Arts/Life

Author Interviews
1:58 pm
Thu October 4, 2012

Colbert: 'Re-Becoming' The Nation We Always Were

Courtesy of Grand Central Publishing

Originally published on Tue October 9, 2012 8:56 am

Stephen Colbert has no idea how other news pundits find time to write books. But he felt certain that his character on his Comedy Central show, The Colbert Report, needed to have another one.

"My character is based on news punditry, the masters of opinion in cable news, and they all have books," he tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "We don't have time to write a book and feed and wash ourselves, so something has to go out the window. And [for me] it was family, friends and hygiene for the past year."

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U.S.
10:06 am
Thu October 4, 2012

How 'Star Wars' Seduced Another Generation Of Kids

Ben Blier (left) and his friend Jesse Bleckner hang out in their Yoda T-shirts. On his first day of kindergarten, Ben wore a Yoda T-shirt with "Go to Kindergarten I Must" printed on the front and "Learn Things I Will" on the back.
Courtesy of Nancy Edson

Originally published on Thu October 4, 2012 4:03 pm

Aruna Jayaraman knows where to find lemonade. Her son's friend Alexander sells it out in front of his house every weekend, hoping to earn enough money to buy a $400 Lego Death Star.

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Book Reviews
9:55 am
Thu October 4, 2012

Roving Eyes, Wandering Hands In 'How You Lose Her'

Riverhead Books

Originally published on Thu October 4, 2012 1:58 pm

Ay-yi-yi, what is it with these Dominican men? Their hands — and eyes — never stop roving, even as they're slipping engagement rings on their true loves' fingers.

If that sounds like negative stereotyping, don't complain to me: I'm just passing along the collective cultural verdict of the women and men, most of them themselves Dominican, who hustle through Junot Diaz's latest short story collection, This Is How You Lose Her. A good man is hard to find in these stories, and when you do find him, he's always in bed with someone else.

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Movie Interviews
9:38 am
Thu October 4, 2012

'Precious' Director Daniels Flocks To Controversy

Originally published on Thu October 4, 2012 1:30 pm

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Film goers will remember Oscar-nominated director Lee Daniels for his provocative 2009 drama "Precious," which was based on the novel "Push" by Sapphire. It was an often grim, but also inspiring, story of an obese, illiterate, abused black teenaged mother who eventually finds a way to overcome her many challenges.

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Monkey See
8:01 am
Thu October 4, 2012

Careful, Frustrated 'Glee' People: 'The Break Up' Might Suck You Back In

Emma (Jayma Mays) and Will (Matthew Morrison) are only one of the challenged couples in tonight's Glee.
Jordin Althaus Fox

Every high-school show deals with the same problem — even if with Beverly Hills, 90210-like leisure — if it lasts long enough: What now?

Most often, as on 90210, everyone mysteriously goes off to the same college that doesn't exist. Sometimes, as on Friday Night Lights, the show follows some of the kids further but also toughens up and freshens the cast.

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Book Reviews
5:03 am
Thu October 4, 2012

A Mashup Of Mundane And Magical In 'Dragonslayer'

Courtesy of Harcourt

Originally published on Thu October 4, 2012 6:48 am

It's been a big year — well, a big few years — for young adult fiction, which I'm not going to complain about in the slightest; nothing beats a good YA novel for pure storytelling punch. But I might complain, just a little, about the overwhelming sameness of some of the plots. Dystopian futures, quiet-yet-spunky teenage girls, doomed love triangles — sound familiar? Suzanne Collins has a lot to answer for. Luckily, you can crack open The Last Dragonslayer and spend time with a protagonist who has a refreshingly different set of priorities.

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Monkey See
1:47 am
Thu October 4, 2012

Recreating Indiana Jones' Boulder Run In D.C.'s 'Alley Of Doom'

Janet Whitley borrows a stranger's dog to run away from a 10-foot-high plastic boulder in Washington, D.C.'s "Alley of Doom."
Chris Suspect STRATA

Originally published on Thu October 4, 2012 8:19 am

At a back alley in Washington, D.C., an innocent bike rider came upon a Prius driving right at him head-on. The Prius, in turn, was being chased by a 10-foot boulder.

The bike rider had accidentally stumbled into "The Alley of Doom."

For one day, anyone who showed up to this alley in the U Street neighborhood of Washington, D.C., could take a free turn at playing Indiana Jones — donning a fedora and whip and fleeing from a gigantic, rolling boulder.

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Movie Interviews
1:45 am
Thu October 4, 2012

Bond Gadgets Stand Test Of Time (But Not Physics)

A scene from 1973's Live and Let Die features Jane Seymour and Roger Moore. In the film, Moore wears a supermagnetic wristwatch said to deflect bullets at long range.
United Artists and Danjaq, LLC AP

Originally published on Thu October 4, 2012 8:19 am

James Bond — the film franchise, that is — is turning 50. But if 007 is getting up there in years, his gadgets will never get old.

Throughout the series, the creators have always come up with wild gear for Bond to bring along on his missions — while often taking a lot more creative license than they might have needed. They've come up with pieces that were inventive and prescient at best, impossible in the real world at worst, as astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson tells NPR's David Greene.

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Movies
1:43 am
Thu October 4, 2012

From Tim Burton, Another Signature Lovable Loner

After his best friend and beloved dog dies, Victor Frankenstein (Charlie Tahan) decides to harness the power of mad science to bring Sparky back to life — albeit a little the worse for wear.
Walt Disney Pictures

Originally published on Thu October 4, 2012 8:19 am

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The Salt
3:40 pm
Wed October 3, 2012

Capturing Summer's Harvest, One DIY Wine Bottle At A Time

Customers at a Hartford produce market, choosing grapes to turn into homemade wine.
Jeff Cohen NPR

Originally published on Wed October 3, 2012 4:40 pm

If buying a local wine just isn't local enough for you, then you might consider joining the growing ranks of people making homemade wine this fall.

Some home winemakers make wine with friends for fun, some make wine with family for tradition; some make it "old school," adding nothing, and drink it by Christmas; others do it "new school," adding preservatives, and wait a year or more to bottle.

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Theater
2:56 pm
Wed October 3, 2012

Racial Issues, Far From 'Invisible' On D.C. Stage

Teagle F. Bougere plays the titular Invisible Man in The Studio Theatre's adaptation of Ralph Ellison's novel.
Astrid Riecken The Studio Theatre

Originally published on Wed October 3, 2012 4:40 pm

On a farm in Waitsfield, Vt., in 1945, a Merchant Marine cook named Ralph Ellison was resting after his tour of duty.

"One morning scribbling, I wrote the first sentence of what later became The Invisible Man: 'I am an invisible man,' " Ellison recalled in an interview for National Educational Television.

He wrote that his protagonist — a Negro, as Ellison always put it — was young, powerless and ambitious for the role of leadership, a role at which he was doomed to fail.

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Movies
2:48 pm
Wed October 3, 2012

'Flight': A Few Million Little Creatures That Could

"Supergenerations" of monarch butterflies migrate over 2000 miles from Canada to Mexico.
SK Films

Originally published on Thu October 4, 2012 8:19 am

A young boy in Canada wondered where butterflies go in the winter — and spent 40 years trying to answer that question.

In 1973, Dr. Fred Urquhart — all grown up by then — placed an ad in a newspaper in Mexico looking for volunteers to tag and observe butterflies and find their destination. A woman named Catalina Aguado and her American husband, Kenneth Brugger, answered that ad. They spent two years searching in remote parts of Mexico.

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Author Interviews
12:39 pm
Wed October 3, 2012

Tobolowsky: An Actor's Life 'Low On The Totem Pole'

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Stephen Tobolowsky is an actor and writer. He also hosts the podcast The Tobolowsky Files.
Jim Britt Courtesy of Simon & Schuster

Originally published on Tue October 9, 2012 8:37 am

If you saw Stephen Tobolowsky on the street, you might think you know him from somewhere. The character actor has appeared in over 100 films and TV shows, with recurring roles in Heroes, Deadwood, Glee and now The Mindy Project.

In his memoir, The Dangerous Animals Club, Toboloswky charts the highs and lows of life as a character actor. Some of his roles have been so small, he says, his characters didn't even have names — as, for example, with his turn as "Buttcrack Plumber."

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Commentary
11:55 am
Wed October 3, 2012

When Words Were Worth Fighting Over

In 1961, the publication of Merriam-Webster's Third International Dictionary sparked an uproar with its inclusion of the word "ain't."
Flickr User Greeblie

Originally published on Wed October 3, 2012 1:10 pm

I have a quibble with the title of David Skinner's new book, The Story of Ain't. In fact, that pariah contraction plays only a supporting role in the story. The book is really an account of one of the oddest episodes in American cultural history, the brouhaha over the appearance of Merriam-Webster's Third International Dictionary in 1961.

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You Must Read This
9:11 am
Wed October 3, 2012

Depression-Era Evil: Horror In A Haunted Land

Originally published on Tue January 8, 2013 12:19 pm

Julia Keller's latest novel is A Killing in the Hills.

When the actor James O'Neill played the title character in a stage version of The Count of Monte Cristo, it was a piece of "good bad luck," his son Eugene O'Neill later said. James O'Neill could never escape the shadow of the role that made him famous.

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Book Reviews
5:03 am
Wed October 3, 2012

Page And Screen Make Peace In 'Mr. Penumbra'

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

It's been five years since the Amazon Kindle started one of the most enduring literary controversies of recent times: the fight between e-books and printed books. If you're a devoted reader, you're probably already sick of the back and forth between the excitable technophiles and the stubborn Luddites. The proponents of e-books rave about the unexplored avenues, the hypertext, the entire world of literature accessible with just one click. The rest of us — well, we like the way books feel and smell, OK? It might seem sentimental, but that's falling in love for you.

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New In Paperback
5:03 am
Wed October 3, 2012

New In Paperback Oct. 1-7

Fiction and nonfiction releases from Don DeLillo, John Paul Stevens, Lawrence Lessig, Ellen DeGeneres and John Hodgman.

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

Kitchen Window
1:28 am
Wed October 3, 2012

It's Time To Pick A Peck Of Peppers

Sheri Castle for NPR

Originally published on Wed October 10, 2012 7:10 am

Ripe sweet peppers are seasonal ambassadors, offering color, flavor, goodwill and diplomacy during the transition from summer to autumn cooking. Sweet peppers surge into ripeness in late summer and flourish into fall. Supplies wind down about the time trees let go of their leaves.

Now is the time to pick up a peck of them for what a single sad specimen will cost come January. When in season and plentiful, peppers are a bargain.

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Author Interviews
3:10 pm
Tue October 2, 2012

In 'House,' Erdrich Sets Revenge On A Reservation

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue October 2, 2012 4:14 pm

In 1988, 13-year-old Joe Coutts is thrust into adulthood after his mother, Geraldine Coutts, is sexually assaulted. His story is at the center of Louise Erdrich's latest novel, The Round House.

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The Fresh Air Interview
11:23 am
Tue October 2, 2012

Paul Thomas Anderson, The Man Behind 'The Master'

Paul Thomas Anderson (left) works with actor Joaquin Phoenix on the set of The Master.
Phil Bray The Weinstein Co.

Originally published on Tue October 9, 2012 8:38 am

For Paul Thomas Anderson, moviemaking is not just an art; it's also about time management.

"At its best, a film set is when everybody knows what's going on and everybody's working together," he tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "At its worst, [it's] when something's been lost in communication and an actor's not sure how many shots are left or what's going on, and the makeup department's confused."

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Author Interviews
10:03 am
Tue October 2, 2012

Stacy London: Dangerous To Call Style Superficial

Originally published on Wed October 3, 2012 7:55 am

Transcript

CELESTE HEADLEE, HOST:

Now, we turn to the clothing industry, where finding the right style doesn't necessarily mean spending big bucks. So says Stacy London, at least. She's known for co-hosting TLC's hit TV show "What Not to Wear." We've watched her transform the looks and lives of hundreds of guests.

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Monkey See
7:24 am
Tue October 2, 2012

When It Comes To Character Detail, 'Pitch Perfect' Nails It

Anna Kendrick in Pitch Perfect.
Peter Iovino Universal Pictures

Pitch Perfect, the new comedy that opened in some cities last Friday and goes wider this Friday, is set in a world very close to my own heart: college a cappella.

I know, I know — it's dorky, it's silly, you hated those people at your school — I get it. But I loved it when I did it, and even now, I carry around a few of these compilations on my phone.

But as much as I enjoyed all the singing (and I did), it's not how the film won me over. What won me over was Beca's raggedy manicure.

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Book Reviews
5:03 am
Tue October 2, 2012

Details Weigh Down The Drama In 'Live By Night'

William Morrow

Originally published on Tue October 2, 2012 9:28 am

A short list of mishaps that befall characters in Live by Night, Dennis Lehane's new novel: stabbed with a potato peeler ("It sounded like fish parts sucked into a drain"); stabbed in the Adam's apple; shot in the face ("the exit hole splattered pink all over the ferns"); tied to the hood of a car; devoured by alligators. A woman commits suicide by cutting off her genitals and slashing her own windpipe. How can a book packed with macabre acts of violence possibly be dull? Live by Night offers an excellent opportunity to contemplate this question.

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The Picture Show
2:48 am
Tue October 2, 2012

Like 007 Himself, James Bond Movie Posters Live To See Another Day

James Bond: 50 Years Of Movie Posters

There is something deliciously enticing about the advance poster for the 1962 movie Dr. No. It featured a bright yellow Technicolor background, lipstick, a gun and the numeral 007 — all teasing the audience about what was to come. "The First James Bond Film!" (Their exclamation point, not mine.) It was part of a campaign that launched the celluloid franchise that today, half a century later, is still one of the biggest draws of the big screen.

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Books
1:21 am
Tue October 2, 2012

Boozy Birth Of The American Mafia In Lehane's Latest

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue October 2, 2012 11:08 am

Here's how the new novel from crime writer Dennis Lehane begins: "Some years later, on a tugboat in the Gulf of Mexico, Joe Coughlin's feet were placed in a tub of cement."

Pretty hard to stop reading after an opening line like that — at least you'd think. "It was funny, a guy came up to me the other night, and he said, 'I really loved this book once it got going,' " Lehane tells NPR's Steve Inskeep. "I thought, 'Jesus Christ, read the first sentence! How much more "getting going" is it going to get?' "

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Movie Interviews
1:21 am
Tue October 2, 2012

Shaking, Stirring Up The James Bond Franchise

Siblings Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson have been working on James Bond films since the 1970s. They are the producers of the latest installment, Skyfall.
Stuart Wilson Getty Images

Originally published on Tue October 2, 2012 11:08 am

This Friday marks 50 years since the release of the first James Bond film, Dr. No. Ian Fleming's Cold War-era MI6 agent has endured through 22 movies, evolving all the while to stay relevant to new audiences. The next installment is Skyfall, due out Nov. 9.

Barbara Broccoli and Michael Wilson are the franchise's current producers and children of the original producer, Albert "Cubby" Broccoli. NPR's David Greene spoke to them about the family business.

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Author Interviews
3:11 pm
Mon October 1, 2012

Housekeeping Tips From One Mercurial 'Mommy'

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Originally published on Mon October 1, 2012 4:20 pm

The cursing mommy likes her scotch. She also likes a martini — or four — and a full bottle of Kahlua consumed in the afternoon while soaking in a steaming bathtub and ignoring the knocks of her children locked outside. Along with her dubious parenting skills, the cursing mommy has no shame, and she swears an extremely blue streak.

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Arts & Life
9:57 am
Mon October 1, 2012

First Black Editor-In-Chief For Conde Nast

Keija Minor recently made history when she became the first African-American editor-in-chief of a Conde Nast publication. She sits down with guest host Celeste Headlee to talk about her plans for Brides magazine and how she views her historic achievement.

NPR Story
8:15 am
Mon October 1, 2012

Watch This: Native American Author Sherman Alexie

Author and Spokane Indian Sherman Alexie won the American Book Award in 1996 for Reservation Blues.
Seth Wenig AP

Originally published on Mon October 8, 2012 2:35 am

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PG-13: Risky Reads
4:03 am
Mon October 1, 2012

For Lois Lowry 'Brooklyn' Was Raw And Real

cover promo
cover promo

Originally published on Mon October 1, 2012 1:52 pm

Lois Lowry's latest book is called Son.

I certainly knew, by the time I turned 13 in 1950, that there were so-called "dirty books" out there. I had sneaked a peek at a popular English novel my mother was reading (one character's breasts were described as "ample" and "melon-shaped"), and there was a gritty street-gang book about Brooklyn that made the rounds among my peers, a book in which certain page numbers had become iconic, though I doubt if any of us read the book from start to finish for plot.

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