Arts/Life

Book Reviews
5:03 am
Thu November 1, 2012

'Elsewhere' Has Beauty, But No Happy Ending

Knopf

Originally published on Fri November 16, 2012 6:07 pm

Richard Russo sits in his elderly mother's home, holding her hand. She's just been diagnosed with dementia, one more illness to add to the long list of ailments she's been battling for years. She wonders aloud whether she'll ever be able to read again, plainly scared at the prospect of a life without her favorite hobby. She takes a look around her small apartment, and tells her son that she hates it.

"I just wish you could be happy, Mom," he says, heartbroken. "I used to be," she responds. "I know you don't believe that, but I was."

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Author Interviews
3:06 am
Thu November 1, 2012

'Smitten Kitchen' Takes The Fuss Out Of Cooking

Deb Perelman

Originally published on Thu November 1, 2012 1:26 pm

Think of the smallest kitchen you can imagine, and then take away a few square feet. That's Deb Perelman's New York kitchen. It's so small that the blogger, and now author, literally has to wedge herself between the stove and the refrigerator to cook.

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Arts
3:31 pm
Wed October 31, 2012

C.W. Ayon

KRWG Music Spotlight 109 - C.W. Ayon

Arts & Life
3:11 pm
Wed October 31, 2012

A 'Witch Queen' Who Casts Her Spells Year-Round

Courtesy of Faith in the Five Boroughs

Originally published on Fri November 2, 2012 1:53 pm

Lady Rhea is not the kind of witch you'll find in a pointy hat this Halloween. She is a real workaday witch, grinding out a living selling magic products in a booth at Original Products, a grocery store-sized botanica in the Bronx. She's been a practicing Wiccan for nearly four decades, making her one of the longest-serving high priestesses in New York City.

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PG-13: Risky Reads
12:43 pm
Wed October 31, 2012

Possessed By 'The Exorcist': Are You Terrified Yet?

Originally published on Thu November 8, 2012 9:51 am

Mark Danielewski is the author of The Fifty Year Sword.

When I was 12, the movie was forbidden. What my parents matter-of-factly declared too scary, friends confirmed with added notes of hysteria: "Nothing more terrifying!" "The most horrifying film ever made!" "People pass out!"

In Provo, Utah, where I grew up, Mormon children — and in my world that meant all of my friends — reported how just a glimpse resulted in actual, irreversible possession.

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Monkey See
12:07 pm
Wed October 31, 2012

In 'Nobody Walks,' Lena Dunham's Lost 'Girls' Relocate To Heavier Drama

Martine (Olivia Thirlby) is either oblivious to or apathetic toward the chaos she causes in the lives of those around her.
Magnolia Pictures

A friend of mine — whose opinion is shared by hosts of viewers — has griped about Lena Dunham and the fame of Girls and its cast members: "Everybody talks like they're the voice of our 'lost generation,'" she said. "But their parents are all famous people." In other words, the complaint goes, the extent of the Girls cast's success comes from the connections available to them.

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Television
10:46 am
Wed October 31, 2012

Katey Sagal, Holding Court On 'Sons of Anarchy'

Katey Sagal as Gemma Teller Morrow in Sons of Anarachy on FX.
Prashant Gupta FX

Originally published on Wed October 31, 2012 1:59 pm

As Gemma, the fierce matriarch of the biker gang in the FX series Sons of Anarchy, Katey Sagal has shot and killed people, hit somebody with a skateboard, pulled a gun on a baby and done other horrible things. It's all part of the challenge of playing the character, Sagal says.

"She does things in the name of loyalty, which I relate to, but she goes way beyond anything I would do."

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First Reads
8:59 am
Wed October 31, 2012

Exclusive First Read: Ian McEwan's 'Sweet Tooth'

Originally published on Wed October 31, 2012 11:39 am

Ian McEwan's latest novel is an exercise in deception — the author of Atonement has created an engaging book that's as much suspenseful drama as it is romantic love story. At the center is Serena Frome, who after graduating from university as a math major (but with a reputation for being a lover of novels) lands a desk job with the intelligence agency, MI5. Early on Serena receives an assignment: She must pose as a representative for an arts foundation and begin to cultivate a young writer. Keeping her identity from him proves challenging.

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Monkey See
8:57 am
Wed October 31, 2012

What Makes A Horror Game Go Bump in the Night?

The Stauf mansion, as featured in the updated version of The 7th Guest.
Trilobyte Games

The first computer game that really frightened me to the bones was 1994's The 7th Guest. It's certainly primitive compared to today's games, but parts of it were indubitably scary. Even early on, when a kind of Steadicam slowly led me up a Victorian mansion's stairs, there was a feeling of uncomfortable dread. Don't go there, I said to myself. Yet, like so many ill-fated protagonists in the movies, I went there. And when ghosts moved about on the second floor — damn — that was eerie. It was like that "cold spot" in Robert Wise's The Haunting.

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The Two-Way
8:40 am
Wed October 31, 2012

Remembering Letitia Baldrige, The 'Doyenne Of Decorum'

Letitia Baldrige, when she was first lady Jacqueline Kennedy's social secretary.
JFK Presidential Library and Museum

We want to note the death of Letitia Baldrige, who as The Washington Post writes "was social secretary to first lady Jacqueline Kennedy and also became known as a 'doyenne of decorum' and chief arbiter of good manners in modern America."

Baldrige died Monday at a nursing facility in Bethesda, Md. She was 86.

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Monkey See
7:21 am
Wed October 31, 2012

Twenty Stories That Will Absolutely Run The Week 'Star Wars: Episode VII' Is Released

In this Oct. 15, 2011 file photo, "Darth Vader" accepts the Ultimate Villain award from Star Wars creator George Lucas during the 2011 Scream Awards.
Chris Pizzello AP

Originally published on Wed October 31, 2012 7:59 am

Well, now that Lucasfilm is being bought by Disney and a new set of Star Wars films is allegedly on the way, there's only one thing to do: look into the future and realize that we already know what a lot of the coverage will look like when the next film comes out in 2015.

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Book Reviews
5:23 am
Wed October 31, 2012

Spooky Puppets, Slow Pacing In 'Catechism'

Courtesy of St. Martin's Press

Mike Mignola's occult adventure comics B.P.R.D. (that's short for Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense) and Hellboy (about a demon who fights for the side of Good) combine furious action set pieces on a literally biblical scale with a wry and nuanced understanding of very human emotions. The novelist Christopher Golden has written many popular works of dark fantasy.

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Kitchen Window
1:26 am
Wed October 31, 2012

The Hard-Boiled Truth About Egg Soups

T. Susan Chang for NPR

Originally published on Wed November 21, 2012 7:38 am

The chicks arrived five months ago — eight gray, blond, black and tawny puffballs no bigger than the eggs they'd been hatched from a day earlier. They had a slavishly devoted audience within minutes and names within 24 hours. Every couple of weeks they doubled in size, and over the summer they ballooned from 2 ounces to 7 pounds as we furiously worked to complete their permanent coop.

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The Salt
1:26 pm
Tue October 30, 2012

Oregon State's New Cheese Plant Aims To Break The Rind

Oregon State University food science and technology students mix a batch of havarti cheese in a cheesemaking class.
Lynn Ketchum OSU

Originally published on Tue October 30, 2012 5:04 pm

It's football season at Oregon State University, and that means tailgating, grilling, and ... cheese?

When we think of Oregon, we don't necessarily think of cheese — maybe a nice Pinot Noir, but not cheese. But this fall, Oregon State University's new cheese plant rolled out its first batch of product: a specialty alpine cheese (like Swiss, Comte or Gruyere) dubbed by the students "Beaver Classic." It's a mild cheese, with nutty flavors like caramelized onions.

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Author Interviews
8:59 am
Tue October 30, 2012

'Sutton': America's 1920s, Bank-Robbing 'Robin Hood'

Hyperion

Originally published on Tue October 30, 2012 2:35 pm

This interview was originally broadcast on Sept. 26, 2012.

After the global financial crisis hit in 2008, Pulitzer Prize winner J.R. Moehringer was so angry at banks, he says, he decided to write about the people who rob them — in the form of fiction, since he's not an economist.

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Book Reviews
5:27 am
Tue October 30, 2012

Vonnegut 'Letters' Hilarious And Heartbreaking

Marty Reichenthal AP

Originally published on Tue October 30, 2012 3:11 pm

In his introduction to Kurt Vonnegut: Letters, Dan Wakefield, the book's editor and a longtime Vonnegut karass member, writes of the late author's aspiration to be a "cultivated eccentric." Over the course of six decades of letters to family, friends, admirers, detractors and fellow writers, Vonnegut shows himself to be so much more, both in terms of ambition and accomplishment.

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Author Interviews
1:59 am
Tue October 30, 2012

Resenting And Respecting Mom In Russo's 'Elsewhere'

Originally published on Mon November 5, 2012 8:16 am

Author Richard Russo has been writing about the burned-out mill town of Gloversville, N.Y., for years. In one Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, he called it Empire Falls, Maine; in another novel, it was Thomaston, N.Y.

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Books
2:51 pm
Mon October 29, 2012

Weather The Storm With 6 Stories From NPR Books

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue November 6, 2012 1:41 pm

As the East Coast hunkers down for the onslaught of Hurricane Sandy, NPR Books dug back into the archives to find stories about keeping safe — and sane — when disaster strikes. Here you'll find memoirs of past storms, novels about future storms and interviews with authors who've written about severe weather and climate change.

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The Salt
1:38 pm
Mon October 29, 2012

Sandwich Monday: The PB&P

A look within.
NPR

The Peanut Butter & Pickle Sandwich dates back to the Great Depression. It's great if you're transported back in time to 1930 and you forget to bring Powerbars, or, say, if you're stuck in your house with limited pantry options as a big hurricane heads your way.

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New In Paperback
9:21 am
Mon October 29, 2012

New In Paperback Oct. 29-Nov. 4

Originally published on Mon October 29, 2012 12:17 pm

Fiction and nonfiction releases from Matthew Quick, Anthony Horowitz, Darrell Hammond, Craig Marks, Rob Tannenbaum and Regis Philbin.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Three Books...
6:44 am
Mon October 29, 2012

Trust Me: Three Books With (In)credible Narrators

Many of my all-time favorite novels have a common (if slightly unsettling) thread: They feature an unreliable narrator at the helm. The term was popularized in the 1960s by the literary critic Wayne C. Booth, but the unreliable narrator herself has been around at least as long as the Wife of Bath in The Canterbury Tales. An unreliable narrator is one who tells a tale with compromised credibility, whether the narrator herself understands that or not. The reader usually finds this out only slowly, as cracks in the narrator's version of events begin to appear.

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Monkey See
3:14 am
Mon October 29, 2012

Impersonating The President: From Will Rogers To Obama's 'Anger Translator'

Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele cooperate to impersonate President Obama in Comedy Central's Key and Peele.
Ian White Comedy Central

Political commentators will be working overtime in the countdown to the presidential election. So will political comedians, including the candidates' impersonators.

Impersonators have been part of the political landscape for so long, it's hard to imagine a time without them: Rich Little, Dana Carvey, Will Ferrell, Dan Aykroyd, Darrell Hammond, Tina Fey and other comedians have all famously done their turns as candidates. Remember "I can see Russia from my house"?

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Author Interviews
2:17 am
Mon October 29, 2012

Should 'The Generals' Get Fired More Often?

The Penguin Press

Originally published on Mon October 29, 2012 3:14 am

One issue that has received little attention in this year's presidential race is the war in Afghanistan. But according to Thomas E. Ricks, we should be paying attention — specifically to those in charge of the military there, because they can make the difference between long, expensive wars and decisive victories. That's the lesson Ricks explores in his latest book, The Generals.

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Movies I've Seen A Million Times
3:21 pm
Sun October 28, 2012

The Movie Glen Mazzara Has 'Seen A Million Times'

Sigourney Weaver as Ripley in Ridley Scott's Alien.
Hulton Archive Getty Images

Originally published on Sun October 28, 2012 4:33 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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Author Interviews
3:03 pm
Sun October 28, 2012

Stories Of The Power of Language, 'Found In Translation'

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon October 29, 2012 8:41 am

Translation is everywhere — that's is the crux of a new book by Nataly Kelly and Jost Zetzsche: Found in Translation: How Language Shapes Our Lives and Transforms our World.

From NASA to the U.N. to Chinese tattoo parlors, the book looks high and low for stories of the undeniable importance of language. One of those stories centers on a man named Peter Less, 91, an inspiration of sorts to interpreters and translators everywhere.

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Around the Nation
2:48 pm
Sun October 28, 2012

A Save Haven For The Printed Word Turns 200

Antiquarian Hall, the home of the American Antiquarian Society, is located in Worcester, Mass.
The American Antiquarian Society

Originally published on Wed October 31, 2012 12:37 pm

Back in the 1700s, there was a young printer's apprentice who lived in Boston. His name was Isaiah Thomas and he became one of the first newspaper publishers in the country. He also founded the American Antiquarian Society, which celebrates its 200th birthday this week.

Located in Worcester, Mass., the American Antiquarian Society houses the largest collection of materials printed in the United States. Its library has books, newspapers, letters, even board games dating from 1640 to 1876. Its members include some notable characters, including 14 presidents.

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Science
1:26 pm
Sun October 28, 2012

Millennia Of Stargazing At 'African Cosmos' Exhibit

Untitled, by South African artist Gavin Jantjes, is one of the works in the "African Cosmos" exhibition.
National Museum of African Art

Originally published on Sun October 28, 2012 4:33 pm

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Movie Interviews
3:58 am
Sun October 28, 2012

John C. Reilly Wrecks It In 'Ralph'

Academy and Grammy Award-nominated actor John C. Reilly takes his talents to the animated world of video games in Wreck-It Ralph.
Christopher Polk Getty Images

Originally published on Sun October 28, 2012 10:18 am

Hitting theaters this week is an epic story of good and evil, love and loss, failure and redemption ... Pac-Man ghosts and Cy-Bugs? Wreck-It Ralph is about video games and the characters who live in them.

Ralph is the villain who runs around smashing windows and destroying buildings. Fix-It Felix is the good guy with the golden hammer who cleans up Ralph's mess. And after 30 years as a video-game bad guy, Ralph is fed up with his job. Actor John C. Reilly, who does Ralph's voice, says grown-up audiences may be attracted to what is, essentially, a mid-life crisis.

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Sunday Puzzle
3:50 am
Sun October 28, 2012

Answer Me These Words Three

NPR Graphic

Originally published on Sun October 28, 2012 2:17 pm

On-air challenge: Every answer is a three-word phrase, in which each word has four letters. All three words end in the same three letters, and they rhyme. For example, given the clue, "Series of offerings of excellent chardonnays and Rieslings," the answer would be "fine wine line."

Last week's challenge from Pierre Berloquin: What letter comes next in this series: W, L, C, N, I, T?

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Theater
3:44 am
Sun October 28, 2012

Star-Studded 'Heiress' Considers A Woman's Worth

Jessica Chastain makes her Broadway debut as Catherine Sloper in The Heiress. Chastain says she was moved by the arc of her character's story — initially defined by the men in her life, but ultimately finding strength in herself.
(c) 2012 Joan Marcus

Originally published on Sun October 28, 2012 8:58 am

A much-anticipated revival of The Heiress, a 1947 play based on the Henry James novella Washington Square, opens in New York on Thursday. It marks the Broadway debut of two accomplished young stars — Jessica Chastain, the Academy Award nominee from The Help, and Dan Stevens, from the hit television series Downton Abbey.

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