Arts

Ask Me Another
8:10 am
Thu December 5, 2013

Gone To The Dogs

This game is rather simple: each answer contains the name of a dog breed. For example, the Simon & Garfunkel song that begins, "I am just a poor boy though my story's seldom told," is "The Boxer." Of course, as house musician Jonathan Coulton will tell you, a boxer is a breed of dog, as well as a person who boxes. The song is not, however, about a person who puts things in boxes.

The Two-Way
5:43 am
Thu December 5, 2013

Book News: Amazon Launches An Imprint For Short Fiction

Amazon.com founder and CEO Jeff Bezos speaks at a 2009 event in New York unveiling a new version of the Amazon Kindle.
Mario Tama Getty Images

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

Read more
Code Switch
3:32 pm
Wed December 4, 2013

Telemundo's 'Highly Unusual' Resurrection of 'El Señor'

Rafael Amaya plays drug lord Aurelio Casillas on El Señor de los Cielos.
Billy Coleman Telemundo/NBC Universal

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 4:22 pm

Telemundo recently announced that its telenovela El Señor de los Cielos (Lord of the Skies) will be back for a second season; production began this week in Mexico City. This resurrection sets it apart from almost every other telenovela because, unlike American soap operas, telenovelas have a clear beginning and a definitive ending, airing for a set number of episodes.

Read more
The Salt
11:18 am
Wed December 4, 2013

Mushroom Foraging: When The Fun(gi) Hunt Gets Out Of Hand

Hank Shaw, author of Hunt, Gather, Cook, snaps the end off a mushroom in a Washington, D.C.-area park. When broken, the inside turns blue, identifying it as an inedible species of bolete.
The Washington Post/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon December 9, 2013 9:26 am

The first heavy rains of the season fell two weeks ago at Salt Point State Park, on the northern California coast, and now ranger Todd Farcau is waiting anxiously for the forest floor to erupt with mushrooms.

Read more
The Two-Way
10:09 am
Wed December 4, 2013

Norman Rockwell's 'Saying Grace' Sells For $46 Million At Auction

Norman Rockwell's 1951 painting Saying Grace sold for $46 million Wednesday — a record for the artist.
AP

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 12:06 pm

Three Norman Rockwell paintings sold for a combined total of nearly $58 million at a Sotheby's auction Wednesday. The three paintings, which had long been displayed in a Massachusetts museum named for the artist, were among 10 Rockwell works sold at auction today.

By far, the star of the bunch was the 1951 masterpiece Saying Grace, which sold for $46 million — a record for Rockwell's art. The price includes a buyer's premium. The AP says the artist's previous record of $15 million had been set by Breaking Home Ties at a 2006 Sotheby's auction.

Read more
The Two-Way
5:22 am
Wed December 4, 2013

Book News: Manil Suri Takes Bad Sex In Fiction Award

Author Manil Suri missed his chance to meet Joan Collins, who presented this year's Bad Sex in Fiction Award at a ceremony in London.
Courtesy of Nina Subin

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

Read more
Monkey See
3:06 am
Wed December 4, 2013

The Top 5 Reasons We're Taking A Break From Lists

This Christmas, NPR Books would like to find something other than lists in our stockings.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 9:30 am

You love lists. We love lists. Everyone loves lists. And in the past five years, NPR has brought you more than 80 year-end book lists — the best book club books, the best cookbooks, the best gift books, the best guilty pleasures. We listed. You clicked. Everyone was happy.

Read more
Author Interviews
1:22 am
Wed December 4, 2013

A Holiday Photo Book That Puts Families In An 'Awkward' Position

Someone has earned a spot on the naughty list this year.
Courtesy of Three Rivers Press

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 10:06 am

In 2009, Mike Bender was horrified to find that his mother had hung a particularly embarrassing family photo.

"It was a vacation photo. It was my dad's 50th birthday. I was 13," he says. "My dad had my brother and I do a Rockette's kick with our skis. We were on top of a mountain, right by the lift, and I just remember feeling, you know, stuck in that pose: This. Is. Awkward."

But as an adult he realized that the photo was not only awkward — it was hilarious.

Read more
The Salt
1:05 am
Wed December 4, 2013

Why $7-Per-Gallon Milk Looms Once Again

Sticker shock in the dairy aisle? If the government fails to pass the farm bill, milk prices could spike sometime after the first of the year.
George Frey Landov

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 11:29 am

The leaders of the House and Senate agriculture committees are meeting Wednesday as they continue to try to work out the differences between their respective farm bills. If they fail, the country faces what's being called the "dairy cliff" — with milk prices potentially shooting up to about $7 a gallon sometime after the first of the year.

Here's why: The nation's farm policy would be legally required to revert back to what's called permanent law. In the case of dairy, that would be the 1949 farm bill.

Read more
Kitchen Window
12:32 am
Wed December 4, 2013

Get Freshly Minted This Holiday Season

Emily Hilliard for NPR

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 1:03 pm

When I was growing up, my uncle Richard farmed mint. In the late summer, he and his crew would mow the mint fields like hay and collect the leaves in enclosed wagons, then drive them down to the still, where they would seal them and pump them full of steam. The steam caused the oil in the leaves to turn to vapor, which re-liquefied when pushed through a condenser.

Read more
The Salt
1:03 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

Cookie-Baking Chemistry: How To Engineer Your Perfect Sweet Treat

Engineering the perfect cookie: You can control the diameter and thickness of your favorite chocolate chip cookies by changing the temperature of the butter and the amount of flour in the dough.
Morgan Walker NPR

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 11:38 am

Baking cookies is almost magical. You put little balls of wet, white dough into the oven and out pop brown, crispy, tasty biscuits.

Read more
Author Interviews
11:25 am
Tue December 3, 2013

Underground Cities And 'Ghost' Miners: What Some People Do For Gold

The price of gold rose dramatically after Lehman Brothers collapsed in 2008.
David Paul Morris Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 12:41 pm

Gold is assumed to have eternal, inherent value, but what makes it valuable? And what determines its value now that it's no longer the basis of our currency? In the book Gold: The Race for the World's Most Seductive Metal, journalist Matthew Hart examines the new gold rush driven by investors. He travels to gold mines — including the Mponeng mine in South Africa, where he descended into the deepest man-made hole on Earth — and investigates why gold and crime sometimes go hand in hand.

Read more
Author Interviews
11:25 am
Tue December 3, 2013

Ted Williams: A Perfectionist Ballplayer With Many Demons

Ted Williams, pictured here in 1941, was deeply marked by his parents' absence while he and his brother were growing up.
AP

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 12:16 pm

There are great ballplayers, and then there's Ted Williams. In a 22-year career, Williams accomplished things that give him a legitimate claim to being the greatest hitter who ever lived; but he was also a tormented soul who hurt a lot of people, including himself.

Read more
The Salt
10:31 am
Tue December 3, 2013

Your Waiter Is Having A Bad Day. Can You Tell?

Katherine Streeter for NPR

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 4:11 pm

Imagine how Robbie Travis felt. He waits tables at Libertine, a high-end restaurant just outside St. Louis, and his ex insisted on coming in just a few days after they'd broken up.

Like everyone else, waiters and waitresses have to show up for work on days they'd rather be anywhere else. But it's especially tough to shrug off a bad mood in a job where people expect you to greet them gladly.

"You have to fake it a little bit," Travis says. "That's what pays the bills."

Read more
Monkey See
7:31 am
Tue December 3, 2013

Little Ditty About Lackin' Diane: Hug A Skeptic Today

iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 8:11 am

Perhaps while you were enjoying your Thanksgiving turkey (or, in my case, your hotel tub and your Hallmark movies), you heard the story of "Diane in 7A."

Read more
The Two-Way
5:38 am
Tue December 3, 2013

Book News: Ancient Texts From Vatican And Bodleian Libraries Digitized

An illustration from The Reginensis Graecus 1, a 10th century Greek Bible that is among the texts included in the digitization project.
Bodleian Libraries and Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 5:50 am

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

Read more
Book Reviews
5:03 am
Tue December 3, 2013

Moving Fables Of Gods, Men, Love And Monsters In 'Early Earth'

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 6:56 am

Despite its title, British writer and illustrator Isabel Greenberg's The Encyclopedia of Early Earth is not mere history, with its assiduous accounting of dusty facts, but is instead a compendium of funny, sad and surprisingly moving fables from the pre-history of a world that exists only in Greenberg's febrile imagination — one that bristles with capricious gods, feckless shamans, daring quests and, of course, doomed love.

Read more
Fine Art
1:19 am
Tue December 3, 2013

For Miami, A New Art Project, Complete With Drama

The boats of For Those in Peril on the Sea, by artist Hew Locke, hang in the entrance hall of the Perez Art Museum Miami, which opens this week.
Daniel Azoulay Perez Art Museum Miami

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 4:02 pm

Outside the glittering new Perez Art Museum Miami, finishing touches were still being applied late last month to the spacious plazas and gardens surrounding the $220 million building. Next door to the art museum, a new science museum is also going up. When it's all complete, the 29-acre Museum Park will provide a focus and a gathering spot on Biscayne Bay for those who live in, work in and visit downtown Miami.

Read more
Movie Interviews
2:42 pm
Mon December 2, 2013

Teller Breaks His Silence To Talk 'Tim's Vermeer'

Directed by Teller, of the magic act Penn and Teller, Tim's Vermeer follows Tim Jenison (above) as he attempts to re-create the methods and work of the Dutch master.
Sony Pictures Classics

Originally published on Mon December 2, 2013 5:12 pm

The documentary Tim's Vermeer follows inventor Tim Jenison on a singular project — the attempt to paint in the way the 17th century Flemish master Johannes Vermeer painted.

Jenison was inspired by Vermeer's paintings and by the book Secret Knowledge, in which the contemporary English artist David Hockney theorized that Renaissance painters might have achieved photographic accuracy by employing tools that anticipated photography.

Read more
Parallels
2:42 pm
Mon December 2, 2013

E-Readers Mark A New Chapter In The Developing World

A student at Ntimigom School in Kilgoris, Kenya, uses his e-reader.
Jon McCormack

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 2:58 pm

A former Amazon executive who helped Jeff Bezos turn shopping into a digital experience has set out to end illiteracy. David Risher is now the head of Worldreader, a nonprofit organization that brings e-books to kids in developing countries through Kindles and cellphones.

Risher was traveling around the world with his family when he got the idea for Worldreader. They were doing volunteer work at an orphanage in Ecuador when he saw a building with a big padlock on the door. He asked a woman who worked there what was inside, and she said, "It's the library."

Read more
New In Paperback
1:34 pm
Mon December 2, 2013

Dec. 2-8: Doorbell Ringers, A Heat Seeker And One Witty Ghost

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

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

The Salt
12:45 pm
Mon December 2, 2013

Sandwich Monday: The Big King From Burger King

Burger King has copied McDonald's groundbreaking proprietary technology known as "stacking food on food."
NPR

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 11:36 am

Fast food, for the most part, is about huge, innovative leaps: the heat lamp, the KFC Double Down, the Wendy's Sentient Bacon Classic. But imitation has its place, too, and Burger King has unveiled the Big King, an unapologetic knockoff of McDonald's Big Mac.

Ian: This is a clear violation of copywrong.

Miles: You have to admit, this is exactly what America would utilize cloning technology for.

Eva: Isn't Big King what everyone called Elvis late in his career?

Read more
Movie Interviews
11:39 am
Mon December 2, 2013

Director Alexander Payne On Mining Every Film For Comic Potential

Alexander Payne arrives at the 69th annual Golden Globe Awards in 2012.
Chris Pizzello AP

Originally published on Mon December 2, 2013 12:18 pm

Alexander Payne directed and co-wrote the films Election, About Schmidt, Sideways and The Descendants. He's directed Jack Nicholson and George Clooney in starring roles and has won two Oscars for best adapted screenplay.

Read more
Monkey See
10:47 am
Mon December 2, 2013

Zombies And Hope On 'The Walking Dead'

Bob Stookey (Larry Gilliard Jr.), Maggie Greene (Lauren Cohan), Tyreese (Chad Coleman), Beth Greene (Emily Kinney), Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green) and Carl Grimes (Chandler Riggs) on AMC's The Walking Dead.
Gene Page AMC

[Plot details regarding Sunday night's Walking Dead midseason finale follow. Proceed at your own risk.]

This is a strange thing to say about a TV show which ended its fall season Sunday with the death of two children, a gun battle, waves of flesh-eating zombies and a decapitation.

But it is easy to forget, in the midst of all the carnage, that The Walking Dead is essentially a show about hope.

Read more
Art & Design
10:15 am
Mon December 2, 2013

Designer B Michael On Bringing Color To The Runway

Courtesy of b micheal America

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 7:56 am

After a brief career on Wall Street, veteran designer B Michael followed his calling to the world of fashion. He got his start as a millinery designer for the '80s soap opera Dynasty. Soon after, he began designing couture gowns leading him to work with an extensive client list that includes Cicely Tyson, Angela Basset, Lena Horne, Whitney Houston, and Cate Blanchett — to name a few.

After spending decades in the business B Michael says, "Every successful story will tell you they've had to reinvent themselves."

Read more
Monkey See
9:30 am
Mon December 2, 2013

Among The Holiday Glut, 3 Movies About The Creative Life

Tom Hanks plays the man himself, Walt Disney, alongside Emma Thompson as Mary Poppins author P.L. Travers, in Saving Mr. Banks.
Francois Duhamel Walt Disney Pictures

It's movie-binge time — that month-long surge of Oscar hopefuls and would-be blockbusters Hollywood always winds up the year with. On All Things Considered, I talked about some of the big tent-pole pictures: Anchorman 2, The Wolf of Wall Street, the second Hobbit installment and so on.

But here, let's winnow the list down a bit to three films you might want to keep an eye out for if you're intrigued by the artistic process — how artists think and work.

Read more
The Two-Way
5:30 am
Mon December 2, 2013

Book News: Leaked Salinger Stories Pose An Ethical Dilemma

A photo of J.D. Salinger taken in September 1961.
AP

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

Read more
Author Interviews
3:41 pm
Sun December 1, 2013

Nightclub King Jon Taffer Sets A High Bar

iStockphoto

Originally published on Sun December 1, 2013 5:55 pm

Jon Taffer is the king of the bar business. Over the past three decades, he has managed dozens of bars and nightclubs, and is a consultant for bar owners all over the country.

Most recently, he has put his expertise to use as the host of the popular reality show Bar Rescue. Bar and nightclub owners with failing businesses ask Taffer for his help. In return, Taffer brings a team of bartenders, chefs and designers with him to revamp every part of the operation. On the show, as in person, Taffer is a tough, no-nonsense guy.

Read more
You Must Read This
5:03 am
Sun December 1, 2013

A Skeptic Is Swept Away By The Bromance-At-Sea In 'Master'

iStockphoto

Originally published on Mon December 2, 2013 11:33 am

In the autumn of 1995, the editor of an academic journal (we'll call him Dave) recommended a book.

"It's set during the Napoleonic Wars — "

"Not interested."

"No, listen. It's about the friendship of Captain Jack Aubrey of the Royal Navy — "

"I hate Horatio Hornblower."

" — and Dr. Stephen Maturin, his ship's surgeon, who's also a naturalist and secret agent. It sounds unlikely, I know, but just trust me. You'll love it."

Read more
Book Reviews
5:03 am
Sun December 1, 2013

For Anjelica Huston, The 'Story' Starts Long Before Los Angeles

Evening Standard Getty Images

Originally published on Mon December 2, 2013 5:12 pm

When I saw that the actress Anjelica Huston had written a memoir, I thought, "Oh, good, I'll read that." I assumed it would be filled with wild stories from '70s and '80s Hollywood and her relationship with Jack Nicholson. What it was like to win an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. General movie-star debauchery, carried out in the wedge shoes and oversized sunglasses of that era.

Read more

Pages