Arts/Life

The Two-Way
5:10 am
Tue July 2, 2013

Book News: Neil Gaiman Revives 'Sandman' Comic Series

Originally published on Tue July 2, 2013 6:13 am

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

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First Reads
5:03 am
Tue July 2, 2013

Exclusive First Read: 'Love, Dishonor, Marry, Die, Cherish, Perish'

David Rakoff, seen here in 2010, worked on Love, Dishonor, Marry, Die, Cherish, Perish for a decade, finishing shortly before his death in 2012.
Larry Busacca Getty Images for Tribeca Film Festival

Originally published on Tue July 2, 2013 8:03 am

  • Listen to the Excerpt

David Rakoff was a mainstay on public radio's This American Life, and the best-selling author of Fraud, Don't Get Too Comfortable, and Half Empty. He died of cancer in 2012 at the age of 47, shortly after finishing Love, Dishonor, Marry, Die, Cherish, Perish, a short novel in verse that jumps from decade to decade, tracking a panoply of American characters across the 20th century: 1920s slaughterhouse workers, 1950s office girls, AIDS victims and '80s yuppies.

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Book Reviews
5:03 am
Tue July 2, 2013

You'll Want To Hang Up On These 'Secret Conversations'

Originally published on Sat July 20, 2013 3:34 pm

A country girl from Grabtown, N.C., Ava Gardner arrived in Hollywood in 1941 knowing she couldn't act but, gorgeous as she was, she never had to let that slow her down. Her beauty — which reportedly intimidated Elizabeth Taylor — won her not just film roles and studio-paid acting lessons, but the attentions of all-American boy Mickey Rooney, whom she married and divorced before she turned 21. She had a similarly brief union with bandleader Artie Shaw — she called those two her "starter husbands" — before a tempestuous, headline-making marriage to Frank Sinatra.

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Code Switch
2:05 am
Tue July 2, 2013

Does Disney's Tonto Reinforce Stereotypes Or Overcome Them?

Johnny Depp says that with his portrayal of Tonto in The Lone Ranger, he tried to "right the wrongs of what had been done with regards to the representation of Native Americans in cinema."
Disney

Originally published on Tue July 9, 2013 11:00 am

The Lone Ranger has long been a fictional hero, taming the Wild West with his trusty Indian guide, Tonto. The faithful companion helps the white man fight bad guys, and does so speaking in pidgin English.

Tonto made his first appearance on the radio in the 1930s, voiced by a non-Native American actor, John Todd. In the series, Western settlers face down what they call "redskins" and "savages." And trusty Tonto is always on hand to interpret the smoke signals.

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The Salt
4:11 pm
Mon July 1, 2013

Taking High-Heat Tandoor Techniques To The Backyard Grill

Punjabi Lamb Kebabs, like many tandoor dishes, can also be made on gas or charcoal grills.
Christopher Hirsheimer

Originally published on Tue July 2, 2013 5:24 am

In America, summer grilling generally means heading to the backyard and throwing some hot dogs, burgers and maybe vegetable skewers on the fire. But in India and Pakistan, where summers last for seven months, grilling takes on a whole new level of sophistication.

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Movie Reviews
2:00 pm
Mon July 1, 2013

Branagh Imagines Mozart's 'Magic Flute' In Wartime

Pamina (Amy Carson) and Tamino (Joseph Kaiser) in Kenneth Branagh's production of Mozart's The Magic Flute.
Revolver Group

Originally published on Mon July 1, 2013 2:41 pm

Mozart's The Magic Flute, the last opera he lived to complete, has some of his most sublime and sublimely comic music. Technically, it's more of a musical comedy, what in German is called a Singspiel, a play with songs and spoken dialogue. I was excited to learn that it was filmed by Kenneth Branagh, whose Shakespeare movies I really admire. Mozart's mixture of fairy tale and high morality presents a great opportunity for a filmmaker; in 1975, Ingmar Bergman released a version for Swedish television that has become a beloved classic.

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Author Interviews
12:34 pm
Mon July 1, 2013

From Kids' Books To Erotica, Tomi Ungerer's 'Far Out' Life

Tomi Ungerer's 1967 book Moon Man follows its lonely protagonist as he visits Earth for the very first time.
Tomi Ungerer

Originally published on Mon July 1, 2013 2:00 pm

Children's-book writer Maurice Sendak learned a lot from author and artist Tomi Ungerer. In Far Out Isn't Far Enough, a new documentary about Ungerer, Sendak says, "I learned to be braver than I was. I think that's why [Where The Wild Things Are] was partly Tomi — his energy, his spirit.

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The Salt
11:58 am
Mon July 1, 2013

Sandwich Monday: The Famous St. Paul Sandwich (of St. Louis)

This exists.
NPR

Originally published on Thu July 4, 2013 10:28 am

Since Sandwich Monday began, certain sandwiches have been our white whales: the Hippogriff Burger, a Reuben signed by J.D. Salinger, an Actual White Whale sandwich. Also, the mysterious St.Paul sandwich, native to St. Louis: It's an egg foo young patty, with lettuce, pickle and mayo, on white bread. But we finally caught one.

Miles: This is the same sandwich my Model U.N. group made the first time we all got high together.

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The Two-Way
6:07 am
Mon July 1, 2013

Book News: Penguin, Random House Complete Publishing Mega-Merger

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

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New In Paperback
5:03 am
Mon July 1, 2013

July 1-7: 'Hallucinations,' Hollywood Fame And Covert Operations

Knopf

Originally published on Mon July 1, 2013 9:20 am

* Some of the language in the summaries above has been provided by publishers.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Crime In The City
1:55 am
Mon July 1, 2013

Rotenberg's Toronto Thrillers Mix Canadian Courtesy With Murder

From the Toronto Islands — one of many real-life Toronto locales in Robert Rotenberg's legal thrillers — visitors have a clear view of the city's skyline.
Sean Dawsean Flickr

Originally published on Mon July 1, 2013 1:02 am

Robert Rotenberg has written four legal thrillers set in Toronto, that old industrial city on the shores of Lake Ontario. He's a criminal lawyer — all his books are centered on trials — and he loves his city so much that he makes multicultural Toronto a character in his books. His first release, Old City Hall, is even named after a Toronto landmark: a beautiful stone building that is now used as a courthouse.

Real Courtrooms, Real Courtesy

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Movies
4:58 pm
Sun June 30, 2013

Casting Call: Hollywood Needs More Women

Actress Geena Davis addresses the audience at the "Driving Financial Success: Women + Movies = Bigger Box Office" luncheon at CinemaCon 2013.
Chris Pizzello AP

Originally published on Sun June 30, 2013 5:35 pm

Summer is the perfect time for a night out at the cinema, but maybe you've noticed something missing at the movies: women.

Women make up a minority of movie creators: 7 percent of directors, 13 percent of writers and 20 percent of producers; that's nearly five men for every woman working behind the scenes.

Out of last year's biggest movies, 28 percent of speaking characters were female. That's down from a third just five years ago, according to the Annenberg School at the University of Southern California.

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Author Interviews
2:05 pm
Sun June 30, 2013

How One Woman Nearly Deciphered A Mysterious Script

An ancient tablet contains records written in Linear B — a script that was discovered in the 19th century and remained undeciphered for decades.
Sharon Mollerus Wikimedia Commons

Originally published on Mon July 1, 2013 10:17 am

Critics have called Margalit Fox's new book, The Riddle of the Labyrinth, a paleographic detective procedural. It follows the story of the laborious quest to crack a mysterious script, unearthed in Crete in 1900, known by the sterile-sounding name Linear B.

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Television
1:09 pm
Sun June 30, 2013

A Deeper Dive Into Television's 'Difficult Men'

Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) and Walter White (Bryan Cranston) are plenty difficult themselves on AMC's Breaking Bad, one of many cable shows Brett Martin discusses in his book.
Frank Ockenfels AMC

Originally published on Mon July 1, 2013 2:28 pm

Difficult Men: Behind the Scenes of a Creative Revolution from The Sopranos and The Wire to Mad Men and Breaking Bad, explores what the author Brett Martin describes as the "Third Golden Age of TV," based on a new kind of television character.

Subscription cable channels don't have sensitive sponsors, commercials or concerns about language or violence. In the book, Martin argues that this relative freedom, combined with the old-fashioned appeal of serial storytelling, creates a new kind of high-quality television programming.

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Arts & Life
5:45 am
Sun June 30, 2013

A Hindu Goddess Arrives To Bless Embassy Row

The goddess Saraswati now looks down upon Embassy Row in Washington, D.C.
Sarah Ventre NPR

Originally published on Sun June 30, 2013 1:28 pm

Embassy Row — otherwise known as Massachusetts Avenue — in Washington, D.C., is decorated with flags of every nation, flying in front of impressive embassy buildings.

In front of the embassies, there are often statues of national heroes. Winston Churchill graces the grounds of the British Embassy. Outside the Indian Embassy, Mahatma Gandhi looks as though he's in full stride, clad in loincloth and sandals.

And now, there's a Hindu goddess. Saraswati just arrived. She stands in a garden in front of Indonesia's embassy, glowing white and gold, with her four arms upraised.

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Three Books...
5:03 am
Sun June 30, 2013

3 Books That Watch Your Every Move

They can watch us, of course. We knew they could. We suspected. But to have it confirmed, to discover that exactly this and precisely that, these emails we sent, those calls we made, are neatly documented and filed away (just in case there should be a future cause for concern, of course, don't worry yourself, it will probably never be you) ... that's a little uncomfortable.

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Three Books...
4:48 am
Sun June 30, 2013

The Man, The Myth, The Reading List: Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela, with his wife, Winnie, walks to freedom after 27 years in prison on Feb. 11, 1990, in Cape Town.
AP

Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 5:35 pm

Growing up in apartheid South Africa with widespread state censorship, it was hard to get to know our political leaders. The first time I actually saw a photograph of Nelson Mandela was in high school in the mid-1980s.

A braver classmate had managed to sneak a few grainy images into our school — a full-face, younger Mandela, his fellow Robben Island inmate Walter Sisulu and the South African Communist Party leader Joe Slovo.

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The Salt
3:30 am
Sun June 30, 2013

Your Choice In Utensils Can Change How Food Tastes

Cheese might take on a whole new flavor when you use a plastic utensil.
Elizabeth Willing Courtesy Flavour

Originally published on Fri July 5, 2013 10:45 am

Being "born with a silver spoon in your mouth" has long been known to have advantages. Apparently, eating off a silver spoon also has its perks — it seems to make your food taste better.

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Sunday Puzzle
2:25 am
Sun June 30, 2013

Turn That Shrub Into Something Presidential

NPR Graphic

Originally published on Mon July 1, 2013 11:36 am

On-air challenge: For the Sunday before the Fourth of July weekend, every answer is the last name of a U.S. president, which comes from their anagrams. For example, "shrub" without R is "Bush."

Last week's challenge: Write down these five words: "aide," "heart," "tough," "gelatin" and "emanate." There is something very unusual they have in common. What is it? And what's another word with this property?

Answer: mite, item

Winner: Gig Moineau of Newton, Mass.

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Author Interviews
4:20 pm
Sat June 29, 2013

Lillian Leitzel, The Tiny, High-Flying 'Queen' Of The Circus

Leitzel is remembered as the first true circus diva.
Dean Jensen's collection Courtesy Crown Publishing Group

Originally published on Sat June 29, 2013 5:52 pm

In the first half of the 20th century, aerial performers — not elephants or tigers — were the big draw at circuses. And nobody was a bigger star than Lillian Leitzel, a tiny woman from Eastern Europe who ruled the Ringling Brothers circus.

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Monkey See
3:50 pm
Sat June 29, 2013

Girls' Legos Are A Hit, But Why Do Girls Need Special Legos?

Olivia also has a treehouse.
Lego

Originally published on Sat June 29, 2013 7:55 pm

Two years ago, in 2011, 90 percent of Lego's consumers were boys. A tough statistic to swallow for those of us who grew up playing with Lego's gender-neutral buckets of bricks. But the statistic came straight from Lego, which was then focused on boys with franchised sets based on properties like Star Wars and The Avengers after weathering a disastrous period in the 1990s that left the company on the brink of collapse.

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Movies
3:08 pm
Sat June 29, 2013

Rescued, Hitchcock's Silent Films Flicker Anew

Carl Brisson stars as sideshow boxer "One Round Jack" in Alfred Hitchcock's 1927 film The Ring. That and eight more of the master's early silent features have restored by the British Film Institute.
Rialto Pictures/BFI

Originally published on Sat June 29, 2013 5:07 pm

Alfred Hitchcock's early silent films have resurfaced in what's being called the single biggest restoration project in the history of the British Film Institute, and now "The Hitchcock 9" are touring the U.S. this summer.

Hitchcock is best known for his Hollywood suspense films of the post-war era, like Psycho and Vertigo. But the director was born in England and began his directing career there during the silent era. In fact, he loved both seeing and making silent films.

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Pop Culture
1:44 pm
Sat June 29, 2013

Lego Markets New 'Friends' For Girls

Originally published on Mon July 1, 2013 9:35 am

Transcript

LYNN NEARY, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Lynn Neary. Two years ago, 90 percent of kids playing with Legos were boys. You heard that right. Nine-zero. That's partly because Lego had turned from gender neutral buckets of bricks to selling heavily franchised sets such as "Star Wars" or "Avengers." For our series about kids and culture, NPR's Neda Ulaby looked at Lego's recent gamble on girls.

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Author Interviews
6:08 am
Sat June 29, 2013

Steamy Novel An 'Education' In Youth, Love And Mistakes

Originally published on Tue July 2, 2013 11:23 am

Susan Choi's previous novels have pulled from events in the headlines: the Korean War for The Foreign Student; the Patty Hearst kidnapping for American Woman; and the Wen Ho Lee accusations for A Person of Interest. But her latest book, My Education, was inspired by something else — youthful passion.

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Books News & Features
6:08 am
Sat June 29, 2013

'Empire Falls' Author Richard Russo Gives E-Publishing A Try

Originally published on Sat June 29, 2013 1:44 pm

Richard Russo, the writer who won the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for his book Empire Falls, published a new novel six months ago. If you're wondering how you missed it, it might be because Russo chose not to publish with a traditional publisher. There are no hardcover or paperback copies of Nate in Venice -- it's only available by subscription on Byliner, a digital publishing service, where you can only read it on an e-reader, phone or tablet.

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The Salt
6:08 am
Sat June 29, 2013

Preserving The Season's Fruits With A Canning Evangelist

For the sweetest, smoothest strawberry jam, author Kevin West suggests staying as far away as possible from what he calls "Pamela Anderson fruit": the big strawberries found in regular supermarkets. He prefers picking small, red berries from farm stands, instead.
Kevin West Knopf

Originally published on Sat June 29, 2013 1:44 pm

Shopping at a farmers market on a weekend morning can turn bittersweet if your eye for just-picked summer fruit is bigger than your refrigerator and appetite.

That's a crisis first-time cookbook author Kevin West found himself in a few years back. After one particular farmers market spree, West's buyer's remorse came from a big package of fresh strawberries.

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Book Reviews
3:28 am
Sat June 29, 2013

Iain Banks Bids Us Farewell With 'The Quarry'

Originally published on Sat June 29, 2013 12:25 pm

At the time of his death from cancer in June, Iain Banks had written 27 books. He was the rarest of creatures, a writer acclaimed (by critics and fans alike) not just for his literary fiction, but also for the science fiction novels he wrote as Iain M. Banks. It is hard to think of another author who crossed genres and melded audiences with a comparable level of success.

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Movies I've Seen A Million Times
3:19 am
Sat June 29, 2013

The Movie Paul Feig Has 'Seen A Million Times'

Daniel Craig as James Bond in Casino Royale.
Anonymous AP

Originally published on Sat June 29, 2013 5:07 pm

The weekends on All Things Considered series Movies I've Seen A Million Times features filmmakers, actors, writers and directors talking about the movies that they never get tired of watching.

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Sports
3:15 am
Sat June 29, 2013

Randonneurs Are In It For The Ride, Not The Race

Michael Bingle of Vancouver, Wash., rides through Grand Ronde, Ore., during a 400-kilometer randonnée in May.
Angela Evancie

Originally published on Sat June 29, 2013 1:44 pm

For many of us, a single cycling event — the Tour de France — defines athleticism on two wheels. The epic race was first organized by a French newspaper editor named Henri Desgrange in 1903. But Desgrange also had a hand in the creation of a very different style of cycling: the randonnée, a long distance-ride that prizes camaraderie and self-sufficiency over flat-out speed.

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Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!
8:11 pm
Fri June 28, 2013

Not My Job: Olympian Jackie Joyner-Kersee Gets Cursy

Jackie Joyner-Kersee, performing one of her famous long jumps in 1985.
Tony Duffy Getty Images

If you were a track and field fan in the 1980s and '90s, three names rose above all the others — and they all belonged to one woman. Jackie Joyner-Kersee rose from East St. Louis to medal in four Olympic Games and to be named the greatest female athlete of the 20th century by Sports Illustrated.

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