If you're a fan of the Maisie Dobbs series — and if you're not, I highly recommend you give them a chance — you already know that Jacqueline Winspear has a formidable command of the history of the Great War, and a stunning ability to take some of the most amazing and horrible aspects of that era and bring them home.
The city of Jericho sits in the hot, flat Jordan Valley down the hill from Jerusalem. Jericho has bragging rights as one of the oldest towns on Earth. But one of its newest homes looks like it might have arrived from outer space.
Ahmad Daoud hired a firm of young Palestinian architects to build this house. Like Jericho's original homes, it is built of dirt. This one has a contemporary twist, though: It's constructed with earth compacted in bags that are then stacked and plastered over.
Daoud loves the domed rooms, the nod to the past and the environmental advantages.
Motorcycles provide an open road for literature — literally and figuratively. They're sometimes the dramatic device writers use to talk about many things: adventure, rebellion, even inner peace. But motorcycles aren't just a metaphor at Bartel's Harley-Davidson shop in Marina Del Rey, Calif. They're loud and shiny and very real.
In the late 1980s and early '90s, Washington, D.C., was a city under siege. As with other cities, it descended into near chaos because of the crack epidemic that claimed even innocent lives. Whole neighborhoods became war zones, and the nation's capital became the nation's homicide capital.
Movie theaters were swarming with Transformers this past weekend, and that'll also be true over the July 4 weekend. So this may not seem to be the best moment to bring out a sci-fi flick made on a budget that wouldn't cover catering for Optimus Prime. But "small" has its virtues sometimes, and the kid flick Earth to Echo is one of those times.
Our book critic, Maureen Corrigan, has a review of the new novel "Friendship" by Emily Gould who made her name in the blogosphere. A recent profile in the New York Times Sunday style section described Gould as a forerunner to Lena Dunham and other confessional female bloggers, writers and filmmakers or whom over-sharing has become an art form.
OutLoud, a new StoryCorps project, records and amplifies the voices of the LGBTQ community.
Now 70, Patty Woods looks back to the late 1970s, when she met a woman who would become her partner — and leave a long-lasting mark on her life, despite the fact they were not able to be open about their relationship.
"I was working in a restaurant and she would come in every day for lunch. I was like, 'Oh my God, I want to know her,' " Woods tells her friend, 22-year-old Cedar Lay.
Just one week after Google Glass went on sale in the U.K., fears of piracy have led to calls to ban the eyewear from being worn in movie theaters.
Criticism of the Google device, which can allow those wearing it to record what they see, has come from the powerful Cinema Exhibitors' Association, which as the BBC reports "has no power to enforce a ban, but instead makes recommendations to most of the country's cinema industry."
The last word in Emily Gould's new book is not a word. It's a <3, which is pretty brave, if you think about it. But with her <3, Gould isn't trying to make some point about Our Changing Digital World — instead, she's unselfconsciously representing the way people talk to each other.
In Friendship, 30-something Bev and Amy are best friends who love each other deeply, but are not always as kind to each other as they should be. Amy is a notorious blogger who flamed out early; Bev, a quiet Midwesterner waiting for the right time to "will herself un-invisible."
This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.
ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
And I'm Robert Siegel. Filmmaker Paul Mazursky has died. The writer and director captured the spirit of his times in such comedies as "Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice" and "An Unmarried Woman." Mazursky died yesterday in Los Angeles at the age of 84. And joining us now to talk about him is our film critic, Bob Mondello. Hi, Bob.
BOB MONDELLO, BYLINE: Hi.
SIEGEL: Mazursky had a very extensive career. Tell us about it.
To judge from some of the headlines, it was a very big deal. At an event held at the Royal Society in London, for the first time ever, a computer passed the Turing Test, which is widely taken as the benchmark for saying a machine is engaging in intelligent thought. But like the other much-hyped triumphs of artificial intelligence, this one wasn't quite what it appeared. Computers can do things that seem quintessentially human, but they usually take a different path to get there.
What's the most popular seafood in the U.S.? Shrimp. The average American eats more shrimp per capita than tuna and salmon combined. Most of that shrimp comes from Asia, and most of the salmon we eat is also imported. In fact, 91 percent of the seafood Americans eat comes from abroad, but one-third of the seafood Americans catch gets sold to other countries.
Peter Temple writes prize-winning thrillers, four of them about his sometimes hapless investigator, Jack Irish. The books capture Melbourne, Australia: its pubs, racetracks, big boulevards rattling with traffic, and narrow alleys — called lanes — painted with graffiti.
Jack Irish was headed for a life as a successful suburban solicitor, or lawyer, when one of his criminal clients murdered Jack's wife, and Jack dropped the law to become a drunk. The novels — some are now TV movies — begin with his surfacing and looking around for his life.
The journey of a girl sold into slavery is the topic of a compelling piece of fiction out of South Africa. It's called "The Expedition To The Boabab Tree." The author is poet Wilma Stockenstrom. She originally published it back in 1981, and now it has been translated from the Africaans by Nobel Prize winner J.M. Coetzee and published in the United States. Allen Cheuse has our review.
Update: Since this story was published, Sony Pictures Television — which produces Community — announced that Yahoo will be picking the show up for a sixth season. This story has been updated to reflect that development.
Purveyors of fine foods have any number of ways of showing them off. Auntie Anne's hands out free pretzel samples at the mall; McDonald's lets a princess sit on top of the Big Mac to show she can't feel a pea underneath.
At Ted Drewes in St. Louis, when they hand you your Concrete, they flip it upside down to show you it's so thick, it won't fall out of the cup.
The game show at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) earlier in June wasn't exactly staid. But it was clear that most game publishers are playing it safe — very safe. Each year, I complain about franchise-ization, a godawful game trend that makes a convention focused on the wonders of electronic entertainment a lot less fun - especially since 2014 was the year in which game makers offered more sequels than ever before.
The Colombian national team has reached the World Cup quarterfinals for the first time ever. It comes on the anniversary of the infamous murder of star Colombian player Andres Escobar, just weeks after he scored an own goal in the Cup. NPR's Arun Rath speaks with John Rojas, a Colombian-American journalist whose new Spanish-language book Futbol de negro is a fictionalized account of those weeks.
Transformers: Age of Extinction has smashed its way to the No. 1 spot at the box office. Director Michael Bay's film franchise has consistently topped charts since the first film arrived in theaters in 2007.
The live-action films have embraced the latest in visual affects — but the movies have also called back to the series' past, through the voice of Peter Cullen.
Oliver was anxious all the time. He demonstrated compulsive behavior, and he howled every time his parents left him alone at home. Oliver was a dog - a Bernese Mountain Dog.
But he, like many animals, displayed some amazingly human psychological traits. That was the inspiration for Laurel Braitman's new book. It's called "Animal Madness." It looks at the mental states and behaviors of animals and how they sometimes mirror our own. Laurel Braitman joins me now from KQED in San Francisco. Welcome.
On-air challenge: For each set of three words, find a word that can precede each one to complete a familiar two-word phrase or name. The first word in each set will name an animal. Example: turtle, spring, office. The answer would be box — box turtle, box spring, box office.
Last week's challenge: Think of a 10-letter adjective describing certain institutions. Drop three letters from this word, and the remaining seven letters, reading left to right, will name an institution described by this adjective. What institution is it?
As a teenager, I believed in God, but I didn't know what he wanted from me. I attended Bible study, befriended the evangelical kids from my school and listened to the Christian rap group dcTalk. I read the Bible and books about staying pure. I wondered if the weird, queasy feeling around my molars was God speaking to me.