Arts

The Two-Way
5:43 am
Thu February 20, 2014

Book News: James Patterson Is Giving $1 Million To Indie Bookstores

Author James Patterson, pictured in 2011 in New York City, says independent bookstores are "vital to our future as a country."
Janette Pellegrini Getty Images for Disney Publishing

Originally published on Thu February 20, 2014 10:58 am

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

Read more
Book Reviews
5:03 am
Thu February 20, 2014

A Cautionary Tale For Aspiring 1-Percenters In 'Young Money'

Originally published on Thu February 20, 2014 8:17 am

In Young Money, Kevin Roose poses many important questions about the lives of newly minted Wall Streeters, but perhaps none more important than this: "What if Wall Street doesn't just attract pre-existing douchebags, but actively draws normal people into an inescapable vortex of douchebaggery?" For Roose, it's not just a glib rhetorical exercise. Over the course of three years, the New York Times contributor recruits and interviews eight anonymous first-year bankers for details of their experiences in the notoriously opaque, reputedly douchebaggy world of high finance.

Read more
NPR Story
3:18 am
Thu February 20, 2014

Author James Patterson To Give $1 Million To Bookstores

James Patterson writes suspense and thriller novels as well as children's books. He runs the children's literacy campaign ReadKiddoRead.
Deborah Feingold Courtesy Little, Brown and Co.

Originally published on Thu February 20, 2014 10:43 am

James Patterson, the best-selling author of thrillers and romance and young adult novels, has pledged to give away $1 million of his personal fortune to independent booksellers around the country. Today, he announced the names of the dozens of booksellers who are receiving grants in the first round of his big giveaway.

The money is heading toward smaller bookstores, which are under pressure from competitors like Amazon and e-books. Patterson's own books are big sellers everywhere — he doesn't depend on small bookstores to succeed. But his giveaway is driven by a broader concern.

Read more
The Salt
1:40 am
Thu February 20, 2014

The System Supplying America's Chickens Pits Farmer Vs. Farmer

Benny Bunting, a farm advocate for Rural Advancement Foundation International-USA, in front of one of his old chicken houses in Oak City, N.C.
Dan Charles NPR

Originally published on Thu February 20, 2014 7:23 am

After reading Christopher Leonard's The Meat Racket, a broadside against the contract-farming system, I decided to take a closer look at it.

I drove to North Carolina and ended up in the kind of place that supplies practically all of our chickens: a metal-sided, 500-foot-long structure near the town of Fairmont.

Read more
The Two-Way
3:51 pm
Wed February 19, 2014

Washington's Corcoran Museum To Be Taken Over By National Gallery

The Corcoran Gallery of Art, seen here in 2005, plans a partnership with the National Gallery of Art and George Washington University that would see both its large collection and its iconic building taken over.
Karen Bleier AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 19, 2014 5:09 pm

The oldest private art museum in Washington is poised to be taken over by the National Gallery of Art, according to a plan to disperse much of the museum's holdings and turn its art college over to George Washington University. The plan was publicly unveiled Wednesday.

Read more
Book Reviews
2:47 pm
Wed February 19, 2014

Deadpan Debut Novel Asks 'Why Are You So Sad?'

Getty

Originally published on Wed February 19, 2014 6:42 pm

You'll find Raymond Champs, senior pictographer, seated in Row 8, Pod D, where he draws, day in, day out, instruction manuals for assembling furniture starring Mr. CustomMirth, the mascot of an Ikea-like furniture company called LokiLoki. Raymond may strive to give Mr. CustomMirth's potato shaped body the right amount of whimsy each day. But whimsy, or any type of feeling related to happiness, is what's missing from Raymond's life. And he suspects he's not the only one.

Read more
Book Reviews
2:19 pm
Wed February 19, 2014

It Still Feels Good To Yell: I'm 'Mad As Hell'

Originally published on Wed February 19, 2014 6:02 pm

It may have been "mad" as in angry or "mad" as in deranged. Either way, almost 40 years ago, screenwriter Paddy Chayefsky anticipated the future of television news. He envisioned a nasty, profit-oriented industry that would literally kill for ratings. (Network was — after all — satire, not a documentary.) Dave Itzkoff's account of how the brilliant, stubborn and pugnacious Chafesky did his research, wrote his script and, ultimately, imposed his vision on the film is elegantly executed.

Read more
All Tech Considered
2:19 pm
Wed February 19, 2014

Here's What Happens When Thousands Play Pokemon Together

A screenshot of the online multiplayer Pokemon game.
Twitch.tv

Originally published on Wed February 19, 2014 6:02 pm

Pokemon is the wildly popular Japanese Nintendo video game, first released in 1996. Its goal is to collect wild creatures and battle other trainers to become the Pokemon master. Simple enough, right?

Now imagine trying to play the game with tens of thousands of people looking over your shoulder, telling you which buttons to press. That's the latest social experiment going on in the gaming community. At any given time, thousands of people are controlling a single game of Pokemon Red — the original game of the series — at the same time.

And so far, it's going ... OK.

Read more
The Salt
2:14 pm
Wed February 19, 2014

Americans Want Antibiotic-Free Chicken, And The Industry Is Listening

Do these chickens look medicated?
iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu February 20, 2014 5:34 am

In an age when consumers want transparency in how their food is produced, meat producers are under the microscope.

And the meat industry is responding: Antibiotic-free chicken is showing up everywhere you look.

Read more
Movie Reviews
12:04 pm
Wed February 19, 2014

For A Rabbi Who Worked With The Nazis, Is Judgment 'Unjust'?

In 1975, Shoah director Claude Lanzmann (left) interviewed Benjmain Murmelstein, the last surviving Elder of the Jews of the Czech Theresienstadt ghetto, at his home in Rome. The resulting film is The Last of the Unjust.
Cohen Media Group

Originally published on Wed February 19, 2014 12:38 pm

When you're faced with something as heinous as the Holocaust, it's tempting to turn it into a simple morality play. This isn't to say one can't pass moral judgments — Hitler and his cohort were undeniably evil. But judging can become a form of lazy evasion, a way of closing the book on the tricky realities of failure, guilt and complicity.

Read more
Author Interviews
12:03 pm
Wed February 19, 2014

One Man's Quest To Find The 'Sonic Wonders Of The World'

Why does thunder rumble? Acoustic professor Trevor Cox explains that it has to do with the way lightning is a jagged line. "Each little kink is actually generating the sound, and the reason thunder rumbles is because the sound takes different time to come from different kinks because they're all slightly different distances from you," he says.
Mariana Suarez AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 19, 2014 12:38 pm

Ever wonder why your voice sounds so much better when you sing in the shower? It has to do with an acoustic "blur" called reverberation. From classical to pop music, reverberation "makes music sound nicer," acoustic engineer Trevor Cox tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. It helps blend the sound, "but you don't want too much," he warns.

Read more
Black History Month: #AfroGlobal
10:43 am
Wed February 19, 2014

Stromae's Lyrics 'Show A Different Vision Of The World'

Belgian music sensation Stromae acts as a mannequin in the music video for "Papaoutai."
Benjamin Brolet Universal Music France

Originally published on Wed February 19, 2014 12:42 pm

Paul Van Haver — the son of a Belgian mother and a Rwandan father — was raised by his mother in a French-speaking suburb of Brussels. He rarely saw his father, and he struggled academically. When his mother insisted he take up an instrument, he chose the drums.

Read more
Kitchen Window
7:38 am
Wed February 19, 2014

Once Exotic, Now Ubiquitous, Bananas Deserve A Bunch More Respect

Laura B. Weiss for NPR

What's more American than apple pie? It's that familiar yellow-skinned fruit that, well, we all go bananas over.

Read more
The Two-Way
5:12 am
Wed February 19, 2014

Book News: Mavis Gallant, Master Of The Short Story, Dies At 91

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

Read more
The Salt
4:03 pm
Tue February 18, 2014

Justice Scalia And Jon Stewart Concur Chicago Pizza Isn't Pizza

Comedy Central's Jon Stewart has called Chicago-style pizza "tomato soup in a bread bowl."
iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue February 18, 2014 4:14 pm

Justice Antonin Scalia and Jon Stewart, host of The Daily Show With Jon Stewart on Comedy Central, are, gasp, in agreement!

Both have rendered scorching opinions on a major national controversy — pizza. Specifically, Chicago-style, deep-dish pizza.

Read more
Movie Interviews
2:03 pm
Tue February 18, 2014

Hard To Watch '12 Years A Slave'? Try Editing It

Lupita Nyong'o and Chiwetel Ejiofor in the Oscar-nominated 12 Years a Slave. Director Steve McQueen and film editor Joe Walker took a restrained, formal approach to portraying the "casual nightmare" of American slavery.
Francois Duhamel Fox Searchlight Pictures

Originally published on Tue February 25, 2014 3:38 pm

A lot of people believe 12 Years A Slave is the best film yet made about slavery in the United States. That doesn't make it easy to watch.

It also wasn't easy to edit.

"Editing is like a massive, 5,000-piece jigsaw puzzle," says director Steve McQueen. He's just arrived from Europe and is relaxing in a suite in a swanky West Hollywood hotel with the film's editor, Joe Walker.

Read more
New In Paperback
12:03 pm
Tue February 18, 2014

Feb. 16-22: A Secret, A Controversy And A Catcher's Career

Retired Major League Baseball player Mike Piazza's new autobiography, Long Shot, addresses the steroid controversy and recalls the first game after the Sept. 11 attacks.
Simon and Schuster

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

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

Monkey See
12:00 pm
Tue February 18, 2014

On 'Tonight Show,' Jimmy Fallon Looks To Bridge Two Eras

Stephen Colbert visits The Tonight Show for Jimmy Fallon's debut --€” and pays up the $100 he bet that Fallon would never host it.
Theo Wargo Getty Images

Originally published on Tue February 18, 2014 2:24 pm

When Jimmy Fallon first stepped up to lead a late-night talk show in 2009, he looked like a teenager trying to drive his dad's Ferrari: a good kid who was out of his depth.

Read more
Author Interviews
11:32 am
Tue February 18, 2014

Teens Rehearse For Adulthood In Wolitzer's 'Interestings'

iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue February 18, 2014 1:03 pm

Teen years are sort of a "rehearsal" for adulthood, author Meg Wolitzer tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross, and that's particularly true at the performing arts summer camp where her latest novel begins. It's 1974, and the main character, Jules, a newcomer to the camp, is invited into a circle of 15- and 16-year-olds who nickname themselves — with knowing irony — The Interestings.

Read more
Television
11:30 am
Tue February 18, 2014

With Humor And A Nod To History, Fallon Takes Over 'The Tonight Show'

Jimmy Fallon took over as host of The Tonight Show on Monday. "I hope I do well," he told the audience. "I hope that you enjoy this."
Theo Wargo Getty Images for The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon

Originally published on Tue February 18, 2014 1:03 pm

Opening nights of new incarnations of late-night TV talk shows are good, mostly, for first impressions — or, in the case of Jay Leno, sometimes a second impression. It's not fair to make strong judgments on the content alone, because a first show always is top-heavy with ideas, special guests and nervousness. But it is fair game to judge the set, the environment, the overall mood, and how well the host fits into the history of late-night television.

Read more
The Two-Way
5:32 am
Tue February 18, 2014

Book News: J.K. Rowling's Second Crime Novel Coming Out In June

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

Read more
Book Reviews
5:03 am
Tue February 18, 2014

'A Burnable Book' Is Fragrant With The Stench Of Medieval London

promo image

Originally published on Tue February 18, 2014 3:35 pm

I fell into a state of dazed puzzlement at the start of this book, whose first chapter includes a remote century's bitter winter, "sour ale" in an "undercroft tavern," the stink of Newgate Jail, French secret agents, a wild-haired preacher and conversations in Italian and French as well as English.

Read more
Arts & Life
3:18 am
Tue February 18, 2014

Classical Music Piece Enhances Roald Dahl's 'Dirty Beasts'

Originally published on Tue February 18, 2014 9:03 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

The children's author Roald Dahl died almost 25 years ago, and yet, today you can find more musical adaptations of his work than ever.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

"Matilda" is a hit on Broadway. A musical version of "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" is running in London's West End.

GREENE: Over the weekend, the London Philharmonic Orchestra debuted the newest adaptation of Dahl's work, a classical piece for children based on a collection of poems called "Dirty Beasts."

Read more
Movies
1:31 am
Tue February 18, 2014

Getting 'Dallas Buyers Club' Made Took Tenacity And 'Will'

Rayon (Jared Leto) and Ron Woodroof (Matthew McConaughey) are fellow AIDS patients smuggling alternative medications into the U.S. in Dallas Buyers Club, directed by Jean-Marc Vallée.
Anne Marie Fox Courtesy of Focus Features

Originally published on Tue February 18, 2014 9:03 am

Read more
Monkey See
3:57 pm
Mon February 17, 2014

The Beauty Of Spilling Your Sad Teenage Guts

I read Pam Ribon's Notes To Boys: And Other Things I Shouldn't Share In Public in a few sittings, but the longest stretch I consumed where one should ideally read this book: in a bubble bath. The calming atmosphere is good for the anxiety that comes from seeing a woman excavate her teenage brain, the vulnerability builds the empathy it takes to understand how terrified all these boys she was writing to must have felt, and if you get too mortified for her, you can always elect to go down the drain with the bathwater just to escape.

Read more
Book Reviews
9:03 am
Mon February 17, 2014

Don't Know What To Do With Your Life? Neither Did Thoreau

The works of Henry David Thoreau have influenced generations of readers, but Thoreau himself wasn't always celebrated. His schoolmates and neighbors found him standoffish and regarded his fascination with plants and Indian relics as downright odd.
AP

Originally published on Mon February 17, 2014 12:59 pm

Every year, students come into my office and say, "I don't know what I want to do with my life." Of course, plenty of people in the world don't have the luxury of such cluelessness, but my students don't look like they're enjoying their privilege; they look scared and depressed, as though they've already failed some big test of character. They might find some comfort in Michael Sims' new biography of the young Henry David Thoreau called, simply, The Adventures of Henry Thoreau.

Read more
My Guilty Pleasure
5:03 am
Mon February 17, 2014

It's French, But Ooh, It's Pulpy: The Dark Adventures Of Fantômas

Fantômas begins as many a good tale begins: with listeners crowding around a fire. In this case, guests of the venerable Marquise surround a retired magistrate who, with relish, tells of the terror that is Fantômas. Fantômas, the criminal mastermind — I would love the book just for the mystery of the name, though in fact, the name isn't even his: it is given to him by rumor, or maybe the police. We know nothing of Fantômas: he is believed to take on the identity of others, sometimes famous others, sometimes several at once.

Read more
Monkey See
5:03 am
Mon February 17, 2014

Last Chance To Read 'Grapes Of Wrath' Before It Turns 75

These Grapes of Wrath copies may look well-loved, but don't be fooled. A lot of us are opening them up for the first time.
Jim Tuttle NPR

Originally published on Mon April 14, 2014 2:43 pm

John Steinbeck's Dust Bowl saga has been on required reading lists for decades, but somehow a lot of us at NPR Books have never read it. (We know! We know!) So when we realized the 75th anniversary was coming up on April 14, we thought: What better way to pay tribute to Steinbeck's Pulitzer Prize-winning epic than to actually crack it open?

That is to say: We're hosting a Grapes of Wrath book club and you're all invited to join.*

Read more

Pages