Arts

The Salt
1:16 pm
Tue October 8, 2013

Food Truck Pioneer Battles Food Deserts With High Cuisine

The Kogi BBQ truck near the campus of UCLA in 2009.
Matt Sayles AP

Originally published on Wed October 9, 2013 7:46 am

What do restaurant chefs dream of? Most would be satisfied with a great review, a full house every night, maybe a restaurant or three of their own, a television show.

Not Roy Choi.

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Author Interviews
1:16 pm
Tue October 8, 2013

Elizabeth Smart Says Kidnapper Was A 'Master At Manipulation'

Originally published on Tue October 8, 2013 2:08 pm

Elizabeth Smart has the kind of fame no one would want: In the summer of 2002, at the age of 14, she became one of the nation's most famous kidnap victims when she was abducted from her bedroom in Salt Lake City, where she lived with her devout Mormon family.

Her kidnapper, Brian David Mitchell, saw himself as a religious prophet and took her to be his second wife in a polygamous marriage. With a knife at her throat, Mitchell forced her to go with him to his remote camp on a mountain near Salt Lake, where they lived during the first stage of her nine-month captivity.

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Monkey See
9:27 am
Tue October 8, 2013

First Novels: The Romance Of Agents

iStockphoto.com

Disclaimer: A couple of years ago, I made a bucket list. As I've had a pretty rollicking life, my bucket contained a single experience: Sell a novel to a major house.

And now, Saint Martin's Press is to bring out my novel, Small Blessings, in July of next year.

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The Two-Way
5:20 am
Tue October 8, 2013

Book News: Without A Shortlist, Nobel-Watchers Turn To Bookies

Haruki Murakami is the author of such books as The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, Norwegian Wood and Kafka on the Shore.
Elena Seibert Knopf

Originally published on Tue October 8, 2013 7:30 am

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

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Book Reviews
5:03 am
Tue October 8, 2013

A Skillfully Composed Space Opera In 'Ancillary Justice'

Originally published on Tue October 8, 2013 2:19 pm

"My heart is a fish, hiding in the water-grass."

Breq has found someone in the snow: a stranger to everyone on this planet, a thousand years old, a relic out of time — but despite all that, Breq remembers.

Breq used to be the ship that carried them both.

The assured, gripping and stylish Ancillary Justice is, in its broadest strokes, the tale of an empire, and in its smallest a character study, and part of debut novelist Anne Leckie's achievement is how she handles her protagonists in both of those contexts.

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New In Paperback
3:52 pm
Mon October 7, 2013

Oct. 7-13: A Kidnapper, A Dictator And A London Shrink

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue October 8, 2013 10:28 am

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

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

Pop Culture
2:20 pm
Mon October 7, 2013

George R.R. Martin, Author And ... Movie-Theater Guy?

George R.R. Martin prepares to introduce author Neil Gaiman and performer Amanda Palmer at charity benefit at his newly renovated Jean Cocteau cinema in Santa Fe, N.M., on Sept. 29. Reopening the old movie house has been a passion project for the Game of Thrones author — but for some of his fans, it's one more distraction that's come between them and Martin's unfinished epic.
Grayson Schaffer for NPR

Originally published on Tue October 8, 2013 12:21 pm

George R.R. Martin's hit fiction series A Song of Ice and Fire has sold more than 25 million copies and sparked an HBO adaptation, Game of Thrones, that won two Emmys in 2013, bringing its total to 10.

But many fans are grumbling that Martin hasn't been spending enough time of late in his mythical kingdom of Westeros and its surroundings. On the list of things Martin is doing instead of writing the next Game of Thrones book? Reviewing the latest episodes of Breaking Bad, editing a sci-fi series and writing a novella.

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Book Reviews
1:38 pm
Mon October 7, 2013

Out Of Lahiri's Muddy 'Lowland,' An Ambitious Story Soars

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon October 7, 2013 1:53 pm

Geography is destiny in Jhumpa Lahiri's new novel, The Lowland. Her title refers to a marshy stretch of land between two ponds in a Calcutta neighborhood where two very close brothers grow up. In monsoon season, the marsh floods and the ponds combine; in summer, the floodwater evaporates. You don't need your decoder ring to figure out that the two ponds symbolize the two brothers — at times separate; at other times inseparable. But there's still more meaning lurking in this rich landscape.

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Movie Interviews
1:24 pm
Mon October 7, 2013

Tom Hanks Is 'Captain Phillips' In High-Seas Hostage Drama

Prior to filming, director Paul Greengrass kept the pirate crew and the boat crew separate to make the hijacking scenes feel more authentic. "The hair did stand up on the back of our heads," says Tom Hanks, above.
Hopper Stone, SMPSP

In April 2009, Somali pirates boarded an American-flagged container ship and took its captain, Richard Phillips, hostage on a small lifeboat. That led to a five-day drama at sea, much of it covered on television, as a U.S. Navy destroyer tailed the lifeboat and Navy SEAL sharpshooters eventually freed the captain. In 2010 Phillips wrote a memoir called A Captain's Duty and the harrowing experience has now been adapted into a film called Captain Phillips.

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The Salt
11:43 am
Mon October 7, 2013

Sandwich Monday: The Limited Edition Candy Corn Oreo

Signed, sealed, delivered, it's gross.
NPR

Nabisco has released a special edition of its classic sandwich cookie, just in time for Halloween: Oreos with candy corn filling. This beats the July 4 special, the Oreo filled with a live M-80.

Eva: I didn't even know candy corn and Oreos were dating ... now they have a kid?!

Robert: When I eat regular Oreos, I want a glass of milk. When I eat these, I want a glass of poison.

(Weirdly, the filling lacks the waxy quality of candy corn, which Robert says is because it doesn't have any quality at all.)

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Performing Arts
10:24 am
Mon October 7, 2013

The Fat Lady Sings For New York City Opera

Transcript

CELESTE HEADLEE, HOST:

This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Celeste Headlee. Michel Martin is away. They call it The People's Opera, but after this month, the New York City Opera will exist only in the history books. The renowned company is closing after 70 years. The New York City Opera failed to raise the $7 million it needed to cover its debts and will file for bankruptcy protection.

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Arts & Life
10:24 am
Mon October 7, 2013

An Artist's Story Of The Arab Spring

Upheaval in countries like Egypt and Syria is often discussed in political terms, but how do artists see it? Guest host Celeste Headlee talks about arts and the Arab Spring with Egyptian-American poet Yahia Lababidi and Syrian-American doctor Dr. Zaher Sahloul.

Monkey See
8:15 am
Mon October 7, 2013

A Hint That J.D. Salinger Kept Writing, From A Story He Didn't Write

J.D. Salinger shown in September 1961.
AP

With J.D. Salinger in the news three years after his death (and the new documentary and biography must have that obsessively private author spinning in his grave), I'm reminded of my conversations in the 1970s about Salinger with the editor of The New Yorker, William Shawn.

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The Two-Way
5:23 am
Mon October 7, 2013

Book News: Novel By Michael Hastings To Be Published Posthumously

Michael Hastings, who wrote a candid profile of Gen. Stanley McChrystal for Rolling Stone, died in June in a car crash in Los Angeles. He was 33.
Paul Morigi Getty Images for The Guardian

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

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Author Interviews
1:06 am
Mon October 7, 2013

In 'Egghead,' A New Shel: Burnham Takes On Silverstein

Chance Bone Courtesy of Grand Central Publishing

Originally published on Mon October 7, 2013 10:16 am

Bo Burnham posted his first video on the Internet late in 2006, when a little website called YouTube was still in its infancy. He was 17 years old then — just a high school junior singing a few funny songs on his bed at home.

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Sports
1:05 am
Mon October 7, 2013

When It Comes To Brain Injury, Authors Say NFL Is In A 'League Of Denial'

Dave Duerson (right), in 1988. Duerson committed suicide in 2011 and wrote a note that included this request: "Please see that my brain is given to the NFL's brain bank."
AP

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 3:41 pm

When the Pittsburgh Steelers won four Super Bowls in the 1970s, you could argue that no one played a bigger role than Mike Webster. Webster was the Steelers' center, snapping the ball to the quarterback, then waging war in the trenches, slamming his body and helmet into defensive players to halt their rush.

He was a local hero, which is why the city was stunned when his life fell apart. He lost all his money, and his marriage, and ended up spending nights in the bus terminal in Pittsburgh. Webster died of a heart attack, and on Sept. 28, 2002, came the autopsy.

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Digital Life
3:06 pm
Sun October 6, 2013

Composing Game Soundtracks That Move 'Faster Than Light'

Composer Ben Prunty creates soundtracks and sound effects for video games.
Courtesy of Ben Prunty

This weekend, independent video game developers and fans gathered for the international IndieCade Festival in Los Angeles.

One of the featured speakers Saturday was sound designer Ben Prunty, who integrates audio into some of the most popular independent video games. Prunty composed the soundtrack to the computer game Faster Than Light, which was nominated for IGN's Best Overall Music and Best PC Sound of 2012.

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Digital Life
1:47 pm
Sun October 6, 2013

Isabella Rossellini, Getting Animal Again With 'Mammas'

In her Web series, Mammas, film star Isabella Rossellini portrays animal mothers. Here, she's an oil beetle.
Courtesy Sundance Channel

Originally published on Sun October 6, 2013 3:06 pm

Film star Isabella Rossellini has a fish on her head.

She is a mouthbrooder, she explains, helpfully — meaning a fish who incubates her eggs in her mouth.

Rossellini's newest Web series is Mammas, an unconventional look at the natural world and our accepted notions of it.

"My films are comical films. They are made to laugh at," Rossellini tells NPR. "They are comical — and scientifically correct."

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Author Interviews
8:51 am
Sun October 6, 2013

'Book Of Matt': An Alternative Motive Behind The Infamous Murder

Originally published on Mon October 7, 2013 1:21 pm

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin. Fifteen years ago today, a young man named Matthew Shepard was beaten and tied to a fence outside Laramie, Wyo. He later died of those injuries. The two men convicted of his murder, Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson, were said to have been motivated by hate because Matthew was gay. The event drew national attention. President Bill Clinton condemned it as a hate crime.

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Sunday Puzzle
8:27 am
Sun October 6, 2013

Find The Rhyme And The Reason

NPR

Originally published on Sun October 6, 2013 1:05 pm

On-air challenge: For each given category, name things in the category starting with the letters R, H, Y, M, E. For example, if the category were "chemical elements with names ending in -ium," you might say: radium, helium, yttrium, magnesium and einsteinium. You can give the answers in any order, and any answer that works is fine.

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Author Interviews
5:18 am
Sun October 6, 2013

An American Jewish 'Bride' Remembers Her Escape From Kabul

In her memoir, Phyllis Chesler questions whether she and her first husband, Abdul-Kareem, were ever really in love. "Were we soul mates?" she writes. "I am not sure. I dare not remember — the pain would be overwhelming and pointless."
Courtesy Palgrave Macmillan

Originally published on Sun October 6, 2013 9:14 am

Phyllis Chesler and Abdul-Kareem met in college. She was an 18-year-old Jewish girl from the East Coast; he was a young Muslim man from a wealthy Afghan family. They fell in love over New Wave cinema, poetry and existentialism, and eventually they married.

In her new memoir, An American Bride in Kabul, Chesler tells her story of excitedly traveling to Afghanistan in 1961 with her new husband, who said he wanted to be a modernizing force in his country. But, as she tells NPR's Rachel Martin, her passport was almost immediately confiscated upon arrival.

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PG-13: Risky Reads
5:03 am
Sun October 6, 2013

'Spell'-Bound By A Goofy Book — And Later, United By It

Melissa de la Cruz and her husband Michael Johnston are the co-authors of Frozen.

How is this a risky read, you might ask? Piers Anthony's Xanth series is a tongue-firmly-in-cheek affair, filled with awful puns about bad dreams delivered by horses — literal "night mares" — and corny jokes about how Xanth is eerily similar to the geography of Florida, the author's home state.

Isn't this book just funny? How is it risky? Or dark? Or adult? Yet precisely because of its naughty, offhand humor, we found it risky and thrilling. Let us explain ...

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Movie Interviews
4:08 am
Sun October 6, 2013

Revisiting The Doomed On Their Quest For 'The Summit'

Pemba Gyalje Sherpa survived his August 2008 climb on K2 and was even able to help save some of the other expeditionaries. But 11 died trying to conquer the mountain that month.
Robbie Ryan IFC Films

Originally published on Sun October 6, 2013 5:05 pm

Mountain climbing requires stamina and skill, but at some point — especially on the world's tallest and riskiest peaks — it becomes a game of chance. In August of 2008, if you were one of the dozens of people trying to climb to the top of K2, the odds of your living to tell your story weren't good: During the last push to the summit and the immediate descent that followed, 11 people died.

In the documentary The Summit, filmmaker Nick Ryan tries to piece together what happened in what has been called the deadliest event in modern mountain climbing.

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Technology
3:56 pm
Sat October 5, 2013

Developers At Indie Game Festival Looking For Big Break

Originally published on Thu October 10, 2013 10:25 am

Transcript

ARUN RATH, HOST:

Sales of the insanely popular video game "Grand Theft Auto V" passed the billion-dollar mark just three days after its release this month. But not everyone sees mainstream titles as the industry's game changers. When searching for the next big thing, some of the biggest gaming companies actually look to the little guys: indie game developers. And as NPR's Daniel Hajek reports, they're finding them this weekend at a Los Angeles festival that brings out the underground talent.

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Author Interviews
1:58 pm
Sat October 5, 2013

How Reddit Emerged From A Rejected (And Very Different) Idea

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Sat October 5, 2013 4:36 pm

Reddit calls itself "the front page of the Internet." The social news site and global discussion board has become increasingly popular since it launched in 2005. Topics range from politics and entertainment to animal videos and conspiracy theories. Many public figures have used Reddit to reach out to fans and supporters, and last year, President Obama used the site to answer voter questions live.

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Reporter's Notebook
6:03 am
Sat October 5, 2013

Does Capitalism Work? A True/False Quiz In Times Square

Steve Lambert's art installation asks people to vote in an effort to open up the discussion about capitalism. That word can be a red flag for many, Lambert says.
Jake Schlichting Times Square Arts

Originally published on Sat October 5, 2013 9:52 am

I'm walking through Times Square, the crossroads of the world. Just when I reach the line for cheap Broadway tickets, I see it: a giant billboard with the word "capitalism" in bright white lights and the words "works for me!" in cursive below. There's a podium and two buttons where you can vote whether the statement is "true" or "false."

Peggy Demitrack, a tourist from Cleveland, is adamant when she pushes the "true" button. She says capitalism works for anyone who strives and educates themselves.

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Author Interviews
5:58 am
Sat October 5, 2013

Spies And Novelists Both 'Accomplished Liars,' Says New Bond Author

Originally published on Sat October 5, 2013 9:11 am

William Boyd is one of the great living British novelists — and now he's tackling one of the great British heroes.

"I am now a James Bond pedant," Boyd tells NPR's Scott Simon. "I can bore for England on the subject of James Bond. But I knew I couldn't do it frivolously, I had to take it very seriously, however much fun I was having. And I had to make myself, you know, absolutely steeped in Bond and in Fleming and that world."

Steeped in Bond, not shaken, of course.

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Arts & Life
5:58 am
Sat October 5, 2013

At 300, Encyclopedia Pioneer May Yet Get A Hero's Burial

Denis Diderot's work on the Encyclopédie faced stiff resistance in its time, but some scholars credit it with laying the foundations of the French Revolution.
Louis-Michel con Loo Diderot Collection/Gift of M. de Vandeul to the French State in 1911

Originally published on Sat October 5, 2013 9:11 am

Before there was Wikipedia, there were encyclopedias — and Saturday marks the 300th birthday of the father of one of the world's most important.

Eighteenth-century French philosopher Denis Diderot was the driving force behind the Encyclopédie, one of the first compendiums of human knowledge of its time. The anniversary of his birth has prompted calls for Diderot to receive France's highest honor: have his remains reinterred in Paris' Pantheon, a mausoleum of sorts for France's national heroes.

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Author Interviews
4:07 am
Sat October 5, 2013

40 Years Ago, 'Fear Of Flying' Showed Women Like Sex, Too

Courtesy of Henry Holt and Co.

Originally published on Mon October 7, 2013 7:31 am

In 1973, Erica Jong was tired of reading about silent, seething housewifes, so she introduced a new kind of female protagonist: a frank young woman who loved sex and wasn't ashamed to admit it. Fear of Flying turns 40 this year, as does its most famous phrase: "the zipless f - - - ." Jong defines it in the novel:

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Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!
4:36 pm
Fri October 4, 2013

Not My Job: Shirley Jones Gets Quizzed On Partridge Shooting

Originally published on Sat October 5, 2013 9:04 am

Shirley Jones starred in some of the great movie musicals of the 1950s — Oklahoma, Carousel, The Music Man -- won an Oscar for her role in the film Elmer Gantry and then went on to be the mother in the classic sitcom The Partridge Family. She's just written a new memoir about her life onstage, on-screen and behind the scenes.

We've invited Jones to play a game called "Look, it's the partridge family! GET THEM!" Three questions about the sport of partridge shooting.

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