Originally published on Wed February 20, 2013 1:29 pm
The first voices I heard about Michael Haneke's Amour were essentially in complete agreement: beautiful, brilliant, almost unbearably depressing. Having seen it, I'm not sure I agree with that last part.
Originally published on Mon January 7, 2013 7:14 am
Manil Suri is the author of the forthcoming novel The City of Devi.
Through the 1960s and '70s and well into the present century, Harold Robbins' name has stood out in India as someone who has perhaps educated the entire repressed subcontinent (or at least its English-speaking population) about sex.
Originally published on Mon January 7, 2013 9:11 am
Now that we're done with all that fiscal cliff wrangling (sort of), it's time to move on to priority No. 2: the next year in poetry. Just kidding. But, with the whole year stretching out before us, it is a good time to get excited about what literature has in store.
Author Simon Garfield loves maps. His home in London is full of them — that's where they're stocked, hanging on walls and piled on shelves. So when Garfield was looking for a new topic to write about, not surprisingly, maps won out.
His new book is called On the Map: A Mind-Expanding Exploration of the Way the World Works.
On one spring day in the early 1970s, writer David Esterly paused to admire a stunning wooden carving inside a London church.
"On the panel behind the altar, I saw these extraordinary cascades of leaves and flowers and fruits, carved to a fineness and fluent realism, which seemed to me breathtaking," Esterly recalled in an interview with Jacki Lyden, host of weekends on All Things Considered.
George Saunders' latest book is called Tenth of December: Stories.
It's become commonplace to say that good fiction "wakes us up." The speaker usually means that he — a righteous, likable person, living in the correct way — becomes, post-reading, temporarily even more righteous and likable.
Resurrection, Tolstoy's last and darkest novel, works differently.
It's a shocking and impolite book, seemingly incapable of that last-minute epiphanic updraft or lyric reversal that lets us walk away from even the darkest novel fundamentally intact.
Once, in an age long past, "epic" was a dirty word.
Way back when I was a young nerd growing up in the Midwest in the 1980s — long before I became a professional writer — histories of magic rings and chronicles of ancient evils were not exactly mainstream fare. Indeed, to publicize one's knowledge of Elvish sword-names and Orcish myth was to contract a kind of voluntary leprosy.
Host Rachel Martin delves into the physics behind Roald Dahl's childrens' classic, James and the Giant Peach. Physics students at the University of Leicester calculated that it would take 2,425,907 seagulls to lift James' Giant Peach, making Roald Dahl's number (501), entirely insufficient.
Troupe member Philipp Egli says the genius of Mummenschanz lies in simplicity. The most beautiful pieces, he says, start with black space and some people on stage.
The Swiss troupe Mummenschanz isn't a band of white-faced pantomimers. The experimental group uses costumes and masks in their witty, wordless performances. The troupe is marking its 40th anniversary with a five-month tour.
Mummenschanz's original founders (from left) Andres Bossard, Floriana Frassetto and Bernie Schurch.
It's the moment fantasy fans have been waiting for (really!): After more than 20 years, and 13 doorstopper volumes, the last book in the best-selling Wheel of Time series comes out Tuesday. The series unfolds an epic battle between good and evil — think Game of Thrones but more so: more characters, more magic, more tiny little world-building details, more everything.
You put your right foot in, you put your right foot out ... chances are you know the rest. But in Jerry Spinelli's latest book, the Hokey Pokey is much more than a children's song and dance. Hokey Pokey is the name of a magical universe where kids are in charge — no adults in sight. There are herds of bikes, endless cartoons, a cuddle station and dessert for lunch every day.
On-air challenge: This week's puzzle celebrates ringing in the new year. Take the letters Y-E-A-R. Add one letter and scramble to make a new word that answers the clue. For example, by adding the letter B to Y-E-A-R, with the clue "maker of aspirin," the answer would be "Bayer."
Attention American history buffs, here's a name you might not have heard before: Robert Ingersoll. According to author Susan Jacoby, he was "one of the most famous people in America in the last quarter of the 19th century."
"He went around the country," Jacoby tells NPR's Rachel Martin. "He spoke to more people than presidents. He was also an active mover and shaker behind the scenes of the Republican Party."
The Death of Bees is a story about two young girls living in a Glasgow, Scotland, housing project. And if you believe the first sentences of a novel are often the most difficult to write, try this beginning paragraph:
"Today is Christmas Eve. Today is my birthday. Today I am fifteen. Today I buried my parents in the backyard.
It gets harder every year to identify as a horror movie fan and still hold your head up in polite company. A big part of the problem is the persistence of rabid slasher films like Texas Chainsaw 3D, opening today in theaters nationwide. Now, I haven't seen Texas Chainsaw 3D,and it would be a disservice, naturally, to pre-judge the film.
And yet somehow I feel totally comfortable concluding that it's terrible.
Originally published on Fri January 4, 2013 10:40 am
The holidays are finally wrapping up. So after you repack the twinkly lights, and the tinsel goes into the trash, what should you do with that once beautiful spruce standing in your living room? Why not drink it?
Well, not exactly as is. The needles, shoots, light-green tips and inner bark of the popular conifer have been used for centuries to brew forest-scented tea, soft drinks and beer. And it seems that fresh evergreen flavor may be making a comeback.
Tell Me More asked listeners how they are hoping to bring peace into their lives in 2013. From cutting up credit cards to cleaning up friendships, life coach Gail Blanke says even small changes add up. Guest host Celeste Headlee asks Blanke for some tips on creating a peaceful year.
Defendants in the "Operation Family Secrets" trial included Frank Calabrese Sr. (clockwise from left), Joey Lombardo, Anthony Doyle, Paul Shiro and James Marcello. The men are pictured during an Aug. 15, 2007, court hearing in Chicago.
Voting for this year's Oscar nominations was supposed to have closed today — but it's been bumped a day, in the wake of complaints about the new online voting system put in place by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Hollywood Reporter analyst Scott Feinberg tells NPR's Audie Cornish that the system was supposed to make life easier for academy members.
"Going to e-voting would allow voters to vote from anywhere in the world, if they're on vacation or whatever during the holidays, and just make the process itself more streamlined and efficient."