Arts

Book Reviews
5:02 am
Thu November 14, 2013

With Nuanced Beauty, 'Hild' Destroys Myths Of Medieval Womanhood

I am used to conversations about women in historical fiction — or, even more bafflingly, in historical fantasy — consisting of apologia for there being so few of them. "Women were oppressed," the old chestnut goes, and consequently unimportant in the grand scheme of things except inasmuch as they birthed heirs or sealed national alliances in marriage, so it's no surprise that today's writers find little of interest in their day to day doings, right?

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The Salt
3:07 pm
Wed November 13, 2013

It's National Indian Pudding Day! Here's Why You Should Celebrate

Indian pudding, served warm with vanilla ice cream — a dish well worth celebrating.
Katherine Perry NPR

Originally published on Fri November 15, 2013 7:08 am

Turns out, Nov. 13 is National Indian Pudding Day. It sneaked up on you again, didn't it?

You can't be blamed.

Indian pudding is virtually unknown outside of New England, and even there it's tricky to find. But this enduring New England dessert may actually deserve a day of its own.

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Code Switch
2:38 pm
Wed November 13, 2013

Fox Says Diversity Leads To Good Ratings And Better Business

Nicole Beharie and Tom Mison play Abbie Mills and Ichabod Crane in Fox's new show Sleepy Hollow.
Courtesy of Fox

It's easy, when writing about network TV, to be cynical.

For example, when I heard the Fox network had been holding annual conferences on diversity, telling top show producers their casts and crew had to feature more people of color, I remained skeptical. What's the catch, I wondered?

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Book Reviews
12:44 pm
Wed November 13, 2013

A 'Marriage', A Divorce, A Dying Dog And Essays Done Right

iStockphoto.com

Pity the poor essay collection. Unlike its close, more creative neighbor — the short story collection — or its snooty relation, The Novel, the humble essay collection is the wallflower of the literary world. And, when an essay collection is composed — as Ann Patchett's new volume partly is — of pieces previously printed in fashion and pet lovers' magazines, it really might seem like a grab bag of minor material — as, admittedly, a few of the pieces here are.

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Author Interviews
11:27 am
Wed November 13, 2013

Christmas Lights Make Slippers In Global 'Junkyard' Economy

A woman worker sorts used plastic bottles at a recycle center in Mumbai, India.
Rajanish Kakade AP

Originally published on Wed November 13, 2013 5:01 pm

When you think of recycling, you probably think of cans, plastic bottles and newspapers. Well, think a little bigger.

There are businesses devoted to recycling metal, paper, plastic, oil, textiles, cell phones, computers, motors, batteries, Christmas lights, cars and more. The hidden world of globalized recycling and reclamation, and its impact on the environment and the global economy, is the subject of the new book Junkyard Planet by journalist Adam Minter.

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The Salt
10:18 am
Wed November 13, 2013

Why Can We Taste Bitter Flavors? Turns Out, It's Still A Mystery

The first taste of an olive can be a bit shocking. But eventually, many of us start to enjoy bitter fruits, nuts and beverages.
Screenshot from TEDxTalks/Youtube.com

Originally published on Fri November 15, 2013 7:08 am

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Books
9:55 am
Wed November 13, 2013

Aid Worker: Hard To Put Experience Into Words

As an aid worker, Jessica Alexander worked in Rwanda, Sudan, Sierra Leone, and Haiti, but don't call her a hero or a saint. Alexander tells Michel Martin about why she wanted to challenge perceptions of aid workers in her new book, Chasing Chaos: My Decade In and Out of Humanitarian Aid.

Monkey See
9:14 am
Wed November 13, 2013

'The Real World' Trades The Final Eight Percent Of Its Soul For Magic Beans

The cast of The Real World: Portland.
MTV

It's hard to remember when you look at the last umpteen seasons of MTV's The Real World, but back at the beginning, it was a pretty fascinating show. It once involved people who had actual plans to be musicians or artists or activists, and although there was always conflict, the days before everyone knew the rhythms of Real World editing — which became the rhythms of reality editing in general — it was, I repeat, a pretty fascinating show.

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The Two-Way
5:16 am
Wed November 13, 2013

Book News: TV Pitchman Kevin Trudeau Jailed For Diet-Book Lies

Author and infomercial pitchman Kevin Trudeau.
AP

Originally published on Thu November 14, 2013 6:41 am

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

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The Salt
3:16 pm
Tue November 12, 2013

Chef Chat: We Pick The Brains Of Ottolenghi And Tamimi

Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi grab a quick breakfast with NPR's Madhulika Sikka. They stopped by NPR in October to talk food philosophy.
Morgan Walker/ NPR

Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi own four wildly popular London restaurants and have authored runaway best-selling cookbooks for omnivores and vegetarians alike.

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The Two-Way
1:35 pm
Tue November 12, 2013

How About A Coke? Warhol Painting Up For Grabs

Coca-Cola (3) was one of many of Warhol's pop art pieces, which celebrated popular culture and consumerism in post-World War II America.
Courtesy of Christie's

Originally published on Tue November 12, 2013 2:59 pm

On Tuesday, artist Andy Warhol's oversized and iconic Coca-Cola (3) will hit the auction block at Christie's, and to borrow an old slogan from the company, It's The Real Thing.

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Commentary
11:11 am
Tue November 12, 2013

Was Rand Paul's Plagiarism Dishonest Or A Breach Of Good Form?

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., talks to reporters at the U.S. Capitol on Sept. 3.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Tue November 12, 2013 2:31 pm

Even taken together, the charges didn't seem to amount to that big a deal — just a matter of quoting a few factual statements and a Wikipedia passage without attributing them. But as Rand Paul discovered, the word "plagiarism" can still rouse people to steaming indignation. Samuel Johnson called plagiarism the most reproachful of literary crimes, and the word itself began as the name of a real crime. In Roman law, a plagiarius was someone who abducted a child or a slave — it's from "plaga," the Latin word for a net or a snare.

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Author Interviews
11:11 am
Tue November 12, 2013

Even When It Hurts 'ALOT,' Brosh Faces Life With Plenty Of 'Hyperbole'

This Is Why I'll Never Be An Adult" blog post. (It's now a popular Internet meme.)" href="/post/even-when-it-hurts-alot-brosh-faces-life-plenty-hyperbole" class="noexit lightbox">
You may recognize this drawing from Allie Brosh's popular "This Is Why I'll Never Be An Adult" blog post. (It's now a popular Internet meme.)
Courtesy Touchstone Books

Originally published on Mon December 9, 2013 2:21 pm

Allie Brosh's humorous, autobiographical blog, Hyperbole and a Half, has a huge following. In 2011, an editor of PC World included it in a list of the funniest sites on the Internet, and this year, Advertising Age included Brosh in its annual list of the year's most influential and creative thinkers and doers.

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New In Paperback
8:57 am
Tue November 12, 2013

Nov. 11-17: A Stargazer, A World Wanderer And Sidewalks For All

Originally published on Tue November 12, 2013 5:24 pm

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

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Monkey See
8:17 am
Tue November 12, 2013

What He Did For Love: Manipulation And Wickedness In 'About Time'

Domhnall Gleeson plays Tim in About Time.
Murray Close Universal Pictures

[This piece contains some plot details about About Time, but nothing major that isn't revealed in the film's marketing.]

Movies are the closest thing we have to time travel, so it's no wonder — or rather, it's a rich and enduring wonder — that so many memorable films have made it their subject. Actually, let's strike that. Few if any of those films are actually about time travel. Most films that involve it use it as a means of discussing something else.

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The Two-Way
6:15 am
Tue November 12, 2013

Book News: Spying Concerns Driving Writers To Self-Censor, Study Finds

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

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Television
1:08 am
Tue November 12, 2013

Comcast Deal Puts New Minority-Run Channels In Play

El Rey, which will be targeting a young Latino audience, is being spearheaded by filmmaker Robert Rodriguez, shown at the premiere of his recent film Machete Kills in October.
Kevin Winter Getty Images

Rapper and producer Sean "Diddy" Combs, director Robert Rodriguez, and basketball legend Magic Johnson each now has his own new cable TV networks. Their channels were part of a merger deal Comcast made with the FCC to give a shot to new networks owned by African Americans, Latinos and others.

Last month, Combs threw on his classic Puff Daddy alias to welcome millennial viewers to his new music network, Revolt.

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The Impact of War
11:38 am
Mon November 11, 2013

In 'Fire And Forget,' Vets Turned Writers Tell Their War Stories

U.S. Army soldiers begin their journey home from Iraq on July 13, 2010.
Maya Alleruzzo AP

Originally published on Mon November 11, 2013 5:43 pm

This Veterans Day, considers these lines from the preface to Fire And Forget, a collection of short stories by veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan:

On the one hand, we want to remind you ... of what happened ... and insist you recollect those men and women who fought, bled, and died in dangerous and far-away places. On the other hand, there's nothing most of us would rather do than leave these wars behind. No matter what we do next, the soft tension of the trigger pull is something we'll carry with us forever.

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Code Switch
8:19 am
Mon November 11, 2013

Sometimes The 'Tough Teen' Is Quietly Writing Stories

Matt de la Peña is the author of Ball Don't Lie, Mexican WhiteBoy, We Were Here, I Will Save You and, most recently, The Living.
Random House Children's Books

Originally published on Fri November 15, 2013 2:56 pm

A few years ago I did an author visit at an overcrowded junior high school in a rougher part of San Antonio. I write young adult novels that feature working-class, "multicultural" characters, so I'm frequently invited to speak at urban schools like this.

As is often the case, the principal and I talked as the kids filed into the auditorium. The student body was mostly Hispanic, he told me, and over 90 percent qualified for free and reduced lunch. It was an underprivileged school, a traditionally low-achieving school, but they were working hard to raise performance.

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The Two-Way
5:58 am
Mon November 11, 2013

Book News: Postal Service Strikes Sunday-Delivery Deal With Amazon

USPS carrier Michael McDonald gathers mail before making his delivery run in February in Atlanta.
David Goldman AP

Originally published on Mon November 11, 2013 6:58 am

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

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Fine Art
1:22 am
Mon November 11, 2013

In 1913, A New York Armory Filled With Art Stunned The Nation

Robert Henri's 1913 Figure in Motion was a realistic, but bold response to Matisse's and Duchamp's nudes.
Terra Foundation for American Art, Chicago, Ill.

Originally published on Mon November 11, 2013 1:08 pm

One hundred years ago in New York City, nearly 90,000 people came to see the future of art. The 1913 Armory Show gave America its first look at what avant-garde artists in Europe were doing. Today these artists are in major museums around the world, but in 1913, they were mostly unknown in America.

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Author Interviews
2:53 pm
Sun November 10, 2013

How Cynthia Rylant Discovered The Poetry Of Storytelling

Courtesy of Beach Lane Books

Originally published on Sun November 10, 2013 4:58 pm

Cynthia Rylant is a renowned author who has written for all age groups and been honored with both Caldecott and Newbery prizes for her work.

Her latest book, God Got a Dog, is a collection of poems that only took her one day to write.

"One poem ... just came out of the blue, and I sat down and I wrote it. And then after I finished writing it, I got an idea for another God poem, and so I wrote that one. And so it started in the morning and then by the end of the day, I was finished writing the book," she tells All Things Considered host Arun Rath.

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Author Interviews
2:53 pm
Sun November 10, 2013

A Panorama Of Devastation: Drawing Of WWI Battle Spans 24 Feet

Detail from Plate 11 of Joe Sacco's The Great War: July 1, 1916: The First Day of the Battle of the Somme. On July 1st, at precisely 7:30 a.m., the attack commences.
Joe Sacco Courtesy of W. W. Norton & Company

Originally published on Sun November 10, 2013 4:58 pm

Joe Sacco is a cartoonist, graphic novelist and journalist; he's best-known for his dispatches from today's regions of conflict, like the Middle East and Bosnia, in cartoon form. But for his latest book, The Great War, Sacco turns his eye on history. He's recreated of one of the worst battles of World War I, the first day of the Battle of the Somme, from its hopeful beginning to its brutal end.

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Sunday Puzzle
6:03 am
Sun November 10, 2013

Capitalize On 'This Minus That'

NPR

Originally published on Sun November 10, 2013 10:54 am

On-air challenge: Every answer is the name of a state capital, to be identified from its anagram. For example, given "banally" minus the letter L, the answer would be "Albany."

Last week's challenge from the Emmy-winning TV comedy writer Mike Reiss: A famous actress and a famous director share the same last name, although they are unrelated. The first name of one of these is a classic musical. The first name of the other is an anagram of a classic musical. Who are they?

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You Must Read This
5:03 am
Sun November 10, 2013

A Youngest 'Daughter' Remembers Famines, Shame And Hope

AFP/Getty Images

Hong Ying's autobiography, Daughter of the River, is doubly astonishing. First, it's an account of the Cultural Revolution that's not written by an intellectual. There's a certain genre of Chinese memoir that looks at upheaval under Mao through an elite lens, and I have to admit, I've been growing tired of those books. But Hong Ying comes from a very different background indeed.

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Theater
3:11 am
Sun November 10, 2013

Here's A Wild Idea For Shakespeare: Do It His Way

Mark Rylance as Olivia (right) and Samuel Barnett as Viola in Twelfth Night. The Broadway production, which first played at London's Globe Theatre, is done in the Elizabethan tradition, with an all-male cast.
Joan Marcus

Originally published on Sun November 10, 2013 10:54 am

This season, New York audiences have seen wildly different interpretations of Shakespeare plays. They've seen the Romeo of Orlando Bloom make his first entrance on a motorcycle; they've seen a production of Julius Caesar set in a women's prison.

Now the London-based company from Shakespeare's Globe Theatre has landed on Broadway with what seems like the most radical concept of them all: plays staged in a style Shakespeare would've recognized, with all-male casts, period costumes and live music.

Not A Museum

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Author Interviews
5:14 am
Sat November 9, 2013

English Manners Are Downright Medieval ('Sorry!' Was That Rude?)

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Sat November 9, 2013 9:24 am

From that very first time we're first scolded for putting our elbows on the table at great-aunt Millie's house, we're inducted into the world of manners. After that, it's a lifetime of "pleases" and "thank yous," and chewing with our mouths closed.

But where did all of this civility come from? We can't give all the credit (or blame) to the English, but the average Brit says "sorry" eight times per day, so it's a pretty good place to start.

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Author Interviews
5:14 am
Sat November 9, 2013

'A Rose Is A Rose Is A' 75-Year-Old Kid's Book By Gertrude Stein

Excerpted from The World Is Round.
Courtesy of Harper Design

Originally published on Sat November 9, 2013 3:01 pm

You might know Gertrude Stein from that college class where you studied her experimental fiction, or maybe you remember her as the host of salons for famous 20th-century artists like Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso and Ernest Hemingway.

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Theater
5:14 am
Sat November 9, 2013

'We Will Rock You': A Bohemian Musical

Originally published on Sat November 9, 2013 9:24 am

Transcript

DON GONYEA, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Don Gonyea. Whether or not you're a fan of rock and roll, you've surely heard at least one of the hits by Queen. The British band dominated the airwaves in the '70s and '80s and now their music is rocking the world again, this time in a jukebox musical called "We Will Rock You."

The show has been running in London for a dozen years but now an Americanized version is touring the United States and Canada. NPR's Allison Keyes was at the opening show in Baltimore.

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Book Reviews
5:03 am
Sat November 9, 2013

Amy Tan's Latest: Mothers, Daughters And The Oldest Profession

Originally published on Sat November 9, 2013 4:10 pm

Family secrets, life-changing betrayals and the paradox of wondering about the old country while belonging to the new are at the heart of Amy Tan's work. She enthralled readers of her phenomenally successful first novel, The Joy Luck Club (1989), with the interlocking stories of four Chinese-born mothers and their four California-born daughters. Tan followed up with equally enduring portraits of fierce immigrant mothers who withheld secrets of the past while pushing their daughters forward in The Kitchen God's Wife (1991), and The Bonesetter's Daughter (2001).

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