Arts/Life

Author Interviews
5:38 am
Sun February 1, 2015

'History Of Lonliness' Explores The Complexity Of Priest Sex Abuse

Originally published on Sun February 1, 2015 5:56 am

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

Author Interviews
5:37 am
Sun February 1, 2015

Are Danes Really That Happy? The Myth Of The Scandinavian Utopia

A view of Oslo, Norway, taken from the surrounding hills. Author Michael Booth says Norwegians were traditionally thought of as Scandinavia's "country bumpkin."
Lise Aaserud AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun February 1, 2015 5:57 am

What comes to mind when you think of Scandinavia? Great education systems? The world's happiest people? Healthy work-life balance?

One man, a British transplant living in Denmark, sought to set the record straight about his adoptive homeland.

Michael Booth is the author of a new book, The Almost Nearly Perfect People: Behind the Myth of the Scandinavian Utopia. He spoke to NPR's Rachel Martin about the real definition of that word utopia.

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The Salt
3:44 am
Sun February 1, 2015

College Life Doesn't Have To Mean Crummy Cuisine, Says Dorm Room Chef

No oven necessary: Hu makes her pumpkin cake in the microwave.
Courtesy of Emily Hu

Emily Hu is a veritable master chef of the dorm room.

No oven? No problem. The college student is skilled at navigating the cooking limitations of campus living — she can whip up cakes with just four ingredients and a microwave, and make muffins in a toaster oven.

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Author Interviews
3:36 am
Sun February 1, 2015

Be More Awesome — With Help From Kid President

Originally published on Sun February 1, 2015 5:56 am

Kid President has a vision for America, one of ferocious positivity. And corn dogs. Robby Novak — now 11 years old — and his older brother-in-law Brad Montague created the character in 2012.

In a series of YouTube videos, Robby appears in a suit and speaks to America from a cardboard Oval Office. He extolls the virtues of corn dogs, interprets Robert Frost, and delivers pep talks to America. The videos quickly became an Internet sensation, garnering tens of millions of views.

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Movie Interviews
4:00 pm
Sat January 31, 2015

Former Basketball Player Scores As A Filmmaker

Director Deon Taylor takes questions at a special screening of his new film, Supremacy, in Los Angeles.
Eric Charbonneau Le Studio Photography

Originally published on Sat January 31, 2015 4:30 pm

For most of his life, Deon Taylor was all about basketball. "Ever since I can remember I've just been in love with the game," he says.

His basketball career brought him a college scholarship and took him overseas, where he played professionally. Then he pivoted: in 2002, he gave up an athletic career to become a filmmaker.

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Goats and Soda
3:19 pm
Sat January 31, 2015

Mindy Kaling's Super Bowl Ad: Are Indian Women Invisible?

After years of being treated like she's not there, Mindy Kaling realizes she just might be invisible.
via YouTube

Originally published on Sat January 31, 2015 8:21 pm

A Super Bowl commercial for Nationwide Insurance shows an Indian-American woman — none other than author and actor Mindy Kaling — trying to hail a cab in New York City. And it's not easy.

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Author Interviews
3:05 pm
Sat January 31, 2015

Impressions From The Ice: A Poet Returns From Antarctica

Originally published on Sat January 31, 2015 4:30 pm

Last year, a poet arrived at the end of the earth: Jynne Dilling Martin spent six weeks, funded by the National Science Foundation, living in Antarctica.

She spent the summer (winter, to those of us in the Northern Hemisphere) shadowing scientists as they went about their work, and writing about the people who call the icy continent home.

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Arts/Life
1:12 pm
Sat January 31, 2015

Film Review: American Sniper

  Jack Fields reviews Clint Eastwood's "American Sniper," with an Oscar-nominated lead performance by Bradley Cooper.

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Author Interviews
5:57 am
Sat January 31, 2015

A Mismatched Crew Dreams Of Swashbuckling In 'We Are Pirates'

Originally published on Sat January 31, 2015 11:20 am

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

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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Author Interviews
5:37 am
Sat January 31, 2015

Prime Minister Loses His Noggin But Keeps Talking In 'Head Of State'

Originally published on Sat January 31, 2015 9:05 pm

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

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

"Rule, Britannia" was written by Thomas Arne. Maestro, if you please.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "RULE, BRITANNIA")

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Remembrances
5:37 am
Sat January 31, 2015

Rod McKuen, The Cheeseburger To Poetry's Haute Cuisine

Originally published on Sat January 31, 2015 11:14 am

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

Poetry
5:37 am
Sat January 31, 2015

Amiri Baraka Didn't Worry About His Politics Overpowering His Poetry

Hulton Archive Getty Images

Originally published on Sat January 31, 2015 11:20 am

For the late poet Amiri Baraka, poetry was about the sound of the words — that the poems should come alive when they were read aloud. "I'm trying to make the poems as musical as I can — from the inception," he said in 1980. "So that whether they're read on the page, or people read them aloud, or I read them aloud, the musicality will be kind of a given."

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Book News & Features
5:23 am
Sat January 31, 2015

8 Picture Books You Don't Have To Be A Kid To Love

Courtesy of Roaring Book Press

Originally published on Sat January 31, 2015 5:03 am

Here at NPR Books, we may be grown-ups, but every now and then we still enjoy channeling our inner 7-year-olds. And this week, we have the perfect excuse: Monday's Randolph Caldecott Medal announcement for picture book artistry. We've tried (and failed) to predict winners in the past, but right or wrong, we still like looking at pretty picture books and wildly speculating about what could win.

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Remembrances
3:36 am
Sat January 31, 2015

Remembering 'Thorn Birds' Author Colleen McCullough

Colleen McCullough at home on Australia's remote Norfolk Island in 1990 — she told an interviewer she moved there to escape her difficult family.
Getty Images

Originally published on Sat January 31, 2015 11:20 am

Australian writer Colleen McCullough died Thursday; she was 77 years old. McCullough was best known for her novel The Thorn Birds, a huge hugely popular romance which has sold 30 million copies around the world, and has never gone out of print.

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Shots - Health News
3:31 am
Sat January 31, 2015

Why Do We Love Football So Much? Theater Tackles Tough Questions

Football rules, uniforms, helmets and protective gear have changed a lot over the years.
Keystone-France Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images

Originally published on Sat January 31, 2015 11:20 am

Football injuries have long been seen by some as a badge of honor. A broken sternum, a busted knee, a pierced kidney: all evidence of tenacity on the field.

But the emerging science around head injuries in football — and the long-term effects of repeated concussions – is forcing players, team owners and football fans to come to grips with the idea that the sport they love may be extracting a much higher price than anyone knew.

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Author Interviews
3:14 pm
Fri January 30, 2015

The 'Man Who Touched His Own Heart' Changed Medicine

Originally published on Fri January 30, 2015 4:29 pm

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

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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Theater
3:14 pm
Fri January 30, 2015

One-Man Show Casts 'Brilliant' Light On Realities Of Suicide, Depression

Every Brilliant Thing, starring Jonny Donahoe, follows a son's efforts to fight his mother's deep depression.
Matthew Murphy Courtesy of O&M Co.

Originally published on Fri January 30, 2015 4:29 pm

Imagine going to a small, off-Broadway theater for a one-person show that relies heavily on audience participation — and it's all about depression and suicide. That might sound like a theatrical nightmare, but the show in question — Every Brilliant Thing, currently playing at the Barrow Street Theatre — is also very funny and has been getting rave reviews.

"Normally, I loathe that kind of thing," says Ben Brantley, the chief drama critic for The New York Times.

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Movie Reviews
12:29 pm
Fri January 30, 2015

When Islamists Impose Their Will In 'Timbuktu,' One Family Resists

Mehdi A.G. Mohamed (left) plays Issan, the orphaned boy who lives with a family outside Timbuktu. The family decides not to leave when radical Islamists come to impose Sharia, or Islamic law.
Courtesy of Cohen Media Group

Originally published on Fri January 30, 2015 1:09 pm

The word "Timbuktu" is slang in the West for East of Nowhere, but in the film Timbuktu, this city in Mali on the edge of the Sahara is an epicenter, a volatile crossroads for several distinct cultures. There are African women in radiant colors, white-garbed Muslim men in mosques, fishermen who live along the river and nomadic herders who pitch their tents on dunes. And then there are the most recent arrivals: an al-Qaida-affiliated group called Ansar Dine that in 2012 took over Timbuktu and announced the enforcement of Sharia, or Islamic law.

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Monkey See
8:17 am
Fri January 30, 2015

Pop Culture Happy Hour: 'Jane The Virgin' And Sexy Sex Thrillers

NPR

On this week's show, we start off by chatting with our friend Barrie Hardymon about the CW's terrific telenovela adaptation Jane The Virgin. Why the show is so good, why the show is so different, why the show has been so well received, and have we mentioned how much we adore the lead, Gina Rodriguez? (If you haven't ever read the speech she gave at press tour about turning down Devious Maids, which I reference in the discussion, you really should.)

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The Two-Way
6:54 am
Fri January 30, 2015

Songwriter, Poet Rod McKuen Dies At 81

Ezio Petersen UPI /Landov

The obituary in The Los Angeles Times describes Rod McKuen as "prolific" and that may well be an understatement considering the many compositions he churned out.

McKuen is credited with more than 200 albums and more than 30 collections of poetry.

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Author Interviews
3:07 am
Fri January 30, 2015

Should Ray Rice Get A Second Chance? 'Maybe,' Parcells Says

Bill Parcells has been coach to the Dallas Cowboys, the New York Giants, the New England Patriots and the New York Jets.
Robert B. Stanton Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 30, 2015 8:54 am

Hall of Fame football coach Bill Parcells won two Super Bowls with the New York Giants, coached three other teams, and mentored young coaches who would go on to success, including Bill Belichick, who's taking the New England Patriots into the Super Bowl this Sunday. Parcells spoke with NPR's David Greene about his recent book, Parcells: A Football Life, and discussed the attention paid to player behavior off the field this NFL season.

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Author Interviews
2:15 am
Fri January 30, 2015

From Laundering To Profiteering, A Multitude Of Sins At The Vatican Bank

The Vatican Bank is "essentially an offshore bank in the middle of a foreign country," says Gerald Posner. Above is an aerial view of St. Peter's basilica in Vatican City.
AFP AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 30, 2015 7:52 am

For decades, the Catholic Church has been dogged by scandals involving money. Vatican City — a sovereign state — controls its own finances through the Vatican Bank. It developed as a cross between the Federal Reserve and an offshore bank. In a new history, God's Bankers, Gerald Posner explains that its roots go back to the mid-19th century.

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Author Interviews
4:11 pm
Thu January 29, 2015

The Gift Of Eternal Shelf Life: 'Tuck Everlasting' Turns 40

Originally published on Fri January 30, 2015 8:07 am

What if you could drink the elixir of life — sip from a magical spring that would make you live forever? Would you do it? That's the question at the heart of Natalie Babbitt's Tuck Everlasting, a celebrated book for young readers that's marking its 40th anniversary this year.

In the book, 10-year-old Winnie Foster stumbles upon a secret spring and the family the spring has given eternal life to. The father, Angus Tuck, takes Winnie out in a rowboat to explain how unnatural it is to live forever; how the great wheel of life has to turn:

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Parallels
4:10 pm
Thu January 29, 2015

The Arctic Circle's Coolest Accommodations Turn 25 Years Old

Icehotel is located 120 miles above the Arctic Circle. The temperature outside is well below zero, but inside the hotel — while still, of course, below freezing — it's much warmer, hovering in the low 20s.
Ari Shapiro NPR

Originally published on Fri January 30, 2015 8:07 am

On a recent winter's day in the village of Jukkasjärvi, Sweden, it's 22 degrees below zero — or -30 Celsius. Whatever you call it, it's way below freezing.

Sculptor Jens Thoms Ivarsson stands over a block of ice with a razor-sharp chisel, turning a bare room into an ornate Spanish mosque made entirely of ice.

Here, 120 miles above the Arctic Circle, sits a frozen institution: Icehotel, the original.

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Television
4:10 pm
Thu January 29, 2015

NBC's 'Parenthood' Ends As A Family Drama Built On Small Moments

The stars of Parenthood include, left to right, Erika Christensen Peter Krause, Bonnie Bedelia, Craig T. Nelson, Lauren Graham and Dax Shepard.
NBC Justin Lubin/NBC

Originally published on Fri January 30, 2015 8:07 am

It happens at least once every episode: A scene in Parenthood carefully crafted to make you cry.

Like the moment when devoted parents Adam and Kristina Braverman try to console their son Max — who has Asperger's syndrome — after a school camping trip goes bad.

"Why do all the other kids hate me?" Max Braverman asks, voice wavering, just before telling his disbelieving parents a classmate relieved himself in his canteen during the trip. "Asperger's is supposed to make me smart. But if I'm smart then why ... why don't I get why they're laughing at me?"

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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/.

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