Arts/Life

Book Reviews
5:03 am
Wed March 20, 2013

Tigers, Scholars And Smugglers, All 'At Home' In Sprawling Novel

Originally published on Wed March 20, 2013 11:04 am

It's difficult to predict the reception Where Tigers Are at Home will receive in the United States. The winner of France's Prix Medicis in 2008, this big, sprawling novel (in a translation by Mike Mitchell) comes to us from Algerian-born writer, philosopher and world traveler Jean-Marie Blas de Robles, author of more than a dozen works of fiction, poetry and nonfiction. This book — the first of his to appear in the U.S. in English — stands as a challenge to readers who want their fiction to offer a quick pay-off.

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Author Interviews
12:11 pm
Tue March 19, 2013

Veterans Face Red Tape Accessing Disability, Other Benefits

Originally published on Tue March 19, 2013 3:05 pm

Ten years ago, the United States invaded Iraq and began what the Bush administration said would be a short war.

But it wasn't until December 2011 that the United States officially ended its military mission there.

In addition to the tens of thousands of Iraqis who died, the war cost the lives of nearly 4,500 American service members, and wounded more than 32,200 men and women in America's military. Many of the wounded vets have faced — or are still facing — long waits for their disability and other benefits to begin.

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Music Reviews
11:17 am
Tue March 19, 2013

Justin Timberlake Returns To Music With Enthusiasm And 'Experience'

The 20/20 Experience is Justin Timberlake's first album since 2006.
Tom Monro RCA

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

The orchestral swirls, the transition to a soul-man groove, the falsetto croon — there you have some of the key elements to Justin Timberlake's album The 20/20 Experience. The title implies a certain clarity of vision, even as any given song presents the singer as a starry-eyed romantic, bedazzled by a woman upon whom he cannot heap enough compliments, come-ons and seductive playfulness.

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Books
10:12 am
Tue March 19, 2013

Hemon's 'The Book Of My Lives': Finding Beauty In Sarajevo's Scars

Aleksandar Hemon is also the author of Nowhere Man.
Velibor Bozovic Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Originally published on Tue March 19, 2013 12:47 pm

The war in Bosnia left Sarajevo ruined by siege scars. Aleksandar Hemon describes in his new memoir how "the streets were fractured by mortar-shell marks — lines radiating from a little crater at the point of impact." But he notes that those holes were later "filled out with red paint" and that "the people of Sarajevo now, incredibly, called [them] 'roses.' "

The same could be said about the essays that make up The Book of My Lives, Hemon's first book of nonfiction, a collection of thorned, blood-red roses that make beauty out of his broken past.

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Television
9:27 am
Tue March 19, 2013

A Measured Look At Roth As The Writer Turns 80

A new documentary about Philip Roth premieres on PBS next week as part of a slew of celebrations in honor of the novelist's 80th birthday.
PBS

Originally published on Tue March 19, 2013 12:11 pm

In Chinua Achebe's novel The Anthills of the Savannah, one of the characters says, "Poets don't give prescriptions. They give headaches."

The same is true of novelists, and none more so than Philip Roth. If any writer has ever enjoyed rattling people's skulls, it's this son of Newark, N.J., who's currently enjoying something of a victory lap in the media on the occasion of his 80th birthday. The celebration reaches its peak with a new documentary — Philip Roth Unmasked — that will screen on PBS next week as part of the American Masters series.

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SXSW: Live From Austin
7:45 am
Tue March 19, 2013

Turning The Camera On The Crowd At SXSW

A crowd awaits Mother Falcon's first official show at The Parish, a local venue, on Tuesday, March 12.
Tamir Kalifa

Originally published on Tue March 19, 2013 10:46 am

Another South by Southwest festival has come and gone. And, as usual, there's been no shortage of media coverage for the events. But here's a slightly different perspective from Tamir Kalifa. By day, he's a photojournalist based in Austin, Texas. But he's also a member of the band Mother Falcon, a "17-piece rock orchestra of sorts," NPR's Stephen Thomspon says.

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The Two-Way
6:28 am
Tue March 19, 2013

Book News: Honolulu, Chicago Campaign To Host Obama's Presidential Library

President Obama arrives on Capitol Hill earlier this month.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Tue March 19, 2013 6:37 am

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

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First Reads
5:03 am
Tue March 19, 2013

Exclusive First Read: 'All That Is' By James Salter

James Salter's previous books include The Hunters and A Sport and a Pastime.
Corina Arranz

Originally published on Tue March 19, 2013 7:09 am

  • Listen to the Excerpt

James Salter is often called a writer's writer. His novels – including his first, The Hunters (1957), and the erotic A Sport and a Pastime (1967) — are much admired but have won only modest audiences. Salter has written screenplays (Downhill Racer) memoirs and stories; All That Is, which comes out April 2nd, will be his first novel in 30 years (or 13 years if you count Cassada, which was a rewrite of an earlier book).

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Book Reviews
5:03 am
Tue March 19, 2013

In Memoir Of Child's Death, A Mother Seeks Meaning

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue March 19, 2013 7:05 am

When Emily Rapp first discovers that her 9-month-old son, Ronan, has Tay-Sachs, an incurable and fatal disease that gradually robs a child of his nervous system, she wets herself; the floor and walls of the doctor's office seem to melt and liquefy; and she thinks, "weirdly," about her son's namesake, a boy she once knew whose name she would write in longhand "like a lovesick teenager." She recalls Emily Dickinson's poem in which a mind has been cleaved beyond repair, and calls out for her mother.

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The Salt
1:14 am
Tue March 19, 2013

'Drunken Botanist' Takes A Garden Tour Of The Liquor Cabinet

Originally published on Thu March 21, 2013 7:43 am

The next time you're sipping on a glass of something boozy, consider the plants behind your beverage. Some of them might spring immediately to mind: grapes in your wineglass, rye in your whiskey bottle, juniper in your gin and tonic. But what about sorghum and coriander? Cinchona and bitter orange?

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Author Interviews
3:13 pm
Mon March 18, 2013

'FDR And The Jews' Puts A President's Compromises In Context

President Franklin D. Roosevelt meets with the National Jewish Welfare Board — (left to right) Walter Rothschild, Chaplain Aryeh Lev, Barnett Brickner and Louis Kraft — at the White House on Nov. 8, 1943.
George R. Skadding AP

Originally published on Sun March 24, 2013 7:17 am

The subject of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's relationship with the Jewish community is complicated, multidimensional and contentious. On the one hand, the former New York governor won Jewish votes by landslide margins and led the Allies to victory in World War II, defeating Nazi Germany. Some of his closest advisers and strongest supporters were Jews, including Felix Frankfurter, whom he named to the Supreme Court, speechwriter Samuel Rosenman and Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau.

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Television
11:56 am
Mon March 18, 2013

Two New TV Dramas Look Below The Surface

Elisabeth Moss (right) and Thomas Wright star in Jane Campion's new series Top of the Lake.
The Sundance Channel

Top of the Lake, a new seven-part miniseries premiering tonight on the Sundance Channel, was co-created and co-directed by Jane Campion, who teamed with Holly Hunter 20 years ago on the movie The Piano. Hunter is back for this new project, playing a mysterious New Agey guru of sorts. She's started a small commune for emotionally damaged women, on a remote strip of land in New Zealand.

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Author Interviews
11:26 am
Mon March 18, 2013

'Still Point': A Meditation On Mothering A Dying Child

Emily Rapp is also the author of Poster Child, about a congenital birth defect that led to the amputation of her leg when she was a child, and about how she subsequently became a poster child for the March of Dimes.
Anne Staveley Penguin Press

In January 2011, writer Emily Rapp was a happy new mother when she and her husband found themselves in a pediatric ophthalmologist's office with their 9-month-old son, Ronan. They were worried about Ronan's development and had gone to the eye doctor to rule out vision problems as the culprit. Checking Ronan's retinas, the doctor saw "cherry-red spots on the backs of his retinas," Rapp writes in her new memoir, The Still Point of the Turning World. Ronan's diagnosis that day was Tay-Sachs disease, a genetic and degenerative condition that is always fatal. There is no cure.

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Monkey See
10:41 am
Mon March 18, 2013

'The Simpsons' Better Than 'Cheers'? It Is To Laugh

Ted Danson, playing the role of bartender Sam Malone, keeps Rhea Perlman, playing waitress Carla Tortelli, under control as Shelley Long, portraying Diane Chambers, left, returns to the set of Cheers during taping of the final episode in 1993.
Mark Terrill AP

For the last couple of weeks, Vulture has been running a "Sitcom Smackdown," a contest between 16 sitcoms of the last 30 years to determine an eventual champion.

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New In Paperback
10:11 am
Mon March 18, 2013

March 18-24: True Tales From Haiti, Paris, Early Christendom And Hitler's Germany

Originally published on Mon March 25, 2013 1:40 pm

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

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

Arts & Life
10:11 am
Mon March 18, 2013

Tracing Latino Roots Via Sound

Eric Pearce Chavez

Originally published on Tue May 6, 2014 1:20 pm

Sonic Trace is a multimedia project that follows Latinos living in Los Angeles travelling back to their families' native lands. Led by radio producer Anyansi Diaz-Cortes, it examines the link between what some Latinos consider home – before and after they or their families came to the U.S.

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Music
10:11 am
Mon March 18, 2013

Musician Brian McKnight Uses 'More Than Words'

Originally published on Mon March 18, 2013 3:40 pm

Rhythm and Blues musician Brian McKnight has sold more than 20 million albums worldwide. He's earned 16 Grammy nominations and worked on projects with Justin Timberlake and Mary J. Blige. He's also an actor, father and has an arts education foundation. Host Michel Martin talks to McKnight about his life and new album, More Than Words.

The Two-Way
5:19 am
Mon March 18, 2013

Book News: Anger After Chicago School District Removes 'Persepolis'

coverdetail

Originally published on Mon March 18, 2013 9:20 am

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

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Theater
10:48 pm
Sun March 17, 2013

Familiar Folks Make Up A Play's 'Good People'

Johanna Day as Margie and Andrew Long as Mike in the recent Arena Stage production of David Lindsay-Abaire's Good People. The childhood friends drift apart as their lives take on very different socioeconomic dimensions.
Margot Schulman Arena Stage

Originally published on Mon March 18, 2013 10:38 am

How we end up in life has a lot to do with where we came from. That theory gets a good workout in the play Good People, from Pulitzer Prize-winner David Lindsay-Abaire. When the show was on Broadway two years ago, the trade magazine Variety proclaimed that "If Good People isn't a hit, there is no justice in the land."

As it turns out, justice has been served: Good People is the most produced play in America this theatrical season. By the end of this summer, it will have been on stage in 17 different cities.

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Author Interviews
1:59 pm
Sun March 17, 2013

Famine Ship Jeanie Johnston Sailed Through Grim Odds

Free Press

Originally published on Sun March 17, 2013 5:48 pm

Many of the 35 million Americans of Irish descent are here due to the worst famine to hit Europe in the 19th century, the Irish potato famine.

It drove more than a million people to flee mass starvation, many climbing aboard ships they hoped would ferry them to a better life in the New World. But the fate they would meet on what came to be known as "coffin ships" was often as grim or worse than the fate they were leaving behind; 100,000 passengers didn't survive the journey.

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Architecture
1:19 pm
Sun March 17, 2013

2013 Pritzker Winner Toyo Ito Finds Inspiration In Air, Wind And Water

Dome in Odate (multipurpose dome), Odate-shi, Akita, Japan
Mikio Kamaya Toyo Ito & Associates, Architects

Originally published on Sun March 17, 2013 5:48 pm

Toyo Ito, a 71-year-old architect based in Japan, is the winner of the 2013 Pritzker Architecture Prize. The jury honored Ito for his more than four-decade career, in which he has created architecture that "projects an air of optimism, lightness and joy ... infused with both a sense of uniqueness and universality."

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You Must Read This
3:55 am
Sun March 17, 2013

'The Quick And The Dead': Parables Of Doom And Merry Rapture

cover detail

Originally published on Mon March 18, 2013 5:04 am

Domenica Ruta is the author of With or Without You.

I worked as a bookstore cashier for six weeks, until the day my manager rebuked me for reading. The store was empty and I was standing behind the register when she ripped a paperback out of my hands.

"You look like you have nothing to do."

"I was reading," I said, the only sensible response to such a ludicrous indictment. I was actually hoping a customer would come in so I could hold forth on the very book she'd pried away from me.

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Around the Nation
3:52 am
Sun March 17, 2013

Erin Go Bragh, Shalom: St. Patrick's Day The Jewish Way

Originally published on Sun March 17, 2013 9:33 pm

St. Patrick's Day in New York now means parades and green beer. But 50 years ago, it also meant green matzo balls at the annual banquet of the Loyal League of Yiddish Sons of Erin. The league was a fraternal organization of Irish-born Jews.

The major migration of Jews to Ireland started in the 1880s and '90s, says Hasia Diner, who teaches history and Judaic studies at New York University. Thousands moved, primarily from Lithuania.

Diner says the first generation of Irish Jews mostly worked as peddlers. But by the 20th century, peddlers became business owners.

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It's All Politics
3:52 am
Sun March 17, 2013

Documentaries Help Amplify Conservative Voice

Phelim McAleer directed the film FrackNation, one of more than 20 documentaries screened at this year's CPAC.
Mike Groll AP

Originally published on Sun March 17, 2013 12:11 pm

A decade ago, there were only one or two documentary films screening at CPAC, the annual meeting of conservative activists. This year, there were more than 20.

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Author Interviews
3:52 am
Sun March 17, 2013

Tsunami Delivers A Young Diarist's 'Tale' Of Bullying And Depression

Originally published on Sun March 17, 2013 9:32 am

A Tale for the Time Being presents the diary of a friendly, funny and strong-willed 16-year-old girl named Nao. Nao spent her formative years in California, but her family has returned to Japan, and when the book begins, she's living in Tokyo.

Nao tells readers right up front that her diary will be a log of her last few days on Earth: She plans to take her own life, and as the story goes on, readers learn why.

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Author Interviews
3:52 am
Sun March 17, 2013

Reminder: Our Memories Are Less Reliable Than We Think

Cover of Pieces of Light

Originally published on Sun March 17, 2013 9:32 am

What's your first memory? You're a baby or a toddler. Maybe it's a specific experience, maybe an impression. Maybe someone's face, or just a kind of feeling or sense. Or maybe it's a compilation of stories over years. And maybe it's less true than you think it is.

In his new book, Pieces of Light, Charles Fernyhough digs deep into the recesses of memory to figure out what shapes it, how it works and why some things stick with us forever. Fernyhough talks with NPR's Rachel Martin about his own first memory and his exploration of the science of remembering.

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Sunday Puzzle
1:29 am
Sun March 17, 2013

Take Your Pics

NPR Graphic

Originally published on Sun March 17, 2013 9:32 am

On-air challenge: Every answer is a familiar two-word phrase or name in which the first word starts with the letters P-I and the second word starts with C. For example, given "One of 27 compositions by Mozart" you would say "(Pi)ano (C)oncerto."

Last week's challenge: Think of two familiar three-word sayings in which all three words are the same length. The middle word in both sayings is the same. In each saying, the first and last words rhyme with each other. What two sayings are these?

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Author Interviews
3:57 pm
Sat March 16, 2013

Hatmaker Philip Treacy's Favorite Hat, And Many More

In the studio, Feb. 10, 1999
Kevin Davies Phaidon

Originally published on Sun March 17, 2013 8:32 am

In 2011, Irish milliner Philip Treacy made waves across the world when he designed 36 different hats for the royal wedding. Remember Princess Beatrice's unforgettable hat? Treacy made that.

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Author Interviews
3:14 am
Sat March 16, 2013

A Little Blue Alien Helped Hemon Bear Witness To His 'Lives'

Originally published on Sat March 16, 2013 5:46 am

Since his 2000 literary debut, Aleksandar Hemon has been hailed as "a maestro, a conjurer, a channeler of universes." In books including The Question of Bruno and Love and Obstacles, he's written about archdukes and exiles; a Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina of memories; and a Chicago that's in your face.

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The Salt
3:14 am
Sat March 16, 2013

Wine Revolution: As Drinkers And Growers, U.S. Declares Independence

The vineyard at Round Pond Estate in Rutherford, Calif. Napa Valley is just one of wine-growing regions across the country.
Eric Risberg AP

Originally published on Sat March 16, 2013 10:46 am

A curious shift has happened in global wine-drinking trends: Americans have overtaken the French and Italians, Europe's traditional lovers of the fruits of the vine, as the world's top wine market.

And it's not just wine drinking that's taken off stateside: U.S. wine production is also on the rise.

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