Arts/Life

This Week's Must Read
4:34 pm
Fri October 31, 2014

A 19th Century Novel Explains Quantitative Easing

Originally published on Fri October 31, 2014 5:56 pm

Anthony Trollope was one of England's, and maybe the world's, greatest 19th century novelists. I say that even though I'm not especially a fan. Trollope's prose is determinedly, insistently flat and neutral. Reading him you sometimes get the impression that if he came upon a particularly brilliant phrase or image, he would take it out, on the basis that it distracted from the story.

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Television
4:08 pm
Fri October 31, 2014

Like Olive Kitteridge, Actress Frances McDormand Was Tired Of Supporting Roles

Frances McDormand plays Olive Kitteridge in the four-hour HBO miniseries adapted from Elizabeth Strout's Pulitzer Prize-winning book of short stories.
Jojo Whilden HBO

Originally published on Fri October 31, 2014 5:41 pm

When asked to describe character Olive Kitteridge, actress Frances McDormand uses these words: "Heaven. Delicious. Full-feast. Three course meal. Soup-to-nuts."

Olive is a caustic New England teacher, created by Elizabeth Strout in her Pulitzer Prize-winning book Olive Kitteridge. McDormand says that in literature, you come across rich characters like this all the time β€” in film, not so much.

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Book News & Features
3:51 pm
Fri October 31, 2014

Spine-Tingling With A Twang: Great Alabama Ghost Stories

This photo, taken at Katherine Tucker Windham's Selma house, shows reporter Nikki Davis Maute β€” and in the background, some say, the spirit the family calls Jeffrey.
University of Alabama Press

Originally published on Fri October 31, 2014 5:41 pm

Halloween is a day for ghost stories, but if you're a skeptic, don't fret. As the late Alabama storyteller Kathryn Tucker Windham assured her listeners, tales of restless spirits are for everybody.

"I collect ghost stories," Windham said. "Now, the nice thing about ghost stories is that you don't have to believe in ghosts to enjoy hearing a good ghost story."

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Television
12:48 pm
Fri October 31, 2014

In The Life Of 'Olive Kitteridge,' It's The Little Things That Add Up

Richard Jenkins plays Henry, Olive's husband.
JoJo Whilden Courtesy of HBO

Olive Kitteridge, a new two-part, four-hour miniseries that runs on HBO Sunday and Monday, sounds like the kind of long-form dramas TV used to make back in the '70s and '80s when miniseries ruled. Like them, Olive Kitteridge covers an entire generation in the lives of its characters β€” a 25-year span β€” but otherwise, it couldn't be more different. Most of those sprawling classic miniseries were set against major historical events, and were as much about passionate romance and glamorous costumes as anything else.

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Author Interviews
12:32 pm
Fri October 31, 2014

Stephen King On Growing Up, Believing In God And Getting Scared

"The more carny it got, the better I liked it," King says of his new thriller, Joyland. The book, set in a North Carolina amusement park in 1973, is part horror novel and part supernatural thriller. King talks with Fresh Air's Terry Gross about his career writing horror, and about what scares him now.

Originally broadcast May 28, 2013.

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Books
9:43 am
Fri October 31, 2014

Halloween Makes Us Think Of ... Diversity In Romance!

Originally published on Fri October 31, 2014 12:33 pm

Once upon a time, when I was just out of college, I worked in a magical place called the Washington International School. The old Lower School building was a former D.C. public school on Olive Street in Georgetown, drafty and problematic, but full of character β€” and full of children from all over the world.

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The Two-Way
8:33 am
Fri October 31, 2014

Book News: J.K. Rowling Exposes Origin Of Harry Potter's 'Twee' Nemesis

J.K. Rowling reads to children at the 2010 White House Egg Roll. According to a new essay, her own experiences as a young student helped inform the Harry Potter character Dolores Umbridge.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

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

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Movie Reviews
2:57 am
Fri October 31, 2014

Review: Gyllenhaal's 'Nightcrawler' Is Pulp With A Purpose

Originally published on Fri October 31, 2014 5:42 am

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

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And now to a movie review. Actor Jake Gyllenhaal has been in many memorable films - "Brokeback Mountain," "End Of Watch" - film critic Kenneth Turan, though, says "Nightcrawler" is the best work he's ever done.

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Arts & Life
2:57 am
Fri October 31, 2014

The Colorful, Blossoming D.C. Arts Scene In The 1950s, '60s

Originally published on Fri October 31, 2014 5:42 am

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

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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Television
2:57 am
Fri October 31, 2014

In An Online, On-Demand Age, TV Reruns Are Redefined

A new digital platform called Simpsons World features all 25 years of episodes. FX says it is trying to cater to both old-fashioned TV fans and people who watch shows on other devices.
FOX

Originally published on Fri October 31, 2014 1:27 pm

Countless episodes of The Simpsons are built around goofball dad Homer's inability to understand anything online, including starting a home business with no declared purpose: Compu-Global-Hyper-Mega-Net.

His reasoning: "Everybody's making money off the Internet, except us!"

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Book Reviews
4:20 pm
Thu October 30, 2014

'The Book Of Strange New Things' Treads Familiar Territory

Originally published on Thu October 30, 2014 6:50 pm

Michel Faber wrote a book a while ago (The Crimson Petal And The White) that became a critically acclaimed international best-seller. He also wrote the book Under The Skin, which was recently made into a very weird movie starring Scarlett Johansson as some kind of confused and lonely alien sex monster.

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Art & Design
3:04 pm
Thu October 30, 2014

A Well-Designed Parking Sign Can Make Life Much Easier

Which parking sign is easier to understand? Nikki Sylianteng is trying to build a better parking sign at her website, To Park Or Not To Park. One of her redesign efforts can be seen at right.
Courtesy Nikki Sylianteng

Originally published on Thu October 30, 2014 4:27 pm

Is it safe to park on the street, or are you risking a ticket? The more signs there are, the more confusing that question gets.

Designer Nikki Sylianteng is trying to fix the problem through visual design. You can see various iterations of her sign at her website, To Park Or Not To Park, and you can hear her discuss her project at the audio link above.

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Movie Interviews
2:58 pm
Thu October 30, 2014

'Nightcrawler' Jake Gyllenhaal: We're All Complicit In 'If It Bleeds, It Leads'

When Nightcrawler begins, Lou Bloom (Jake Gyllenhaal) is stealing scrap metal and struggling to get by. He lands a job as a stringer β€” a freelance cameraman for a local news station.
Chuck Zlotnick Open Road Films

Originally published on Thu October 30, 2014 9:37 pm

The last time NPR's Audie Cornish spoke with Jake Gyllenhaal it was in the fall of 2013. They met on the set of the film Nightcrawler, and at the time, the tabloids were talking about how much weight he'd lost for the role. Cornish remembers he was gaunt, his blue eyes were sunken in β€” and he didn't blink.

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Movies
2:42 pm
Thu October 30, 2014

Remembering All-Night Fright Fests And Halloween Horrorthons

Terrifying terrorramas so scary you'll need a nurse on standby! Bob Mondello says the 1993 film Matinee brought back memories of his days writing Halloween horror ad copy for a movie theater chain.
Courtesy of Universal/The Kobal CollectionTION

Originally published on Fri October 31, 2014 7:42 am

Halloween's rolled around again and yeah, yeah, it's a dark and stormy night. The road's washed out, phone's gone dead, the mystic's reading her Ouija board, and zombies are popping through doorways left open by a demented kewpie doll.

Been there. Seen that. Got the T-shirt.

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Television
12:25 pm
Thu October 30, 2014

Funny, Dirty, Sad: The 'Holy Trinity' For 'Transparent' Creator Jill Soloway

Jeffrey Tambor plays Maura in the new Amazon series Transparent. Jill Soloway says she cast Tambor in the role because everyone knows Tambor as a "dad figure."
Courtesy of Amazon

Originally published on Fri October 31, 2014 9:52 am

When Jill Soloway's father came out as a trans woman β€” fairly late in life β€” Soloway says for her it was a huge relief.

"It's interesting, I think, to grow up in a family with this really huge missing piece and not know what that piece is β€” sort of like you're feeling around in a dark room," Soloway tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "It's like the elephant in the room, but all the lights are off. So you're feeling around and you're feeling this quite huge thing. It was an amazing relief for the lights to go on."

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Television
12:15 pm
Thu October 30, 2014

Can Shows Like 'The McCarthys' Replace CBS' 'Thursday Night Football'?

Tyler Ritter (center) stars in CBS's The McCarthys with, clockwise from top left, Jack McGee, Laurie Metcalf, Jimmy Dunn, Joey McIntyre and Kelen Coleman.
Monty Brinton CBS

Originally published on Thu October 30, 2014 2:47 pm

Five weeks after the fall TV season started, the broadcast networks are still cranking out new shows.

And in the case of CBS's The McCarthys, you may wish they had stopped a bit sooner.

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Movie Reviews
10:17 am
Thu October 30, 2014

In 'Goodbye To Language,' Jean-Luc Godard Seeks New Ways To Make Pictures

Jean-Luc Godard's dog Roxy appears in his new film, Goodbye To Language.
Kino Lorber

Even the most ordinary movies can be seductive, as Jean-Luc Godard knows all too well. In the 1960s, he was besotted with American commercial cinema, even as he rejected the U.S. policies that led it to make war in Vietnam.

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Movie Reviews
9:55 am
Thu October 30, 2014

'The Great Invisible' Views An Environmental Catastrophe From Many Sides

Latham Smith in The Great Invisible.
Oil Documentary, LLC

The Great Invisible, Margaret Brown's soft-spoken documentary about the aftermath of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, recognizes that disasters β€” from shootings to extreme weather events β€” often beget entrenchment. Tragedies tend to drive us to our most defensive ideological corners, from which we can see little beyond more impassioned arguments for our own side. The film acknowledges this instinct toward simplistic polarization, but then softly, compellingly tries to push against it.

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The Two-Way
8:40 am
Thu October 30, 2014

Book News: Remembering Poet Galway Kinnell, Whose Song Said Everything

Poet Carolyn Forche stands with her friend and mentor Galway Kinnell (right) during a trip to Japan to attend the Asian Writers Congress in 1983.
Courtesy of Carolyn Forche

Originally published on Thu October 30, 2014 8:47 am

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

When Galway Kinnell accepted the post of Vermont's State Poet in 1989, the honor didn't come without a bit of polite disagreement. No writer had occupied the post since Robert Frost more than 25 years earlier, and with the revival came also a desire among some to change its name β€” from "state poet" to something more august, something along the lines of, say, laureate.

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Book Reviews
5:03 am
Thu October 30, 2014

I'm Not Scary, I'm Just Drawn That Way: Great Comics For Halloween

Originally published on Thu October 30, 2014 10:49 am

Ready for a Halloween scare? These graphic novels and compilations are just the ticket. A creepy cult, alien monsters, gravediggers and ghosts populate their spooky pages. Even the Great Pumpkin makes an appearance in all his glory. Read these books next to a flickering fire and you're guaranteed to get the shivers.

Etelka Lehoczky has written about books for The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times and Salon.com. She tweets at @EtelkaL

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Remembrances
2:46 am
Thu October 30, 2014

'Lastness': Award-Winning Poet Galway Kinnell Dies At 87

Originally published on Thu October 30, 2014 12:25 pm

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

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, BYLINE: And now this. The poet Galway Kinnell has died. He began writing poetry at the end of World War II in a plain-spoken style some compared to Walt Whitman. In his long career, he won both a Pulitzer Prize and a National Book Award.

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Movie Interviews
4:16 pm
Wed October 29, 2014

At 83, Filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard Makes The Leap To 3-D

Jean-Luc Godard's dog, Roxy, is prominently featured in Goodbye to Language, wandering through the countryside, conversing with the lake and the river.
Kino Lorber Inc.

Back in the 1960s Jean-Luc Godard made his name in the French New Wave by breaking cinematic rules. Some 40 years later, he's still doing things his own way. Now, at age 83, he's taking on 3-D in a new film called Goodbye to Language, which shared the Jury Prize at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival.

There are elements of Goodbye to Language you might find in any Hollywood movie β€” people arguing, a shootout β€” and even a dog, the director's own. (Roxy wanders the countryside conversing with the lake and the river that want to tell him what humans never hear.)

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The Salt
4:02 pm
Wed October 29, 2014

Decoding The Food And Drink On A Day Of The Dead Altar

Elaborately decorated skulls are crafted from pure sugar and given to friends as gifts. The colorful designs represent the vitality of life and individual personality.
Karen Castillo FarfΓ‘n NPR

Originally published on Thu October 30, 2014 10:22 am

A version of this story was originally published on Nov. 1, 2012.

Sugar skulls, tamales and spirits (the alcoholic kind) β€” these are things you might find on ofrendas, or altars, built this time of year to entice those who've passed to the other side back for a visit. These altars in homes and around tombstones are for Day of the Dead, or Dia de los Muertos, a tradition on Nov. 1 and 2originating in central Mexico.

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Author Interviews
11:44 am
Wed October 29, 2014

The Incredible Story Of Chilean Miners Rescued From The 'Deep Down Dark'

Miner Claudio Yanez applauds as he is carried away on a stretcher after being rescued from the collapsed San Jose mine where he had been trapped with 32 other miners for over two months in 2010 near Copiapo, Chile.
Hugo Infante AP

Originally published on Wed October 29, 2014 1:06 pm

The disaster began on a day shift around lunchtime at a mine in Chile's Atacama Desert: Miners working deep inside a mountain, excavating for copper, gold and other minerals, started feeling vibrations. Suddenly, there was a massive explosion and the passageways of the mine filled up with a gritty dust cloud.

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The Two-Way
8:38 am
Wed October 29, 2014

Book News: Young Adult And Kids' Lit Boost E-Book Revenue

It's partly because of bookshelves like these β€” and their digital equivalents β€” that publishers have had a positive open to 2014.
Blackred iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu October 30, 2014 7:19 am

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

E-book sales are standing on the shoulders not of giants, but of a much smaller set. According to new statistics released by the Association of American Publishers, the first seven months of 2014 showed marked growth in e-book revenue β€” largely thanks to young adult and children's literature.

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Movies
3:00 am
Wed October 29, 2014

Marvel's Next Films To Have More Diverse Leads

Originally published on Wed October 29, 2014 6:12 am

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

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And now this.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

GREENE: Comic lovers everywhere can rejoice and start planning ahead. Marvel Entertainment has announced a whole slew of new superhero movies to be released over the next five years.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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Book Reviews
2:40 pm
Tue October 28, 2014

Book Review: 'Belzhar' By Meg Wolitzer

Originally published on Tue October 28, 2014 4:30 pm

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

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And now, a new young adult novel by a beloved writer which takes its inspiration from Sylvia Plath. You might be able to tell since it's called "Belzhar." Gabrielle Zevin has our review.

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The Salt
2:40 pm
Tue October 28, 2014

To Make Bread, Watch The Dough, Not The Recipe

Sourdough loaves made by Fromartz with a bolted white flour from Anson Mills in South Carolina that he says reminded him of the wheat he'd tasted in southern France.
Samuel Fromartz

Originally published on Wed October 29, 2014 8:29 am

Journalist Samuel Fromartz works at home on a quiet street near the Capitol building, in Washington, D.C. He's a journalist, and editor-in-chief of the Food and Environment Reporting Network.

On a recent morning, I went to visit him and found several unread newspapers piled on his front step. "I've been a little busy," Fromartz explains.

He's not too busy to make bread, though.

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Dance
2:38 pm
Tue October 28, 2014

At 83, Dancer Carmen De Lavallade Looks Back At A Life Spent Onstage

Christopher Duggan

Originally published on Wed October 29, 2014 10:50 am

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Author Interviews
12:38 pm
Tue October 28, 2014

A Candid Memoir From Comedian Amy Poehler? 'Yes Please'

Amy Poehler plays Leslie Knope on Parks and Recreation, which will air its final season next year. Poehler says, "It's a privilege in television to be able to have a proper goodbye."
Colleen Hayes NBC

Originally published on Tue October 28, 2014 1:40 pm

When comedian Amy Poehler was in her 20s, she read her boyfriend's journal and found out that he didn't think she was pretty.

"It was almost like an itch being scratched, which was, 'Aha! I knew that you didn't think I was pretty!' ... And then it was followed by a real crash because ... my ego was bruised," Poehler tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross.

Poehler says it taught her that the earlier you figure out your "currency," the happier you'll be. For Poehler, that meant not leaning on her looks to be successful.

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