Arts/Life

Author Interviews
10:01 am
Mon April 22, 2013

Teaching Shakespeare In A Maximum Security Prison

Many people thought Laura Bates was out of her mind when she offered to teach Shakespeare in the maximum security wing of an Indiana prison. But the prisoners found a deep connection with the playwright's words. Laura Bates talks about her experience in her new book Shakespeare Saved My Life: Ten Years in Solitary with the Bard. She speaks with host Michel Martin.

The Two-Way
5:17 am
Mon April 22, 2013

Book News: E.L. Konigsburg, 'Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler' Author, Dies

Originally published on Mon April 22, 2013 10:04 am

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

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Book Reviews
5:03 am
Mon April 22, 2013

A British Intellectual's Mission 'To Create The Perfect Wife'

cover detail

Originally published on Tue April 30, 2013 6:01 pm

At least since Pygmalion prayed for his beautiful ivory statue to become a real woman, men have struggled to find a mate who is almost literally made for them. Today you can turn to any number of algorithm-based websites to find your romantic ideal; you can even special-order brides from faraway lands. But in Georgian England, one well-heeled young man sought out his perfect love in a rather shocking and unlikely place: an orphanage.

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Author Interviews
4:23 pm
Sun April 21, 2013

'Humanity' May Get Second Chance In Jean Thompson's New Novel

chuwy iStockphoto.com

In Jean Thompson's latest novel, The Humanity Project, humanity isn't doing so well and could use some help. Sean is a wayward carpenter whose bad luck with women turns into even worse luck: He's addicted to painkillers, and he and his teenage son Conner are facing eviction. Linnea is the teen survivor of a school shooting who travels west to California to live with a father she barely knows. Mrs. Foster is a wealthy woman who's taken to living with feral cats, and whose "Humanity Project" just might take a chance on people who thought they were out of luck.

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Arts
3:22 pm
Sun April 21, 2013

"42"

  Jack Fields reviews "42," the story of Jackie Robinson's baseball career.

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The Salt
11:19 am
Sun April 21, 2013

Spirituality And Sprite, Aisle 1? What An Artist Sees In Wal-Mart

O'Connell also crowdsources the photographs he uses as fodder for his paintings. This piece, which shows men buying candies and Valentine's Day cards for their sweethearts, was based on a submission.
Courtesy of Brendan O'Connell

Originally published on Tue April 23, 2013 10:43 am

Most people would be hard-pressed to call Wal-Mart a source of artistic inspiration. A place to purchase peanut butter, cereal and other mundane necessities? Yes. But a rendezvous spot with transcendence? Hardly.

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Author Interviews
5:38 am
Sun April 21, 2013

For A Student Of Theology, Poetry Reverberates

Nate Klug is a poet, translator and candidate for ordained ministry in the United Church of Christ. He lives in New Haven, Conn., where he studies at Yale Divinity School.
Frank Brown Courtesy Nate Klug

Originally published on Sun April 21, 2013 2:56 pm

April is National Poetry Month, and NPR is celebrating by asking young poets what poetry means to them. This week, Weekend Edition speaks with Nate Klug, whose poems have appeared in Poetry, Threepenny Review and other journals. Klug is also a master of divinity candidate at the Yale Divinity School and a candidate for ordination in the United Church of Christ. "It's nice to go home from a day of thinking about the church to this whole other world of poetry," he says. "But obviously there are some really amazing ways that they intersect."

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Three Books...
4:03 am
Sun April 21, 2013

On The Move: Three Books To Keep Out Of The Boxes

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Sun April 21, 2013 8:10 am

These days, nothing says amateur hour quite like an alphabetical bookshelf. From lifestyle magazines to design blogs (admittedly a short distance), there are limitless suggestions for how you should treat your books. You can arrange them by genre, by time period, by size or by color (all well and good until you realize how strangely few books have purple spines). You can stack them in height order. You can angle them across the wall in gentle waves of Swedish manufacture. My own system of classification is one of emotional practicality.

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Art & Design
3:30 am
Sun April 21, 2013

When Sculpting Cedar, This Artist Is Tireless And Unsentimental

Michael Bodycomb Ursula von Rydingsvard/Galerie Lelong

Originally published on Mon April 29, 2013 8:42 pm

Ursula von Rydingsvard makes huge sculptures out of red cedar. The 70-year-old is one of the few women working in wood on such a scale.

Her pieces are in the permanent collections of New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art and Museum of Modern Art. And now they're also part of a new show at Manhattan's Museum of Arts and Design. It's called "Against the Grain" — a phrase that could just as well describe the sculptor's life and career.

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Author Interviews
3:28 am
Sun April 21, 2013

Fire, Water, Air, Earth: Michael Pollan Gets Elemental In 'Cooked'

Penguin Press

Originally published on Sun April 21, 2013 2:56 pm

In his systematic scrutiny of the modern American food chain, Michael Pollan has explored everything from the evolution of edible plants to the industrial agricultural complex. In his newest book, he charts territory closer to home — or rather, at home, in his kitchen.

Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation surveys how the four classical elements — fire, water, air and earth — transform plants and animals into food. Pollan joins NPR's Rachel Martin to discuss the merits of slow home cooking and his adventures in fermentation.

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Theater
3:23 am
Sun April 21, 2013

L.A. On B'way: Midler, Mengers Take Manhattan

Bette Midler in I'll Eat You Last: A Chat With Sue Mengers. Midler stars as Mengers, a legendary and larger-than-life Hollywood agent whose sharp wit won her both friends and foes in the film industry.
Richard Termine/BBBway

Originally published on Sun April 21, 2013 2:56 pm

After more than 40 years away, Bette Midler is returning to Broadway. She's playing legendary Hollywood agent Sue Mengers in a riotous solo show titled I'll Eat You Last.

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Sunday Puzzle
3:08 am
Sun April 21, 2013

You'll Get It Just Right, Junior

NPR Graphic

Originally published on Sun April 21, 2013 2:56 pm

On-air challenge: Every answer is a familiar two-word phrase or name with the initials "J.R."

Last week's challenge from listener Sandy Weisz: Take a common English word. Write it in capital letters. Move the first letter to the end and rotate it 90 degrees. You'll get a new word that is pronounced exactly the same as the first word. What words are these?

Answer: Won, one; wry, rye

Winner: Ben Austin of Dobbs Ferry, N.Y.

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Author Interviews
4:50 pm
Sat April 20, 2013

Kay Bailey Hutchison On Other 'Unflinching' Texan Women

George Ranch Historical Park

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison knows what it means to be a pioneering female figure in her home state. In 1993, she became the first woman elected to represent Texas in the U.S. Senate.

Now, the former senator has written a book about the women who came before her, Unflinching Courage: Pioneering Women Who Shaped Texas.

In the book, Hutchison profiles several women who broke barriers and made history in the Lone Star State. Many of those women left a life of luxury and "moved to nothing," she tells All Things Considered host Jacki Lyden.

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Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!
9:41 am
Sat April 20, 2013

Al Gore Plays Not My Job: Extended Cut

Axel Schmidt AFP/Getty Images

A shorter version of this segment was originally broadcast on Feb. 14, 2013.

Since Al Gore's term as the 45th vice president of the United States ended in 2001, he has starred in an Oscar-winning documentary, won a Grammy Award and received the Nobel Peace Prize. But obviously he won't be satisfied until he wins the NPR news quiz, so we've invited him to play a game called "Maybe you can beat Bill Clinton at this."

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Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!
9:41 am
Sat April 20, 2013

Secretary Of Education Arne Duncan Plays Not My Job

Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

This segment was originally broadcast on March 8, 2013.

Arne Duncan is President Obama's secretary of education, and if, while he's on this show, a disaster befalls the president, the vice president, the speaker of the House and every other member of the Cabinet except Veterans Affairs and Homeland Security, he would be president.

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Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!
9:41 am
Sat April 20, 2013

Actor Jeff Bridges Plays Not My Job

Frazer Harrison Getty Images

This segment was originally broadcast on Jan. 11, 2013.

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Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!
9:41 am
Sat April 20, 2013

Melinda Gates Plays Not My Job

Courtesy Melinda Gates

Originally published on Fri October 18, 2013 10:56 pm

Back in the early 1990s, Melinda French was a rising star at a software company when the boss asked her out on a date. This was complicated because he was her boss, and frankly, he was kind of a nerd. But they fell in love and got married, and decided to raise a family, retire from the business, and in their spare time give away more money to charity than anyone else in the history of the world.

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Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!
9:41 am
Sat April 20, 2013

Singer Erykah Badu Plays Not My Job

Karl Walter Getty Images

This segment was originally broadcast on Feb. 08, 2013.

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Arts & Life
5:41 am
Sat April 20, 2013

Emily Moore On How She Became A Poet

Originally published on Sat April 20, 2013 11:57 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

April is National Poetry Month and to celebrate, WEEKEND EDITION is talking with younger poets about their experience with poetry and why they still feel it's important in our everyday lives.

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Books
3:20 am
Sat April 20, 2013

So Hot Right Now: Has Climate Change Created A New Literary Genre?

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Originally published on Sat April 20, 2013 11:57 am

When Superstorm Sandy hit New York City last fall, the publisher Farrar, Straus and Giroux, like most everything else, totally shut down. It was a week before power returned to FSG, according to Brian Gittis, a senior publicist. When he got back to his office, he began sorting through galleys — advance copies of books. And one of them caught him off guard.

Its cover had an illustration of the Manhattan skyline half-submerged in water.

"It was definitely sort of a Twilight Zone moment," Gittis recalls.

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Monkey See
12:45 pm
Fri April 19, 2013

Pop Culture Happy Hour: A Sense Of Place And A Nostalgic Quiz

NPR
  • Listen to Pop Culture Happy Hour

So let's speak candidly for a moment.

This is not an ordinary day. It has not been an ordinary week. We taped this week's podcast on Monday at 6:00 p.m., in the first hours of coverage of the bombings in Boston. We are posting it on Friday, in the first hours of coverage of a series of events that currently have many of our good pals — and many of our listeners — "sheltering in place" at home.

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Arts & Life
10:56 am
Fri April 19, 2013

Immigrant Muses About Finding Her Voice

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

And now the latest in our series, Muses and Metaphor. We've been celebrating National Poetry Month by hearing your tweet poems. Those are poems of 140 characters. We just talked about how complicated and charged the issue of immigration is, but for listener Su Layug, her immigrant story is all about - well, stories.

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Ask Me Another
8:42 am
Fri April 19, 2013

Michael Ian Black: Jack Of All Trades

Michael Ian Black's number one parenting tip? "When they say they hate you...it's best to just go, 'I hate me too.'"
Lam Thuy Vo NPR

Originally published on Fri July 26, 2013 8:11 am

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Ask Me Another
8:18 am
Fri April 19, 2013

The One About Poker

Michael Ian Black (left) battles World Series of Poker champion Matt Matros in a poker-themed battle of wits.
Lam Thuy Vo NPR

Originally published on Thu January 2, 2014 2:29 pm

Michael Ian Black told us he's a poker whiz, but we wanted to see if he's bluffing. So we pitted him against a worthy competitor, World Series of Poker champion Matt Matros, in a no-holds-barred trivia showdown that covers poker lingo, lore, and the world's weirdest bet.

Plus, Jonathan Coulton rounds out the game with a cover of "The Gambler" by Kenny Rogers.

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Ask Me Another
8:18 am
Fri April 19, 2013

This, That Or The Other IV

Originally published on Fri July 26, 2013 8:11 am

Transcript

OPHIRA EISENBERG, HOST:

Let's welcome our next two contestants: Mary Brownlee and Sarah Bouboulis.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Now, what I can enjoy but our listeners can't see is that what we have right here are a pair of adorable identical twins.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Oh, my god. Do you sound identical? I don't know. Do you sound identical?

MARY BROWNLEE: Yes.

SARAH BOUBOULIS: Yes.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: Can you do that again?

BROWNLEE: Yes.

BOUBOULIS: Yes.

EISENBERG: Okay.

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Ask Me Another
8:18 am
Fri April 19, 2013

Six Degrees of Francis Bacon

Originally published on Fri July 26, 2013 8:11 am

Was Francis Bacon a 16th-century pioneer of the scientific method, or a 20th-century painter known for his raw graphic imagery? The answer is: both! In this game, Ophira Eisenberg quizzes contestants about famous people who share the same first and last name. Extra credit if you can link the two celebrities in six degrees or less. After the game, hear house musician Jonathan Coulton get sassy with a cover of the Destiny's Child hit "Bills Bills Bills."

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Ask Me Another
8:18 am
Fri April 19, 2013

Bust A Cap

Originally published on Fri July 26, 2013 8:11 am

Transcript

OPHIRA EISENBERG, HOST:

While Michael stews backstage, let's get back to the gaming action. I see our next two contestants, Darla Gutierrez and George Choundas settling in behind their puzzle podiums. Welcome.

(APPLAUSE)

GEORGE CHOUNDAS: Thank you.

EISENBERG: Darla, you're a children's librarian. What is one of your favorite children's books?

DARLA GUTIERREZ: "Alice in Wonderland."

EISENBERG: "Alice in Wonderland," the one that's kind of about drugs.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: That's a good one.

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Ask Me Another
8:18 am
Fri April 19, 2013

Fruit Salad

Originally published on Fri July 26, 2013 8:11 am

Transcript

OPHIRA EISENBERG, HOST:

On our stage right now, we have Lauren Weisskirk and Stefan Salva Cruz ready for our next game.

(APPLAUSE)

STEFAN SALVA CRUZ: Hello, Ophira.

EISENBERG: Hello, Stefan. Hello, Lauren. Stefan, do you have a favorite fruit?

CRUZ: Fruit?

EISENBERG: Fruit, yeah.

CRUZ: Orange.

EISENBERG: It's an odd question, right?

CRUZ: Oh, absolutely.

EISENBERG: Orange.

CRUZ: Yeah.

EISENBERG: I like orange too. That's a good one. Lauren, favorite fruit?

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Ask Me Another
8:18 am
Fri April 19, 2013

Just Do It?

Originally published on Fri July 26, 2013 8:11 am

Transcript

OPHIRA EISENBERG, HOST:

Welcome back to ASK ME ANOTHER, NPR's hour of puzzles, word games and trivia. I'm Ophira Eisenberg and with me on our stage is our very important puzzler, Michael Ian Black.

MICHAEL IAN BLACK: Hello.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: So Michael, we thought that before we throw you in the puzzle pit, we'd make you run a game with us. We're going to first, welcome our contestants that are going to play this game. Let's welcome Andrew Sommerfeld and Erica Pietricola.

(APPLAUSE)

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Ask Me Another
8:18 am
Fri April 19, 2013

It's In The Cards

Originally published on Fri July 26, 2013 8:11 am

Transcript

OPHIRA EISENBERG, HOST:

Now, we're going to crown this week's grand champion. Let's bring back, from Six Degrees of Francis Bacon, Christy O'Neill.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: From This That or the Other: Sarah Bouboulis. From Bust a Cap: Darla Gutierrez. From Fruit Salad: Lauren Weisskirk. And from Just Do It: Andrew Sommerfeld.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: I'm going to ask our puzzle guru Art Chung to take us out.

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