Arts/Life

Author Interviews
3:10 pm
Sun September 14, 2014

A 'Lasciviously LA' Lunch With Crime Novelist James Ellroy

James Ellroy lives in Los Angeles, which serves as the setting for much of his work.
Jenniffer Carroll Knopf

Originally published on Sun September 14, 2014 4:29 pm

Writer James Ellroy has spent decades capturing a gritty, noirish Los Angeles in sprawling crime novels like The Black Dahlia and L.A. Confidential.

Ellroy could be a character in one of his own books. He's a thoroughly uncensored guy, a bit of a Luddite, and unafraid to talk on any subject at all: his mother's horrific murder when Ellroy was just 10, which was never solved; his decades-long struggle with alcoholism; his religious beliefs. And, of course, his LA crime fiction.

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Business
5:50 am
Sun September 14, 2014

'Your Call Is Important ... ' Which Is Why You Hear Music

Originally published on Sun September 14, 2014 9:56 am

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

Transcript

LYNN NEARY, HOST:

You're listening to WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. It can be maddening. You call your doctor, your cable provider, your utility company, and you get sent to hold.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: There are 12 callers ahead of you. (Music playing).

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Research News
5:50 am
Sun September 14, 2014

Millennial Generation Likes Old-Fashioned Technology: Books

Originally published on Sun September 14, 2014 9:56 am

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

Movie Interviews
5:50 am
Sun September 14, 2014

From Casting To Cutting The N-Word, The Making Of 'Gone With The Wind'

Scarlett O'Hara (Vivien Leigh) and Rhett Butler (Clark Gable) made their film debut in 1939's Gone With the Wind.
AP

Originally published on Sun September 14, 2014 5:47 pm

Scarlett O'Hara and Rhett Butler are one of the most enduring couples in American cinema, and this year marks the 75th anniversary of their film debut in Gone with the Wind, a tale of war, love gone wrong and tragic endings. Adjusted for inflation, the epic melodrama has grossed more money than any other American film.

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Goats and Soda
5:50 am
Sun September 14, 2014

In The Quest To Make A Difference, 'A Path Appears'

In Malawi, Biti Rose Nasoni used a CARE microsavings program to start a business selling doughnuts.
Nicholas D. Kristof Random House

Originally published on Sun September 14, 2014 11:22 am

Everyone wants to "make a difference" but with an overwhelming array of charitable causes and organizations, the question is: how? Journalists Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn set out to find the answer in their new book, A Path Appears.

They profile a nurse in West Virginia who helps a teenage mother through the tough early days of parenting. And they tell the story of a woman in Africa who gets a small loan and starts a business that supports her family.

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Book Reviews
3:29 am
Sun September 14, 2014

A Fresh Take On Dystopia In 'Chimpanzee'

Originally published on Sun September 14, 2014 5:41 pm

The recent wave of dystopian novels — okay, let's call it a glut — has focused attention on all kinds of Earth-threatening ills, from climate change to genetically modified food. The plight of student-loan debtors and struggling academics, however, hasn't usually topped that list. Which is partly what makes Darin Bradley's latest novel, Chimpanzee, so fascinating, flaws and all.

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Author Interviews
3:10 pm
Sat September 13, 2014

In Margaret Atwood's Latest, The Past Is Powerfully Present

Canadian Margaret Atwood is the author of more than a dozen novels including The Handmaid's Tale, The Blind Assassin and Oryx and Crake, as well as works of poetry and nonfiction.
Jean Malek Random House

Originally published on Sun September 14, 2014 8:48 am

Author Margaret Atwood is prolific, beloved and extraordinarily accomplished. In addition to best-selling novels like The Handmaid's Tale and The Blind Assassin, she's penned poems, short stories, children's books, essays and works that defy classification.

But her fans will have to wait a long, long time for one particular piece of writing. She's working on a book that nobody will read for a hundred years — part of an art project that's going to require some special archival paper, as she explains to NPR's Arun Rath.

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Author Interviews
2:55 pm
Sat September 13, 2014

A Cheerful Mortician Tackles The Lighter Side Of Death

On her YouTube channel, mortician Caitlin Doughty humorously answers serious questions about death, decomposition, burial practices and more.
YouTube

Caitlin Doughty remembers her first encounter with death.

"That thud — that noise of the girl's body hitting laminate — would play over and over again in my mind, dull thud after dull thud," she writes in her new book, Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory. She was 8, in a shopping mall in her home state, sunny Hawaii. The girl fell from a balcony. "Today, the thuds might be called a symptom of post-traumatic stress disorder, but back then the noises were just the drumbeat of my childhood."

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Author Interviews
8:41 am
Sat September 13, 2014

Wendy Davis Tells Of Her Own Difficult Abortions In 'Forgetting'

Wendy Davis holds a book signing Thursday in Austin, Texas.
Eric Gay AP

Originally published on Sat September 13, 2014 10:47 am

Wendy Davis, the Democratic candidate for the governor of Texas, came to the attention of most Americans outside Texas when as state senator she filibustered a highly restrictive abortion bill for 11 straight hours.

Now Davis is making headlines for her newly released memoir, Forgetting to be Afraid. In the book, Davis revealed for the first time that she had two abortions herself. She also details her gritty and sometimes unhappy life growing up, first in Rhode Island and then Texas, Oklahoma and California.

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Book Reviews
8:03 am
Sat September 13, 2014

The 'Witch With No Name' Rides Into The Sunset, In Style

promo image

It's a bright cool day in September and the books now number 13. Kim Harrison has concluded her long-running Hollows series, the 10-year-anniversary of which I marked back in April, and I am bereft. In The Witch With No Name, Rachel Morgan, Ivy Tamwood and Jenks the pixy have their last string of adventures together in a modern-day Cincinnati riddled with elves, witches, vampires living and undead, werewolves, fairies and demons, in a rollercoaster ride of interlocking shenanigans that left me a little breathless.

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Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!
7:25 am
Sat September 13, 2014

Not My Job: Comedian Richard Lewis Gets Quizzed On Confidence

Jason Kempin Getty Images for AFI

Originally published on Sat September 13, 2014 10:24 am

Comedian Richard Lewis has made a successful career out of being a nervous, complaining, chronic worrier. He's just released a retrospective DVD set called Bundle of Nerves.

We've invited Lewis to play a game called "The secret, my young friend, is confidence." Three questions about how to be a badass, taken from the WikiHow article, How to Become a Badass.

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Music Interviews
5:40 am
Sat September 13, 2014

Paul Thorn Got Music At Southern Churches, White And Black

Originally published on Sat September 13, 2014 10:47 am

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

Transcript

WADE GOODWYN, HOST:

Here's something you don't read in the bio of every blues rocker who comes down the pike - Paul Thorn was once a nationally ranked middleweight boxer who fought world champion Roberto Duran, (Spanish spoken), Hands of Stone.

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Movie Interviews
5:40 am
Sat September 13, 2014

Medic Returns From Afghanistan To Broken Family In 'Bliss'

Originally published on Sun September 14, 2014 6:23 am

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

Transcript

WADE GOODWYN, HOST:

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Author Interviews
5:40 am
Sat September 13, 2014

Franklin Expedition Find May Reveal 'The Horror Of The Darkness'

Originally published on Sat September 13, 2014 10:47 am

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

Transcript

WADE GOODWYN, HOST:

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Author Interviews
5:40 am
Sat September 13, 2014

Peter Thiel In 'Zero To One': How To Develop The Developed World

Originally published on Sat September 13, 2014 10:47 am

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

Transcript

WADE GOODWYN, HOST:

You might remember this scene from the movie "The Social Network."

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "THE SOCIAL NETWORK")

WALLACE LANGHAM: (As Peter Thiel) You must be Mark.

JESSE EISENBERG: (As Mark Zuckerberg) Hi.

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Code Switch
3:40 am
Sat September 13, 2014

Why Michael Che's New Role Could Change More Than 'SNL'

Daily Show correspondent Michael Che will become the first black co-anchor of Saturday Night Live's Weekend Update.
Paul Marotta Courtesy of Michael Che

Originally published on Sat September 13, 2014 11:27 am

It seems some TV networks have gotten the message on late-night diversity and others have not.

Friday's news — that Saturday Night Live hired comic Michael Che to join Colin Jost behind the anchor desk on its popular "Weekend Update" segment — shows NBC's venerated late night comedy franchise may, finally, stand among those in the first group.

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Book Reviews
3:36 am
Sat September 13, 2014

'The Dog': Dubious Dealings In Dubai

iStockphoto.com

One measure of a fine writer is the ability to master new tricks. Joseph O'Neill's new novel, The Dog, is a different animal (so to speak) from Netherland, his remarkable PEN/Faulkner Award-winner about a Dutch financial analyst adrift in New York in the aftermath of 9/11. Though both involve romantic estrangement in a globalized but alienating world, The Dog focuses more narrowly — and sometimes claustrophobically — on one man's hopeless, deluded efforts to live blamelessly in a distressingly mean-spirited, soulless society.

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Book Reviews
4:32 pm
Fri September 12, 2014

As Independence Vote Approaches, A Spirited Novel About The Scottish Experience

Originally published on Fri September 12, 2014 6:12 pm

In my 20s I was living in London, and dating a Scotsman. A friend pulled me aside. "Read The Crow Road by Iain Banks," he told me. "It's the story of our childhood. Read this and you'll understand us."

The Crow Road is a darkly witty coming-of-age novel. It's set in the early '90s in a mostly realistic Scotland.

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Author Interviews
12:21 pm
Fri September 12, 2014

Woodrow Wilson Brought New Executive Style To The White House

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

Movie Reviews
11:58 am
Fri September 12, 2014

In 'The Drop,' Mob Bosses Bully Sad Characters At A Bar In Brooklyn

Originally published on Fri September 12, 2014 12:21 pm

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

Transcript

DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

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Movie Reviews
9:03 am
Fri September 12, 2014

An Unblinking Lens Turns Toward Lives In Poverty In 'Stray Dogs'

Stray Dogs, set in Taipei, examines a family's bleak experience.
Courtesy of Cinema Guild

Tsai Ming-liang's Stray Dogs caps off with two shots, each over ten minutes long, though I doubt that will make the movie any easier to sell, even in a culture obsessed with long takes. The episode-capping tracking shot in True Detective or the opening 17 minutes of Gravity — those celebrated scenes awed us with movement. In his two final shots, Tsai lulls us with stillness.

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Movie Reviews
9:03 am
Fri September 12, 2014

Getting Each Other And The Bonds Of 'The Skeleton Twins'

Working back through a raft of bad-seed twins to 1962's Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? the sibling drama has, with few exceptions, been ignored or pathologized to death in movies. I see why: no prospects for sex, unless we're talking incest. Yet that relationship, with all its potent friction of solidarity and competition, comes stuffed with dramatic potential that the fairly new director Craig Johnson means to mine in The Skeleton Twins, an intermittently absorbing dramedy about a brother and sister who have reached adulthood in years, if not in maturity.

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TED Radio Hour
6:35 am
Fri September 12, 2014

How Far Can Curiosity Take You?

James Cameron talks about how his fascination with the world around him has driven his film career.
James Duncan Davidson/TED Courtesy of TED

Part 6 of the TED Radio Hour episode From Curiosity To Discovery.

About James Cameron's TED Talk

As a kid, director James Cameron was fascinated with exploring the world around him — everything from pond water to bugs. Those childhood obsessions led him some of the deepest places underwater.

About James Cameron

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TED Radio Hour
6:35 am
Fri September 12, 2014

How Do Simple Questions Lead To Big Discoveries?

Adam Savage talks on the TED stage about where curiosity has led him.
James Duncan Davidson/TED Courtesy of TED

Part 4 of the TED Radio Hour episode From Curiosity To Discovery.

About Adam Savage's TEDTalk

Mythbusters co-host Adam Savage talks about three people who inspired him to be curious: his dad, a former Earth-science teacher, and physicist Richard Feynman.

About Adam Savage

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TED Radio Hour
6:35 am
Fri September 12, 2014

How Do You Build A Toaster ... From Scratch?

Thomas Thwaites' finished toaster.
Courtesy of Thomas Thwaites Courtesy of TED

Part 2 of the TED Radio Hour episode From Curiosity To Discovery.

About Thomas Thwaites' TED Talk

Designer Thomas Thwaites explains what compelled him to build a toaster, literally from the ground up.

About Thomas Thwaites

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TED Radio Hour
6:35 am
Fri September 12, 2014

Why Did A Hollywood Film Director Journey To The Bottom Of The Ocean?

Director James Cameron speaking about his childhood obsessions on the TED stage.
Courtesy of TED

Part 1 of the TED Radio Hour episode From Curiosity To Discovery.

About James Cameron's TED Talk

Director James Cameron's blockbuster films create unreal worlds. He reveals his childhood fascinations and how they fueled the passion behind his movies.

About James Cameron

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TED Radio Hour
6:35 am
Fri September 12, 2014

Are Microbes The Next Frontier?

Microbiologist Nathan Wolfe describes the potential of "biological dark matter."
James Duncan Davidson/TED Courtesy of TED

Originally published on Fri September 12, 2014 6:44 am

Part 5 of the TED Radio Hour episode From Curiosity To Discovery.

About Nathan Wolfe's TED Talk

Biologist Nathan Wolfe says the unseeable world of microbes is fertile ground for new discoveries.

About Nathan Wolfe

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The Two-Way
5:53 am
Fri September 12, 2014

Book News: Wendy Davis' Book Tour Violates Ethics Code, Opponent Says

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

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Movie Interviews
1:31 am
Fri September 12, 2014

Film Triptych 'Eleanor Rigby' Tells Three Sides Of A Breakup Story

James McAvoy and Jessica Chastain star in The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby Him, Her and Them.
Courtesy of The Weinstein Company

Originally published on Fri September 12, 2014 11:03 am

There are three sides to every story, or so the saying goes — yours, theirs and the truth. That's basically the premise of a new triple feature: three films that show a crumbling relationship from different points of view. Together they're called The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby Him, Her and Them. (Them comes out in theaters Friday, and Him and Her will be released next month.)

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The Two-Way
3:00 pm
Thu September 11, 2014

Richard Kiel, Actor Who Played Jaws In Bond Films, Dies At 74

Richard Kiel (front) and Roger Moore at a ceremony in 2007 to honor Moore with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Kiel, who played Jaws in two Bond films opposite Moore, died Wednesday. He was 74.
Mark J. Terrill AP

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