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My Big Break
3:24 pm
Sun January 25, 2015

How'd A Cartoonist Sell His First Drawing? It Only Took 610 Tries

After moving back home, Tom Toro didn't know what to do with his life. But a stack of magazines at a used book sale gave him an idea. "There they were," Toro says. "Cartoons in among the articles."
Courtesy of Tom Toro

Originally published on Mon January 26, 2015 5:46 am

As part of a series called "My Big Break," All Things Considered is collecting stories of triumph, big and small. These are the moments when everything seems to click, and people leap forward into their careers.

Tom Toro didn't always dream of becoming a cartoonist at The New Yorker. Sure, he drew cartoons in college, but he didn't see that as a career path. Instead, he went to film school at NYU.

Then he came to the sudden realization that he was in the wrong field — and he had no idea what he was going to do.

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Author Interviews
3:24 pm
Sun January 25, 2015

In 'Fatherland,' A Daughter Outlines Her Dad's Radicalization

Courtesy of Liveright Publishing

Originally published on Sun January 25, 2015 4:38 pm

How's this for a sweet post-WWII love story?

A man, far from his home country, places a personal ad in a newspaper back home for a pen pal. A pretty girl starts writing back. They fall in love. She moves overseas to be with him. They have three beautiful children and a charming house in Canada.

Then she finds out he's part of a Serbian nationalist terrorist organization preparing to bomb targets around North America.

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Code Switch
3:24 pm
Sun January 25, 2015

Black Doll Show Inspires With Wakandan Heroes And Jazz Superstars

For the past 34 years, the William Grant Still Arts Center has held a Black Doll Show to showcase diverse dolls for children. The exhibit features dolls submitted by artists and collectors from around the country.
Priska Neely NPR

Originally published on Sun January 25, 2015 4:38 pm

At The William Grant Still Arts Center in the West Adams neighborhood in Los Angeles, jazz superstars and comic book superheroes are gathered together — in miniature, as part of the Black Doll Show.

For the past 34 years, the center has held a doll show to showcase diverse dolls for children. The exhibit features dolls submitted by artists and collectors from around the country. This year's theme is A League Supreme: Jazz Superheroes.

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Movie Interviews
6:00 am
Sun January 25, 2015

At Its Core, Warped Family Drama 'Mommy' Is 'A Story Of Love'

Antoine-Olivier Pilon plays 15-year-old Steve in Xavier Dolan's Mommy.
Shayne Laverdière Roadside Attractions

Originally published on Sun January 25, 2015 7:59 am

French-Canadian filmmaker Xavier Dolan's new film, Mommy, won the Jury Prize at last year's Cannes Film Festival — an achievement for any director, let alone one who's just 25 years old.

The "mommy" in the movie is the fast-talking, hard-drinking widow Diane, or "Die" for short. She's trying to get back on her feet when her teenage son, Steve, is kicked out of yet another psychiatric institution. He moves back home, leaving both Die and the audience on edge, waiting for his next uncontrollable — and usually violent — emotional eruption.

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Poetry
4:29 am
Sun January 25, 2015

In 'Dear Father,' A Poet Disrupts The 'Cycle Of Pain'

Atria Books

Originally published on Sun January 25, 2015 7:59 am

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Code Switch
4:37 pm
Sat January 24, 2015

Between The Laughs, South African Comedian Hopes To Educate

Comedian Trevor Noah was born in South Africa during apartheid — "born a crime," as he says.
Byron Keulemans

Originally published on Sat January 24, 2015 5:15 pm

On Thursday, South African comedian Trevor Noah made his second appearance as a senior international correspondent on Comedy Central's The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

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Research News
4:36 pm
Sat January 24, 2015

Study Says Creativity Can Flow From Political Correctness

As the U.S. workforce continues to become more diverse, researchers are now more than ever examining diversity and bias in the work place.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Sat January 24, 2015 4:14 pm

There is a common belief that requiring the use of "politically correct" language in the workplace stifles creativity.

Michelle Duguid, a professor at Washington University in St. Louis, tells NPR's Arun Rath that, intuitively, that assumption makes sense.

"People should be able to freely think, throw any crazy ideas, and any constraint would actually dampen creativity," Duguid says.

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Author Interviews
3:20 pm
Sat January 24, 2015

Huckabee Serves Up 'God, Guns' And A Dose Of Controversy

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee was a Republican presidential hopeful in the 2008 election. He writes that he wants his book God, Guns, Grits, and Gravy to introduce Americans to life in "flyover country."
Justin Sullivan AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat January 24, 2015 8:41 pm

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee is currently considering jumping into the race for the Republican presidential nomination. But if you're looking for a clear sign of his intentions, you won't find it in his new book, God, Guns, Grits, and Gravy.

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Author Interviews
6:42 am
Sat January 24, 2015

Why A Black Man's Murder Often Goes Unpunished In Los Angeles

Originally published on Sat January 24, 2015 10:15 am

In the State of the Union this week, President Obama noted that crime in America is down. "For the first time in 40 years," he said, "the crime rate and the incarceration rate have come down together."

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Author Interviews
5:59 am
Sat January 24, 2015

Two Outcasts Form An Artistic Bond In 'Mr. Mac And Me'

Originally published on Sat January 24, 2015 10:16 am

Thomas Maggs is a lonely little boy. When Esther Freud's new novel Mr. Mac And Me opens, he is 13 years old. His brothers have died, his father, who runs a bar, drinks too much of his own stock and beats his son. Thomas dreams of sailing away – and then World War I descends on his small English sea coast town. Tours stop coming, blackout curtains go up, village boys enlist and go off to war.

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Author Interviews
2:36 pm
Fri January 23, 2015

When Pop Broke Up With Jazz

Frank Sinatra captured by photographer William "PoPsie" Randolph during a 1943 concert. Author Ben Yagoda points to Sinatra as one of the interpreters who helped revive the Great American Songbook.
William "PoPsie" Randolph Courtesy of Riverhead

Originally published on Fri January 23, 2015 4:18 pm

Writer Ben Yagoda has set out to explain a shift in American popular culture, one that happened in the early 1950s. Before then, songwriters like Irving Berlin, George and Ira Gershwin and Jerome Kern wrote popular songs that achieved a notable artistry, both in lyrics and music.

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Movie Interviews
3:13 pm
Thu January 22, 2015

'Red Army' Explores How The Cold War Played Out On Ice

The documentary Red Army profiles Viacheslav "Slava" Fetisov — one of the most decorated athletes in Soviet history.
Slava Fetisov Slava Fetisov/Sony Pictures Classics

Originally published on Fri January 23, 2015 8:14 am

When the U.S. Olympic hockey team upset the Soviet Union in 1980's "Miracle on Ice," President Jimmy Carter called coach Herb Brooks to congratulate him on the win.

"Tell the whole team that we're extremely proud of them," Carter said. "I think it just proves that our way of life is the proper way to continue on."

The other way of life, the Soviet way — which produced some of the best hockey players in the world — only went on for another decade or so.

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Found Recipes
2:24 pm
Thu January 22, 2015

Hostess Isn't The Mostest: Make Your Own Sno Balls At Home

Jennifer Steinhauer's version of the Sno Ball moves the marshmallow inside and skips the pink food coloring.
James Ransom Courtesy of Clarkson Potter, a division of Random House LLC

Originally published on Thu January 22, 2015 4:28 pm

When Hostess Brands announced it was filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2012, there was a lot of anguish on the Internet about the death of Twinkies, Ding Dongs, Donettes and the like.

And it got Jennifer Steinhauer, a New York Times reporter and food writer, wondering why anyone would even want a Twinkie in adulthood?

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Intelligence Squared U.S.
2:01 pm
Thu January 22, 2015

Debate: Is Amazon The Reader's Friend?

Franklin Foer recently wrote a cover story for The New Republic titled, "Amazon Must Be Stopped." He argued against Amazon at the latest Intelligence Squared U.S. debate — and won.
Samuel LaHoz Intelligence Squared U.S.

Amazon owns 41 percent of all book sales and 67 percent of all e-book sales mainly because it offers lower prices. But the e-commerce company came under fire in late 2014 when Amazon and the publishing house Hachette faced off over who should set the price for e-books. The debate raises questions about Amazon's growing place in the market, the changing role of publishers and the value of books in our society.

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Sports
2:37 pm
Wed January 21, 2015

What Would You Change About Football?

Panelist Nahshon Ellerbe, a star running back at Trinity Christian Academy in Addison, Texas, warms up before a game against Midland Christian.
Jeffrey McWhorter Trinity Christian Academy

Originally published on Thu January 22, 2015 11:29 am

All this year, NPR's Michel Martin is traveling throughout the country, having conversations about issues that matter as part of the event series Going There. This month, January, she will be tackling the ethical and moral issues surrounding football, and we want you to be a part of the discussion in an upcoming live chat.

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It's All Politics
11:13 pm
Tue January 20, 2015

State Of The Union Primer: What President Obama Proposed

President Obama delivers his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on Jan. 20. Vice President Joe Biden and House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio listen in the background.
Mandel Ngan AP

Originally published on Wed January 21, 2015 6:56 am

Facing a Republican-controlled Congress in his sixth State of the Union speech, President Obama took credit Tuesday for an improving economy and focused on proposals aimed at advancing the middle class.

After years of recession and war, Obama claimed "the shadow of crisis has passed." In its place, he asserted, is a future marked by "a growing economy, shrinking deficits, bustling industry, and booming energy production."

Here's what Obama proposed on the policy front:

Economy

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First Reads
5:03 am
Tue January 20, 2015

Exclusive First Read: Scott McCloud's 'The Sculptor'

Originally published on Tue January 20, 2015 12:35 pm

Cartoonist and theorist Scott McCloud is sometimes called the "Aristotle of Comics" because of his three landmark nonfiction works: Understanding Comics, Reinventing Comics and Making Comics. He's a man who's spent a lot of time thinking about making art — and that's reflected in The Sculptor, his first full-length graphic novel.

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Author Interviews
1:17 am
Tue January 20, 2015

Book Club: Hector Tobar Answers Your Questions About 'Deep Down Dark'

Kainaz Amaria NPR

Originally published on Tue January 20, 2015 9:50 am

Welcome to the first session of the Morning Edition Reads book club! Here's how it works: A well-known writer will pick a book he or she loved. We'll all read it. Then, you'll send us your questions about the book. About a month later, we'll reconvene to talk about the book with the author and the writer who picked it.

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Author Interviews
3:59 pm
Mon January 19, 2015

Markets May Stumble Or Skyrocket, But This Economist Says Hold On Tight

Burton Malkiel, author of A Random Walk Down Wall Street, says investors in broadly based index funds do better in the long run than stock pickers.
Toby Richards AP

Originally published on Tue January 20, 2015 8:55 am

In 1973, Burton Malkiel published a very readable guide to investing called A Random Walk Down Wall Street. He didn't rest with the first edition, though. Over the past 42 years — as we've lived through bubbles and crashes, scandals and fads — Malkiel has returned more than a few times to his seminal Walk.

In fact, this year he plans to release the book's 11th edition.

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History
7:16 pm
Sun January 18, 2015

From Wax Cylinders To Records, Saving The Sounds Of History

Actor, playwright and composer Noel Coward rehearses for a show in 1951. A rare recording of Coward introducing his play Peace in Our Time is just one of the millions of sounds and recordings the British Library is looking to preserve.
Jimmy Sime Getty Images

Originally published on Thu January 22, 2015 12:27 pm

History is literally fading away in London right now.

Many of the items in The British Library's vast collection of recorded sound are in danger of disappearing. Some just physically won't last much longer. Others are stored in long-dead formats.

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My Big Break
3:35 pm
Sun January 18, 2015

A Tattooist And A Tweet Take A Band From Tiny Clubs To Tours

Noelle Scaggs and Michael Fitzpatrick provide the vocals for the band Fitz and the Tantrums.
Courtesy of the artist

As part of a series called "My Big Break," All Things Considered is collecting stories of triumph, big and small. These are the moments when everything seems to click, and people leap forward into their careers.

The Los Angeles-based band Fitz and the Tantrums has been called a "genre-smashing" group — blending retro soul and R&B with indie pop.

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Around the Nation
3:22 pm
Sun January 18, 2015

Welcome To Whittier, Alaska, A Community Under One Roof

Begich Towers is located at the edge of town. Photographer Reed Young wanted to capture the dry-docked boat in the foreground. "You see a ton of boats that are just scattered all over," he says.
Reed Young The California Sunday Magazine

Originally published on Mon January 19, 2015 10:22 am

Whittier, Alaska, is a sleepy town on the west side of Prince William Sound, tucked between picturesque mountains. But if you're picturing a small huddle of houses, think again.

Instead, on the edge of town, there stands a 14-story building called Begich Towers — a former Army barracks, resembling an aging hotel, where most of the town's 200 residents live.

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Author Interviews
2:59 pm
Sun January 18, 2015

A Memoir Of A Family's Diaspora, And A Mother's Depression

Cover detail of The Girl from Human Street.
Courtesy of Penguin Random House

Originally published on Mon January 19, 2015 9:25 am

The New York Times columnist Roger Cohen has quite the family history. It starts in Lithuania with his great-grandparents — and then the moving begins.

"In each of the past four generations, the family has moved. Lithuania, South Africa, London," Cohen tells NPR's Arun Rath. "My parents were born in South Africa, and [then] they were immigrants in the U.K., where I was born. Then when I was an infant, we went back to South Africa for a couple of years, then moved to Britain, where I mainly grew up."

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Shots - Health News
2:59 pm
Sun January 18, 2015

Calif. Strike Highlights Larger Issues With Mental Health System

A Kaiser mental health worker with the National Union of Healthcare Workers looks through a pile of signs Monday during day one of a week-long demonstration outside of a Kaiser Permanente hospital in San Francisco.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Sun January 18, 2015 3:22 pm

This past week, more than 2,000 mental health workers for the HMO health care giant Kaiser Permanente in California went on strike.

The strike was organized by the National Union of Healthcare Workers. The union says Kaiser Permanente patients have been the victims of "chronic failure to provide its members with timely, quality mental health care."

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Code Switch
8:21 am
Sun January 18, 2015

'Fresh Off The Boat' Repackages The Asian-American Story For TV

Originally published on Sun January 18, 2015 10:57 am

Eddie Huang is a is a renaissance man with a string of careers: lawyer, TV host, restaurateur and author. His raw, funny and sometimes extremely profane memoir, Fresh Off the Boat, came out two years ago. It's a brutally honest story about his life as an Asian-American kid, reconciling two cultures.

That book is now an ABC sitcom, also called Fresh off the Boat. The show has retained at least some of that raw sensibility, but getting a story so nuanced and intense onto network television was very difficult for Huang.

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Author Interviews
5:41 am
Sun January 18, 2015

Finding A Childhood Bully, And So Much More, In 'Whipping Boy'

Allen Kurzweil's previous books include The Grand Complication and A Case of Curiosities.
Ferrante Ferranti

Originally published on Tue January 20, 2015 10:27 am

In 1971, 10-year-old Allen Kurzweil was a new student — the youngest — at a boarding school in Switzerland. He had a problem. A problem named Cesar Augustus.

"Almost at once, he dominated my life," Kurzweil says.

Augustus was Kurzweil's 12-year-old-bully. Kurzweil says Augustus started tormenting him emotionally and physically soon after they met. It culminated in one particularly brutal incident.

"He tied me up to a bed post, and whipped me to a song in Jesus Christ Superstar," he tells NPR's Rachel Martin.

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Movie Interviews
3:22 pm
Sat January 17, 2015

'Blackhat': A Classic Detective Story For A Brave New World

Chris Hemsworth plays hacker and furloughed convict Nicholas Hathaway in Blackhat.
Frank Connor Legendary Pictures and Universal Pictures

Originally published on Tue January 20, 2015 5:07 pm

Screenwriter, producer and director Michael Mann is a master of the crime story. From his work on Miami Vice in the '80s to films like Heat, The Insider and Public Enemies, it seems he's drawn to plots that revolve around illicit activity.

"I like dramatic conflict. I like things in high relief," Mann tells NPR's Arun Rath. "I like people who are faced with important questions and have to make critical decisions."

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Author Interviews
3:22 pm
Sat January 17, 2015

Illustrated Memoir Recalls Marching In Selma At Just 15

Originally published on Sat January 17, 2015 4:59 pm

At age 15, Lynda Blackmon Lowery was the youngest person to march all the way from Selma to Montgomery in 1965.

Lowery, who still lives in Selma today, has written a book for young readers about her experience: Turning 15 On The Road To Freedom: My Story of the 1965 Selma Voting Rights March, an illustrated memoir.

"I would like for young people to know that each day of your life is a journey into history," Lowery tells NPR's Arun Rath. "You have the ability to change something each day of your life. Believe it or not, people, it can't happen without you."

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Technology
3:22 pm
Sat January 17, 2015

Sit. Stay. Call 911: FIDO Vest Gives Service Dogs An Upgrade

A dog named Sky activates the tug sensor on the FIDO vest. The vest is a piece of wearable technology designed to allow working dogs to perform more tasks and communicate more information.
Rob Felt Courtesy of Georgia Tech

Originally published on Sat January 17, 2015 5:31 pm

Google announced this week they're ending individual sales of the much celebrated, and maligned, Google Glass. And as we reported last week, a recent Fortune study found relatively low interest in wearable gadgets.

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Author Interviews
5:41 am
Sat January 17, 2015

A 'Down-To-Earth Diva' Confronts Her Flaws And Good Fortune

Deborah Voigt regularly hosts and performs in the Metropolitan Opera's The Met: Live in HD series.
Heidi Gutman HarperCollinsPublishers

Originally published on Sat January 17, 2015 9:57 am

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