Arts/Life

Book Reviews
12:21 pm
Thu January 29, 2015

In 'Outline,' A Series Of Conversations Are Autobiographies In Miniature

The narrator of Rachel Cusk's new novel Outline is a novelist and divorced mother of two who has agreed to teach a summer course in creative writing in Athens. The novel itself is composed of some 10 conversations that she has with, among others, her seatmate on the plane flying to Greece, her students in the writing class, dinner companions and fellow teachers.

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Books
8:03 am
Thu January 29, 2015

Low-Key, Real-Life Heroism In 'March: Book Two'

Originally published on Thu January 29, 2015 9:29 am

Some media are custom-made for heroes. Ava DuVernay's gripping film Selma gains much of its drama from the beauty — physical and metaphysical — of David Oyelowo's portrayal of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Oyelowo's incredible voice gives practically everything King says the compelling force of a sermon, and his physical presence — strangely small and economical of motion — is as unique as it is potent.

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Time Machine
5:03 am
Thu January 29, 2015

A Haunting, Victorian-Inflected Dystopia In 'The Mime Order'

Originally published on Thu January 29, 2015 8:39 am

The Bone Season, the first in Samantha Shannon's intoxicating urban-fantasy series set in 2059 in Scion (a dystopian version of England), ended with young Paige Mahoney escaping from a penal colony in the secret city of Oxford. Her Rephaim masters — immortals who feed upon the auras and blood of human clairvoyants like her — were in hot pursuit.

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Book News & Features
3:36 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

'Little House,' Big Demand: Never Underestimate Laura Ingalls Wilder

Laura Ingalls Wilder entertained generations of children with her Little House series, which was loosely based on her family's pioneering life. Her memoir, Pioneer Girl, was published in 2014.
South Dakota State Historical Society

Originally published on Thu January 29, 2015 6:35 am

In 2014, the South Dakota State Historical Society published the annotated autobiography of Laura Ingalls Wilder, author of the Little House books. Her memoir, titled Pioneer Girl, sold like hotcakes. The initial print run of 15,000 was snapped up in just a few weeks. So was an additional run of 15,000 more copies. Now, the historical society is waiting on a third run of 45,000 books — enough to fill current demand and have some leftovers.

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Television
3:36 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

In 'The Americans,' Art Imitates Real Life Lies

Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 4:20 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Movie Reviews
12:38 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

Full Of Complexity And Ambivalence, 'American Sniper' Shows The Cost Of War

Bradley Cooper (right) plays Chris Kyle in American Sniper. The film has become a cultural phenomenon and has spawned knee-jerk squabbling.
Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 1:03 pm

In the years following the invasion of Iraq, it became a truism that Americans simply didn't want to hear about the war — especially at the movies. While there were scads of films about Iraq, including Kathryn Bigelow's Oscar-winning The Hurt Locker, none was able to attract a big audience. Until American Sniper.

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Shots - Health News
12:03 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

Why Teens Are Impulsive, Addiction-Prone And Should Protect Their Brains

Dr. Frances Jensen is a professor and chair of the Department of Neurology at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine.
Courtesy of Harper Collins

Originally published on Thu January 29, 2015 6:46 am

Teens can't control impulses and make rapid, smart decisions like adults can — but why?

Research into how the human brain develops helps explain. In a teenager, the frontal lobe of the brain, which controls decision-making, is built but not fully insulated — so signals move slowly.

"Teenagers are not as readily able to access their frontal lobe to say, 'Oh, I better not do this,' " Dr. Frances Jensen tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross.

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Monkey See
10:27 am
Wed January 28, 2015

If You've Gotta Reboot 'Ghostbusters,' At Least Do It With This Cast

Originally published on Thu January 29, 2015 8:23 am

There's a solid argument to be made against a reboot of Ghostbusters, just as there's a solid argument to be made against a reboot of just about anything. You could take any group of creative people, put them together, and wish they'd just start from scratch rather than revisit a property that's already been done.

However.

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The Two-Way
7:57 am
Wed January 28, 2015

Smithsonian In Talks Over London Outpost — Its First Overseas

The London 2012 Olympic Stadium at sunset at the Olympic Park in London. The Smithsonian Institution is working to establish its first international museum outpost in London as that city redevelops its Olympic park.
Alastair Grant AP

Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 12:56 pm

Updated at 12:08 p.m. ET

Along with Buckingham Palace, the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben, London may soon be home to a Smithsonian outpost.

The institution's Board of Regents has authorized museum officials to explore the Smithsonian's first international gallery outpost. Its home: near the site of London's Olympic Park.

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Book Reviews
5:03 am
Wed January 28, 2015

'How To Grow Up' Needs To Grow Up

Michelle Tea's previous books include Rent Girl and Mermaid in Chelsea Creek.
Lydia Daniller

Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 1:05 pm

Michelle Tea has been many things: poet, novelist, memoirist, columnist, editor, drummer, film producer and darling of the queercore scene. She captured the hearts of punk-literature fans with her 1998 debut, the novel The Passionate Mistakes and Intricate Corruption of One Girl in America, and drew praise from critics with her memoirs Rent Girl and The Chelsea Whistle.

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Parallels
3:26 pm
Tue January 27, 2015

After Father's Death, A Writer Learns How 'The Japanese Say Goodbye'

Marie Mutsuki Mockett says the Japanese tradition of Tōrō nagashi — lighting floating paper lanterns in honor of loved ones — reminded her that she was not alone in her grief.
Alberto Carrasco Casado Flickr

Originally published on Tue January 27, 2015 4:30 pm

Several years ago, when her father died unexpectedly, writer Marie Mutsuki Mockett became unmoored. Lost in a deep depression, Mockett turned to Japan's rituals of mourning for a way forward.

Mockett's mother's family owns and runs a temple just 25 miles from the Fukushima nuclear power plant. The plant melted down after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Mockett begged her cousin, the temple's priest, to leave, but he refused — he said he needed to stay to care for the souls of the ancestors.

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The Salt
2:25 pm
Tue January 27, 2015

Watch 'Bob's Burgers'? Now You Can Eat Them, Too

Bob Belcher, titular hero of Bob's Burgers, bites into one of his creations. Each episode features daily burger specials with chuckle-inducing names. The burgers were born in the show writers' imagination and brought to life in Cole Bowden's kitchen.
Fox via Getty Images

Originally published on Tue January 27, 2015 3:34 pm

The animated Fox series Bob's Burgers centers on the Belcher family, who is trying to run a halfway successful restaurant. A cult favorite, the show is full of pathos and humor — including the daily burger specials with chuckle-inducing names featured in each episode.

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Book Reviews
5:03 am
Tue January 27, 2015

'Mr. Mac' Paints Flowers In A Darkening World

Originally published on Tue January 27, 2015 11:53 am

Reading Esther Freud's eighth novel — about an English boy's unlikely but life-expanding friendship with Scottish architect and artist Charles Rennie Mackintosh — is a bit like watching a watercolor painting take shape. Mr. Mac and Me begins with delicate dabs of color, as 13-year-old Thomas Maggs, the only surviving son of an abusive alcoholic pub proprietor and his long-suffering wife, paints a plaintive picture of life at the aptly named Blue Anchor, in the Sussex village of Walberswick.

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Movies
1:39 am
Tue January 27, 2015

'Stronger Than Ever' Sundance Docs Tackle Scientology, Campus Rape

Alex Gibney's Going Clear is based on a book by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Lawrence Wright.
Sam Painter Courtesy of Sundance Institute

Originally published on Tue January 27, 2015 9:27 am

Over in Park City, Utah, the Sundance Film Festival is in full swing. Critic Kenneth Turan tells NPR's Renee Montagne about some of the festival's must-see films, including documentaries about Scientology, rape on college campuses and Nina Simone, and a romantic drama based on a novel by Colm Tóibín.


Interview Highlights

On the festival's stand-out documentaries

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Movies
2:01 pm
Mon January 26, 2015

New Technology Immerses Audiences At Sundance Film Festival

Originally published on Tue January 27, 2015 10:13 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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Movies
2:01 pm
Mon January 26, 2015

It'd Be No 'Folly' To Remake This Musical Classic

Bob Mondello brought in his own personal copy of the original Follies cast album — intern Patrick Fort added the starburst.
Emily Jan NPR

Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 6:47 am

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Television
1:24 pm
Mon January 26, 2015

Intended For Millennials, Dish's Sling TV Is A Cord Cutter's Dream

Joe Clayton, president and CEO of Dish Network, introduces the Sling TV earlier this month at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
Jae C. Hong AP

Originally published on Mon January 26, 2015 4:57 pm

A few days ago, I entertained myself for a few minutes watching ESPN's Stephen A. Smith lose his cool — this time, over an "incompetent" NFL for not interviewing Patriots quarterback Tom Brady regarding the team's deflated-football controversy.

But what made this moment noteworthy, was where I was watching Smith: not on a TV connected to a cable box, but on my iPad. Thanks to Sling TV.

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Author Interviews
11:17 am
Mon January 26, 2015

'Ghettoside' Explores Why Murders Are Invisible In Los Angeles

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

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Book Reviews
11:17 am
Mon January 26, 2015

These 13 'Almost Famous Women' Stirred Up Trouble, Or Trouble Found Them

One of Megan Mayhew Bergman's short stories is based on the life of dancer and actress Butterfly McQueen.
Hulton Archive Getty Images

Originally published on Mon January 26, 2015 12:17 pm

Almost Famous Women is the kind of "high concept" short-story collection that invites skepticism. These stories are about 13 historical women whose names you mostly might sort-of recognize. Beryl Markham, Butterfly McQueen and Shirley Jackson are slam-dunks, but Romaine Brooks and Joe Carstairs are a bit blurrier. While the family names of Allegra Byron, Dolly Wilde and Norma Millay betray their relation to important figures, we don't know what they did. And who the heck was Hazel Eaton or Tiny Davis?

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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 7:43 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 Mon January 26, 2015 10:12 am

How's this for a sweet post-World War II 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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Sunday Puzzle
6:00 am
Sun January 25, 2015

A Puzzle Full Of Air

Sunday Puzzle
NPR

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

On-air challenge: Every answer today is a word starting with the letters A-R, which you will identify from its anagram. For example, given AR plus ROB, the answer would be "arbor."

Last week's challenge: Name two animals, both mammals, one of them domestic, the other wild. Put their letters together, and rearrange the result to name another mammal, this one wild, and not seen naturally around North America. What mammal is it?

Answer: dog + gnu = dugong

Winner: Michael Kurh, Geneva, Ill.

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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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Time Machine
5:03 am
Sun January 25, 2015

For A Taste Of Grimdark, Visit The 'Land Fit For Heroes'

Originally published on Mon January 26, 2015 1:01 pm

"Well, irony really does better unelaborated, but if you insist."

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Book News & Features
5:03 am
Sun January 25, 2015

In Winter, Keeping Warm With Beloved Books

iStockphoto

Originally published on Mon January 26, 2015 7:36 am

For many of us, winter is a time for turning inward, for quelling fears, for resolving to stay warm and alive, or just for remembering that there is so much ahead to wonder over. And though at times it can just feel bleak and bloody awful, the season can be an invitation of sorts, a call to take heart.

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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 Mon January 26, 2015 7:56 am

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Around the Nation
3:20 pm
Sat January 24, 2015

By Dimming Its Lights, Museum Opens Doors For Kids With Autism

One Saturday each month, the Pacific Science Center of Seattle opens early for people with autism spectrum disorders.
John Keatley Pacific Science Center

Originally published on Mon January 26, 2015 6:18 am

On a Saturday at the Pacific Science Center in Seattle, Wash., life-size robotic dinosaurs roar. A giant video monitor shows a person sneezing as a spray of mist shoots down from the ceiling. Nearby, naked mole rats scurry blindly through a maze of tunnels.

And since it's all mud and rain outside, the place is packed with curious children and adults trying to keep up with them.

Loud noises, bright lights, crowded spaces: This is exactly the situation Mike Hiner tries to avoid with his 20-year-old son Steven, who is autistic.

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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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Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!
9:08 am
Sat January 24, 2015

Not My Job: We Quiz Funk Legend George Clinton On The British Parliament

Tony Dejak AP

Originally published on Sat January 24, 2015 11:42 pm

George Clinton, the founding father of funk, is the creator of the bands Parliament and Funkadelic. We'll ask him three questions about another kind of parliament — namely, the British Parliament.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

PETER SAGAL, HOST:

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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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