Arts

Book Reviews
5:03 am
Thu April 3, 2014

A Smart Spin On Alternate History In 'The Revolutions'

In his previous novels, Felix Gilman presented fantastic, mind-expanding visions of other worlds. His fifth, The Revolutions, sticks a little closer to home — at least at first. For a change, he's set a book in the real world, albeit a skewed version of it. Gilman reimagines late-19th-century London as a dark and dangerous place; along with all the political, technological, and cultural upheavals of the age, he's added an insidious dimension to the fashionable occultism that gripped the end of the Victorian Era.

Read more
Author Interviews
1:36 am
Thu April 3, 2014

A Song Of Frogs, Motherhood And Murder In Swampy San Francisco

Emma Donoghue's previous novel was Room.
Andrew Bainbridge

Originally published on Thu April 3, 2014 5:53 am

In her bestseller Room, writer Emma Donoghue imagined what life would be like for a little boy born into captivity, to a mother who'd been kidnapped and sexually assaulted.

And in her new novel, Frog Music, she's imagined a possible solution to a very real murder, one that took place in California in 1876.

Read more
Author Interviews
2:16 pm
Wed April 2, 2014

The Rise And Fall Of Stefan Zweig, Who Inspired 'Grand Budapest Hotel'

Stefan Zweig was born to a prosperous Jewish family in Vienna. He wrote novels, short stories and biographies.
Keystone/Hulton Archive Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 2, 2014 7:54 pm

In Wes Anderson's latest film, The Grand Budapest Hotel, a writer relates the long and twisting life story of a hotel owner. It's about youthful love and lifelong obsession, and while the story is original, there's a credit at the end that reads: "Inspired by the Writings of Stefan Zweig."

Read more
The Picture Show
2:16 pm
Wed April 2, 2014

Scenes And Sorrows: A Portrait Of Weeping Mary

Courtesy of O. Rufus Lovett

Originally published on Wed April 2, 2014 7:54 pm

Texas is full of memorable town names — Blanket, Stagecoach, Domino and Paint Rock, to list just a few. Each has at least one tale behind it, and All Things Considered host Melissa Block has been telling some of them as part of the series Deep In the Heart Of (A Transforming) Texas.

Read more
Kitchen Window
6:44 am
Wed April 2, 2014

How To Get To Sesame Treats: Open A Can Of Tahini

Deena Prichep for NPR

Originally published on Wed April 2, 2014 7:29 am

If you were going to make a desert-island list for your refrigerator, it's unlikely tahini would make the cut. In fact, it might not even be in your standard mainland refrigerator, unless you regularly cook food with a Middle Eastern or hippie influence. Which is a bit of a shame. Because tahini is quite lovely, and capable of much more than we usually give it credit for.

Read more
Book Reviews
5:03 am
Wed April 2, 2014

With Poetic Intensity, Kevin Powers Tackles The Terror Of War

iStockphoto

"I am home and whole, so to speak," writes Kevin Powers in his debut poetry collection. "But I can't remember / how to be alive." At its most striking, Letter Composed During a Lull in the Fighting finds Powers — an Iraq veteran and the author of the acclaimed war novel The Yellow Birds — contending with conflicts endemic to the home front, struggling to "remember how to be alive" after having known so much death.

Read more
Code Switch
5:58 pm
Tue April 1, 2014

The Harlem Hellfighters: Fighting Racism In The Trenches Of WWI

The Harlem Hellfighters, a new graphic novel by Max Brooks, retells the story of the first African-American unit to fight in World War I.
Caanan White Courtesy of Broadway Books

The 369th Infantry Regiment served 191 days under enemy fire in Europe. They returned home one of the most decorated American units of World War I.

"The French called them the 'Men of Bronze' out of respect, and the Germans called them the 'Harlem Hellfighters' out of fear," explains Max Brooks, author of The Harlem Hellfighters, a new graphic novel about the first African-American infantry unit to fight in World War I.

Read more
Book Reviews
12:08 pm
Tue April 1, 2014

This Tightly Choreographed Tale Of Ambition And Ballet Will 'Astonish'

iStockphoto

The title of Maggie Shipstead's second novel is: Astonish Me. She did just that --astonish me -- with her debut novel of 2012, called Seating Arrangements. After reading that novel, I likened the then 20-something-year-old Shipstead to "Edith Wharton with a millennial generation edge." The comparison remains sound.

Read more
Parenting
9:08 am
Tue April 1, 2014

Taking Your Kid To The Museum Doesn't Have To Be Miserable

Originally published on Tue April 1, 2014 10:26 am

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Read more
Arts & Life
9:08 am
Tue April 1, 2014

'Muses And Metaphor' Kicks Off National Poetry Month

Melanie Taube

Originally published on Tue April 1, 2014 3:26 pm

Tell Me More kicks off its annual ode to poetry month with the Muses and Metaphor series.

Throughout April we'll feature Twitter poems submitted by NPR fans and hear from poets and writers from all over the country.

But to shake things up, regular contributors to Tell Me More's Beauty Shop, Barbershop and Political Chats are also trying their hands at verses and rhymes while following the submissions on Twitter.

Read more
Monkey See
8:59 am
Tue April 1, 2014

Captain America On The Potomac

Chris Evans as Captain America.
Zade Rosenthal Marvel

Originally published on Tue April 1, 2014 9:33 am

A genre film – one about superheroes, for instance – holds certain variables constant and allows others to change. The visual style can move, the dialogue style can move, and the force to be battled can move: what fans of Buffy The Vampire Slayer call the "Big Bad."

Read more
The Two-Way
8:38 am
Tue April 1, 2014

When The Twit Hit The Fan: 'I'm Still Here,' Colbert Says

Stephen Colbert responded to criticism about a tweet about his show from his TV network Monday, saying he would dismantle the imaginary foundation that created the stir.
Comedy Central

Originally published on Tue April 1, 2014 3:32 pm

In his first show since a controversy erupted over a Comedy Central tweet about one of his skits last week, Stephen Colbert poked fun at the media, his network and himself Monday night, declaring that despite a #CancelColbert campaign against his show on Twitter, "I'm still here."

The tweet in question, you'll recall, referred to a Colbert skit that aired Wednesday in which he made fun of the Washington Redskins and the team's owner, Dan Snyder, for creating the Original Americans Foundation rather than changing the NFL team's mascot, as critics have demanded.

Read more
Monkey See
7:18 am
Tue April 1, 2014

Oh, 'Mother': An Awful End To A Long Love Story

Josh Radnor and Cristin Milioti, as Ted and the mother, deserved better on the series finale.
Ron P. Jaffe CBS

Originally published on Tue April 1, 2014 12:55 pm

[WARNING: If you haven't seen the series finale of How I Met Your Mother, don't watch it. Just kidding! Sort of. This piece, at any rate, contains plot details from that finale.]

Read more
Book Reviews
5:03 am
Tue April 1, 2014

'Frog Music' Sounds A Barbaric (But Invigorating) Yawp

Originally published on Mon April 14, 2014 4:42 pm

San Francisco in the summer of the 1876, between the Gold Rush and the smallpox epidemic, is the setting for Emma Donoghue's boisterous new novel, Frog Music.

There's real frog music in these pages, the riveting cries of the creatures hunted by Jenny Bonnet, one of the two main characters. She's a pistol-packing, pants-wearing gal in a town where pants on women are one of the few cardinal sins, and she scratches out a living catching frogs and selling them to local restaurants.

Read more
Author Interviews
3:16 am
Tue April 1, 2014

In Early Memoir, Bette Midler Adorned The Truth In Sequins

Bette Midler is a Grammy Award-winning singer and Academy Award-nominated actress.
Jonathan Pushnik Simon & Schuster

Originally published on Tue April 1, 2014 10:51 am

Before Bette Midler was in movies like Beaches and Down and Out in Beverly Hills, the actress and singer wore masks and costumes on stage, playing scantily clad, scandalous characters like a wheelchair-riding mermaid and, of course, the Divine Miss M — Midler's early stage persona.

Midler wrote about her early career in A View From a Broad, a memoir she published in 1980. A new edition of that book was recently released with a brand new introduction in which Midler writes:

Read more
Fine Art
1:08 am
Tue April 1, 2014

Girls Are Taught To 'Think Pink,' But That Wasn't Always So

Photographer JeongMee Yoon felt her daughter's life was being overtaken by pink. She illustrated that in her 2006 portrait Seo Woo and Her Pink Things.
JeongMee Yoon Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and Jenkins Johnson Gallery

Originally published on Tue April 1, 2014 6:23 am

With sleet, snow and freezing temperatures extending through March, the National Cherry Blossom Festival — which recently kicked off in Washington, D.C. — is decidedly less pink this year. In a few weeks the Tidal Basin will be ringed by rosy, pink blossoms, but until then, we traveled north to Boston, where a show at the Museum of Fine Arts called "Think Pink" explores the history and social impact of the color.

Read more
Author Interviews
1:47 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

Son Of A Secret Smuggler Digs Up The Truth About His Dad

Marijuana plants grow at a farm near Medellin. Tony Dokoupil's father made hundreds of thousands of dollars smuggling marijuana into the U.S. from Colombia.
Raul Arboleda AFP/Getty Images

If you smoked Colombian weed in the '70s and '80s, Tony Dokoupil would like to thank you: He says you paid for his swim lessons and kept him in the best private school in south Florida — at least for a little while.

Dokoupil's father started selling marijuana during the Nixon era, and expanded his operation until he became a partner in what his son describes as the biggest East Coast dope ring of the Reagan years, smuggling marijuana into the U.S.

Read more
The Salt
12:49 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

Sandwich Monday: The Waffle Taco From Taco Bell

Taco and waffle go together even better than Terry Gross and Gene Simmons.
NPR

Originally published on Mon April 7, 2014 12:05 pm

For most people, the morning goes like this: Wake up, take a shower and wait six hours in painful agony until it's an appropriate time to eat Taco Bell.

But, finally, times have changed: Taco Bell has introduced a breakfast menu. The centerpiece is unquestionably The Waffle Taco.

Peter: I was driving in after picking them up, and I was terrified of getting in a fatal car crash. "Local radio host found dead next to bag of four Taco Bell Waffle Tacos."

Read more
Book News & Features
12:03 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

We Read The Year's Best New Sci-Fi — So You Don't Have To

The 2014 Campbellian Anthology is a free download.

Originally published on Mon March 31, 2014 2:17 pm

The World Science Fiction Convention is a gathering of fans ranging from sci-fi movie buffs to gamers to comics aficionados — but at its heart, WorldCon is for lovers of literature, and it hosts the Hugo Awards, the Oscars of sci-fi and fantasy.

During the ceremony, one award is given that's not a Hugo: the John W Campbell Award for Best New Writer. The Campbell celebrates potential: Nominees are often young, just starting out in the field (though not always), and it serves as a kind of signpost for fans, pointing the way to the next great read.

Read more
Monkey See
8:11 am
Mon March 31, 2014

Essie Davis: On Playing A Sexually Liberated 'Superhero' Without Apology

Essie Davis has read about how Phryne is a "hussy." She doesn't mind.
Ben King Acorn.TV

In the first-ever episode of the Australian series Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries, the central figure, Phryne Fisher, has to explain to her young, extremely Catholic new maid Dot what exactly is in the round, plastic case that Dot is holding in her hands. "Family planning," she says casually.

Read more
Monkey See
6:42 am
Mon March 31, 2014

It's 'Mother' Time: A Show With One Last Chance To Get It Right

Cristin Milioti joined the cast of How I Met Your Mother to play the mother herself in the final season. Josh Radnor has played Ted for nine years. Tonight, they meet.
Ron P. Jaffe CBS

Kids, after nine long years, How I Met Your Mother is finally coming to an end.

That the show has been on this long is still strange to me. I remember when it was consistently almost cancelled in the first few years, and I passed around the early seasons on DVD (remember those?) trying to get my friends as hooked as I was. But here we are, nine years in, and a whole mess of fans are eagerly awaiting the show's conclusion.

Read more
The Two-Way
5:31 am
Mon March 31, 2014

Book News: Stock Market Is 'Rigged,' Author Michael Lewis Says

Michael Lewis' latest book, Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt, was released Monday.
Tabitha Soren

Originally published on Mon March 31, 2014 7:28 am

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

Read more
Food
1:29 am
Mon March 31, 2014

In Kitchens Around The World, Comfort Foods Bring Us Together

Hall makes the hors d'oeuvres version of spanakopita.
Meredith Rizzo NPR

Originally published on Mon March 31, 2014 11:58 am

There's nothing like a warm, home-cooked meal to bring everyone to the table. And in her new cookbook Carla's Comfort Foods, Chef Carla Hall celebrates the meals that unite us — no matter where we're from.

Hall is one of the hosts of ABC's talk show The Chew and was a finalist on the reality TV show Top Chef. She invited NPR's David Greene over to bake spanakopita — a Greek dish, and just one of the many recipes she loves from around the world.

Read more
My Big Break
3:06 pm
Sun March 30, 2014

Cesar Millan's Long Walk To Becoming The 'Dog Whisperer'

Cesar Millan's television show Dog Whisperer on National Geographic debuted in 2004, but Millan previously spent years struggling to pursue a career as a dog trainer.
Robin Layton Courtesy of Cesar Millan

As part of a 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.

Long before Cesar Millan became the "Dog Whisperer," with TV shows and a best-selling series of books, he had to learn how to ask for a job in English.

Read more
Books
3:06 pm
Sun March 30, 2014

3 Bedtime Picture Books That Won't Put Parents To Sleep

Originally published on Mon March 31, 2014 11:49 am

At the end of a long day, there's a phrase that parents of small children can come to dread hearing: "Read me a story!"

Though bedtime reading can be fun, reading the same book over and over and over again can be excruciating for parents.

Margaret Willison, a librarian who specializes in young readers, tells NPR's Kelly McEvers she recommends three picture books in particular that appeal to children without boring the pants off their parents.

Of course, you don't have to eschew words altogether to make repetitive reading more fun.

Read more
Author Interviews
3:06 pm
Sun March 30, 2014

In Civilian Snapshot Of Iraq, An Artist Is A 'Corpse Washer'

Courtesy of Yale University Press

In his latest novel, Iraqi author Sinan Antoon gives readers a stark portrait of contemporary Iraq. Originally written in Arabic and translated into English by Antoon himself, The Corpse Washer was nominated for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize this year.

The book's protagonist is a young man named Jawad, an aspiring artist from a family of traditional Shiite corpse washers and shrouders in Baghdad. Jawad breaks from the family business and attends art school, where he devotes himself to the celebration of life rather than the ritual surrounding death.

Read more
The Two-Way
12:58 pm
Sun March 30, 2014

The Ides Of March Madness: 'Who's Gonna Stop Prospero?'

Paul Edward O'Brien, a stage actor, poet, and oncologist, delivered a Game Day-style analysis of how William Shakespeare's plays would match up in a tournament bracket.
Wesley Moore

Originally published on Sun March 30, 2014 2:16 pm

What if William Shakespeare's plays faced off in a tournament, like basketball squads spewing Elizabethan verse? That's the idea behind a bracket that pits 32 of the bard's plays against each another, in a contest arranged by New York's New Victory Theater.

Much like the NCAA basketball tournament that inspired it, the theater has been tallying votes and updating its bracket on its road to Stratford-upon-Avon.

Read more
Author Interviews
5:40 am
Sun March 30, 2014

'A Small Player' On The Brink Of Self-Destruction

Originally published on Sun March 30, 2014 3:59 pm

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Read more
Arts & Life
5:40 am
Sun March 30, 2014

Strategic Seating: How To Elicit The Optimal Dinner Conversation

Originally published on Sun March 30, 2014 3:59 pm

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Alex Cornell does not like dinner parties or overly chatty commuters who insist upon talking to him on the bus. So, he created a new app called Tickle, which helps you escape awkward public situations. By simply touching the phone, you can generate a fake phone call, allowing you to politely excuse yourself. The app isn't out yet, but it reminded us of another one of Alex Cornell's attempts to avoid awkward conversations. We spoke to the San Francisco-based blogger and designer last year.

Read more
Author Interviews
5:40 am
Sun March 30, 2014

A Libertarian With Roots In Rock Music

Originally published on Sun March 30, 2014 3:59 pm

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

We're going to hear now how a prominent libertarian found his political voice.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

MARTIN: Matt Kibbe was just 13 when he fell under the spell of a certain rock band.

MATT KIBBE: Well, I was listening to a lot of Led Zeppelin, but it was the band Rush really got me starting to read and pay attention to ideas.

MARTIN: On the Rush album, "2112," the band sings of a futuristic society, in which thought and expression are controlled by a top-down autocracy.

Read more

Pages