Arts

Author Interviews
12:13 pm
Thu August 15, 2013

Of Neurons And Memories: Inside The 'Secret World Of Sleep'

iStockphoto.com

What happens in our brains while we're asleep? That's one question neuroscientist Penelope Lewis is trying to answer. She directs the Sleep and Memory Lab at the University of Manchester in England. Her new book is The Secret World of Sleep: The Surprising Science of the Mind at Rest.

Lewis joins Fresh Air's Terry Gross to talk about how sleep affects memory, and how REM sleep can affect depression.


Interview Highlights

On how sleep makes memory stronger

Read more
Book Reviews
11:41 am
Thu August 15, 2013

A Gossipy, Nostalgic History Of A Publishing 'Hothouse'

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu August 15, 2013 1:28 pm

In the world of book publishing, ravaged though it may be, the name Farrar, Straus & Giroux still bespeaks literary quality. It's a publishing house that boasts a roll call of 25 Nobel Prize winners and heavyweights like Susan Sontag, Carlos Fuentes, Joan Didion, Philip Roth and Jonathan Franzen. A lot of writers, past and present, have turned down higher advances for their books from other publishing houses for the honor of being an FSG author.

Read more
Books
10:08 am
Thu August 15, 2013

A Family Tree That Includes Slaves — And Slave Owners

Andrea Stuart is also the author of The Rose of Martinique: A Life of Napoleon's Josephine.
Clara Molden Camera Press Redux

Originally published on Thu August 15, 2013 5:15 pm

Part of our summer reading series Island Reads, highlighting authors from the Caribbean

Andrea Stuart was curious about her family's history in Barbados. And through years of careful research, she found that her bloodline includes both slave owners and slaves. She has written about her own family, as well as a detailed history of slavery in the Caribbean, in her book Sugar in the Blood. Guest host Celeste Headlee talks with Stuart about her family history, the moral complexity of slavery and finding roots in the past.

Read more
The Picture Show
10:03 am
Thu August 15, 2013

How To Draw Out Your Worst Fears

Pat, 66, fears losing her memory.
Courtesy of Julie Elman

Originally published on Thu August 15, 2013 12:25 pm

A few years ago, Julie Elman, an associate professor at Ohio University, was stuck in a creative rut. As a design educator and illustrator, most of her work was done on the computer. She wanted to begin a tangible project — remember those? — but didn't really know where to start.

Then she realized there was one emotion she was strangely preoccupied with: fear. "I thought fears would go away as we get older," she remembers thinking. "I'm in my 50s. Why do I still have fears?"

And that is how The Fear Project was born.

Read more
The Two-Way
5:42 am
Thu August 15, 2013

Book News: Slam Poet's 'OCD' Love Poem Makes Waves

Neil Hilborn performs "OCD" at the 2013 Rustbelt Poetry Slam.
YouTube

Originally published on Thu August 15, 2013 5:48 am

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

Read more
Book Reviews
5:03 am
Thu August 15, 2013

'Snow Hunters': A Beautiful Debut Novel Grounded In History

On the second page of his debut novel Snow Hunters, Paul Yoon vividly depicts the last moments before his protagonist Yohan is liberated from a prisoner of war camp on the Korean peninsula, "where there was always a wind that carried the smell of soil and sickness" from the animals at a nearby farm. Yohan is about to catch a boat to Brazil and start a new life as a Japanese tailor's apprentice – and as he rides away in a UN truck, he "shut his eyes and dreamed of castles."

Read more
Crime In The City
12:58 am
Thu August 15, 2013

In 'Alphabet' Mysteries, 'S' Is Really For Santa Barbara

The Santa Barbara County Courthouse, a Spanish-Moorish landmark, was built in 1929.
Anna Fox (harshlight) Flickr

Originally published on Thu August 15, 2013 7:27 am

Novelist Sue Grafton is a real hoot. She's just as likely to talk, in that native Kentucky drawl of hers, about her prized silver-coin mint julep cups as about a juicy murder mystery. But she does have a crime writer's imagination.

"I always say to people, 'Don't cross me, OK? Because you will be so sorry,'" she says. "'I have ways to kill you you ain't even thought of yet.'"

Read more
NPR's Backseat Book Club
1:09 pm
Wed August 14, 2013

September Kids' Book Club Pick: 'Wonder'

Random House

When Madeleine L'Engle won the Newbery Prize for A Wrinkle in Time, she ended her speech with the thought that a book "can be a star, 'explosive material, capable of stirring up fresh life endlessly,' a living fire to lighten the darkness, leading out into the expanding universe."

Read more
Monkey See
11:45 am
Wed August 14, 2013

When A 'Total Eclipse' Leads To Some Serious Exposure

current-events lampoon running at Theatre Row." href="/post/when-total-eclipse-leads-some-serious-exposure" class="noexit lightbox">
Christina Bianco performs with some regularity at Jim Caruso's Cast Party and 54 Below's Backstage open-mic night in New York City. She's currently in the cast of Newsical the Musical, the current-events lampoon running at Theatre Row.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed August 14, 2013 1:40 pm

Read more
Monkey See
9:08 am
Wed August 14, 2013

Why I Resist Web Redesigns (And Maybe You Do, Too)

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed August 14, 2013 10:07 am

Words many of us never want to hear: "It's the transmission." "We can't get a technician out there until next Tuesday." "Your ex will be there."

And, of course: "Welcome to our redesigned site!"

Read more
The Two-Way
5:38 am
Wed August 14, 2013

Book News: Handwriting Offers Clues In Shakespeare Debate

Shakespeare's handwriting may offer clues to a mysterious passage in Thomas Kyd's Spanish Tragedy.
Hulton Archive Getty Images

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

Read more
Book Reviews
5:03 am
Wed August 14, 2013

'March' Sheds New Light On A Civil Rights Hero

Courtesy Top Shelf Productions

While the cynics among us might argue that America's high ideals and lofty rhetoric rarely transcend their inscriptions on stone, few would disagree that the 1963 March on Washington was one of the nation's finest hours. It was a transformational moment, and a portent for future blows to segregation and injustice.

Read more
Nickel Tour: Get To Know Great Tour Guides
12:03 am
Wed August 14, 2013

The Vintage Cadillac With The Memphis Soundtrack

American Safari tour guide Tad Pierson stands beside his 1955 pink Cadillac. Visitors to Memphis can get a personalized tour that highlights the city's rich music heritage.
Debbie Elliott NPR

Originally published on Wed August 14, 2013 7:16 am

In the town where I grew up — Memphis, Tenn. — Tad Pierson has made a career out of his love for cars and American music by working as a tour guide. We meet in the grand lobby of the Peabody Hotel, the downtown landmark famous for its ducks and Southern elegance. But it's also considered the starting point of the Mississippi Delta, a region steeped in the blues.

Read more
Kitchen Window
10:03 pm
Tue August 13, 2013

In Maine, Lobster Comes Out Of Its Shell

iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed August 14, 2013 5:44 pm

You might think a great benefit of living in Maine is unlimited access to fresh, cheap lobster. Most Mainers, however, probably eat less lobster in a year than tourists here consume in a week. Lobster bakes and boiling lobsters in those tall, speckled pots are grudgingly reserved for when company comes.

Read more
Code Switch
3:48 pm
Tue August 13, 2013

Kiese Laymon's Overdue Success Proves Publishers Can Change

Kiese Laymon is a contributing editor at Gawker and has written for NPR.org.
Courtesy of Kiese Laymon

Originally published on Thu August 15, 2013 5:59 am

Writer Kiese Laymon has had the kind of year every first-time author dreams of: two books published to critical acclaim. But none of that came easily. The title of his most recent book, an essay collection released on Tuesday, hints at how tough the road really was: It's called How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America.

Read more
The Salt
2:33 pm
Tue August 13, 2013

Chipotle Is Keeping Its Meat Antibiotic-Free After All

Originally published on Mon November 18, 2013 3:26 pm

For a few hours Tuesday, it appeared that Chipotle Mexican Grill, an ever expanding source of fast food for the ethically conscious consumer, had softened its hard line against antibiotics in meat production.

Read more
Keys To The Whole World: American Public Libraries
2:32 pm
Tue August 13, 2013

Beyond Books: Libraries Lend Fishing Poles, Pans And People

At a Human Library event at the Santa Monica Public Library, a police detective "book" talks to two "readers." Human Library events and projects, which are held at libraries across the country, allow participants to "check out" volunteers and have conversations about their life experiences.
Annie Wyndham Solomon (Wynsolo Photography) Santa Monica Public Library

Originally published on Tue August 13, 2013 4:31 pm

What's the point of a library in the digital age? It's a question that makes librarians bristle. They are quick to remind you that they are not just repositories for printed books and DVDs. Regular patrons know this, but public libraries want to reach beyond the faithful. To that end, many librarians are finding creative ways to get people through the doors despite their limited resources.

Read more
Television
10:39 am
Tue August 13, 2013

'Orange' Creator Jenji Kohan: 'Piper Was My Trojan Horse'

Jenji Kohan, seen here on the set of Orange Is the New Black, began her writing career on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
Ursula Coyote Netflix

Originally published on Tue August 13, 2013 11:32 am

A lot of people have been binge-watching the new Netflix series Orange Is the New Black, which is set in a minimum security women's prison.

Read more
Monkey See
6:55 am
Tue August 13, 2013

On 'Doomsday Castle,' If Armageddon Doesn't Get You, Your Tractor Might

Brent, Jr. in his battering ram, on National Geographic Channel's Doomsday Castle.
National Geographic Channel

Read more
The Two-Way
5:13 am
Tue August 13, 2013

Book News: Museum, Kelly Clarkson Vie For Jane Austen's Ring

Kelly Clarkson bought a ring once owned by Jane Austen at auction, but the U.K. is trying to keep it in the country.
Harper Smith

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

Read more
Book Reviews
3:27 pm
Mon August 12, 2013

Heading West: The Gritty, Luminous 'Son Of A Gun'

Justin St. Germain teaches at the University of New Mexico.
William Bledsoe

Originally published on Mon August 12, 2013 6:17 pm

My parents married young — both were still undergraduates — and so by the time my father started graduate school in mathematics, he and my mother were the harried parents of three small children. They wanted us to see America. And so my father chose the University of Arizona — about as far as you could go from our West Virginia home without falling off the country's opposite edge. On our way, we stopped in Tombstone.

Read more
New In Paperback
2:35 pm
Mon August 12, 2013

Aug. 12-18: Jimi Hendrix, The Everglades And The 'Iron Curtain'

AP

Originally published on Tue August 13, 2013 9:18 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/.

The Salt
2:05 pm
Mon August 12, 2013

Three Ways Cooking Has Changed Over The Last 300 Years

Maids at work in a large kitchen, circa 1890.
W. and D. Downey Getty Images

Originally published on Mon August 12, 2013 2:56 pm

Cooking with calf's head and cow heel may not sound like the most palatable way to spend an afternoon, but it's all in a day's work for librarian Judith Finnamore of London's Westminster Archive Centre.

Read more
The Salt
11:32 am
Mon August 12, 2013

Sandwich Monday: The Jim Shoe

Behold.
NPR

Originally published on Mon August 12, 2013 12:20 pm

The Chicago sandwich containing gyro meat, roast beef and corned beef goes by many names. This is one of many ways in which it's like the devil, and Sean Combs. People call it the Gym Shoe, the Jim Shoe or the Jim Shoo.

Ian: With a name this unappetizing, the sandwich had no choice but to be so delicious no one would mess with it. It's like A Boy Named Shoe.

Blythe: I thought I'd need my Reebok Stomach Pumps for this.

Read more
Author Interviews
10:50 am
Mon August 12, 2013

Behind 'The New Black': The Real Piper's Prison Story

Taylor Schilling plays Piper in Netflix's Orange Is the New Black, which is based on Piper Kerman's memoir of her year in prison.
Jessica Miglio Netflix

Originally published on Fri August 16, 2013 9:18 am

Piper Kerman was a 24-year-old Smith College graduate in 1993, when she flew to Belgium with a suitcase of money intended for a West African drug lord.

This misguided adventure started when she began a romantic relationship with a woman who was part of what Kerman describes as a "clique of impossibly stylish and cool lesbians in their mid-30s." That woman was involved in a drug-smuggling ring, and got Kerman involved, too, though Kerman left that life after several months.

Read more
Book Reviews
10:43 am
Mon August 12, 2013

Addictive 'Infatuations' Takes A Metaphysical Look At Crime

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon August 12, 2013 11:48 am

If you're like me, you probably feel exhausted just thinking about how much cultural stuff is out there. A friend recently told me he was reading an acclaimed Hungarian novelist whose books I've never opened. "Please tell me he stinks," I begged, "so I don't have to read him."

"Actually, he's great," came the reply, and I groaned. This was something I didn't want to know.

Read more
Art & Design
10:25 am
Mon August 12, 2013

Powwow Party Flub Leads To Fashion Line

Originally published on Mon August 12, 2013 10:40 am

Transcript

CELESTE HEADLEE, HOST:

And now we turn to a very different kind of fashion/history story. Last year, clothing and accessories line Paul Frank hosted a powwow and dream catcher party that offended a lot of people, not just Native Americans. Bloggers like Adrienne Keene demanded an apology and the company obliged. But Paul Frank Industries didn't stop there. They decided to team up with native designers to create a line that showcases art from the many Native American cultures.

Read more
Monkey See
6:31 am
Mon August 12, 2013

Can You Really Dissolve A Guy In A Bathtub? 'Mythbusters' Tackles 'Breaking Bad'

Adam Savage and Aaron Paul trade some information on Monday night's Mythbusters.
Don Feria Discovery

Perhaps you heard that last night, a plucky little drug dealer named Walter White returned to television for his last eight episodes of the award-hoarding Breaking Bad.

But before he began his life of crime, Walter White was a chemistry teacher, and chemistry is what originally made him such a great meth cook. Breaking Bad has always included a lot of science talk, especially in the early days, and the time has come for someone to see whether it holds up.

And by "someone," I mean "Mythbusters."

Read more
The Two-Way
5:09 am
Mon August 12, 2013

Book News: Does Lance Armstrong Have The Right To Lie In His Memoirs?

Lance Armstrong is being sued for false claims in his books, which were marketed as nonfiction.
Nathalie Magniez Getty Images

Originally published on Mon August 12, 2013 7:47 am

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

Read more
NPR Story
3:13 am
Mon August 12, 2013

'One Night In Miami', More Than Clay Beats Liston

Originally published on Mon August 12, 2013 6:53 am

Transcript

RENE MONTAGNE, HOST:

We're going to hear now about a play on stage here in Los Angeles, though it's set in another hot city, it's called "One Night In Miami," and it's based on a real event. On February 25th, 1964, the young Cassius Clay defeated world heavyweight champion Sonny Liston. Clay, who would soon change his name to Muhammad Ali, celebrated his victory in a small hotel room with three of the most prominent African-Americans of the time.

Read more

Pages