I hear variations on this theme all the time from readers. Titrating fact and fantasy can give a story a mysterious energy. Writers fetch up those details that sate the senses, allowing us to touch and taste, hear and feel how things were once upon a time. A woman steps out in Gilded Age New York City. Would she wear muslin or silk, petticoats or a hoop of whale baleen? Short kid gloves or long satin ones? How deep is her decolletage? All the particulars, please!
If you asked me to name my favorite movie scene, I'd choose the one in Citizen Kane when newspaper owner Charles Foster Kane steals his rivals' best reporters, then throws a party in his own honor. As musicians literally sing his praises, we watch Kane dance with chorus girls wearing a look of radiant delight. It's a moment bursting with promise and cockiness and joie de vivre, made all the more exuberant because Kane's pleasure is so obviously shared by Welles himself.
There are the summer days where we bake cobbler and pie, and grill up slabs of eggplant and bushels of corn. And then there are the tropically hot summer days where the thought of turning on an oven — or even an outdoor barbecue — is enough to make you want to flop your sweaty self across the bed (or, better yet, into a pool of cold water). On those dog days, you don't want your food warm from the grill — you want it dripping with cold.
There may be no film image more iconic: Harold Lloyd, high above the street, dangling from the minute hand of a giant department-store clock.
The face of the clock swings down; the minute hand bends. It's been 90 years since the silent era's greatest daredevil shot that sequence, and it still has the power to prompt shrieks and laughter.
Lloyd's character was the All-American Boy, innocent in his horn-rimmed glasses, eager to climb the ladder of success — and like many a social striver before him, he was plagued by anxiety that he'd fall before he got to the top.
That Crunchy Taco will no longer come with a side of toy.
Taco Bell announced Tuesday that it is ditching kids' meals and the trinkets that come with them at its U.S. locations. The items will begin to come off menus starting this month, the company says, and should be completely gone by January 2014.
Daniel Breaker, a Juilliard-trained actor who's earned praise for roles as varied as Donkey in Shrek the Musical and the protagonist Youth in Passing Strange, gets to play a king in a new musical adaptation of Shakespeare's Love's Labour's Lost.
A few years ago, after songwriter Michael Friedman and writer-director Alex Timbers had finished working on their cheeky historical musical Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, they decided to look for a new project to work on. Friedman says they wanted the next show to have a completely different feel.
"So we started looking at Shakespeare," Friedman says. "And then, I think, we came to sort of, 'How amazing would it be to work on a romantic comedy?' "
If every era gets the historical fiction it deserves, we have been good indeed. From the transcendent psychological rummagings of Hilary Mantel to the gooey pleasures of Philippa Gregory, we can set aside flowery bodice-rippers (not that there's anything wrong with those) and view the dusty figures through lenses literary, pop culture-y, or near-pornographic.
At the center of David Gilbert's new novel & Sons is a famous and famously reclusive writer in the J.D. Salinger model. It's a book about the writer as author of books, and as the father of sons — sons who don't feel nearly as warmly toward him as readers do. When & Sons begins, the writer, Andrew Newbold Dyer — or A.N. Dyer as he's known to his readers — is nearing 80.
Pioneering musician Carline Ray died July 18 at age 88. In the 1940s, when it was difficult for women to be accepted as jazz musicians, Ray found a home in the all-female band The International Sweethearts of Rhythm as the guitarist and a featured vocalist. She was also a bass player who performed with Sy Oliver, Mercer Ellington and Mary Lou Williams.
Ray was born in Harlem in 1925 during the Harlem Renaissance. She graduated from Juilliard and the Manhattan School of Music. Her husband, Luis Russell, led his own band and worked as Louis Armstrong's music director.
It's no secret that the middle school experience can be not so fabulous, and that's particularly true for the teen at the center of Dork Diaries: Tales From a Not-So-Fabulous Life. The book, the first in the Dork Diaries series by Rachel Renee Russell, is the July pick for NPR's Backseat Book Club.
Originally published on Tue July 23, 2013 10:54 am
When someone uses the term "instant classic," I typically want to grab him and ask, "So this is, what, like the new Great Expectations? You sure about that?" But David Gilbert's novel & Sons, seductive and ripe with both comedy and heartbreak, made me reconsider my stance on such a label. & Sons feels deeply familiar, as though it existed for decades and I was just slow to find it. Revolving around a New York writer of J. D.
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. You know how in America we say we don't like dynasties, but then again, we actually kind of do. And we're certainly fascinated by them, and if you follow sports, in particular football, then you're probably fascinated by the Gronkowskis.
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Coming up, you might dream of just one of your kids making it as a pro athlete. Well, Gordie Gronkowski is batting four for four with another in the wings. We'll hear from Gordie and two of his sons in just a few minutes. First, though, we want to talk about an issue that's been in the headlines in this country. The issue of gay rights was front and center at the Supreme Court term that just ended. Legal advances were celebrated by LGBT activists everywhere.
Monkey See contributor/longtime nerd Glen Weldon recently attended San Diego Comic-Con. He kept a diary during one of the largest media events in the world.
9:30 a.m.: I file the Day 1 diary with Linda and send out a tweet asking Pop Culture Happy Hour listeners who are attending Comic-Con to come to the Marriott bar at 5:30 today to get a PCHH pin. It's something on the order of a "meetup," as the kids say.
In the old days, when a book came out it just had to compete with other books. But these days a book has to compete not only with other books, but also with blog posts and tweets and tumblrs and everything else in written form. There's only so much that readers feel like reading, and as a result, every year many good books get lost under a tide of prose.
Meg Lukens Noonan's adventure began with a simple curiosity. She happened across a website belonging to a renowned, fourth-generation tailor, John H. Cutler, and noticed a photograph of a $50,000 coat.
It looked "like any old blue overcoat that you might find in Macy's," she tells NPR's Jacki Lyden. "I didn't recognize it as being special just by looking at it."
Every year for the past four decades, comic book fans dressed as Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman - anything, really - have descended upon the city of San Diego for Comic-Con. The convention has grown as fast as a speeding bullet in the last decade. This year, an estimated 130,000 Con-goers are walking the floor, sitting on panels, and boosting their geek credentials at various workshops.
Howard Norman's memories of the strange incidents of his life compose his memoir. In 2003, his family rented their house to a poet, who killed her son and then herself in the Normans' home. Norman, his wife and daughter decided to continue living there, giving a certain weight to the title of his memoir, I Hate To Leave This Beautiful Place.
But his book begins in a very different place, with the story of Norman's childhood, a bookmobile and a swan.
On-air challenge: Every answer is the name of a famous person, past or present, with five letters in the first and last names. One letter in each name is changed to make a new word. You name the people.
Last week's challenge: In the phrase "clothes closet," all the letters of the second word can be found inside the first. Think of another two-word phrase that means a place to keep clothes in which all the letter of the second word are found inside the first. The first word has nine letters, the second has six.
South Florida has been irresistible for crime writers, among them Carl Hiaasen, Edna Buchanan and Harry Crews. Now John Dufresne, most famously the author of the novel Louisiana Power and Light, has joined that list with his first mystery novel.
No Regrets, Coyote is Dufresne's eighth novel, and it begins with the killing of an entire family in the fictional South Florida town of Eden. When the police get to the scene of the crime, they find a typed note, which they insist is a suicide letter.