Arts

Religion
6:49 am
Sat August 9, 2014

Effort To Preserve Yiddish Works Not 'Bupkes'

Visitors look at an exhibit at the National Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, Mass.
Courtesy of the Yiiddish Book Center

Originally published on Sat August 9, 2014 9:40 am

The preservation of Yiddish as a spoken language gets more attention, but Yiddish once had a vibrant written tradition as well.

Plays, poetry, novels, political tracts — all were published in Yiddish until the Holocaust. A great deal of these works can now be found at the National Yiddish Book Center in Western Massachusetts.

The center was founded by Aaron Lansky, who began his efforts to save Yiddish books in 1980, while enrolled in a Jewish Studies program at McGill University in Montreal.

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The Salt
6:03 am
Sat August 9, 2014

For A Proper Pretzel Crust, Count On Chemistry And Memories

Bavarian pretzels baked at the Goetz bakery in Taufkirchen, Germany, for the Oktoberfest beer festival.
Miguel Villagran Getty Images

As Oktoberfest starts in Munich every September, my mom starts making pretzels in Michigan. She says the soft pretzels in the U.S. aren't like what she was used to in Germany, and if she's going to be hosting a backyard Oktoberfest, her food should be authentic.

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Book News & Features
3:10 am
Sat August 9, 2014

Lev Grossman: A 'Magician' Grows Up

Lev Grossman's bestselling Magicians series was inspired by the long wait between books five and six of the Harry Potter series.
Mathieu Bourgois

Originally published on Sat August 9, 2014 9:40 am

The final book in Lev Grossman's Magicians trilogy comes out this week — The Magician's Land. It's a literary fantasy, inspired by Narnia and Harry Potter, that tells the story of what happens to brilliant young wizards when they grow up and have to deal with the world.

Grossman was promoting the novel at this year's San Diego Comic-Con, and as I discovered, he's a fantastic — and slightly terrifying — person to see Comic-Con with. He has no problem taking unspoken insecurities and dragging them out into the light.

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Author Interviews
3:02 am
Sat August 9, 2014

In 'Dirty Work,' A Doctor Turns To Fiction To Talk About Abortion

Wavebreak Media LTD iStockphoto

Originally published on Sat August 9, 2014 9:40 am

All surgeons must pick the organ they'll spend their career protecting, Gabriel Weston writes in her new novel, Dirty Work. And as Nancy, the obstetrician-gynecologist at the center of the book, explains, "We gynecologists have the womb to look after. ... And whichever specialty we choose, each of us has to do something ruthless to keep our patient safe: We have to forget about the human significance of the organ we're operating on."

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Movies
2:05 pm
Fri August 8, 2014

As Film Stocks Dwindle, Movie-Makers Weigh What May Soon Be Lost

Originally published on Fri August 8, 2014 4:57 pm

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

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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Book News & Features
2:05 pm
Fri August 8, 2014

Over 900 Authors Lend Their Names To A Letter Backing Hachette

Originally published on Fri August 8, 2014 4:57 pm

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

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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Movie Reviews
1:41 pm
Fri August 8, 2014

The Shaggy Story Of A Real-Life 'Dog'

In 1972, John Wojtowicz robbed a bank to pay for his lover Ernie's sex-reassignment surgery. The robbery and his subsequent imprisonment inspired the movie Dog Day Afternoon.
Seed & Spark

Originally published on Sat August 9, 2014 7:24 am

A Brooklyn bank, a sweltering crowd, swelling cheers as Al Pacino's charismatic bank robber baits the police with chants of "Attica. Attica. Attica. Attica."

That scene, along with the rest of Sidney Lumet's 1975 classic Dog Day Afternoon, was based on a true story. Now, an odd — and oddly compelling — documentary called The Dog brings us the story behind that true story, and if you're anything like me, it'll leave you alternately amused and slack-jawed in astonishment.

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Movie Reviews
12:44 pm
Fri August 8, 2014

In The Irish Film 'Calvary,' A Priest's Crisis Of Faith Is Weirdly Jokey

Originally published on Tue August 12, 2014 12:57 pm

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

Transcript

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Author Interviews
12:44 pm
Fri August 8, 2014

For Novelist Jonathan Lethem, Radicalism Runs In The Family

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

Transcript

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Monkey See
11:35 am
Fri August 8, 2014

'The Knick': Cinemax's Quality Play Opens Its Eyes To Race

Originally published on Fri August 8, 2014 1:33 pm

Cinemax's The Knick is an amazing bit of TV filmmaking: a gritty look at a turn of the century hospital, with explicit scenes showing how brutal early discoveries in surgery and medicine must have been in the year 1900.

But as much as I savored director Steven Soderbergh's innovative way of making a period drama feel modern, alongside Clive Owen's masterful take on a gifted, driven surgeon who is secretly a cocaine addict, my eye was drawn to a different character: Andre Holland's Dr. Algernon Edwards.

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The Salt
9:28 am
Fri August 8, 2014

What Are Those Parabens Doing In My Tortilla?

A package of corn tortillas listing propylparaben as an ingredient.
Meredith Rizzo NPR

Originally published on Fri August 8, 2014 4:25 pm

When I invited people over for brunch not long ago, the last thing I expected was a wander into the murky world of food preservatives. It started off so simply — with enchiladas, in fact. Enchiladas are my go-to brunch dish, mostly because a little store near me stocks incredible tortillas from a local factory in Maryland called Moctec.

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Monkey See
6:24 am
Fri August 8, 2014

Pop Culture Happy Hour: 'Guardians Of The Galaxy' And So Bad It's Good

NPR
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We're settling back into our regular schedule post-lots of travel and post-Comic-Con, and we find ourselves in the studio this week with Chris Klimek to talk about the runaway success of Marvel's Guardians Of The Galaxy. We talk about the movie's shaggy charms, its savvy development, and why it gives me joyful reason to gloat over past avowals of loyalty.

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The Two-Way
5:40 am
Fri August 8, 2014

Book News: Hachette's Deal For Perseus Falls Through

Visitors walk through the Hachette Book Group's exhibition in May at BookExpo America, the annual industry convention in New York.
Mark Lennihan AP

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

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Book Reviews
5:08 am
Fri August 8, 2014

'Joss Whedon': Biography Of A 'Shiny' Geek King

Originally published on Fri August 8, 2014 2:04 pm

Published in Britain as Joss Whedon: Geek King of the Universe and in the U.S. less cheekily as Joss Whedon: The Biography, Amy Pascale's portrait of pop culture's man of just about any recent hour may not make her title subject any new converts, but it is hero-worshipping enough to make devoted Whedonites feel they're being inducted into the Scooby Gang.

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Book News & Features
1:31 am
Fri August 8, 2014

Aye, Sassenach — Gabaldon's Appeal Is Timeless

Caitriona Balfe as time-traveling Claire Randall, and Sam Heughan as her Highlander lover Jamie Fraser in the new television adaptation of Outlander.
Sony PicturesTelevision

Originally published on Fri August 8, 2014 10:02 pm

Novelist Diana Gabaldon writes books that sell like crazy but are hard to categorize. Her Outlander series, featuring a determined heroine who falls backward through time to the 18th century Scottish Highlands, has made Gabaldon both wealthy and famous.

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Code Switch
5:43 pm
Thu August 7, 2014

'Boondocks' Creator Asks, 'What Would Black Jesus Do?'

Black Jesus is the latest from Aaron McGruder, who created the politically charged comic strip and animated series The Boondocks.
Adult Swim

Originally published on Thu August 7, 2014 6:16 pm

Black Jesus, a new show premiering Thursday on Adult Swim, is about, well, a black Jesus. Set in contemporary south Los Angeles, it presents a Jesus roaming around a neighborhood filled with liquor stores, mini-marts and people praying for help.

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The Two-Way
5:30 pm
Thu August 7, 2014

If A Monkey Takes A Photo, Who Owns The Copyright?

This 2011 image captured by a cheeky black macaque after turning the tables on a photographer who left his camera unmanned has ignited a debate over who owns the photo.
David J Slater Caters News Agency/Wikimedia Commons

Originally published on Thu August 7, 2014 6:04 pm

An argument is brewing between British photographer David Slater and the folks at Wikimedia over who owns the rights to a photo a monkey took with Slater's equipment. The website says the famous photo should be freely distributed, because it believes the animal's self-portrait isn't bound by copyright law.

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Movie Interviews
4:18 pm
Thu August 7, 2014

Helen Mirren: Like Night Follows Day, Roles For Women Will Reflect Real Life

In The Hundred-Foot Journey, Helen Mirren plays an imperious French restaurant owner.
Francois Duhamel DreamWorks II Distribution Co.

Originally published on Fri August 8, 2014 8:14 am

When she was in her 20s, Helen Mirren says, she yearned to be a French actress: "They fascinated me more," she tells NPR's Melissa Block.

In her new film, The Hundred-Foot Journey, Mirren gets the next best thing — she plays Madame Mallory, the frosty French owner of an elegant restaurant in a tiny village in the south of France. When an Indian family comes to town and opens their own restaurant 100 feet away, Mallory has nothing but disdain for the family and the food they're cooking.

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Movie Reviews
3:44 pm
Thu August 7, 2014

James Cameron Takes The 'Deepsea Challenge' At The Ocean's Bottom

Fillmmaker James Cameron wanted to travel the depths of the ocean since he was a child. He attempts to make his boyhood dreams a reality in National Geographic's Deepsea Challenge.
Mark Thiessen AP

Originally published on Thu August 7, 2014 4:40 pm

Building a submersible that can travel to the ocean's deepest point is a budget buster, even for the guy who made Titanic and Avatar. So it makes sense that the Deepsea Challenger, James Cameron's depth-taunting craft, would be designed for just a single passenger. Still, viewers of Deepsea Challenge may think of another reason the vessel's cabin was built for one: Cameron didn't want anyone else intruding on his close-up.

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Movie Reviews
3:38 pm
Thu August 7, 2014

Old Shells, New 'Turtles': Tinkering With The Insides Of A Famous Franchise

Cowabunga! Producer Michael Bay's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is the latest remake of everyone's favorite crime-fighting mutated turtle saga.
Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

Jonathan Liebesman's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, a reboot of the franchise following three live-action movies from the '90s and 2007's computer-animated TMNT, courted controversy in 2012 when the film's producer, Michael Bay, announced the title of the film would be reduced to the simpler Ninja Turtles. Much of the ensuing criticism became part of a wider denunciation of another comment by Bay indicating that Liebesman's turtles would be members of an alien race rather than unnaturally evolved reptiles.

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Movie Reviews
3:01 pm
Thu August 7, 2014

'What If' Brings Flair And Fun To The Rom-Com Formula

Caitlin Cronenberg CBS Films

Originally published on Thu August 7, 2014 5:13 pm

Romantic comedies didn't always carry with them the air of immediate dismissal, that eye-rolling weariness born of dozens of interchangeable boy-meets-girl plots and posters featuring stars playfully leaning into or on one another. Romance at the movies wasn't always overfilled with cliches, stuffed with safe jokes heard a hundred times before. The rom-com can be a place for actual characters instead of cardboard theater-lobby displays, right? People you actually want to see get together for reasons other than the fact that that's what's supposed to happen in these movies?

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Book Reviews
2:33 pm
Thu August 7, 2014

The Dangerous Private Lives Of Spies In 'A Colder War'

Originally published on Wed August 13, 2014 8:38 am

With half a dozen novels to his credit, British spy writer Charles Cumming has a growing reputation as the heir to the John Le Carre tradition in British fiction. His latest, A Colder War, shows us why.

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Television
1:14 pm
Thu August 7, 2014

Stick With 'The Knick,' A Medical Drama With Amazing Inventions

On The Knick, the graphic scenes are riveting, says David Bianculli, though at times you may want to look away. Here, Clive Owen's character administers a shot.
Mary Cybulski Courtesy of HBO/Cinemax

Originally published on Thu August 7, 2014 2:37 pm

The first impression of The Knick, the new 10-part drama series that begins this weekend on Cinemax, is that it seems derivative. It's about a maverick doctor played by Clive Owen who's rude to almost everyone around him — like the abrasive hero of Hugh Laurie's Fox series, House. He works at a hospital in a big city, in the shadow of bigger hospitals, fighting for attention and respect — like the doctors on St. Elsewhere. The title The Knick, in fact, is short for Knickerbocker Hospital, and is as derisive a nickname as "St.

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Monkey See
9:17 am
Thu August 7, 2014

When All Your Steaks Have Hot Sauce: A Case Against 'Nebraska' In Color

David (Will Forte, left) and his father, Woody (Bruce Dern, center), take time out of their quixotic journey to stop in Woody's small Nebraska hometown — where Woody's old business partner, Ed (Stacy Keach), is still nursing a grudge.
Merie W. Wallace Paramount Pictures

The latest indignity seemingly imposed by commerce upon art is the news that the cable movie channel Epix would air, in addition to the original black-and-white version, a color version of Alexander Payne's Nebraska, which was nominated for Best Picture earlier this year and stars Bruce Dern and Will Forte as a father and son on a somewhat discursive road trip nominally aimed at retrieving a cash payout to whi

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Extras: TED Radio Hour
8:34 am
Thu August 7, 2014

Playlist: Stories For The Open Road

These TED Radio Hour stories are the perfect road trip companions.
iStockphoto

We made playlists of TED Radio Hour stories that will keep you curious about big ideas throughout the summer.

Pack up the car, hit the road, and turn up the TED Radio Hour. These stories will entertain you as get away from it all. On this playlist: taking advantage of a different kind of brain, learning to spot a liar, and figuring out how to stay happy when you don't get what you want.

Book Reviews
8:03 am
Thu August 7, 2014

'Seeders' Imagines A Pulpy Planet Of The Plants

Originally published on Thu August 7, 2014 10:34 am

In A.J. Colucci's 2012 debut, the sci-fi thriller The Colony, she describes a world where ants rise up to challenge the tyranny of pesticide-wielding humans. Instead of Planet of the Apes, it's Planet of the Ants — and with her second novel, Seeders, she's written a veritable Planet of the Plants. Unfortunately, the result isn't nearly as thrilling as it ought to be.

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Opinion
6:59 am
Thu August 7, 2014

Why I'll Never Read Another Parenting Book

Parents, you're probably doing it wrong (according to all books about parenting).
Shutterstock

Originally published on Thu August 7, 2014 9:04 am

Last year, my husband and I were totally into giving our children grit. Why? Because we were told to, by Paul Tough's 2013 book How Children Succeed. The book convinced us that the key to our kiddies' success lies in character, persistence, curiosity and grit, rather than in intelligence or academic achievement.

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Book Reviews
5:03 am
Thu August 7, 2014

'The Kills' Sustains Suspense Across A Massive Structure

Originally published on Thu August 7, 2014 10:42 am

Richard House's thriller The Kills, which was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize last year, weighs in at 1,024 pages. It's a long read, and worth every minute.

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NPR Story
2:59 am
Thu August 7, 2014

Sandra Beasley Reads Her Summer Poem 'Ukulele'

Originally published on Thu August 7, 2014 6:09 am

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

Crime In The City
1:23 am
Thu August 7, 2014

Mystery Writer Evokes The Sights, Sound And Grime Of 1970s New York

The Empire State Building shines while Greenwich Village remains dark during the 1977 New York City blackout.
Carlos Rene Perez AP

Originally published on Thu August 7, 2014 7:08 am

Crime fiction writer Lawrence Block lives in New York's West Village, in a stately art deco building overlooking Abingdon Square. He bought an apartment there decades before actress Jennifer Aniston did. (She sold hers shortly thereafter.) Block is 76, silver-haired and keen-eyed; and in his pastel shirt and khakis, he looks decidedly more Hamptons than downtown.

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