Arts

Critics' Lists: Summer 2013
5:01 am
Thu June 6, 2013

Female Perspectives: Five Novels That Bring Outsiders In

Andrew Bannecker

Originally published on Fri June 21, 2013 1:04 pm

For readers in search of tales that step outside familiar viewpoints, there is an abundance of fiction by women unraveling the big themes of conflict, religion, race and love — from new and different angles. The five novels I'm recommending offer up-close-and-personal engagement with characters who are often at odds with their communities or whose lives are so far on the periphery that we can be sure history books would pass them by. They make far-flung places and faraway lives feel immediate.

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Book Reviews
5:01 am
Thu June 6, 2013

'Cinnamon And Gunpowder': Haute Cuisine On The High Seas

Food porn and rip-roaring pirate adventure are two great tastes that taste great together in Eli Brown's rollicking Cinnamon and Gunpowder. Owen Wedgwood is the brilliant but rather prissy chef to shipping magnate Lord Ramsey — until privateer captain "Mad Hannah" Mabbot shoots Ramsey at point-blank range and takes Wedgwood prisoner, charging him to earn his keep by preparing her one magnificent dinner a week, using only the ingredients he can find on her ship, the Flying Rose.

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Code Switch
3:16 pm
Wed June 5, 2013

The Force Is With The Navajo: 'Star Wars' Gets A New Translation

Star Wars has been translated into many languages — most recently, Navajo. Above, Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) and Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) in a scene from the 1977 classic.
20th Century Fox Film Corp. AP

Originally published on Wed July 3, 2013 8:26 pm

If you've ever wondered how to say "May the Force be with you" in Navajo, you're in luck. On July 3, a new translation of Star Wars will be unveiled on the Navajo Nation reservation in Arizona. The 1977 classic has been translated into many languages, and the latest effort is the brainchild of Manuelito Wheeler, director of the Navajo Nation Museum in Window Rock, Ariz.

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Television
12:15 pm
Wed June 5, 2013

'Arrested' No More: Hurwitz On Why The Bluths Are Back

David Cross (left) reprises his role as Dr. Tobias Funke, the sexually ambiguous brother-in-law of Jason Bateman's character, Michael Bluth, in Netflix's new season of Arrested Development.
Netflix

Originally published on Mon June 10, 2013 3:05 pm

The Bluth family of the cult show Arrested Development can be oblivious, mean — to each other and anyone who enters their orbit — and eccentric. But that, says show creator Mitch Hurwitz, is in some ways the point.

"The goal with the show has always been that the Bluths are wrong," he tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "[They're] self-centered. They haven't had to develop. [Their] money allowed them to stop developing."

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Monkey See
9:16 am
Wed June 5, 2013

The Critic, The Viewer And The Episode Dump

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed June 5, 2013 9:28 am

I have substantial affection for both Hollywood Reporter TV critic Tim Goodman and the Fox executive who tweets as "Masked Scheduler." They're both amusing, resolute grumps at times, but great fun to follow on Twitter. So you can imagine how uncomfortable it was to see them have a testy exchange about the new episodes of Arrested Development (which, remember, was on Fox and is now not). Tim liked them, and was reacting to early criticism of the first couple of episodes.

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Monkey See
6:16 am
Wed June 5, 2013

Once Again, Elizabeth Taylor And Richard Burton Get A TV Movie

Dominic West and Helena Bonham Carter in BBC America's Burton And Taylor.
BBC America

On the heels of Liz & Dick, Lifetime's campy take on the love story of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton that starred none other than Lindsay Lohan, BBC America will be delivering another made-for-TV version this fall. Because they couldn't call it Liz & Dick, this one is called ... Burton And Taylor. (Innovation!)

This one stars Dominic West and Helena Bonham Carter, and the first photo was released yesterday.

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The Two-Way
5:58 am
Wed June 5, 2013

Book News: Germany's Longest Word Gets The Ax

Cuts of beef and pork lie in a display counter at a supermarket in Berlin, Germany.
Sean Gallup Getty Images

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

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Book Reviews
4:03 am
Wed June 5, 2013

For A Girl And Her Horses, A Bumpy Ride To Adulthood

iStockphoto.com

Anton DiSclafani's debut novel, The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls, is a painstakingly constructed ode to a young girl's sexual awakening — just ladylike enough to be more bodice unbuttoner than bodice ripper. Like Rumer Godden's classic 1958 novel, The Greengage Summer, this is perhaps one of the classier books a young teen would hide under her covers to read with a flashlight. It features a 15-year-old narrator, Theodora "Thea" Atwell, whose family banishes her to a North Carolina equestrian boarding school in 1930. There's been a scandal.

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Kitchen Window
3:44 pm
Tue June 4, 2013

We All Scream For Ice Cream

Michele Kayal for NPR

Originally published on Wed June 5, 2013 1:19 pm

My husband's cousin, Milind, stops the car alongside Mumbai's famous Chowpatty Beach, and I think it's because we're going to take in the scene: the cavorting clowns, the camels, the balloon sellers, the people thronging the sand as though it's noon instead of midnight. I begin walking toward the beach, but Milind pulls me in the other direction. Toward the New Kulfi Center.

"Milind, please," I moan. The ice cream stand is just the latest stop on an hours-long eating odyssey that took us from street food to a juice shop to grilled cheese.

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Author Interviews
2:52 pm
Tue June 4, 2013

McCann's 'TransAtlantic' Crosses Fiction And Fact, Ireland And U.S.

Colum McCann won the National Book Award in 2009 for Let the Great World Spin.
Dustin Aksland

Originally published on Tue June 4, 2013 4:22 pm

About five years ago, Colum McCann stumbled upon a small piece of history he had never known: In 1845, Frederick Douglass, then an escaped slave who was already famous for his anti-slavery writings and speeches, visited Ireland to raise money and support for his cause. McCann says he knew almost immediately that he wanted to turn this historical fact into fiction: "This intersection between history and fiction, between what is real and what is not real, fascinates me," he says.

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Television
1:34 pm
Tue June 4, 2013

New 'Arrested Development' Gags Are Best Served In One Sitting

Jeffrey Tambor and Jessica Walter reprise their roles as George and Lucille Bluth in Netflix's new fourth season of Mitch Hurwitz's Arrested Development.
Netflix

Originally published on Tue June 4, 2013 2:45 pm

When Mitch Hurwitz and his collaborators began making the Fox sitcom Arrested Development 10 years ago, it was loaded with jokes — in-jokes, recurring jokes and just plain bizarre jokes — that rewarded viewers who watched more than once. But even though it won the Emmy for best comedy series one year, not enough viewers bothered to watch it even once, so the show was canceled in 2006 after three seasons. And that would have been it, except for a loyal cult following that built up once the show was released on DVD and the Internet.

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The Salt
1:18 pm
Tue June 4, 2013

Coronation Chicken: A Lowly Sandwich Filling With A Royal Pedigree

Sixty years on, this retro dish is still a favorite with Her Majesty.
Monkey Business Images iStockPhoto.com

Originally published on Wed June 5, 2013 10:46 am

If you want to eat like a queen, maybe it's time to break out the cold chicken, curry and cream sauce.

Queen Elizabeth II celebrated the 60th anniversary of her coronation in a ceremony Tuesday at Westminster Abbey. But the event also marks the anniversary of a dish as resilient as the British monarch herself: Coronation Chicken.

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Race
9:43 am
Tue June 4, 2013

What Do We Know About 'African American Lives Today?'

Originally published on Tue June 4, 2013 11:48 am

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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Race
9:43 am
Tue June 4, 2013

Is It A Surprise That Single Black Men Are Looking For LTR?

Originally published on Tue June 4, 2013 11:48 am

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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Race
9:43 am
Tue June 4, 2013

Money To Matrimony: Talking About The Black Experience

Originally published on Tue June 4, 2013 11:48 am

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. We want to continue the conversation we just started about the new poll, African-American Lives Today. It is a survey conducted by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which is one of NPR's funders, and the Harvard School of Public Health. For a closer look at the survey itself, you can check it out on the Code Switch page of NPR.org. And we shared the poll with some guests on the program who've been thinking about or writing about a lot of the issues touched on by the poll.

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The Two-Way
5:57 am
Tue June 4, 2013

Book News: Neruda's Death? Experts Say The Assassin Didn't Do It

Chilean poet Pablo Neruda arrives in Capri, Italy, in 1952.
Keystone Getty Images

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

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Book Reviews
5:03 am
Tue June 4, 2013

Food For Thought In Shriver's 'Big Brother'

iStockphoto.com

Lionel Shriver tackles a whopper of an issue in her new novel, Big Brother: obesity and the emotional connection between weight, consumption, guilt and control. She comes at this huge subject through a sister torn between saving her morbidly obese older brother, who has "buried himself in himself," and an unsympathetic, belligerently fit husband — a situation that raises questions about divided loyalties and whether blood is thicker than water. In this book, diet protein shakes are thicker than both.

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Author Interviews
1:28 am
Tue June 4, 2013

Book Explores Downfall Of An Indian-American Business Icon

Rajat Gupta, former Goldman Sachs director and former senior partner at McKinsey & Co., was sentenced to two years in prison for leaking inside information to hedge fund manager Raj Rajaratnam.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

Originally published on Tue June 4, 2013 6:10 am

Rajat Gupta was one of the wealthiest and most successful men in America and an icon of the Indian-American community. Today, he faces two years in prison for insider trading, convicted of passing corporate secrets to his billionaire friend and Galleon Group founder Raj Rajaratnam.

Gupta was already a wealthy man; what was the motive for his crime? In The Billionaire's Apprentice:The Rise of the Indian-American Elite and the Fall of the Galleon Hedge Fund, journalist Anita Raghavan tries to answer that question.

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Critics' Lists: Summer 2013
1:26 am
Tue June 4, 2013

Start Storing Up: Indie Booksellers Pick Summer's Best Reads

Andrew Bannecker

Originally published on Thu March 20, 2014 2:06 pm

NPR's Susan Stamberg asked three of our go-to independent booksellers — Rona Brinlee of The BookMark in Neptune Beach, Fla.; Daniel Goldin of Boswell Book Co. in Milwaukee; and Lucia Silva, former book buyer at the now-closed Portrait of a Bookstore in Studio City, Calif. — to help fill our beach bags with good reads. What they came up with is a summer book list that's full of youth and ritual.

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Monkey See
3:31 pm
Mon June 3, 2013

Why Yes, I Did Watch A Movie Called 'Deadly Spa'

Amy Pietz and Tracey Fairaway as Dawn and Kayla.
Lifetime

[Caution: Contains Deadly Spoilers.]

A couple of weeks ago, I noticed that Lifetime had a movie coming up that was about a spa where things get deadly. It was called Deadly Spa.

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Monkey See
2:14 pm
Mon June 3, 2013

Foster Families Take Center Stage

Cierra Ramirez, Teri Polo, and Jake T. Austin star in ABC Family's The Fosters.
Randy Holmes ABC Family

Originally published on Fri June 28, 2013 11:42 am

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New In Paperback
11:25 am
Mon June 3, 2013

June 3-9: Cambodia, Saudi Arabia, Tennessee And Washington

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

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

Author Interviews
11:10 am
Mon June 3, 2013

'Fairyland': A Girl Grows Up In San Francisco's Gay Community

W.W. Norton & Co.

Originally published on Tue June 4, 2013 7:58 am

While these days it's not uncommon to meet children with gay parents, in the 1970s it was. Alysia Abbott was one of those kids. When her parents met, her father — Steve Abbott — told her mother he was bisexual. But when Alysia was a toddler, her mother died in a car accident and Steve came out as gay. He moved with his daughter to San Francisco, just as the gay liberation movement was gaining strength.

While her father had not initially wanted a child, Abbott says he enjoyed spending time with her when she was a baby. Her mother's death brought the two of them even closer.

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Monkey See
8:38 am
Mon June 3, 2013

Pyrrhic Victories: Mass Casualties And Rah-Rah Endings

Things get pretty dicey in Fast & Furious 6, even when the good guys are winning.
Universal Pictures

[Attention: Vague spoilers on Fast & Furious 6, Star Trek Into Darkness, Iron Man 3, The Avengers. More specific spoilers on Die Hard, Die Hard 2.]

I get all my best ideas about Star Trek from NPR's White House correspondent Ari Shapiro, so naturally, when he came by my desk this morning with an observation, I was all (non-pointy) ears.

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The Two-Way
5:32 am
Mon June 3, 2013

Book News: Apple Vs. DOJ As Ebook Price-Fixing Trial Begins

An Apple store in Beijing, China opens.
Feng Li Getty Images

Originally published on Mon June 3, 2013 5:33 am

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

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Three-Minute Fiction
3:18 pm
Sun June 2, 2013

Litter

iStockphoto.com

I found your soul discarded in the street today.

On a three by five index card, you scrawled in heavy black permanent marker letters, "YOU NOW OWN MY SOUL." Initialed under that. Today's date under that. It's a neat little binding contract. I bet it would hold up in the highest court, even if you meant it as a joke. You shouldn't be so cavalier with your immortal essence. I spied it between a wad of chewing gum and a mangled plastic bottle. Anyone could have found this card where it laid half-in, half-out of the gutter with the collected effluvia of a thousand passers-by.

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Three-Minute Fiction
3:17 pm
Sun June 2, 2013

The Shirt

iStockphoto.com

She was cleaning out the closet, looking for items to give to Goodwill, when she found it. It was balled up at the back of the top shelf and had sat, collecting dust, for how long? Eight years? Nine? At least since they'd moved into the house and Will was a baby. It was Ted's old shirt from his single days, part of his "going out" outfit that he thought was so retro hip and cool, but which was really just fugly.

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Author Interviews
3:09 pm
Sun June 2, 2013

Mapping 'The World' Of A Remote Afghan Village

In Oqa, Afghanistan, Boston weaves a saddlebag for her husband's donkey. The weavers of Oqa also weave large carpets, earning less than $1 a day for their work.
Courtesy Anna Badkhen

Originally published on Sun June 2, 2013 6:18 pm

When freelance journalist Anna Badkhen returned to Afghanistan in 2011, she set her eyes on a region so remote it doesn't exist on Google Maps.

In her new book, The World Is A Carpet: Four Seasons in an Afghan Village, Badkhen chronicles her time in Oqa - a rural, rainless village of 240 people and "40 doorless huts."

For many of its residents, survival hinges on the fingers of women and children. They engage in the local tradition of carpet weaving, earning about 40 cents a day for carpets that eventually sell for $5,000 to $20,000 abroad.

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From Our Listeners
3:09 pm
Sun June 2, 2013

Three-Minute Fiction Readings: 'Litter' And 'The Shirt'

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Sun June 2, 2013 6:18 pm

NPR's Bob Mondello and Susan Stamberg read excerpts of two of the best submissions for Round 11 of our short story contest. They read Litter by Kalad Hovatter of Orange, Calif., and The Shirt by Jennifer Anderson of Shorewood, Wis. You can read their full stories below and find other stories on our Three-Minute Fiction page or on Facebook.

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Books News & Features
2:31 pm
Sun June 2, 2013

Arthur Geisert's 'Thunderstorm' Celebrates Life On The Prairie

Arthur Geisert's Thunderstorm follows a tempest in the rural Midwest.
Enchanted Lion Books

Originally published on Mon June 3, 2013 9:39 am

Arthur Geisert is the author of more than two dozen children's picture books. Three of his titles have won The New York Times Best Illustrated Children's Book Award. He's most famous for his intricate illustrations of the Midwest — sprawling prairie, family farms and his signature mischievous pigs.

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