Arts

Author Interviews
4:01 pm
Fri March 28, 2014

In 'Storied Life,' Characters Come With A Reading List

Jan Sandvik iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri March 28, 2014 4:34 pm

Thirty-nine year old widower A.J. Fikry is an unlikely romantic hero: He's cranky, he drinks too much, his bookstore is failing and don't get him started on the state of publishing. He's also at the center of Gabrielle Zevin's new novel, The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry.

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Movie Reviews
4:01 pm
Fri March 28, 2014

Send Out The Doves: 'Noah' Lands On Solid Ground

Ila (Emma Watson) and her husband, Shem, are two passengers aboard the ark built by Noah to escape God's flood in Noah, Darren Aronofsky's imagining of the biblical tale.
Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

Originally published on Fri March 28, 2014 4:42 pm

The story of Noah's Ark is getting blockbuster treatment in Hollywood's new biblical epic Noah. Darren Aronofsky's film about the Old Testament shipbuilder has been sparking controversy — but there's no denying that the Great Flood, digitized, is a pretty great flood.

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Movie Reviews
9:11 am
Fri March 28, 2014

In 'Noah,' Earth And The Bible Get A Computer-Generated Reboot

Originally published on Fri March 28, 2014 12:20 pm

Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

Darren Aronofsky had a surprise hit in 2010 with "Black Swan," which won an Oscar for its star, Natalie Portman. His latest film, "Noah," is a big budget Bible epic based on the story of Noah's Ark. Russell Crowe plays the title character, and the movie also features Jennifer Connelly and Emma Watson.

Film critic David Edelstein has this review.

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Television
9:11 am
Fri March 28, 2014

'The Good Wife' Delivers A Game-Changing Stunner

Originally published on Fri March 28, 2014 12:20 pm

Transcript

DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

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Monkey See
8:48 am
Fri March 28, 2014

The Tyranny Of Release Dates, Part II: 'The Lunchbox'

Saajan Fernandes (Irrfan Khan) is a widower whose correspondence comes in an unlikely package — a lunchbox.
Ritesh Batra Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

Originally published on Mon March 31, 2014 2:16 pm

The romantic comedy-drama is not dead; it's just being platformed.

I saw The Lunchbox, the first feature from director Ritesh Batra, at the Toronto International Film Festival in September of last year. Starring Irrfan Khan and Nimrat Kaur, it takes as its jumping-off point the dabbawalas of Mumbai, guys on bikes who run a lunchbox-delivery system that brings hot, delicious lunches to people working in offices. (Spoiler alert: you will envy this system by film's end.)

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The Two-Way
5:57 am
Fri March 28, 2014

Book News: Can Mammy Be Rescued From 'Gone With The Wind'?

Hattie McDaniel played Mammy alongside Vivien Leigh's Scarlett in Gone with the Wind.
MGM Studios/Getty Images

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

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Movies
1:23 am
Fri March 28, 2014

This Year, Biblical Films Are Fruitful And Multiplying

The 2014 film Noah has stirred up the ire of some conservative Christians, who accuse the filmmakers of using a story about environmental catastrophe to push a message about climate change and conservation.
Niko Tavernise Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

Originally published on Mon March 31, 2014 10:12 am

There's a flood of biblical proportions this year in Hollywood: Noah, starring Russell Crowe, floats into theaters Thursday. It follows Son of God, another Bible-based movie released by 20th Century Fox. And later in 2014, we'll see Exodus, a 3-D epic based on the story of Moses from director Ridley Scott.

Why so many Bible movies in 2014? "It just has to be that God is moving. There's no other explanation for it," says Son of God producer Mark Burnett.

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Movie Reviews
4:52 pm
Thu March 27, 2014

'Vivian Maier' Brings Nanny-Photographer's Life Into Focus

In their new documentary Finding Vivian Maier, John Maloof and Charlie Siskel profile a reclusive photographer and her undiscovered photo archive.
Vivian Maier Courtesy of IFC Films

Originally published on Fri March 28, 2014 9:53 am

Is an artist's life relevant to her reputation as an artist? Not so much, perhaps, but many of us want the bio anyway, especially when the artist in question is as tantalizingly elusive as Vivian Maier (or Mayer, or Meyer, as she variously spelled it to confound the curious), a reclusive Chicago nanny whose posthumously discovered trove of street photographs swelled into a cause celebre after her death in 2009.

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Book Reviews
3:05 pm
Thu March 27, 2014

Book Review: 'How To Dance As The Roof Caves In'

Originally published on Thu March 27, 2014 4:25 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Making poetry out of something as messy as the recent housing crisis may sound like a tall order, but Nick Lantz has done it. The collection is called "How to Dance as the Roof Caves In." Our reviewer, Tess Taylor says calls it biting but tender.

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Book Reviews
2:45 pm
Thu March 27, 2014

The Backwards Life Of Alex Chilton In 'Destruction'

Originally published on Fri March 28, 2014 9:12 am

Alex Chilton was 16 and hung over from a night of drinking, smoking, and having sex in a cemetery the morning in 1966 that he showed up at a Memphis studio to record his first single, "The Letter." It became the biggest hit for his new band, The Box Tops, and the biggest hit single ever recorded in Memphis — but Chilton almost didn't live to see it. Between the time "The Letter" was recorded and released, he attempted suicide by slitting his wrists. He lived.

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Fine Art
2:05 pm
Thu March 27, 2014

A Tiny Renoir, Stolen In The '50s, Finally Comes Home To Baltimore Museum

Renoir's On the Shore of the Seine returns to the Baltimore Museum of Art more than 60 years after its theft. Rumor has it Renoir painted the tiny piece on a linen napkin for his mistress. It was stolen from the museum in 1951 and resurfaced in 2012 when a woman tried to sell it, claiming she had bought it at a flea market.
AP

Originally published on Fri March 28, 2014 7:23 am

It has the makings of a great mystery: artwork stolen from a prominent museum, plus the FBI, a beautiful woman and an intrepid reporter. But this isn't fiction; it's a strange, true tale of how a painting by Pierre-Auguste Renoir has now safely returned home to Baltimore.

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The Salt
1:25 pm
Thu March 27, 2014

The Search For The Perfect Cup Of Coffee Can Be Such A Grind(er)

Doug and Barb Garrott assemble a Lido 2 grinder at their home in Troy, Idaho. They've spent the past three years perfecting their design for the hand-cranked machine.
Jessica Greene

Originally published on Fri March 28, 2014 6:31 am

In the tiny town of Troy, Idaho, Barb and Doug Garrott have spent the past three years perfecting a machine that could change the morning routines of coffee drinkers all over the country: a $175 hand-cranked coffee grinder.

It's called the Lido 2, the first run of 500 has already sold out on preorder, and coffee aficionados are asking for more.

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Performing Arts
10:47 am
Thu March 27, 2014

From Walter White To LBJ, Bryan Cranston Is A Master Of Transformation

Over the course of Breaking Bad, Walter White (Bryan Cranston) metamorphosed from a high school chemistry teacher to a notorious outlaw.
Ursula Coyote AMC

Originally published on Thu March 27, 2014 1:15 pm

In the 2008 pilot of AMC's Breaking Bad, high school teacher Walter White fails to interest his chemistry students in the study of change. But over the course of the series, Walt himself came to exemplify radical change, using his knowledge of chemistry to become a master meth cook, and transforming himself into a notorious outlaw who was willing to kill, when necessary, to keep his operation running.

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Ask Me Another
8:02 am
Thu March 27, 2014

Foodie Favorites, Part III: Dessert

Start with a musical game that "Sounds Delicious," then find a challenge in "Crisp Game Arenas"— and identify dishes from anagrams. For a palate cleanser, enjoy a final round that is all about water.

Heard in Episode 005: Foodie Favorites

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Ask Me Another
8:02 am
Thu March 27, 2014

Foodie Favorites, Part II: Dinner

Hear Bon Appetit editor-in-chief Adam Rapoport dish about his dislike of the term "foodie" and play a game based on fast food Yelp! reviews. Plus, mash up foods and bands at the "Soft Rock Cafe."

Heard in Episode 005: Foodie Favorites

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Ask Me Another
8:02 am
Thu March 27, 2014

Foodie Favorites, Part I: Brunch

Dig in as we revisit "Breakfast Cereal Haiku," a game that puts a poetic spin on your favorite childhood cereals, and "Natalie Portmantoast," in which we mash up celebrities with the names of foods.

Heard in Episode 005: Foodie Favorites

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Monkey See
7:50 am
Thu March 27, 2014

'Tell Me Two Things Good': A Happiness Experiment

Originally published on Mon March 31, 2014 2:16 pm

One of my old pals used to come walking into a room at the end of a long day, sigh, look around, and say, "Tell me two things good." They could be big things, small things, anything — he had to hear two things, and they had to be good things, and you had to think of them right away.

Wednesday night, I asked Twitter this crucial question. Here are some of the responses.

The Two-Way
5:31 am
Thu March 27, 2014

Book News: Shaken, Stirred: Ian Fleming's Racy Love Letters To Be Sold

Ian Fleming, best-selling British author and creator of James Bond, is seen in this 1962 photo.
AP

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

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New In Paperback
5:03 am
Thu March 27, 2014

March 22-28: The CIA, Central Bankers And Summer Camp

Cover of The Alchemists

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

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

Theater
12:57 am
Thu March 27, 2014

At 81, Playwright Athol Fugard Looks Back On Aging And Apartheid

In 1961, South African playwright Athol Fugard put black and white actors on stage together in his breakout play Blood Knot. He's pictured above in the 1970s.
Hulton Archive Getty Images

Originally published on Mon March 31, 2014 10:18 am

Under apartheid, trying to make an artistic political statement was difficult — artists were subject to scrutiny and even arrest. On the other hand, making a political statement was easy: All one had to do was put black and white actors on a stage together.

That's exactly what South African playwright Athol Fugard did back in 1961 with his breakout play Blood Knot. His newest play, The Shadow of the Hummingbird, is now onstage at the Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven, Conn.

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Books
3:38 pm
Wed March 26, 2014

In Karen Russell's World, Sleep Is For The Lucky Few

cover detail
Atavist Books

Originally published on Thu March 27, 2014 8:14 am

Getting much sleep lately? The citizens of Karen Russell's dystopian novella, Sleep Donation, haven't been getting any. It's the near future, and America has been suffering from an insomnia crisis where hundreds of thousands of cases are terminal. And so an agency called Slumber Corps has been established to battle the problem.

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Book News & Features
3:38 pm
Wed March 26, 2014

It Was The Best Of Sentences ...

iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu March 27, 2014 12:41 pm

Have you ever had a sentence stop you in your tracks? Editors at The American Scholar magazine have put out their list of the "Ten Best Sentences" in fiction and nonfiction. Associate editor Margaret Foster says the inspiration came from water cooler talk around the office.

"We're sometimes struck by a beautiful sentence or maybe a lousy sentence, and we'll just say, 'Hey, listen to this,' " she says.

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Author Interviews
12:50 pm
Wed March 26, 2014

'Sleep Donation': A Dark, Futuristic Lullaby For Insomniacs

efenzi iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed March 26, 2014 2:42 pm

Imagine an America that has been plagued for years by a mysterious epidemic of insomnia — an affliction so serious that many are dying from lack of sleep. That's the futuristic premise of Karen Russell's new novella, Sleep Donation.

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Book Reviews
12:50 pm
Wed March 26, 2014

'Redeployment' Explores Iraq War's Physical And Psychic Costs

Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Wed March 26, 2014 6:13 pm

Here's an old joke you may have heard: "How many Vietnam vets does it take to screw in a light bulb?" Answer: "You wouldn't know, you weren't there."

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Shots - Health News
12:32 pm
Wed March 26, 2014

A 'Silent Killer' Returns: Live Chat With Filmmaker On Fighting TB

Nokubheka, 12, had to move away from her family and into a hospital for treatment against drug-resistant tuberculosis.
Screenshot from PBS/YouTube

The world has a new epidemic on its hand: drug-resistant tuberculosis.

We're not talking about the kind of TB that doctors can cure with a few weeks of standard antibiotics.

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Technology
9:46 am
Wed March 26, 2014

The Changing World Of Tech Requires A Woman's Eye

Originally published on Thu March 27, 2014 12:09 pm

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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Author Interviews
9:46 am
Wed March 26, 2014

Walter Mosley: To End Race, We Have To Recognize 'White' Doesn't Exist

Originally published on Wed March 26, 2014 10:41 am

Walter Mosley's writing inspired Hollywood filmmakers and a generation of black writers. He's now being honored at the National Black Writers' Conference. He talks about the award and his new book.

The Two-Way
6:10 am
Wed March 26, 2014

Book News: Tennessee Williams Tale Of Disappointed Love To Be Published

Playwright Tennessee Williams sits at his typewriter on Nov. 11, 1940, in New York.
Dan Grossi AP

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

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Kitchen Window
10:33 pm
Tue March 25, 2014

The Secret To These Sauces Is Nuts

Claire Adas for NPR

Originally published on Thu March 27, 2014 7:26 am

I grew up thinking of nuts as junk food: full of fat and calories, a guilty treat for holidays and special occasions. I remember bowls of salty cocktail mix, nut-covered cheese logs, sweet buttery honey-roasted peanuts and cashews, or Jordan almonds in their strangely addictive sugary coating. They were in the same category as potato chips and candy: irresistible, but not good for you at all.

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Author Interviews
2:55 pm
Tue March 25, 2014

'Sous Chef' Reveals The High-Adrenaline Dance Behind Your Dinner

Viktor Cap iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue March 25, 2014 6:03 pm

A restaurant kitchen at the peak of the dinner rush can be a crazy place — hot, crowded and filled with a kind of intense energy that some people, like Michael Gibney, thrive on. Gibney's been working in restaurants since he was young. In his new book, Sous Chef, Gibney tries to capture the rhythm of the kitchen by taking his readers through one day in the life of a fast-paced New York restaurant.

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