Arts/Life

Book News & Features
3:27 pm
Tue October 21, 2014

Amazon Deal With Simon & Schuster Raises Questions For Other Publishers

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Games & Humor
3:27 pm
Tue October 21, 2014

You Definitely Need This Condo Pony, And Other Products From 'SkyMaul'

St. Martin's Press

Originally published on Tue October 21, 2014 4:19 pm

If you're midflight and the movie is terrible and the airline magazine crossword puzzle has already been done by someone else, the SkyMall catalog is the time-killer of last resort for the bored, boxed-in passenger.

SkyMall sells items that, under normal circumstances, you might never consider — like say, adult-size, unisex, one-piece Superman pajamas. But somehow, midflight, you find yourself wondering: Do I need a dog bed designed to look like an NCAA stadium?

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Television
1:16 pm
Tue October 21, 2014

Nostalgia, Now Out On DVD, With 'Wonder Years' And 'Pee-wee' Releases

On The Wonder Years, Kevin Arnold (Fred Savage) had a crush on his neighbor Winnie Cooper (Danica McKellar).
Courtesy of Scoop Marketing

Originally published on Tue October 21, 2014 4:50 pm

At the moment, we're at yet another pivotal point in the history of home entertainment, which keeps changing with sudden — and major-- tectonic shifts. Just ask Blockbuster Video: Videocassettes for home libraries gave way to DVDs, which now seem to be giving way to streaming video and the cloud.

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Movie Interviews
1:16 pm
Tue October 21, 2014

Ed Norton On 'Birdman,' Wes Anderson And Why $40 Makes Him Proud

In Birdman, Ed Norton (right) plays a talented but pretentious actor in a Broadway play being directed by an actor he disrespects (Michael Keaton, left) for having starred in a series of Birdman superhero films.
Courtesy of Fox Searchlight Pictures

Originally published on Tue October 21, 2014 2:02 pm

In the new black comedy Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), Edward Norton costars as a pretentious and self-absorbed but very talented and edgy theater actor who has been cast in a play directed by a washed-up movie star played by Michael Keaton.

Norton, who has starred in such films as Fight Club and American History X, says that making Birdman was a highlight of his career.

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The Salt
10:05 am
Tue October 21, 2014

Can Hand-Cut, Artisanal Ice Make Your Cocktail That Much Better?

Joe Ambrose of Favourite Ice holds one of his crystal-clear artisanal cubes.
Jessica Sidman Washington City Paper

Originally published on Tue October 21, 2014 2:55 pm

Now that we've entered the "craft cocktail" era, drinks with double-digit price tags are just par for the course. And in many cities, there's a decent chance that your fancy craft drink now comes with a large, crystal-clear cube or rectangle that melts unhurriedly in your glass. That's right: Artisanal ice is a thing.

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The Two-Way
8:08 am
Tue October 21, 2014

Book News: Amazon Inks A Deal With A Publisher Not Named Hachette

David Ryder Getty Images

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

Amazon has reached a multiyear agreement with Simon & Schuster over the pricing of the publisher's print and digital books. Simon & Schuster, one of the "Big Five" U.S. publishing houses and a division of CBS Corp., agreed to the terms two months before its contract with Amazon was set to expire.

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Extras: TED Radio Hour
7:10 am
Tue October 21, 2014

Making The Most Of Your Twenties: Meg Jay Answers Your Questions

James Duncan Davidson TED

Psychologist Meg Jay has a message for 20-somethings: marriage, work and kids often happen later, but you can start planning now. In her book, The Defining Decade, Jay argues that our twenties are a developmental sweet spot that comes only once. She also says the cliche "30 is the new 20" trivializes this transformative period. Jay calls on 20-somethings to embrace adulthood in what for many is the defining decade of their lives.

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Book Reviews
5:03 am
Tue October 21, 2014

Who Is 'Limonov'? Not Even His Biographer Really Knows

Russian writer and political dissident Edward Limonov was the founder of the National Bolshevik Front.
Misha Japaridze AP

Originally published on Tue October 21, 2014 8:39 am

I had a typical first experience with famed Russian emigre-turned auteur-turned neo-fascist revolutionary Edward Limonov: I misunderstood him.

Everybody misunderstands Edward at least once. Usually, they underestimate this slight, bearded man with the mild manners.

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Remembrances
2:59 am
Tue October 21, 2014

Oscar De La Renta Was About Making Women Look And Feel Their Best

Baroness Aino Bodisco (far right) looks on as Beatrice Lodge is fitted in a debutante dress by fashion designer Oscar de la Renta in 1956.
Nina Leen The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty

Originally published on Tue October 21, 2014 11:45 am

Fashion designer Oscar de la Renta died Monday at the age of 82. As Washington Post fashion critic Robin Givhan tells NPR's Steve Inskeep, the designer understood something very fundamental about women, no matter their age or background.

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Monkey See
2:59 am
Tue October 21, 2014

Winners And Losers Of The Fall TV Season Begin To Emerge

Debra Messing stars with Robert Klein in NBC's The Mysteries of Laura.
Will Hart/NBC

Originally published on Tue October 21, 2014 7:34 am

What's most amazing about this point in the TV season is what hasn't happened yet.

One month into the new season, no new fall TV show has yet been canceled.

(By this point last year, several shows had already been put out of our misery, including ABC's Lucky 7 and NBC's Ironside remake.)

Still, despite programmers' patience this year, there are still lots of clues about what's working this TV season and what isn't. Here's a peek at what we know so far about the current TV season.

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Author Interviews
3:00 pm
Mon October 20, 2014

From Sizzling Fajitas To The Super Bowl, How Sounds Help Sell

cover
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Originally published on Mon October 20, 2014 4:11 pm

Joel Beckerman believes we are living in a golden age of sound: "We have these amazing opportunities to both set the tone and experiences for people, give them information in an instant," he tells NPR's Audie Cornish.

Beckerman is a composer who specializes in sonic branding — and we're not just talking about jingles. These are the sonic cues in commercials, the ambient music in coffee shops, in the beeps, dings and whoosh that occasionally flies from your cellphone. And companies are embracing it.

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Author Interviews
1:00 pm
Mon October 20, 2014

One Lawyer's Fight For Young Blacks And 'Just Mercy'

Bryan Stevenson takes on cases to exonerate people wrongfully convicted. "One of the things that pains me is we have so tragically underestimated the trauma, the hardship we create in this country when we treat people unfairly, when we incarcerate them unfairly, when we condemn them unfairly," he says.
Tracy King iStockphoto

Originally published on Mon October 20, 2014 1:59 pm

When Bryan Stevenson was in his 20s, he lived in Atlanta and practiced law at the Southern Prisoners Defense Committee.

One evening, he was parked outside his apartment listening to the radio, when a police SWAT unit approached his car, shined a light inside and pulled a gun.

They yelled, "Move and I'll blow your head off!" according to Stevenson. Stevenson says the officers suspected him of theft and threatened him — because he is black.

The incident fueled Stevenson's drive to challenge racial bias and economic inequities in the U.S. justice system.

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The Two-Way
8:31 am
Mon October 20, 2014

Book News: Toni Morrison's Collection Finds A Permanent Home At Princeton

A woman looks at an oil portrait of Toni Morrison at the National Portrait Gallery. A self-portrait of sorts, Morrison's life of fiction drawn in words will be permanently kept at Princeton.
Nicholas Kamm AFP/Getty Images

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

The collected papers of Toni Morrison will be housed in the permanent library of Princeton University, the school announced Friday. Princeton President Christopher L. Eisgruber broke the news to attendees at a recent conference for the school's black alumni.

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Movie Reviews
3:02 am
Mon October 20, 2014

Starring In 'Fury': The Horrors That People Are Capable Of In War

Originally published on Mon October 20, 2014 5:21 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Now let's talk about a different kind of power - the brutal power of an army at war. The movie "Fury" topped the box office over the weekend, and our critic Kenneth Turan has a review.

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Author Interviews
2:23 am
Mon October 20, 2014

There's Never A Dull Moment On This Trans-Siberian Adventure

Originally published on Tue October 21, 2014 3:47 pm

If a trip to Siberia in a third-class train cabin during the dead of winter sounds like your cup of tea, well, you might get along with Morning Edition's David Greene.

And if you'd rather pass, don't worry. Greene has done it for you: He took the 6,000-mile ride on the Trans-Siberian Railway — all the way from Moscow to Vladivostok — twice, in fact.

From the shores of Lake Baikal in early 2012, Greene reported:

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Theater
2:23 am
Mon October 20, 2014

'Little Dancer' Musical Imagines The Story Behind Degas' Mysterious Muse

Edgar Degas' Little Dancer Aged Fourteen is on display at the National Gallery of Art until Jan. 11.
Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon/ Courtesy of the National Gallery

Originally published on Mon October 20, 2014 9:31 am

A century-old teenager is the focus of a musical and an art exhibit in Washington, D.C., right now. The National Gallery of Art is showing Edgar Degas' statue Little Dancer Aged Fourteen in conjunction with the Kennedy Center's Oct. 25 opening of Little Dancer, a new show inspired by the sculpture.

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Author Interviews
5:01 pm
Sun October 19, 2014

Many Views Of Muhammad, As A Man And As A Prophet

The Lives of Muhammad book cover

Originally published on Mon October 20, 2014 11:04 am

The Prophet Muhammad, the founder of Islam, was one of the most influential men in human history — but there's little we can say about his life with historical certainty. The details of his life have been debated and manipulated ever since he walked the earth in the seventh century.

Boston University professor Kecia Ali's new book, The Lives of Muhammad, examines those divergent narratives. In it, she explores the different ways the prophet's life story has been told and retold, by both Muslims and non-Muslims, from the earliest days of Islam to the present.

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My Big Break
3:32 pm
Sun October 19, 2014

From Mannequin To Actor: Geena Davis' 'Ridiculous, Ridiculous' Break

After college, Geena Davis got a job at an Ann Taylor clothing store. Then she noticed an empty chair in a window display, and she decided to sit down and freeze. "I was a live mannequin," she says.
Courtesy of Geena Davis

Originally published on Mon October 20, 2014 6:53 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.

Oscar-winning actress Geena Davis has played unforgettable roles in movies like Beetlejuice, Thelma and Louise and A League of Their Own, and she's been an outspoken advocate for female representation in cinema and TV.

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Arts & Life
3:32 pm
Sun October 19, 2014

Waterless Worlds The New Hot Dystopia

Originally published on Sun October 19, 2014 5:09 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Code Switch
3:24 pm
Sun October 19, 2014

The Boston Herald's Missed 'Cartoongate' Lessons

The Boston Herald published this cartoon earlier this month.
The Boston Herald

Originally published on Mon October 20, 2014 8:38 am

The worst fate of all may be to make a terrible mistake and then learn the wrong lessons from the experience.

That's the thought I had reading a heartfelt column about the Boston Herald's unfortunate decision to publish a cartoon featuring a White House gate-crasher asking the nation's first black president if he had "tried the new watermelon flavored toothpaste."

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Author Interviews
5:47 am
Sun October 19, 2014

Understanding Society Through 3 American Classics

Originally published on Mon October 20, 2014 9:43 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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Pop Culture
5:47 am
Sun October 19, 2014

Here's What Happens When Gandalf Talks To Schoolchildren

Originally published on Mon October 20, 2014 9:43 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Not all kids are so disciplined. Most parents are battling their children just to get them to sit down and study - threatening, cajoling, flat out bribing at times. What does it take to get them to buckle down and hit the books? It takes a wizard.

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Author Interviews
5:47 am
Sun October 19, 2014

Chef Ottolenghi Makes The Case For 'Plenty More' Vegetables

Peas With Sorrel And Mustard
Jonathan Lovekin Courtesy of Ten Speed Press

Originally published on Mon October 20, 2014 10:46 am

When's the last time you cooked with sorrel leaves or nigella seeds? What about a marrow squash or verjuice? (Don't even know what a verjuice is? Neither did we — it's a special sauce made from semiripe wine grapes.)

All these ingredients might sound exotic and complicated, but chef Yotam Ottolenghi is here to convince you that you don't have to be a professional chef to use them. In his new book, Plenty More, Ottolenghi demonstrates how some off-the-beaten-path ingredients can turn your quotidian vegetable side dish into a thing of majesty.

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This Week's Must Read
5:03 am
Sun October 19, 2014

After A Flurry Of Literary Awards, A Book On The 'Wonder' Of Words

Originally published on Sun October 19, 2014 5:09 pm

"Although it was only nine o'clock he had already gone once around the pharmacological wheel to which he'd strapped himself for the evening, stolen a tuba, and offended a transvestite; and now his companions were beginning, with delight and aplomb, to barf. It was definitely a Crabtree kind of night."

That, my friends, is one of those lines for which books were invented. For which awards were invented — to bestow temporary graces upon those lurching, bourbon-sodden romantics and idiots who believe that a life spent telling stories for nickels is worthwhile.

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Book Reviews
3:32 am
Sun October 19, 2014

Amid The Chaos Of Debt Collection, 'Bad Paper' Offers A Riveting Roadmap

cover crop
Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Outside a corner storefront in Buffalo, six men tumble from a parked Mercedes. Most of them are ex-cons, some of them are armed and one of them — the polygamist — is packing his machete, to be ready, in his words, "when I run out of bullets." Not one of them weighs less than 240 pounds, and they're all keyed up for a confrontation with a suspected crook — which, as it turns out, goes down in a small storage closet. (Don't worry: No one gets injured.)

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Pop Culture
3:32 am
Sun October 19, 2014

9 Lives And Counting: Hello Kitty Turns 40

Nurses check on newborns in the Hello Kitty-designed maternity ward at the Hau Sheng Hospital in Taiwan in 2009.
Wally Santana AP

Originally published on Mon October 20, 2014 9:43 am

Hello Kitty is celebrating a big birthday this year. In the time since the first simple coin purse was sold in Japan back in 1974, Hello Kitty has become a multibillion-dollar empire — $8 billion worth of products bearing her image sold internationally in 2013. The Japanese company that created the cartoon cat now oversees the production of products ranging from backpacks to lunchboxes to picture books.

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Author Interviews
5:07 pm
Sat October 18, 2014

Back Across The Wall: Questions For Garth Nix

Cover crop

Australian author Garth Nix anticipated the boom in young adult literature almost 20 years ago with Sabriel, a dark and delightful tale of a young woman from a long line of necromancers tasked with making sure the dead stay dead. Sabriel and its sequels Lirael and Abhorsen were set in two neighboring countries divided by a mysterious wall: to the south, unmagical Ancelstierre, roughly analogous to 1920s England — and to the north, the Old Kingdom, saturated by magic and menaced by the roaming Dead.

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Code Switch
3:35 pm
Sat October 18, 2014

Watching 'Dear White People' At Harvard

Tyler James Williams (Everybody Hates Chris) plays Lionel Higgins in Dear White People
Roadside Attractions

Originally published on Mon October 20, 2014 11:28 am

A new movie about race and identity is out in select theaters today. It's called Dear White People, and it's a satire set at a fictitious ivy league college. Or, as the promotional materials say, it's "about being a black face in a white place."

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Author Interviews
3:35 pm
Sat October 18, 2014

A Funny Philosopher Tackles A Tough Query: 'Does Santa Exist?'

Eric Kaplan has written for various shows, including The Big Bang Theory, Futurama and Flight of the Concords.
Stephanie Diani Dutton

Originally published on Sat October 18, 2014 4:24 pm

Eric Kaplan has a long resume in TV comedy, from writing for Futurama and David Letterman to his current gig as a co-executive producer for The Big Bang Theory.

He's also on his way to a Ph.D. in philosophy from UC Berkeley.

That combination of livelihoods led to his strange and delightful new book, Does Santa Exist?: A Philosophical Investigation. It combines humor and intellectual heft as it tries to explain people's seemingly contradictory beliefs about jolly old Saint Nicholas.

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Movie Interviews
3:35 pm
Sat October 18, 2014

The Man Who Coined 'Genocide' Spent His Life Trying To Stop It

Edet Belzberg's other films include the documentaries Children Underground and The Recruiter.
Music Box Films

Originally published on Sat October 18, 2014 5:40 pm

The world has grown far too familiar with genocide; as mass killings have claimed countless lives, the word has become ingrained into our vocabularies.

But the term didn't exist until 1943, when Polish lawyer Raphael Lemkin coined it — pairing the Greek "genos," meaning race or family, with the Latin "-cidere," for killing. Lemkin, who witnessed the massacres of the early 20th century, spent his life campaigning to make the world acknowledge and prosecute the crime.

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