Arts/Life

Book Reviews
4:40 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

Martin Amis' 'Zone Of Interest' Is An Electrically Powerful Holocaust Novel

Originally published on Wed September 17, 2014 4:48 pm

When I picked up Martin Amis' new novel, The Zone of Interest, it felt as though I had touched a third rail, so powerful and electric is the experience of reading it. After years of playing the snide card and giving his great store of talents to the business of giving other people the business, Amis has turned again to the matter of Nazi horrors (he tried to deal with it in a gimmicky way in his 1991 novel Time's Arrow), and the result is a book that may stand for years as the triumph of his career.

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Poetry
4:03 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

MacArthur Fellow Terrance Hayes: Poems Are Music, Language Our Instrument

"I became a poet in Pittsburgh," says, poet and University of Pittsburgh professor Terrance Hayes, pictured above at his home.
Courtesy of the John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

On Wednesday, poet Terrance Hayes was named one of 21 MacArthur Fellows. Hayes, a professor of writing at the University of Pittsburgh, was recognized for "reflecting on race, gender, and family in works that seamlessly encompass both the historical and the personal and subvert canonical forms."

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The Salt
1:19 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

Want To Learn About The Scientific Method? Go Bake Some Cookies

Chocolate chip cookies can be the gateway to a better understanding of the scientific method.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed September 17, 2014 1:36 pm

Bethany Brookshire, aka @SciCurious, is a blogger at ScienceNews, where she covers the latest science research and develops creative science outreach projects.

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Music Articles
12:01 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

As A Lyricist And Novelist, The Mountain Goats' Lead Man Writes About Pain

John Darnielle's first novel, Black Sabbath's Master of Reality, was about a teenage boy in a psychiatric institution who is obsessed with heavy metal.
Lalitree Darnielle Courtesy of Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Originally published on Wed September 17, 2014 1:35 pm

When The Mountain Goats' founder John Darnielle was a teenager, he went through a self-destructive phase.

"Your intelligence doesn't override your desire to destroy yourself," Darnielle tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "I really, really did not want to be in my own skin. I really wanted to get high and stay high."

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Shots - Health News
11:16 am
Wed September 17, 2014

Colorado Tries Hard To Convince Teens That Pot Is Bad For You

This human-scale lab rat cage is parked near a skate park in Denver, Colo., to make a point about the lack of science on marijuana.
Richard Feldman Studio/Sukle Advertising and Design

Colorado's new campaign to deter teen marijuana use tries to make the case that weed is bad for your brain.

One TV ad shows a group of teens lighting up inside a dark car as moody music plays in the background. The commercial cites a Duke University study that found a link between regular marijuana use and a lower IQ.

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The Two-Way
6:38 am
Wed September 17, 2014

Book News: A Q&A With Alison Bechdel, Cartoonist And MacArthur Winner

U.S. cartoonist Alison Bechdel works in her studio at the castle of Civitella Ranieri in central Italy on Sept. 2.
Riccardo De Luca Courtesy of the John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

Originally published on Wed September 17, 2014 8:46 am

The winners of the MacArthur "Genius Grant" awards were announced Wednesday morning, and include poet Terrance Hayes, playwright Samuel D. Hunter, poet and Arabic translator Khaled Mattawa and cartoonist and memoirist Alison Bechdel. Bechdel is the creator of the cartoon strip Dykes to Watch Out For and author of the graphic memoirs Fun Home and Are You My Mother? Bechdel spoke with NPR by email on Tuesday afternoon.

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Book Reviews
5:03 am
Wed September 17, 2014

'Broken Monsters' Hits Horror Out Of The Park

Originally published on Wed September 17, 2014 12:58 pm

The world has become hard to shock. It's not because evil is a new thing — that's been around since the beginning of time, and it definitely wasn't created by movies, video games and every other popular scapegoat for the decline of society. But it's undeniable that we've all become a little inured to things that might have been considered unspeakably horrifying 50 years ago.

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Book News & Features
2:13 am
Wed September 17, 2014

How One Poet's 'Genius Grant' Became A Gift To Future Generations

Amy Clampitt used her award money to buy a house in Stockbridge, Mass., near the home of Edith Wharton, one of her favorite writers.
Andrea Shea WBUR

Originally published on Wed September 17, 2014 1:41 pm

The recipients of this year's MacArthur Foundation "genius grants" will each receive $625,000 over five years, no strings attached. That made some of us wonder what past MacArthur fellows have done with their money, a question that led us to 1992 winner Amy Clampitt.

Clampitt, a poet, was on vacation when she heard from her friend, writer Karen Chase, that she had been named a MacArthur genius.

"She was furious with me because she thought I was teasing her," Chase recalls. "And by the end of the conversation she said, 'I'm gonna buy a house in Lenox!' "

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Code Switch
2:12 am
Wed September 17, 2014

'Breaking Bad' Fans Get Their Fix In Spanish

In Metástasis, Diego Trujillo (center) plays Walter Blanco, a chemistry teacher who sells crystal meth with his former student José Miguel Rosas, played by Roberto Urbina.
Manuel Rodriguez UniMás

Originally published on Wed September 17, 2014 9:39 am

How do you remake the award-winning AMC series Breaking Bad in Spanish?

Well, all you need — as the show's chemistry teacher-turned-drug dealer, Walter White, might say — is "a little tweak of chemistry."

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U.S.
10:36 pm
Tue September 16, 2014

Meet The 2014 Winners Of The MacArthur 'Genius Grants'

U.S. cartoonist Alison Bechdel works Sept. 2 in her studio at the castle of Civitella Ranieri, central Italy.
Riccardo De Luca MacArthur Foundation

Originally published on Wed September 17, 2014 6:37 am

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Author Interviews
2:42 pm
Tue September 16, 2014

100 Years Ago, 'New Republic' Helped Define Modern Liberalism

Originally published on Tue September 16, 2014 3:33 pm

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

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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Author Interviews
12:27 pm
Tue September 16, 2014

13 Days Of High Emotion That Led To The Egypt-Israel Peace

As President Jimmy Carter looks on, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat (left) shakes hands with former Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin at Camp David on Sept. 6, 1978.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue September 16, 2014 4:13 pm

When President Jimmy Carter decided to bring Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin to Camp David in 1978 to broker peace talks, his hope that the two men would like each other was "completely naïve and mistaken," says journalist Lawrence Wright.

The first couple of days turned into a screaming match.

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Monkey See
11:45 am
Tue September 16, 2014

'Mindy' And 'New Girl' Navigate Their Worlds Of Crazy Love

Danny (Chris Messina) and Mindy (Mindy Kaling) find themselves in a new position in the premiere of The Mindy Project.
Isabella Vosmikova Fox

Originally published on Tue September 16, 2014 1:48 pm

[This post contains information about where main characters stand relative to each other at the opening of the new seasons of The Mindy Project and New Girl. Be advised.]

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The Two-Way
6:39 am
Tue September 16, 2014

Book News: Rankine, Glück On National Book Awards Longlist For Poetry

The poetry shortlist for the National Book Awards will be announced Oct. 15.
NationalBook.org

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

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Book Reviews
5:03 am
Tue September 16, 2014

The Monstrous And The Beautiful Dance In 'White Van'

Originally published on Tue September 16, 2014 11:24 am

In the opening chapter of Wolf in White Van, the debut novel from singer-songwriter John Darnielle, protagonist Sean Phillips descends into a memory, and imagines other paths within it. "There are several possibilities," he tells us of a hallway in his family's home, with its many doors and secrets. "They open onto their own clusters of new ones, and there's an end somewhere, I'm sure, but I'll never see it."

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Parallels
2:43 pm
Mon September 15, 2014

Iraq's Artists Defy Extremists With Bows, Brushes And A Low Profile

The Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra performs in Baghdad. The concert was promoted by word of mouth to avoid being targeted by bombs.
Graham Smith NPR

Originally published on Mon September 15, 2014 5:00 pm

It's a hot night in Baghdad, and the national theater is packed with people who are here to see the Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra.

They're fanning themselves with programs that show conductor Karim Wasfi, a striking man with thick eyebrows and a pointed beard, playing the cello. Tonight, he'll be conducting for the first time in more than a year.

Iraq has been in the headlines lately, with extremists taking over parts of the country, American airstrikes, the militias and the politics.

But the country was once a sophisticated center for learning and the arts.

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The Salt
2:22 pm
Mon September 15, 2014

'Language Of Food' Reveals Mysteries Of Menu Words And Ketchup

Originally published on Mon September 15, 2014 3:58 pm

The words we use for everyday foods contain clues to their origins and hint at their ancient travels across the globe as they merge, fuse and sometimes take on different forms altogether. Stanford University linguist Dan Jurafsky unpacked some of the history with All Things Considered's Robert Siegel and in his book, The Language of Food.

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Arts/Life
1:40 pm
Mon September 15, 2014

El Paso Museum Of Art Announces Renoir To Remington Exhibit Opening September 21

The El Paso Museum of Art announces

Renoir to Remington:

Impressionism to the American West

September 21, 2014 – February 1, 2015

Woody and Gayle Hunt Family Gallery

Organized by the El Paso Museum of Art

in partnership with Tacoma Art Museum, Tacoma, Washington.

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The Salt
1:18 pm
Mon September 15, 2014

Sandwich Monday: Lay's Cappuccino Potato Chips

It's spelled "potato ccips."
NPR

Originally published on Mon September 15, 2014 3:42 pm

Lay's Potato Chips is having some sort of promotion in which they release a bunch of new flavors and we vote on which one is best, based on flavor, crunch, and foreign policy experience. One of the finalists is Cappuccino. This proves unequivocally that democracy itself is flawed.

Miles: What a rip-off! Three-fourths of the bag is foam.

Kelsie: Can I get mine substituted with soy?

Ian: The cappuccino-potato chip combination is the culinary equivalent of a mullet.

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Television
11:16 am
Mon September 15, 2014

Australian Comic Finds Humor In Humiliation For His Sitcom 'Please Like Me'

Originally published on Mon September 15, 2014 12:19 pm

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

Transcript

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

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Monkey See
10:07 am
Mon September 15, 2014

Kids, Pants, Booze, Music: Trouble In River City And Always

Robert Preston and Shirley Jones in the film version of The Music Man.
AP

Perhaps the most static conversation in American culture is the one about its constant decline. Today's music, today's actors, today's movies, today's media, today's food, today's habits, today's language — it's all going to hell, all of it, and it's taking us with it, no matter when today is.

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The Two-Way
5:31 am
Mon September 15, 2014

Book News: Agent Denies That Oscar Pistorius Is Writing A Memoir

Oscar Pistorius was convicted of culpable homicide for the shooting death of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. Sentencing is set to begin Oct. 13.
Siphiwe Sibeko AP

Originally published on Mon September 15, 2014 7:46 am

Updated at 9:45 a.m. ET.

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

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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 Mon September 15, 2014 9:00 am

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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