Who could forget that slightly manic — but ever so endearing — single gal looking for love in London: Bridget Jones. From her first diary entries in 1996, to her portrayal on the big screen in 2001, to her most recent ramblings in this year's Mad About the Boy, we've gotten to go inside the mind of Bridget Jones and see the truth, the whole truth about what it's like to be a woman most definitely now not in her 30s.
Carrie Bradshaw and her rounds of cosmopolitans; Bridget Jones with her glasses of chardonnay; Chelsea Handler declaring her passion for vodka. In sitcoms, rom-coms and comedy shows, female boozers are the stuff of jokes. They suffer through hangovers, complain about their bar bills, promise to cut back and then cheerfully renege.
But many women find that their drinking doesn't lead to laughter. In the U.S. and Western Europe, growing numbers of women struggle with alcoholism; in some places, women's rates of alcohol abuse have achieved parity with men's.
The website Jezebel takes a unique approach to women's media — focusing on politics, entertainment and advocacy issues typically absent from so-called beauty magazines.
Now the site is making its first foray onto the bookshelves with The Book of Jezebel: An Illustrated Encyclopedia of Lady Things.
"I've been calling it an illustrated encyclopedia of the world," Jezebel founder Anna Holmes says. Holmes edited the new book, and warns NPR's Arun Rath that the volume isn't intended to be comprehensive.
Charlie "Bird" Parker was one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century. In his brief life, Parker created a new sound on the alto saxophone and spearheaded a revolution in harmony and improvisation that pushed popular music from the swing era to bebop and modern jazz.
Theo Decker is a 13-year-old boy who, in an instant, gains a masterpiece, but loses his mother — who is also a kind of masterpiece.
Theo and his mother are looking at a special show of old Dutch Masters at the Met, and the little boy doesn't much enjoy it — "Dutch people standing around in Dutch clothes," he calls it. They see a painting of a little yellow pet finch, chained at the ankle, by an artist named Fabritius.
Originally published on Fri October 18, 2013 4:18 pm
In the California wine mecca of Sonoma County, climate change is pitting redwood lovers against red wine lovers.
This Friday morning, a coalition of environmental groups are in a Santa Rosa, Calif., courtroom fighting to stop a Spanish-owned winery from leveling 154 acres of coast redwoods and Douglas firs to make way for grapevines.
Just a few years before the start of the Civil War, two anti-slavery books became best-sellers in the United States. One was Uncle Tom's Cabin, the Harriet Beecher Stowe opus that went on to become the best-selling novel of the 19th century.
The other was a memoir with a mouthful of a title: Twelve Years a Slave: Narrative of Solomon Northup, a citizen of New-York, kidnapped in Washington City in 1841, and rescued in 1853 from a cotton plantation near the Red River in Louisiana.
As I watched Robert Redford acting all by himself in the superlative survival-at-sea movie All Is Lost, I suddenly realized why the setup feels so perfect: Redford is most in his element when he's alone.
Originally published on Fri October 18, 2013 8:19 am
The solutions will come from more of a quest rather than a pre-packaged set of ideas. — Jacqueline Novogratz
Income inequality is at an all-time high between the haves and the have-nots. But does the poverty gap have to be so wide, and can it potentially be eliminated altogether? In this hour, TED speakers share some big ideas about inequality and new ways we might achieve prosperity for all.
This week, forced to make do without a vacationing Glen Weldon, we happily called upon our pal and periodic PCHH contributor Chris Klimek. We also happily called upon the reckless and ruthless display of emotion for a show about crying. You'll hear some of the songs, movie scenes, and more songs (seriously, it's pretty song-heavy) that get us every time, and perhaps you'll cry a little bit, too.
Just in time for Halloween comes a new movie version of Stephen King's horror novel Carrie. While the teenaged Carrie White is clearly at the center of the story, I think her mother is the more fascinating character.
Carrie — about a shy misfit whose coming of age collides with her mother's fearful religious fundamentalism and her schoolmates' pack-animal cruelty, with combustible results — scared the bejesus out of me when I was a teenager. Carrie turned out to be dangerous, sure. But it was her mother, Margaret White, who made my heart stop.
In his new novel, Sycamore Row, John Grisham returns to a character close to his heart: Jake Brigance. Grisham introduced Jake to readers in his first novel, A Time to Kill — an adaptation of which is opening soon on Broadway.
Grisham insists that he didn't plan for his first new Jake Brigance book to come out at the same time as the play. "You know it makes us look real smart," he says. "There is no way, if we had planned, that it would ever happen. It is completely coincidental."
Alan Greenspan was celebrated as a master of monetary policy during his long chairmanship of the Federal Reserve, from 1987 to 2006. But policies put in place during Greenspan's tenure have been blamed by some for the financial crisis that began shortly after he left, and the so-called Great Recession.
If you tear open a packet of M&M's, what's the first thing you notice?
The colors: bright blue, vibrant orange, bold yellow. Kids love this visual stimulation.
But the sponsors of a new petition on Change.org — which is urging M&M-maker Mars to replace the artificial colorings used to create these distinctive hues — say these dyes can make some kids hyperactive.
"In this petition, I'm asking Mars to change to natural colorings," mom Renee Shutters told me by phone. "It's very doable."
Originally published on Fri October 18, 2013 1:40 pm
Other than a single shouted expletive toward the end of All Is Lost, the only words we hear from its central character — a sailor adrift alone on the Indian Ocean — come right at the beginning, in a note of apology to unknown recipients for unspecified sins.
The saga of Julian Assange and WikiLeaks is too large a data dump for a two-hour drama. Yet director Bill Condon seeks to complicate as well as simplify in The Fifth Estate, an entertaining if inevitably unreliable current events romp.
The opening credits present a pocket history of textual communication, from cuneiform to the Internet. Condon, who took a similarly breathless approach with Kinsey, is announcing that his subject is nothing less than how the Web transformed communication.
Originally published on Fri October 18, 2013 5:56 am
Stagecraft does not come naturally to Katy Perry. She does very well by candy-colored fever-dream videos; shooting whipped cream from her cupcake boobs, throwing cartoonishly out-of-control neon-'80s ragers and becoming a B-movie jungle queen all fall quite comfortably within her skill set.
Tim Gunn is the best reason to watch Project Runway, always. Gentle and supportive, dismayed and concerned, he's the uncle, stylist, and influential teacher you never had.
And so, with nothing but love, as the season comes to an end Thursday night, we present a parade of our favorite Tim Gunn faces, together with our magic mind-reading technology that has discerned exactly what he was thinking. It's foolproof, you see.
Solomon Northup was born free in early-19th-century upstate New York. He lived the life of a respected and elegant musician until 1841, when he was lured South by the promise of a lucrative stint playing his fiddle in a traveling circus.
In Washington, D.C. — in the shadow of the Capitol — Northup was drugged. When he came to, he was in chains: a slave headed for the hellish world of plantation life. Only the hope of being reunited with his beloved wife and children kept him going.
Originally published on Wed November 20, 2013 1:36 pm
On Tuesday night, finalists for the National Book Awards read from their nominated works at The New School in New York City. The National Book Foundation will announce the winners Wednesday night.
Get to know the books on the shortlist — for fiction, nonfiction, poetry and young people's literature — using NPR's reviews and author interviews. Click the "Listen" links in the write-ups below to hear the authors read from their works.
Hollywood's been trying to get a handle on the Beat Poets for years. Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs and Jack Kerouac led wild — and influential — lives. But films about them, like Naked Lunch and On the Road, have never really clicked with audiences. Kill Your Darlings may fare better, partly because it stars Daniel Radcliffe, and partly because the story centers as much on murder as on poetry.
On Tuesday night, Eleanor Catton became the youngest person to be awarded the Man Booker Prize in its 45-year history. Catton's book The Luminaries and those of her fellow finalists make up what has been hailed as perhaps the best shortlist in a decade, and they have been my companions for the past few weeks. It's a list spanning continents and styles, with a debut novel at one end and, at the other, one by a veteran who speculated that his latest book could well be his last.
In New York there is no shortage of artists. But recently, one artist caused a flurry of excitement around the city. Banksy, elusive, British and best known for his graffiti art, and for the month of October he staged what he calls a residency on the streets of New York. Everyday, he unveils a new work on his website and identifies the neighborhood it's in, but not the exact address.
Stephen Nessen, with member station WNYC, caught up with one of several Banksy fans who are racing to be the first to locate the daily street art.