Arts

The Two-Way
5:15 am
Tue February 4, 2014

Book News: Fragment Of Jane Austen's Handwriting Found

Hulton Archive Getty Images

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

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New In Paperback
5:02 am
Tue February 4, 2014

Feb. 2-8: The Virgin Mary, The Prophet Muhammad And A Stalker Student

Scribner

Originally published on Thu March 27, 2014 3:37 pm

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

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

Book Reviews
5:02 am
Tue February 4, 2014

A Little Knowledge Is 'Definitely Maybe' A Dangerous Thing

Boris and Arkady Strugatsky coauthored the 1971 science fiction novel Roadside Picnic.
Courtesy of the Strugatsky Estate

A great truth is this: Some discoveries, like the sting of a painful memory, do a number on your psyche. Definitely Maybe accomplishes just that. It's one for those with a penchant for the strange, those drawn to the grim and the darkly funny — those, like myself, interested in the beautifully rendered pessimism of manic scientists. Never mind, just for a moment, the current state of science fiction. Arkady and Boris Strugatsky, brothers, celebrated Russian geniuses, give it all in this dystopian gem. All and then some.

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Movies
2:27 pm
Mon February 3, 2014

On Philip Seymour Hoffman, And His Many Appearances

Philip Seymour Hoffman at a screening of The Master, for which he was nominated for an Academy Award, during the 2012 Venice Film Festival.
Gabriel Bouys AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 6:16 pm

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Television
2:15 pm
Mon February 3, 2014

A Viewing Guide For The Overwhelmed Olympic Fan

Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 5:33 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Well, if you were to try to watch all of NBC's coverage of the Sochi games, it would be a lot of TV: 1,539 hours of programming. The network is serving up more coverage of the Winter Olympics than ever. NPR's TV critic Eric Deggans has some advice for those sorting through it.

ERIC DEGGANS, BYLINE: Watching the Olympics is like a Rorschach test. Years ago, you just turned on the TV and gobbled down whatever they dished up.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED AUDIO)

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The Salt
12:51 pm
Mon February 3, 2014

Food Comics Turn 'ZAP' And 'POW' Into 'Sizzle' And 'Bubble'

Lucy Knisley's Relish is a graphic memoir about how she discovered her love of food and cooking.
Courtesy of Lucy Knisley

Comic book heroes don't have to wear brightly colored spandex or possess superpowers to capture readers' imaginations anymore. They can don toques and wield whisks instead.

A growing number of comic artists are focusing on what's on their plates, rather than dreaming up intergalactic showdowns and caped crusader capers.

So less ZAP, BOOM, POW. More sizzle, crackle, bubble.

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The Salt
12:38 pm
Mon February 3, 2014

Sandwich Monday: Poppin' Pebbles, A Fruity Pebbles Spinoff

Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm get weird.
NPR

Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 5:39 pm

For years, makers of kids' cereals have been upping the ante to get kids interested: hiding a toy surprise inside, adding multicolored marshmallows, setting bear traps in the cereal aisle. Now Post, maker of the classic Flintstones-themed Fruity Pebbles, has created "Poppin' Pebbles," an explosive Pop Rocks-cereal mashup.

Miles: This is the only cereal on the market that fizzes and foams in your mouth. Well, this and Cinnamon Rabies Crunch.

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Remembrances
11:57 am
Mon February 3, 2014

Philip Seymour Hoffman On Acting: An 'Exhausting' And 'Satisfying' Art

Actor Philip Seymour Hoffman was found dead in his Manhattan apartment on Sunday. He was 46.
Evan Agostini Getty Images

Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 6:21 pm

It's easy to lose yourself in Philip Seymour Hoffman masterful portrayals, but those performances were anything but effortless.

"Like any job," he told Fresh Air's Terry Gross in 2008, it could be exhausting. In our day to day lives, "we're not too introspective," he said. "We don't walk around our lives just constantly trying to delve into the understanding of ourselves unless you're in therapy or something. But that's what actors do, you know? We really explore ourselves and other people."

Hoffman was found dead on Sunday in his Manhattan apartment. He was 46.

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Monkey See
9:35 am
Mon February 3, 2014

Not-stalgia: Why I Don't Miss 'Seinfeld'

Getty Images

Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 10:34 am

I remember laughing occasionally at Seinfeld. I'm pretty sure there's tape of me somewhere, probably on a podcast, acknowledging that it's good. Because of peer pressure.

I don't like Seinfeld, I don't miss it, and every time I'm asked to participate in some sort of acknowledgment of its greatness, or its place in the pantheon, I feel myself cringe and lie and say I understand, but I am here to tell you, and then never to be so cowardly again: I don't understand.

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Monkey See
8:03 am
Mon February 3, 2014

Philip Seymour Hoffman And The Blessings Of Friction

Philip Seymour Hoffman, seen here in November, died Sunday.
Robyn Beck AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 1:42 pm

It is already a cliche, born in the past 18 hours, for a writer to puzzle over the task of remembering Philip Seymour Hoffman, who died Sunday. It is indeed hard to figure out what to say about an artist quite so universally admired, and quite so kindly spoken of with such consistency.

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The Two-Way
5:11 am
Mon February 3, 2014

Book News: J.K. Rowling Says She Regrets Matching Ron And Hermione

Say it Ain't So! Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling now says that beloved characters Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, played by Rupert Grint and Emma Watson (seen in 2011), shouldn't have wound up together.
Adrian Dennis AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 6:20 am

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

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Remembrances
3:01 am
Mon February 3, 2014

Philip Seymour Hoffman On His Portrayal Of Willy Loman

Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 5:43 am

Many famous actors have played the role of Willy Loman in Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman. Philip Seymour Hoffman became the fifth actor to play the harried, 63-year-old Loman on Broadway. (Steve Inskeep's conversation with Philip Seymour Hoffman initially aired on April 12, 2012 on Morning Edition).

Theater
1:30 am
Mon February 3, 2014

'After Midnight,' And The Cotton Club Is Swinging Again

Fantasia Barrino, the American Idol winner who went on to play the lead role in Broadway's The Color Purple, was among the rotating roster of guest stars in After Midnight, a Broadway revue celebrating Harlem's legendary Cotton Club and the stars who performed there.
Matthew Murphy

Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 5:43 am

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Remembrances
5:06 pm
Sun February 2, 2014

Philip Seymour Hoffman: An 'Uncanny' Actor Of Stage And Screen

Hoffman (left) and Eddie Marsan, in a scene from the film God's Pocket, released in January.
Lance Acord AP

Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 12:53 pm

Actor Philip Seymour Hoffman was found dead on Sunday in his Manhattan apartment. He was 46.

Hoffman was steeped in his profession — in film, on stage, in the spotlight and behind the scenes.

In 2005, he won the Oscar for best actor for his portrayal of Truman Capote. The movie focuses on Capote's interviews with two murderers on death row for his nonfiction novel In Cold Blood.

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Around the Nation
3:19 pm
Sun February 2, 2014

Following Oil Boom In N. Dakota: A Cultural Blooming?

Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 12:25 pm

Transcript

ARUN RATH, HOST:

It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR West. I'm Arun Rath.

This week, NPR has been reporting on the effects of the fracking boom in the area known as the Bakken. Williston, North Dakota, offers a haven for a new working class. Tens of thousands of newcomers have flocked to the oil field over the past five years. The region is flush with high-paying, low-scaled work. It's bringing a lot of economic development, and some are hoping it can bring cultural development too. Montana Public Radio's Dan Boyce has the story.

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Author Interviews
3:19 pm
Sun February 2, 2014

'Unnecessary Woman' Lives On The Margins, Enveloped In Books

Trinette Reed iStockphoto

Originally published on Sun February 2, 2014 4:42 pm

Aaliyah lives in the heart of Lebanon's capital, but she is cut off from parties, war and family.

The title character of Rabih Alameddine's new novel spends her days alone in her Beirut apartment. She translates her favorite books into Arabic, and her manuscripts pile up, unsold. At 72, the former bookstore employee is long divorced without any children.

"She fell in love with books," Alameddine says. "So this is a woman who, whether it is by choice or by circumstance, has been forced into the margins of society."

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Movies
3:18 pm
Sun February 2, 2014

A Century Ago Today, Chaplin Made His Film Debut — In A Dud

Silent-film icon Charlie Chaplin, in character as the Little Tramp, takes aim with his walking stick circa 1925.
Edward Gooch Getty Images

Originally published on Sun February 2, 2014 4:42 pm

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The Salt
2:10 pm
Sun February 2, 2014

Marijuana-Laced Treats Leave Colorado Jonesing For Food-Safety Rules

Truffles are among the many foods infused with THC – the chemical in marijuana that gives you a high — already for sale in Colorado.
Luke Runyon/KUNC/Harvest Public Media

Originally published on Tue February 4, 2014 10:00 am

Where there's pot, there's pot brownies. But how do you make sure those high-inducing sweets are safe to eat?

Colorado regulators are wrestling with that question now that the state has legalized recreational marijuana. From sodas and truffles to granola bars and butter, food products infused with THC – the chemical in marijuana that gives you a high — are already for sale.

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Middle East
7:01 am
Sun February 2, 2014

Despite Scars Of War, Karachi Holds Onto Its Chutzpah

Originally published on Sun February 2, 2014 12:17 pm

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin. When you hear us say Karachi, Pakistan, you might assume we're going to bring you're a story about terrorism or a bombing or a kidnapping - and you would often be right. It is the most violent city in all of Pakistan. But NPR's Philip Reeves found that isn't all there is to the city. In fact, there's often a gap between Karachi's reputation and the reality of the place, as he explains in this letter from Pakistan.

(SOUNDBITE OF TRAFFIC NOISE)

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Books News & Features
7:01 am
Sun February 2, 2014

Amazon Plunges Into Christian Publishing With Waterfall Imprint

Amazon Publishing

Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 8:13 am

The online superstore Amazon got its start selling books — and it's been getting into the publishing business as well, with imprints for genres like science fiction, romance and mystery.

Until now, though, it hasn't had its fingers in one of the biggest slices of the publishing pie: Christian books. That changed this past week, with the introduction of the Waterfall Press imprint.

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Author Interviews
7:01 am
Sun February 2, 2014

American Muslim Men Balance Faith And Love In 'Salaam'

Originally published on Tue February 4, 2014 12:16 pm

What exactly do Muslim men want? That's the theme of a new book of essays called Salaam, Love. It's the companion volume to one that came out last year called Love, InshAllah, which focused on the lives of American Muslim women.

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Author Interviews
7:01 am
Sun February 2, 2014

Gothic Thriller Takes Two Young Girls Down A 'Dark Road To Mercy'

Courtesy of HarperCollins

Originally published on Sun February 2, 2014 12:17 pm

Twelve-year-old Easter Quillby has learned to keep her expectations low in order to protect herself from more disappointment in life. It's a coping mechanism she developed to keep her and her 6-year-old sister, Ruby, safe after their mom unexpectedly passed away. But when their estranged dad kidnaps them from foster care, they're forced to live in the middle of his past and present mistakes — all the while trying to figure out what family is supposed to mean.

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Sunday Puzzle
6:00 am
Sun February 2, 2014

Drop The Zero And Get With The Hero

NPR

Originally published on Sun February 2, 2014 12:17 pm

On-air challenge: For each single letter given, recombine it with the letters in the word "ZERO" to spell a new word. For example, ZERO plus F would be "FROZE."

Last week's challenge: What word, containing two consecutive S's, becomes its own synonym if you drop those S's?

Answer: Blossom, bloom

Winner: Trey Moody of Killeen, Texas

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PG-13: Risky Reads
5:02 am
Sun February 2, 2014

A Suburban Teen Saw The Sparkle Of 'Edie' — But Not The Pain

Donald Bowers Getty Images

At 13, I was a girl frantically itching to get out of her own skin. Growing up in Grosse Pointe, a sleepy suburb of Detroit, a place for which the word "serene" seems coined, I was a perpetual yearner. I became a compulsive reader of biographies as a way of imagining myself into lives more dramatic than my own.

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Author Interviews
4:05 am
Sun February 2, 2014

Anna Quindlen Spins A Tale Of Middle-Aged Reinvention

Courtesy of Random House

Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 10:58 am

Rebecca Winter is at a crossroads. The famous photographer had been living off of sales of one particular photograph for years. When the money stream starts to dry up, she reluctantly decides to rent out her Manhattan apartment and move to a small, rural town far from her seemingly fabulous New York life. It is here that she tries to map out her next chapter. No longer married, no longer needed as much by her grown son, no longer as successful as she used to be.

That's where we meet the main character in Anna Quindlen's newest novel, Still Life with Bread Crumbs.

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Book Reviews
1:43 pm
Sat February 1, 2014

'Hang Wire' Is A Love Letter To Weird America

Hang Wire is Adam Christopher's fourth novel.
Courtesy of Angry Robot

Originally published on Sun February 2, 2014 5:03 am

The New Zealand-bred, England-based author Adam Christopher has a thing for America. He's built a name for himself over the past couple years spinning fanciful yarns full of superheroes, shifts in time, and a refined pulp pop, starting with his New York City-set debut Empire State. His fourth and latest novel, the standalone urban fantasy Hang Wire, fiddles with that formula a bit without omitting a single element. If anything, Christopher amps up the mash-up on Hang Wire, combining everything from ancient deities to arcade carnies to serial killers.

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Food
7:42 am
Sat February 1, 2014

What's Best To Drink With Pizza And Football?

Originally published on Sat February 1, 2014 10:00 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This Super Bowl weekend millions of slices of pizza will be consumed and 51 million cases of beer. But there are a lot of beverages to wash down a slice. Katie Parla is a journalist and food historian. She's from New Jersey, where the game will be played, but she lives in Italy now and has written about beverages that go with pizza for Saveur magazine. She joins us on the line from Rome. Thanks very much for being with us.

KATIE PARLA: Thanks for having me.

SIMON: So what's your beverage lineup?

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Arts & Life
7:42 am
Sat February 1, 2014

A Winter Straight Out Of Dante's 'Inferno'

Originally published on Sat February 1, 2014 10:00 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

We generally think of hell as hot, but with the polar vortex sweeping through the country, many Americans may feel that hell is these bleak, cold days of mid-winter. Sally Franson is a write who's felt besieged in her apartment in Minneapolis. She says, "Dante's hell and winters are the same thing." And that's a direct quote from a blog post that she wrote this week. Sally Franson joins us now from Minneapolis. Thanks very much for being with us.

SALLY FRANSON: Pleasure.

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Movies
7:42 am
Sat February 1, 2014

Comedian's Career Is Central To 'Quality Balls'

Originally published on Sat February 1, 2014 10:00 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

So a Rabbinical student, a Canadian and a comic walk into Chicago's "Second City." They turn out to be the same person, David Steinberg.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED SECOND CITY ACT)

MARTIN SHORT: So this evening we're very, very glad to have with us the first Eskimo folk singer, Mr. Nanook Smith.

DAVID STEINBERG: No, I'm the second. My brother was the first and was swallowed by a big huge polar bear.

SHORT: Oh, that's too bad. I'm sorry to hear that.

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Pop Culture
7:42 am
Sat February 1, 2014

A Major Oscar Dust-Up Over A Song From A Minor Movie

Originally published on Tue February 25, 2014 3:45 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

When the Oscar nominees for best song were announced earlier this month, there were, of course, several well-known titles, including Karen O's "The Moon Song," from the movie "Her"; and Pharrell Williams' "Happy," from "Despicable Me 2." Then there was this...

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "ALONE...YET NOT ALONE")

JONI EARECKSON TADA: (Singing) I will not be bent in fear. He's the refuge I know is near...

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