Arts

Books News & Features
3:51 pm
Tue October 15, 2013

'Quiet Dell' Revives A Depression-Era Murder Story

Crowds gather on Aug. 30, 1931, at the site of the Quiet Dell murders. Evidence of the killings was found in and around murderer Harry Powers' garage (center).
AP

Originally published on Tue October 15, 2013 4:12 pm

The Quiet Dell murders were among the first big, sensational crime stories of the Depression: A serial killer corresponded with vulnerable widows he met through lonely hearts clubs, then lured them to their deaths.

As a child, writer Jayne Anne Phillips learned about the murders from her mother, who was a child in 1931, when the murders took place. Phillips says she didn't talk a lot about the tragedy, but whenever they drove close to where the crime occurred — near Clarksburg, W.Va. — her mother would say, "There's the road to Quiet Dell."

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Monkey See
1:52 pm
Tue October 15, 2013

Why You, Yes You, Might Enjoy A Superhero Documentary

Christopher Reeve in Superman: The Movie.
Courtesy Everett Collection PBS

Superheroes: A Never-Ending Battle, a documentary in three hour-long segments that will premiere back to back (to back) tonight on many PBS stations, begins with a curious image: Vincent Zurzolo of Metropolis Comics explains that a recent copy of Action Comics #1, which contained the first appearance of Superman, recently sold for over $2 million. He shows us Action Comics #1, and then ... he locks it in a safe.

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Monkey See
12:51 pm
Tue October 15, 2013

'Captain Phillips' And The Terrible Excitement Of Real Action

Tom Hanks and Barkhad Abdirahman share close quarters in Captain Phillips.
Columbia Pictures

Captain Phillips, Paul Greengrass' tense movie about the April 2009 hijacking of the freighter Maersk Alabama by four Somali pirates, is a love song to the patience-through-overwhelming-fire-superiority of the U.S. military.

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Author Interviews
12:06 pm
Tue October 15, 2013

Graham Nash Has 'Wild Tales' To Spare

Originally published on Tue October 15, 2013 1:11 pm

Graham Nash first came to the U.S. as part of the British Invasion with his band The Hollies, which got its start at the same time as The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, and shared bills with both groups in England.

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The Salt
10:08 am
Tue October 15, 2013

Brooks Brothers Steakhouse: How's That For Tasteful Shopping?

The Brooks Brothers store on Madison Avenue in New York is planning to open a 15,000-square-foot restaurant next door.
Stan Honda AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue October 15, 2013 11:41 am

Here's a way to stop hungry shoppers from leaving the store for dinner.

Brooks Brothers, the 195-year-old luxury apparel company, is looking to open a restaurant next summer next to its flagship store in Manhattan, a company spokesman tells NPR. The New York Post reports that the restaurant will be a steakhouse — a fitting culinary accompaniment for the purveyor of fine business suits for the moneyed set, we think.

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World
9:55 am
Tue October 15, 2013

Malala Yousafzai: A 'Normal,' Yet Powerful Girl

Malala Yousafzai speaks to NPR's Michel Martin while on tour for her new book, I Am Malala.
Abbey Oldham NPR

Originally published on Thu October 17, 2013 8:49 am

"I think Malala is an average girl," Ziauddin Yousafzai says about the 16-year-old Pakistani girl who captured the world's attention after being shot by the Taliban, "but there's something extraordinary about her."

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Monkey See
9:53 am
Tue October 15, 2013

Smug Life: Why Is 'Catfish' So Dumb When It Doesn't Have To Be?

Max and Nev, probably thinking about how terrible Internet liars are.
MTV

If you're not in the habit of watching MTV's Catfish, which ends its second season Tuesday night with a new episode and a reunion special, you might be surprised by how many interesting questions it raises.

Of course, you might be even more surprised by how blithely it ignores them.

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Monkey See
8:44 am
Tue October 15, 2013

The Stooges In Winter: Moe, Larry And Curly Drawn Together

The Three Stooges in their younger years.
Columbia Pictures AP

When Kurt Vonnegut dedicated his novel Slapstick to Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, he pinpointed the way an ideal team can transcend chemistry. Like Vonnegut's Wilbur and Eliza, the twins who became geniuses only in each other's presence, Laurel and Hardy united to become two halves of a single being. They bickered, they kicked each other's backsides, and were always mired in "another fine mess," but there was always the sense that they could not survive apart.

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Monkey See
7:37 am
Tue October 15, 2013

'Rocky Horror' And Body Positivity At Midnight

The Sonic Transducers are a Rocky Horror shadow cast located in Washington D.C.
Brendan Passell Courtesy Leandra Lynn

The cult following behind The Rocky Horror Picture Show has been largely underground, but has been no secret. Fans have been going to midnight screenings of the film since 1975 to do The Time Warp again (and again). Presumably, that joke has also been written again (and again).

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Monkey See
6:36 am
Tue October 15, 2013

What, Exactly, Is James Franco Doing?

James Franco has big plans, always.
Andrew Medichini AP

What is James Franco doing?

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Book Reviews
5:03 am
Tue October 15, 2013

Anne Rice's Wolves Are Worth Catching Up To

Ken Canning iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu October 17, 2013 4:19 pm

The phrase "previously on..." has become quite familiar to American TV audiences. Whether you're devoted to Battlestar Galactica, to Game of Thrones or Breaking Bad, you need to be able to catch up to a narrative when you've missed an installment or two. Novelists were there first, of course — the notion of a chain of novels focusing on the same characters goes back to Trollope and Proust – but it's less common to find a recap at the beginning of a book.

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The Two-Way
5:02 am
Tue October 15, 2013

Book News: Oscar Hijuelos Remembered As 'A Cultural Pioneer'

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Oscar Hijuelos attends the Hispanic Organization of Latin Actors) Awards in 2003 in New York City.
Myrna Suarez Getty Images

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

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Author Interviews
2:43 pm
Mon October 14, 2013

Jack London Believed 'Function Of Man Is To Live, Not To Exist'

Jack London's 1903 The Call of the Wild was a sensation — it sold one million copies and made London the most popular American writer of his generation. He's shown above in 1916, shortly before his death at age 40.
AP

Originally published on Thu October 17, 2013 3:54 pm

A literary critic once remarked, "The greatest story Jack London ever wrote was the story he lived." In his brief life, London sought adventure in the far corners of the world, from the frozen Yukon to the South Pacific, writing gripping tales of survival based on his experiences — including The Call of the Wild, White Fang and The Sea Wolf.

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The Salt
12:36 pm
Mon October 14, 2013

This Isn't Your Granny Smith's Harvesting Technology

Ripe Gala apples are ready for picking at an orchard in South Haven, Mich.
spablab Flickr.com

Originally published on Tue October 15, 2013 4:12 pm

In West Michigan, it's apple harvest time. That may conjure up images of picturesque orchards and old-fashioned fun: growers harvesting apples and then selecting them by hand.

Think again.

Robotic arms, computer vision and high-resolution photography are helping Michigan growers wash, sort and package apples at top speeds in the business — think 2,000 apples per minute.

With this modern technology, farmers are expanding production and getting Galas and Ginger Golds from Michigan orchards to grocery stores faster and more cheaply.

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Arts & Life
12:29 pm
Mon October 14, 2013

Bob Mondello Remembers Columbus Day 1963, And A Visit To Camelot

President John F. Kennedy enjoys a moment of levity at this Rose Garden ceremony marking Columbus Day, 1963.
AP

Originally published on Tue October 15, 2013 7:24 am

Fifty years ago, President Kennedy hosted a Columbus Day ceremony in the Rose Garden, and I was there. Fourteen-year-old me, with my family. This was a fluke. The President had cracked a politically uncool Mafia joke a few days before. Not wanting to offend Italian-American voters, the White House quickly mounted a charm offensive — inviting government workers like my dad, with Italian surnames like Mondello, to celebrate a great Italian explorer, with the president himself.

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All Tech Considered
12:10 pm
Mon October 14, 2013

'Menstrual Man' Had An Idea To Help Indian Women

Arunachalam Muruganantham installs his machine in a village in Chhattisgarh, India.
Amit Virmani

Originally published on Fri October 18, 2013 1:02 pm

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Author Interviews
10:03 am
Mon October 14, 2013

One-Stop Shop: Jeff Bezos Wants You To Buy 'Everything' On Amazon

An employee walks through an aisle at Amazon.com's 1.2 million-square foot fulfillment center in Phoenix, Ariz., in November 2012.
Ross D. Franklin AP

Originally published on Tue October 15, 2013 10:51 am

In his new book The Everything Store, Brad Stone chronicles how Amazon became an "innovative, disruptive, and often polarizing technology powerhouse." He writes that Amazon was among the first to realize the potential of the Internet and that the company "ended up forever changing the way we shop and read."

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The Two-Way
9:37 am
Mon October 14, 2013

Collectible Art At Street Prices: Banksy Sells Pieces For $60

An image from a video posted by Banksy shows a man representing the artist staffing a sidewalk stall featuring signed works for $60. Banksy says he only made $420 Saturday, with one customer negotiating a 2-for-1 discount.
Banksy NY YouTube

Originally published on Mon October 14, 2013 9:53 am

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Sunday Puzzle
6:21 am
Sun October 13, 2013

Can You Pass This -TE ST-?

NPR

Originally published on Sun October 13, 2013 6:47 am

On-air challenge: Today's puzzle is an insider's test. Every answer is a familiar two-word phrase or name with the consecutive letters T-E-S-T. Specifically, the first word will end with -TE and the second word will start ST-. For example, given "sheer force," you would say "brute strength."

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Author Interviews
5:49 am
Sun October 13, 2013

Turow Explores Mystical Connections In 'Identical'

Originally published on Sun October 13, 2013 6:47 am

Scott Turow says some recent research in a case with DNA evidence inspired the plot of his new thriller, Identical. He tells host Rachel Martin about his interest in twins.

The Salt
5:49 am
Sun October 13, 2013

With Each Sip Of Whisky, You're Taking A Gulp Of Atmosphere

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Sun October 13, 2013 2:48 pm

You know the saying about drinking early in the day: "It's 5 o'clock somewhere in the world."

Well, it turns out that the "somewhere" actually can make a difference when it comes to drinking.

Scientists at Oxford University have found that whisky has a different taste depending on where it's sipped.

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You Must Read This
5:03 am
Sun October 13, 2013

'Mezzanine' Takes The Trappings Of Everyday Life To The Next Level

iStockphoto.com

Okay, I admit it. I was going to tell you to read Proust. The thing is, a whole industry already exists around urging you to read Proust, and as well-meaning as those literary evangelists might be, they only end up making you feel unworthy, illiterate and/or lazy.

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The Salt
3:38 am
Sun October 13, 2013

(Cabbage) Heads Will Roll: How To Make A Food Network 'From Scratch'

According to journalist Allen Salkin, Emeril Lagasse initially opposed bringing Rachael Ray, pictured here in 2007, onto the Food Network – and, at first, Ray agreed with him. "You have this all wrong," she told executives, "I'm beer in a bottle; you guys are champagne."
Scott Gries Getty Images

Originally published on Sun October 13, 2013 6:47 am

Mario Batali, Guy Fieri and Rachael Ray are just a few of the stars the Food Network helped create. But what the network gave, it could also take away.

In From Scratch, author Allen Salkin takes an unsparing look at the network's progression from struggling cable startup to global powerhouse, and the people — Emeril Lagasse, Paula Deen — who rose and fell along the way.

Salkin tells NPR's Rachel Martin that while the network was intended for cooks, it wasn't run by them.

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Author Interviews
1:34 pm
Sat October 12, 2013

The Surprising Story Of 'Thomas Jefferson's Qur'an'

Originally published on Sun October 13, 2013 12:53 pm

Thomas Jefferson had a vast personal library reflecting his enormous curiosity about the world. Among his volumes: a Quran purchased in 1765 that informed his ideas about plurality and religious freedom in the founding of America.

In her book Thomas Jefferson's Qur'an: Islam and the Founders, author Denise Spellberg draws parallels between the beliefs of the founding father and religious tolerance in the United States today.

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Arts & Life
5:36 am
Sat October 12, 2013

A Traditional Wedding Brings The Polish Highlands To Chicago

Dressed in traditional Polish Highlander garb, guests pile into carriages that will bring them to the church for the official wedding ceremony.
Linda Paul for NPR

Originally published on Sat October 12, 2013 6:05 am

Last weekend, a quiet block on the northwest side of Chicago appeared to be taken over by villagers from the mountains of southern Poland. That's because a Polish Highlander wedding was getting underway. But even before the couple arrived, there was a lot of pomp, circumstance — and moving of cars.

Any time now the bridal party will be arriving and Andy Zieba — father of the bride — is ringing doorbells, asking neighbors if they can please move their cars.

"Excuse me, ma'am? You don't know who's the Honda belong to?" he asks.

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Author Interviews
5:36 am
Sat October 12, 2013

From Divided States, A 'United' Nation — Thanks To These Men

The Men Who United the States, by Simon Winchester

Originally published on Sat October 12, 2013 8:27 am

The United States is not just a phrase. The country stretches across six time zones, from the Atlantic well into the Pacific. The British settled some regions; the Dutch, Spanish and French settled some others. And we once fought a bloody Civil War, North against South, over the issue of slavery.

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Book Reviews
5:03 am
Sat October 12, 2013

'Identical' Stumbles Outside The Courtroom

Originally published on Tue October 22, 2013 5:13 pm

The best way I can fairly review this book is to tell you seven things that it is not.

It is not a legal thriller. That would require the novel to be thrilling, at the very least, to compel you to turn the page. In my case, I read the book on a Kindle, and it often compelled me to turn my e-reader off.

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The Salt
4:07 am
Sat October 12, 2013

Women, The 'First Brewers,' Lean Into Craft Beer-Making

Meg Gill is the president and co-founder of Golden Road Brewing in Los Angeles. Her brewery is favored to win awards at the Great American Beer Festival.
Melissa Kuypers NPR

Originally published on Sat October 12, 2013 8:09 am

Thousands of beer aficionados are in Denver this weekend for the Great American Beer Festival. Some 600 breweries from around the country are represented at the marquee event for the craft-brewing industry.

And while this annual competition has long been male-dominated, that's starting to change.

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The Salt
1:54 am
Sat October 12, 2013

Feminist Hulk Smash Shutdown, Rescue Women On Food Aid!

Courtesy Jessica Lawson

Originally published on Sun October 13, 2013 7:09 pm

The government shutdown is frustrating enough for furloughed workers, but for families dependent on federal food assistance, it's infuriating.

Enter the Feminist Hulk.

The Twitter monster is smashing the shutdown's threats to the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Food and Nutrition program, which provides food aid to pregnant women and mothers of young children deemed to be at risk of malnutrition. And she's urging her nearly 74,000 followers to help.

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Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!
5:18 pm
Fri October 11, 2013

Not My Job: A Quiz About Lawyers For Breaking Bad's Bob Odenkirk

Originally published on Sat October 12, 2013 9:42 am

If you're a comedy person, you know Bob Odenkirk from the cult classic sketch series Mr. Show. If you're a drama person, or a meth person, you know him as the shyster lawyer Saul Goodman on Breaking Bad. Now he has a new show on the IFC called The Birthday Boys.

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