Arts/Life

Book Reviews
5:03 am
Tue July 10, 2012

'Witches' Sequel Casts A Complex Spell

Shadow of Night book cover

The first book in the All Souls trilogy, A Discovery of Witches, was a tour de force, an artful and unusually skilled blending of hard science, history and the supernatural. Deborah Harkness, a historian of science at the University of Southern California, was the perfect person to pull off a mix that some readers called "Harry Potter for intellectuals."

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Theater
1:23 am
Tue July 10, 2012

A One-Man Madhouse, With Murder On His Mind

Alan Cumming plays Macbeth, Lady Macbeth, Banquo and many other characters in a one-man adaptation of Shakespeare's tragedy set in a psychiatric ward. The show plays as part of the Lincoln Center Festival in New York through July 14.
Manuel Harlan Lincoln Center

Originally published on Thu July 12, 2012 12:25 pm

The lights come up on a large hospital ward, its green institutional tiles slightly mildewed around the edges. An ominous white noise hums underneath.

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All Songs Considered Blog
10:02 am
Mon July 9, 2012

Aliens Have Landed, Hoping To License All Of Humanity's Music

Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon July 9, 2012 12:13 pm

  • Hear John Hodgman read the first chapter of 'Year Zero' by Rob Reid

This just in: Aliens from pretty far away have been listening to music from Earth for the past 35 years. As it turns out, the planet's only redeeming quality is our music. From a legal standpoint this is great news, the biggest copyright violation since forever. That's the first thing you want to know about Rob Reid's smart and wacky novel Year Zero, out this week.

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Author Interviews
9:46 am
Mon July 9, 2012

'The Life That Follows' Disarming IEDs In Iraq

Brian Castner served as an Explosive Ordnance Disposal officer in the U.S. Air Force from 1999 to 2007, deploying to Iraq to command bomb disposal units in Balad and Kirkuk in 2005 and 2006.
Joey Campagna Courtesy of the author

Originally published on Mon July 9, 2012 12:46 pm

Brian Castner arguably had one of the most nerve-wracking jobs in the U.S. military. He commanded two Explosive Ordnance Disposal units in Iraq, where his team disabled roadside IEDs, investigated the aftermath of roadside car bombings and searched door to door to uncover bomb-makers at their homes.

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Movies I've Seen A Million Times
9:23 am
Mon July 9, 2012

What Can Whoopi Goldberg Watch A Million Times?

Originally published on Mon July 9, 2012 10:04 am

All summer long, fellow NPR program Weekends on All Things Considered is asking directors, actors and producers what movie they could watch over and over again. To Kill A Mockingbird is an all-time favorite for Whoopi Goldberg, the actor, comedian and talk show host.

Music Interviews
9:23 am
Mon July 9, 2012

'Brownout,' From Music Experiment To Fan Favorite

Originally published on Mon July 9, 2012 11:59 am

The Latin funk group began as a side band by some members of the Grammy-winning Latin ensemble Grupo Fantasma. They wanted to test new sounds but quickly learned they had something bigger to offer. Now, Brownout is getting lots of fans and glowing reviews. Their newest album is Oozy. Member Greg Gonzales talks with guest host Maria Hinojosa.

Three Books...
5:03 am
Mon July 9, 2012

Too Cool For School: 3 Books On Scandalous Teachers

Originally published on Mon July 9, 2012 9:01 am

One of my graduate school professors frequently made his students cry. Never mind that we were grown adults. A single cliche used in a class paper could result in public humiliation. And yet the competition to get into his class was fierce. No honor surpassed the chance to be taught (and belittled) by such a masterful mind.

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Crime In The City
1:03 am
Mon July 9, 2012

Dark Doings Among The D.C. Monuments

The Iwo Jima Memorial, on the Virginia side of the Potomac River overlooking Washington, D.C., is one of many capital landmarks that do double duty as crime scenes in the novels of author Mike Lawson.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Originally published on Mon July 9, 2012 8:47 am

In Washington, D.C., the glittering marble of public buildings and monuments can conceal the darkest of deeds. And in the crime novels of Mike Lawson, they do.

"When I started writing, the very first decision I made was, I wanted the book set in D.C.," says Lawson, who recently published his seventh Washington-based thriller, House Blood. "That was before I had a character, or anything else."

And he had a reason.

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Author Interviews
3:19 pm
Sun July 8, 2012

'Electrified Sheep' And Other Odd Experiments

The history of science is not limited to scientists in white coats working quietly with beakers and burners. Sometimes, in the name of knowledge, things can get downright weird.

In his new book, "Electrified Sheep," Alex Boese explores the unexpected side of science, filled with bizarre experiments and intrepid scientists.

Certain experiments served a purpose, like the zapping of animals, which helped scientists learn to harness the power of electricity.

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Author Interviews
5:33 am
Sun July 8, 2012

How The Olympic 'Dream Team' Came To Be

Originally published on Sun July 8, 2012 12:59 pm

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Twenty years ago, a dozen basketball players were dispatched to Barcelona to represent the United States in the Summer Olympics. The team was something the world of sports had never seen before and probably never will again. They were simply known as the Dream Team and that's the title of a new book written by Sports Illustrated reporter Jack McCallum. He looks back on a team stacked with big names: Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Charles Barkley and Magic Johnson.

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Author Interviews
5:33 am
Sun July 8, 2012

What's Travel Writer Paul Theroux Reading?

Originally published on Sun July 8, 2012 12:59 pm

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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Author Interviews
4:08 am
Sun July 8, 2012

Jennifer Weiner: 'Best Thing' Would Be Equality

Originally published on Sun July 8, 2012 12:59 pm

Jennifer Weiner writes what is often referred to as women's fiction. But that term is imperfect for many reasons — so we'll just refer to her as the author of multiple best-sellers.

Weiner's written a bookshelf's worth of hits, like Good in Bed, and In Her Shoes, which became a hit movie starring Cameron Diaz. She also created and ran the ABC Family television series State of Georgia. And in her copious free time? She live tweets The Bachelorette.

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Food
4:08 am
Sun July 8, 2012

Since When Does Summer Taste Like Doughnuts?

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Sun July 8, 2012 12:59 pm

I get saltwater taffy. You're at an ocean that is made of salt water. But doughnuts?

I'm clearly missing something, because many summer communities have doughnut shops, often open just for the season. Critical summer doughnut mass seems to be concentrated in the north and east — maybe because it's always summer in California, where they have their own different doughnut culture.

The summer shops usually are simple shacks with awnings and screen windows, no inside seating and a picnic table outside in the hot sun.

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Sunday Puzzle
10:03 pm
Sat July 7, 2012

If You Want In The Mix, You've Got To Split The Six

NPR Graphic

Originally published on Sat July 14, 2012 3:51 pm

On-Air Challenge: For each six-letter word given, rearrange the letters to make two three-letter words that rhyme. Example: For the word "tweets," the pair of rhyming three-letter words would be "wet" and "set."

Last Week's Challenge From Listener Fred Orelove Of Richmond, Va.: Think of a well-known retail store chain in two words. Remove one letter from its name. The remaining letters, in order, will spell three consecutive words that are synonyms of each other. What are they? Hint: The three words are all slang.

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Author Interviews
2:42 pm
Sat July 7, 2012

'Agent Garbo,' The Spy Who Lied About D-Day

Juan Pujol Garcia in his uniform as a lieutenant in the Spanish Republican Army.
Courtesy Tamara Kreisler

Originally published on Mon July 9, 2012 11:50 am

Juan Pujol Garcia lived a lie that helped win World War II. He was a double agent for the British, performing so well that they nicknamed him for the enigmatic actress Greta Garbo.

Author Stephan Talty tells the story of this unlikely hero in a new book called Agent Garbo: The Brilliant, Eccentric Secret Agent Who Tricked Hitler and Saved D-Day.

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The Salt
5:58 am
Sat July 7, 2012

Manju: A Taste Of Home For Seattle's Japanese Community

Manju from Umai Do Japanese Sweets, a bakery in Seattle, Wash.
Melisa Goh NPR

Originally published on Wed July 25, 2012 7:04 am

Manju (MAHN-jew) are Japanese dough buns — often sweet — made from pounded rice flour dough and flavored fillings. In Japanese culture, a box of manju is what you'd take to someone's house on a special occasion, like Children's Day. Or you might simply snack on it with a cup of tea. But manju have to be eaten fresh, and they're pretty labor intensive, so nowadays, they can be hard to find.

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Author Interviews
4:47 am
Sat July 7, 2012

Abraham Lincoln 'Impeached.' Wait, What?

Hulton Archive Getty Images

Originally published on Sat July 7, 2012 6:57 am

Abraham Lincoln is not just America's greatest president. To many, his very face is an emblem of America: honest, homespun, strong and sad, haunted, brooding and humorous.

So where does some famous Yale Law School professor get off writing a novel in which President Lincoln is accused of subverting the Constitution?

In Stephen Carter's new novel, The Impeachment of Abraham Lincoln, the man we know as the Great Emancipator imprisons critics, invokes martial law, suspends the writ of habeus corpus, and throttles the press — all to win the Civil War.

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Author Interviews
4:33 am
Sat July 7, 2012

'After Murder': Learning To Live After You've Killed

Jesse Reed was convicted of first-degree murder in 1985. He was sentenced to 27 years to life. Now on parole, Reed counsels incarcerated young men through a program run by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
Elisabeth Fall Life After Murder

Originally published on Sat July 7, 2012 6:57 am

Can a murderer ever be redeemed? That's the question journalist Nancy Mullane takes on in her new book, Life After Murder: Five Men in Search of Redemption. Over the past few years, Mullane has made dozens of trips to California's San Quentin prison to interview men locked up for committing the most heinous crimes.

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The Picture Show
4:10 am
Sat July 7, 2012

Portraits: Texas Ranchers Remember An Epic Drought

Eugene "Boob" Kelton, 80, is an Upton County rancher and brother of writer Elmer Kelton.
Michael O'Brien

"Between 1950 and 1960," according to NPR's John Burnett, Texas "lost nearly 100,000 farms and ranches," and rural residents who had made up more than a third of the population dwindled to just a quarter of the population.

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Fresh Air Weekend
12:08 am
Sat July 7, 2012

Fresh Air Weekend: Summer Cooking From Top Chefs

Bridget Lancaster and Jack Bishop prepare a traditional summer barbecue, as imagined by WHYY's artist-in-residence, Tony Auth.
Tony Auth

Originally published on Sat July 7, 2012 9:57 am

Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors, and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:


Summer Cooking Tips From 'America's Test Kitchen': Jack Bishop and Bridget Lancaster highlight some of their favorite grilling techniques and summer recipes — everything from meats to vegetables to, yes, even desserts.

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Author Interviews
12:03 am
Sat July 7, 2012

Remembering George Szell, Powerhouse Conductor

Originally published on Sat July 7, 2012 3:42 pm

Michael Charry was the "sorcerer's apprentice" to celebrated 20th-century conductor George Szell. For the last decade of Szell's tenure at the Cleveland Orchestra, Charry was an assistant conductor.

Now, Charry has captured the power of Szell's artistry — as well as his tempestuous personality — in a new biography called George Szell: A Life of Music.

Charry vividly recalls Szell testing him on how many notes he could find in a chord when he first auditioned for the job.

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Movies
3:29 pm
Fri July 6, 2012

Sarah Polley: A Long Look At What We Feel Is Missing

Seth Rogen and Michelle Williams as a husband and wife whose marriage becomes strained in Take This Waltz, the latest film from Canadian director Sarah Polley.
Magnolia Pictures

Originally published on Tue July 10, 2012 2:46 pm

Sarah Polley started acting when she was 4, in her native Canada. She earned critical acclaim for her performance as a teenage girl injured in a school bus crash in Atom Egoyan's film The Sweet Hereafter.

Polley made her debut as a director with the subtle and devastating film Away from Her — a portrait of a marriage later in life, as the wife (Julie Christie) is pulled away by Alzheimer's disease.

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Arts
3:16 pm
Fri July 6, 2012

Eddy Harrison

Music Spotlight 105; Eddy Harrison

Arts
3:15 pm
Fri July 6, 2012

The Hard Road Trio

Music Spotlight 104; The Hard Road Trio

Arts
3:11 pm
Fri July 6, 2012

Sign of the Shines

Music Spotlight-103; Sign of the Shines

Arts
3:09 pm
Fri July 6, 2012

Chris Baker

Music Spotlight-102; Chris Baker

Arts
3:07 pm
Fri July 6, 2012

Randy Granger

Music Spotlight-101; Randy Granger

Author Interviews
1:51 pm
Fri July 6, 2012

Science, The Supernatural Key To 'Night's' Alchemy

Originally published on Tue July 10, 2012 2:46 pm

Deborah Harkness is not only an enormously successful novelist who writes about trendy things like vampires. She's also a respected historian of science — a professor at the University of Southern California — and a wine expert.

In fact there's a lot of wine appreciation in Harkness' breakthrough novel, A Discovery of Witches. Her academic work involves the study of alchemy — the transformation of matter. She says wine is like alchemy, too.

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Opinion
1:13 pm
Fri July 6, 2012

Wish You Were Here: City Kayaking In Seattle

The view of Seattle from Lake Union.
Razvan Orendovici

Originally published on Thu July 19, 2012 2:14 pm

Novelist Jess Walter's most recent novel is Beautiful Ruins.

At dawn, the sun curls across the lake's placid surface like a twist of lemon on a gin martini. Easing into my kayak on this glacier-cut, 12,000-year-old lake, I feel as I always do on its water: alone in the world.

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Monkey See
10:20 am
Fri July 6, 2012

Sex, Violence, And Kickstarter: Rediscovering An Exploitation Pioneer

A still from The Ecstasies of Women, one of three films credited to Herschell Gordon Lewis that are being restored by Process Blue.
Process Blue

Herschell Gordon Lewis is cheerfully ambivalent about his place in film history. "What's really puzzling: if you go to a legitimate distributor such as Netflix, Netflix has a number of my movies," says Lewis from his home in Florida. "And again, that's a very sad commentary on what's going on in the world of motion pictures — but I'm not about to object to it."

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