Arts

Author Interviews
5:08 pm
Wed January 8, 2014

In An Age Of Slavery, Two Women Fight For Their 'Wings'

iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 8:29 pm

Sue Monk Kidd's new novel is a story told by two women whose lives are wrapped together — beginning, against their wills, when they're young girls. One is a slave; the other, her reluctant owner. One strives her whole life to be free; the other rebels against her slave-owning family and becomes a prominent abolitionist and early advocate for women's rights.

The book, The Invention of Wings, takes on both slavery and feminism — and it's inspired by the life of a real historical figure.

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The Salt
2:21 pm
Wed January 8, 2014

This GMO Apple Won't Brown. Will That Sour The Fruit's Image?

Soon after being sliced, a conventional Granny Smith apple (left) starts to brown, while a newly developed GM Granny Smith stays fresher looking.
Courtesy of Okanagan Specialty Fruits Inc.

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 8:29 pm

If you (or your children) turn up your nose at brown apple slices, would you prefer fresh-looking ones that have been genetically engineered?

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Television
1:18 pm
Wed January 8, 2014

On TV This Week: 'Babylon' Has Good Fun, 'Detective' Is The Real Deal

IFC's The Spoils Of Babylon follows a sister (Kristin Wiig) and adopted brother (Tobey Maguire) caught up in a passionate romance.
Katrina Marcinowski IFC

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 2:55 pm

Two new miniseries this week are worth special mention — and couldn't be more different.

True Detective, which begins Sunday on HBO, is a combination series and miniseries, kind of like American Horror Story on FX. Each season is designed to tell a different, self-contained story, followed the next year by a new tale with new characters and sometimes even new actors. This first season of True Detective is an eight-hour murder mystery starring Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson, neither of whom is expected to return next season.

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Europe
1:18 pm
Wed January 8, 2014

The 'Pussy Riot' Arrests, And The Crackdown That Followed

Pussy Riot members Yekaterina Samutsevich (left), Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova sit in a glass-walled cage in a Moscow court on Oct. 10, 2012.
Natalia Kolesnikova AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 2:19 pm

Masha Gessen is a prominent journalist who is also a lesbian and an outspoken LGBT rights advocate in Russia. After Russia passed two anti-gay laws in June, she decided it was time for her, her partner and their children to leave. In late December, they moved to New York.

"The only thing more creepy than hearing someone suggest the likes of you should be burned alive is hearing someone suggest the likes of you should be burned alive and thinking, 'I know that guy.' "

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Monkey See
8:05 am
Wed January 8, 2014

'Saturday Night Live' Takes A Very Important First Step

Screenshot

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 9:03 am

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Kitchen Window
6:14 am
Wed January 8, 2014

Leftover Liquor Finds New Life As Liqueur

Eve Turow for NPR

Originally published on Thu January 9, 2014 5:24 am

Years ago, on an overnight bus ride in Argentina, a waiter poked his head through the drawn curtains: "Whiskey or Tia Maria?" he offered as a post-meal drink. Unfamiliar with the latter, I decided to take a taste. He steadied himself on the rocking walls and poured me a serving of the almond-colored digestif. I could smell the coffee aromatics as I took my first sip. The sweet liqueur popped on my taste buds with flavors of vanilla, coconut and rum. "Good, right?" he asked. I nodded. As the sugar and alcohol settled my stomach, I knew I had to learn more about this dinnertime tradition.

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The Two-Way
5:30 am
Wed January 8, 2014

Book News: Biography Of Fox's Roger Ailes Alleges Sexism, Anti-Semitism

Fox News Channel chief Roger Ailes attends a 2012 Hollywood Reporter celebration of "The 35 Most Powerful People in Media" in New York City.
Stephen Lovekin Getty Images

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 7:56 am

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

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New In Paperback
5:02 am
Wed January 8, 2014

Jan. 5-11: A Beer Empire, A Habit Explainer And A New Kind Of Warfare

August A. Busch (center) and his sons, Adolphus III (left) and August Jr., seal the first case of beer off the Anheuser-Busch bottling plant line in St. Louis on April 7, 1933, when the sale of low-alcohol beers and wines was once again legal. Prohibition didn't officially end until Dec. 5 of that year.
AP

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 8:31 am

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

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

The Salt
4:02 am
Wed January 8, 2014

A Cheesy Meltdown: Kraft Warns Of Velveeta Shortage

According to an AdvertisingAge report, Velveeta may be a little hard to come by in some areas over the next few weeks.
Paul Sakuma AP

Originally published on Thu January 9, 2014 11:24 am

If I say Super Bowl food, you think ... Velveeta? Maybe Velveeta with Ro*Tel.

Oh, yes. Ro*Tel's Famous Con Queso.

What could be more Sunday-in-January-indulgent than hot, creamy, processed cheese mixed with diced tomatoes & green chilies.

I have to admit, I've scooped up my share of con queso on a nacho chip or two.

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The Salt
5:59 pm
Tue January 7, 2014

Think You're Cold And Hungry? Try Eating In Antarctica

Morrie Fisher drinks at Mawson Station, an Australian base in East Antarctica, in 1957. Apparently, these sorts of amusements tend to pop up when you're bored in a barren landscape.
Courtesy of the Australian Antarctic Division

Originally published on Thu January 9, 2014 11:24 am

If the icy blast of polar air that's descended upon much of the U.S. over the last couple of days has you reaching for the cookie jar for comfort — and ready to give up on those New Year's resolutions — then seriously? It's time to toughen up. Just think: At least you're not in the Antarctic.

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The Salt
5:05 pm
Tue January 7, 2014

Top Diets Of 2014 (Hint: It's Probably Not What You Think)

Keep the rice brown and the skin off the chicken for a Spanish rice dinner that could qualify for the top-ranked DASH diet. Here's the DASH-approved recipe.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu January 9, 2014 11:27 am

U.S. News has ranked 32 diets, and which one comes out on top?

The DASH diet. It's an acronym for a dreadfully dull name, the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension diet. Haven't heard of it?

True, it doesn't get much buzz.

But it's been around for a long time, and there's solid evidence that it works, not just for weight control but also to lower high blood pressure (a condition that affects 1 in 3 adults in the U.S.).

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Books News & Features
3:39 pm
Tue January 7, 2014

Sherlock's Expiring Copyright: It's Public Domain, Dear Watson

A poster advertises a stage adaptation of Sherlock Holmes, starring actor William Gillette in 1899.
Library of Congress

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 7:53 am

Beloved sleuth Sherlock Holmes has stumbled onto a new conundrum: A federal judge in Chicago recently ruled that the characters in Arthur Conan Doyle's stories — including Holmes and his partner, Dr. John Watson — now reside in the public domain.

That means anyone who wants to write new material about the characters no longer needs to seek permission or pay license fees to the Doyle estate. That is, as long as you don't include any elements introduced in the last 10 Sherlock Holmes stories released in the U.S. after 1922.

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Monkey See
11:20 am
Tue January 7, 2014

A Hong Kong Film Titan, With A Reach Well Beyond His Roots

Run Run Shaw, pictured with his wife and daughter in London, was knighted in 1978 for his philanthropic endeavors.
Central Press Getty Images

The Hong Kong entertainment magnate and philanthropist Run Run Shaw, who died today at 106 or 107, isn't that well known in the West. But his fans, from Quentin Tarantino to the Wu-Tang Clan, sure are.

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Author Interviews
10:38 am
Tue January 7, 2014

'You Can't Be This Furry' And Other Life Lessons From Gary Shteyngart

Gary Shteyngart's work has been translated into 26 languages.
Brigitte Lacombe Courtesy of Random House

Originally published on Tue January 7, 2014 12:56 pm

Novelist Gary Shteyngart was a wheezing, asthmatic and fearful 7-year-old when he and his parents emigrated from the Soviet Union to Queens, New York, in 1979. (This was soon after America negotiated a trade deal with the Soviets that included allowing Jews to immigrate to Israel, Canada or the U. S.) He tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross that his health was a deciding factor in his parents' decision to move.

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Book Reviews
9:02 am
Tue January 7, 2014

'Leaving The Sea,' Arriving At A Constant State Of Anxiety

Originally published on Tue January 7, 2014 12:42 pm

In the story that opens Leaving the Sea, two men begin conversing at a family party. Rick, the more straight-laced of the two, turns to his brother-in-law and says: "I love family."

The second man, Paul, replies by saying: "Oh, hey, did someone get hurt tonight?" Rick looks worried. Then Paul adds to the confusion by claiming to have seen a stretcher go into the hotel. The way this sentence is structured ensures that the reader mentally prepares for some awful event. But it never materializes. The author never mentions this incident again.

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The Two-Way
5:22 am
Tue January 7, 2014

Book News: Scores Of Books Burned In Lebanese Library Torching

A man inspects burnt books in north Lebanon's majority Sunni city of Tripoli on Saturday, a day after a decades-old library owned by a Greek Orthodox priest was burned.
Ibrahim Chalhoub AFP/Getty Images

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

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Author Interviews
12:58 am
Tue January 7, 2014

CIA Lawyer: Waterboarding Wasn't Torture Then And Isn't Torture Now

John Rizzo is the CIA's former acting general counsel. His new memoir is Company Man: Thirty Years of Controversy and Crisis in the CIA.
Jay Mallin Simon & Schuster

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 8:07 am

In the years following the Sept. 11 attacks, many Americans heard the term "waterboarding" for the first time — a technique aimed to simulate the act of drowning. Waterboarding was at the center of the debate about what the CIA called "enhanced interrogation techniques" — and what critics called "torture."

John Rizzo, acting general counsel of the CIA in the years after Sept. 11, 2001, has written a memoir about his three decades at the agency. He talks with NPR's Renee Montagne about Company Man: Thirty Years of Controversy and Crisis in the CIA.

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All Tech Considered
12:56 am
Tue January 7, 2014

In Gaming, A Shift From Enemies To Emotions

The game That Dragon, Cancer is an interactive memoir about raising a child with pediatric cancer.
That Dragon, Cancer

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 4:56 am

A generation has grown up with video games — and video games are growing up, too. Developers are using the medium to tell sophisticated, emotionally complex stories.

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The Salt
1:54 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Sandwich Monday: The Ignatius R

No mouths were harmed in the eating of this sandwich. Except Eva's — she wants Worker's Comp for a bad case of Sandwich Jaw.
NPR

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 12:01 pm

It's -16 degrees today here in Chicago, which for many of us has triggered hibernation mode. Fortunately the great Jerry's Sandwiches has created the Ignatius R., with enough calories to get us to the end of winter, which we expect to occur sometime in August.

The ingredient list: fried chicken, cold hickory-smoked sirloin, applewood bacon, fresh mozzarella, lettuce, Carolina vinegar, fried shrimp, fried green tomato, mortadella, country ham, pickled okra, American cheese, lettuce, tomato, and Southwest mayo on a potato bun.

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The Salt
1:22 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Looks Like The Paleo Diet Wasn't Always So Hot For Ancient Teeth

Say aaaaaah! Dental caries and other signs of oral disease are plain to see in the upper teeth of this hunter-gatherer, between 14,000 and 15,000 years old. The findings challenge the idea that the original paleo diet was inherently healthy, says paleo-anthropologist Louise Humphrey. It all depended, she says, on what wild foods were available.
Courtesy of Isabelle De Groote

Originally published on Mon January 6, 2014 4:16 pm

One of the hinge points in human history was the invention of agriculture. It led to large communities, monumental architecture and complex societies. It also led to tooth decay.

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Author Interviews
12:05 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Fear Of Fainting, Flight And Cheese: One Man's 'Age Of Anxiety'

Yuri Arcurs iStockphoto

Originally published on Mon January 6, 2014 6:09 pm

Atlantic magazine editor Scott Stossel has countless phobias and anxieties — some you've heard of, others you probably haven't.

"There's a vast encyclopedia of fears and phobias," he tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross, "and pretty much any object, experience, situation you can think of, there is someone who has a phobia of it."

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Television
11:16 am
Mon January 6, 2014

'Downton' Returns, And It's As Rich As Ever

Michelle Dockery's Lady Mary is in deep mourning as Downton Abbey returns for a fourth season on PBS.
Nick Briggs Carnival Film & Television Limited

Originally published on Tue January 7, 2014 5:36 am

When you think about what Downton Abbey has achieved, and is continuing to pull off, it's actually pretty remarkable. In an era when the most acclaimed TV series of the decade is an edgy cable drama about a dying, meth-making criminal, Downton Abbey draws similarly large audiences on broadcast TV — public TV, at that — with an old-fashioned soap opera about servants and household staffers and those they serve. As Season 4 begins on PBS, Downton Abbey is the most popular drama in the history of public television.

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Movie Reviews
9:19 am
Mon January 6, 2014

From 'Cinema Paradiso' Director, An Offbeat 'Offer'

Geoffrey Rush plays an obsessive art auctioneer in The Best Offer, a mystery-cum-romance from the director of Cinema Paradiso.
Stefano Schirato IFC Films

A stylish if ultimately silly attempt to marry erotic puzzler and art-world critique, The Best Offer benefits from assured performances and an agreeably nutty Ennio Morricone score. The movie plays as if director Giuseppe Tornatore (best known for Cinema Paradiso) is doing all he can with a dubious script. But he's the one who wrote it.

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Monkey See
8:44 am
Mon January 6, 2014

The Unreal 'Her'

The screen is the announcement of a message from Samantha in Spike Jonze's Her.
Warner Brothers Pictures

There is something prickly and provocative about the back story of Spike Jonze's Her, a futuristic drama in which a man named Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix) falls in love, as it were, with his artificially intelligent operating system.

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Monkey See
7:11 am
Mon January 6, 2014

Morning Shots: Fiction, Tweet Advertising, And Marvel Envy

iStockphoto.com

I have a few quibbles with this lengthy profile/evaluation of Jennifer Weiner in The New Yorker, particularly in that it makes the common error of describing her argument as primarily about why her own books are not considered literary fiction, when in fact a major part of her argument is that commercial/genre fiction market

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The Two-Way
5:24 am
Mon January 6, 2014

Book News: Steve Jobs Biographer Asks Internet To Help Edit New Book

Walter Isaacson speaks during the April 2013 Creativity Conference at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.
Kris Connor Getty Images

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

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The Salt
1:06 am
Mon January 6, 2014

Amazon Locavore: Meet The Man Putting Brazilian Food On The Map

Brazilian chef Alex Atala, whose restaurant, D.O.M., is ranked among the top 10 in the world, was named one of the most influential people by Time magazine this year.
Cassio Vasconcellos AP

Originally published on Mon January 6, 2014 6:03 am

He was named one of the most influential people by Time magazine this past year.

Now Alex Atala, whose restaurant, D.O.M., is ranked among the top 10 in the world, is putting a new kind of Brazilian food on the map.

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Europe
1:02 am
Mon January 6, 2014

Madrid's Street Performers Now Must Audition To Hold Out A Hat

Street musician Valentino Juanino, right, plays his bagpipe at the Conde Duque Cultural Center last month after taking a quality test to obtain official permission to perform in the streets of Madrid.
Paul White AP

Originally published on Mon January 6, 2014 6:03 am

On the train, in the park, on the famed medieval Plaza Mayor — the Spanish capital of Madrid is famous for its street performers.

And with more than a quarter of Spaniards out of work, more people than ever before have been crisscrossing the city with their violins and voices, for extra cash. People squeeze giant accordions onto the metro, and roll amplifiers on carts across cobblestones.

The street performers are a tourist attraction. But Madrid's mayor, Ana Botella, says the clamor has reached its limit.

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Television
3:25 pm
Sun January 5, 2014

In High-Drama Parody, Will Ferrell Reveals 'Spoils Of Babylon'

Cynthia and Devon Morehouse, played by Kristen Wiig and Tobey Maguire, are caught up in a passionate romance in the IFC miniseries The Spoils of Babylon. Oh, but they're not married: They're sister and (adopted) brother, the central figures in a bizarro salute to '80s melodramas like The Thorn Birds.
Katrina Marcinowski IFC

Originally published on Sun January 5, 2014 4:55 pm

In The Spoils of Babylon, Will Ferrell plays a "nonexistent author of a nonexistent best-seller." His book, written in the 1970s, was supposedly made into a television miniseries that never saw the light of day — until now.

The story begins in the 1930s, and spans about 50 years, following the powerful Morehouse family.

The series is a parody of the big, bloated miniseries of the 1970s and '80s (like The Thorn Birds or The Winds of War), filled with family drama in a changing America.

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Food
8:31 am
Sun January 5, 2014

Eating Tea And Other Food Predictions For 2014

Tea leaves will be big in entrees and desserts in 2014.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Sun January 5, 2014 10:44 am

At the beginning of every year, we read the tea leaves to see what new food trends we'll be tasting in the coming months. This year, the tea itself is the trend.

Tea leaves will be big in entrees, desserts and, of course, cocktails. Starbucks has opened its first tea shop.

We won't be just drinking tea; Artisan distilling keeps on growing. This could be the year of gin, made with local botanicals as well as the traditional juniper berry.

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