McDonald's burger, the Burger King Whopper, and President Millard P. Burger, the first all-beef president of the United States.

Ian: I guess it's better than when the White Castle Slider won Time magazine's Person of the Year.

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The Salt
10:51 am
Mon January 27, 2014

Making Moonshine At Home Is On The Rise. But It's Still Illegal

A worker at New York's Kings County Distillery, which opened in 2010. Before going legit with the operation, co-founder Colin Spoelman (not pictured) learned to make moonshine in his Brooklyn apartment without a permit.
Courtesy of Valery Rizzo

Originally published on Mon January 27, 2014 3:26 pm

Within days after each season premiere and season finale of the Discovery Channel's reality show "Moonshiners," they come — a small but perceptible wave of people — to purchase suspiciously large amounts of corn, sugar and hardy strains of fermenting yeast at Austin Homebrew Supply.

"We know what they're up to," says Chris Ellison, the manager of the Texas store.

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Author Interviews
10:48 am
Mon January 27, 2014

'Pope And Mussolini' Tells The 'Secret History' Of Fascism And The Church

Originally published on Mon January 27, 2014 11:45 am

It's commonly thought that the Catholic Church fought heroically against the fascists when Benito Mussolini's party ruled over Italy in the 1920s and '30s. But in The Pope and Mussolini, David Kertzer says the historical record and a trove of recently released archives tell a very different story.

It's fascinating, Kertzer tells Fresh Air's Dave Davies, "how in a very brief period of time, Mussolini came to realize the importance of enlisting the pope's support."

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Book Reviews
10:48 am
Mon January 27, 2014

On This Spanish Slave Ship, Nothing Was As It Seemed

Detail from the cover of The Empire of Necessity.
Courtesy of Metropolitan Books

Originally published on Mon January 27, 2014 3:14 pm

Shortly after sunrise, on the morning of Feb. 20, 1805, sailors on an American ship called the Perseverance, anchored near an uninhabited island off the coast of Chile, spied a weird vessel drifting into view. It flew no flag and its threadbare sails were slack. The captain of the Perseverance, a man named Amasa Delano, decided to come to the aid of the ship, whose name, painted in faded white letters along its bow, was the Tryal.

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Movies
10:28 am
Mon January 27, 2014

'Dear White People' A Hit At Sundance

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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Arts & Life
10:28 am
Mon January 27, 2014

New Muslim Ms. Marvel Doesn't Drink, Date Or Eat Bacon

Kamala Khan, a Muslim teenager living in New Jersey, is the latest superhero to don the Ms. Marvel mantle.
AP

Originally published on Mon January 27, 2014 6:24 pm

Marvel is introducing a new character: Kamala Khan. She's a 16-year-old Muslim public high school student in Jersey City. She's also the new Ms. Marvel, and the first Muslim superhero to star in her own mainstream comic book series. Author G. Willow Wilson spoke with Tell Me More host Michel Martin about her new series.


Interview Highlights

On Kamala Khan's challenges to come

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Monkey See
9:15 am
Mon January 27, 2014

Pharrell Williams And The Power Hat

Pharrell Williams wore an unexpected piece of headgear to Sunday's Grammy Awards.
Robyn Beck AFP/Getty Images

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Pop Culture
3:58 pm
Sun January 26, 2014

For 'SNL' Cast Member, The Waiting Was The Hardest Part

Bobby Moynihan (left) appears on Saturday Night Live as the character "Drunk Uncle."
NBC Dana Edelson/NBC

Originally published on Sun January 26, 2014 4:20 pm

As part of a new series called "My Big Break," All Things Considered is collecting stories of triumph, big and small. These are the moments when everything seems to click and people leap forward into their careers.

For about a decade, Bobby Moynihan lived a double life. By day, Moynihan says, he tended bar at a Pizzeria Uno in New York. By night, he performed improv comedy at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre.

But he says he always had one dream: to join the cast of Saturday Night Live.

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Author Interviews
10:03 am
Sun January 26, 2014

In Fragments Of A Marriage, Familiar Themes Get Experimental

iStockphoto

Originally published on Sun January 26, 2014 10:47 am

Love, parenthood, infidelity, a crumbling marriage ... these are pretty traditional themes for fiction. It's not the kind of stuff that normally makes for an experimental novel.

But in Jenny Offill's new book, Dept. of Speculation, those familiar subjects take on an unusual form. The book is short, just 46 brief chapters, and instead of forming a narrative, they're disconnected snippets of prose, poetry and anecdotes. The story centers on two characters, "the wife" and "the husband," who are never named.

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Monkey See
8:23 am
Sun January 26, 2014

Watch The Grammy Awards With Us

US singer Bruno Mars performs during the MTV Europe Music Awards (EMA) 2013 ceremony in Amsterdam in November 2013.
Sven Hoogerhuis AFP/Getty Images

You've gotta love the Grammy Awards.

They've got a zillion categories showcasing all kinds of great and interesting music (really!) in all kinds of genres (really!). But when it comes to awards night, you see a tiny selection of awards (eight or nine, maybe, in three hours), together with a bunch of performances ranging from the flawless to the weird thing that happened last year involving Frank Ocean's video legs.

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Book Reviews
7:43 am
Sun January 26, 2014

Doyle's New 'Guts' Has Plenty Of Soul

Courtesy of Viking Adult

Restless and determined young Dubliner Jimmy Rabbitte put together a neighborhood soul band in 1987. Jimmy rounded up his pal Outspan and Declan and some other folks, including soul veteran Joey The Lips on trumpet, pretty Imelda and Natalie — the Commitment-ettes — as backup, and the rest was history. That's the gospel according to Dubliner Roddy Doyle's first novel, The Commitments.

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Code Switch
6:44 am
Sun January 26, 2014

For Persian Jews, America Means 'Religious Pluralism At Its Best'

Roben Farzad and his mother in their 1978 visa photo
Courtesy of Roben Farzad

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Sunday Puzzle
6:02 am
Sun January 26, 2014

Take Synonyms For A Spin (Or Pirouette)

NPR

Originally published on Wed January 29, 2014 12:28 pm

On-air challenge: For each word given, name a synonym in which the first two letters are the same as the second and third letters of the given word. For example, spin and pirouette.

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Three Books...
5:02 am
Sun January 26, 2014

They Came From Inner Space: Three Books About Solitude

iStockphoto

Writers are a curious bunch, known for holding court at parties, charming their readers publicly, yet also famously — stereotypically — cranky in the daylight hours. They prefer their own quiet shuffling to any other human noise. I, too, admit a certain tendency toward this peculiar, self-inflicted isolation.

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Movie Interviews
3:08 am
Sun January 26, 2014

Take A Ride With Baltimore's Renegade Bikers, The '12 O'Clock Boys'

A new documentary follows The 12 O'Clock Boys, a gang of Baltimore dirt bikers who do dangerous stunts at top speeds on city streets." I think it's a kind of escape for these guys; it's a kind of renegade sport," says filmmaker Lotfy Nathan.
Noah Rabinowitz 12 O'Clock Boys

It doesn't take long to understand why a Baltimore gang of dirt bikers is called the 12 O'Clock Boys: Flying at top speeds down city streets, they flip precariously high wheelies, maneuvering their bikes to near vertical positions, like clock hands at high noon.

The police try to crack down on them, but that only adds to the gang's allure — especially for a young rider named Pug. "If I fall, I'm gonna hop back on my bike," Pug says. "Doesn't matter if I break my arm or anything, I'm hopping back on this bike."

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Monkey See
3:06 am
Sun January 26, 2014

8 Picture Books That Make Us Wish We Were Kids Again

Courtesy of Candlewick Press

Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 9:21 am

Update: On Jan. 27, the American Library Association awarded the Caldecott Medal to Locomotive by Brian Floca. Three Caldecott Honor books were also named, including Journey by Aaron Becker and Mr. Wuffles! by David Wiesner.

Our original post:

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Author Interviews
3:04 pm
Sat January 25, 2014

The Mystery Of Isabel Allende: Author Explores New Genre

Courtesy of HarperCollins

Originally published on Sat January 25, 2014 5:53 pm

Isabel Allende planned to retire in 2011. Instead, she wrote a murder mystery.

The New York Times bestselling author is known for her unique style that blends historical reportage, memoir and literature. Her books have sold over 60 million copies and are translated into more than 35 languages.

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