Arts/Life

Book Reviews
5:03 am
Thu May 31, 2012

'Me The People': A Less Than Perfect Parody

At the beginning of Me the People: One Man's Selfless Quest to Rewrite the Constitution of the United States of America, Kevin Bleyer calls our founding document "a God-sanctioned, fully realized, blessed, immutable, rock-solid, entirely glorified and purely calcified ... piece of [censored]." And despite what our current batch of lawmakers might have you believe, he's not alone in that opinion.

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Tina Brown's Must-Reads
1:27 am
Thu May 31, 2012

Tina Brown's Must Reads: The Queen's Jubilee

Queen Elizabeth II arrives for an event with The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, 5th Battalion, The Royal Regiment of Scotland, in London on Wednesday.
AFP AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu May 31, 2012 4:18 pm

Tina Brown, editor of The Daily Beast and Newsweek, tells us what she's been reading in a feature that Morning Edition likes to call "Word of Mouth." This month, Brown shares reading recommendations on Queen Elizabeth II and the royal family. The Diamond Jubilee takes place over the weekend, marking 60 years of the queen's reign in Britain.

A Queen At 25

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PG-13: Risky Reads
4:19 pm
Wed May 30, 2012

Growing Up And Grasping Gone With The Wind

In mourning: Scarlett broods while Rhett Butler (Clark Gable) woos.
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu May 31, 2012 3:03 pm

Jesmyn Ward's novel Salvage the Bones was the 2011 winner of the National Book Award for Fiction.

When I was 13 I went to a small, mostly white, Episcopalian, junior high school.

Much of my free time was spent lurking in the library. I'd transferred from a more diverse public school, and as a working-class black kid, I felt out of place.

That's about the time I pulled Gone With the Wind from the library shelf.

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PG-13: Risky Reads
4:18 pm
Wed May 30, 2012

Ready For Romance: Reading Gone With The Wind

Margaret Mitchell's novel Gone With the Wind was published 75 years ago this month. A 1936 promotional poster for the book shows heroine Scarlett O'Hara running through the streets as Atlanta burns.
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri June 1, 2012 11:14 am

Jodi Picoult's latest novel is Between the Lines.

One of my first childhood memories is of the moment I got my own library card, so it's clear that I grew up in a family of readers. I always had a book in my hand, and as I grew into my preteen years I began to veer away from the All-Of-A-Kind Family series to more modern Judy Blume novels, whose heroines held a mirror up to my own life. You can imagine my shock, then, when one day I came home from the library with Forever by Judy Blume — and was told by my mother that I wasn't allowed to read it.

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New In Paperback
1:29 pm
Wed May 30, 2012

New In Paperback May 28-June 3

Fiction and nonfiction releases from Daniel Orozco, Donald Rumsfeld, Jim Axelrod and Simon Kuper.

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

Commentary
10:00 am
Wed May 30, 2012

The Word 'Hopefully' Is Here To Stay, Hopefully

The word "hopefully" has been used in thousands of NPR stories.
Stephanie d'Otreppe/NPR

Originally published on Wed May 30, 2012 1:52 pm

Geoff Nunberg, the linguist contributor on NPR's Fresh Air, is the author of the book The Years of Talking Dangerously.

There was something anticlimactic to the news that the AP Stylebook will no longer be objecting to the use of "hopefully" as a floating sentence adverb, as in, "Hopefully, the Giants will win the division." It was like seeing an obituary for someone you assumed must have died around the time that Hootenanny went off the air.

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Book Reviews
5:03 am
Wed May 30, 2012

Pioneering Feminist Mixes It Up With 'Menage'

Alix Kates Shulman is the author of books including Memoirs of an Ex-Prom Queen and To Love What Is.
Marion Ettling

Originally published on Wed May 30, 2012 6:18 am

Zoltan Barbu is a once-exalted author now exiled in Los Angles. He wears capes, seduces actresses in Jacuzzis and hasn't produced anything in decades. If it sounds cliche, that is the point. In Ménage, her first novel in 25 years, the feminist writer Alix Kates Shulman has given us a modern parable: caricatured characters interacting and standing in for real-world archetypes. Zoltan, predictably enough, is her catalyst.

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Kitchen Window
4:27 pm
Tue May 29, 2012

Picnics That Can Make It To The Top Of The Mountain

Picnic foods that were made to move: (clockwise from left) peanuty noodles, rice with pigeon peas, chocolate cookies and kale with peaches and feta.
Deena Prichep for NPR

What is it about eating a meal outside that just makes everything seem wonderful in the world? I'm smitten with alfresco dining, hungering for the open-air charms of rooftop restaurants (less common than you'd think here in Portland, Ore.) and practically camping out at the table on my back porch (or, as it's become known, "the satellite office") for the bulk of the summer. But my favorite summertime dining experience of all is the humble picnic.

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Wait Wait ... Don't Tell Me!
9:59 am
Tue May 29, 2012

Sandwich Monday Memorial Day Picnic Dispatch: Piñata Cookies

The secret within.
Adam Marks

Barbecue is not only delicious, it's magnanimous. So even though it's supposed to be the star of the Memorial Day picnic, sometimes it lets the new guy have the spotlight. Such was the situation when Friend of Sandwich Monday Adam showed up with Piñata Cookies: cookies with a surprise inside. Here's a recipe.

Ian: The cookies are nice and moist. But it's nice to know if they weren't, we could bring in an 8-year-old's birthday party to beat them open with bats.

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Monkey See
9:28 am
Tue May 29, 2012

'Mad Men': Ruminations On The Buying And Selling Of Something Beautiful

Joan (Christina Hendricks) had a tough week on Mad Men.
Jordin Althaus AMC

Originally published on Tue May 29, 2012 10:15 am

It probably speaks to the complexity of Mad Men that the same episode can be a highlight of the series for some and a lowlight for others. Sunday night's episode, "The Other Woman," instantly became a favorite of a lot of observers and writers, but for me, it was a rarity on Mad Men: a serious and profound misstep.

I would hope it's obvious that if you haven't seen Sunday's episode and plan to watch it, you should stop reading.

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Movie Interviews
9:13 am
Tue May 29, 2012

Wes Anderson, Creating A Singular 'Kingdom'

Wes Anderson's Moonrise Kingdom opened the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. He received Academy Award nominations for The Royal Tenenbaums and Fantastic Mr. Fox.
Niko Tavernise Focus Features

Originally published on Wed February 20, 2013 10:58 am

Director Wes Anderson has many credits to his name — The Royal Tenenbaums, The Darjeeling Limited, Bottle Rocket and Fantastic Mr. Fox among them — but Moonrise Kingdom is his first film to open the prestigious Cannes Film Festival.

Starring Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton, Bruce Willis and Edward Norton, the quirky independent picture tells the story of a 12-year-old girl and boy who fall in love and then make a pact to run off into the woods together.

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Author Interviews
1:05 am
Tue May 29, 2012

The First Lady Cultivates 'American Grown' Gardening

First lady Michelle Obama tends to the presidential garden during the third annual White House kitchen garden fall harvest in October 2011. The last vegetable garden planted at the White House was Eleanor Roosevelt's victory garden.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

Originally published on Tue May 29, 2012 2:34 am

One of the first things Michelle Obama did as first lady was to dig up part of the beautifully manicured South Lawn of the White House and plant a vegetable garden. The garden was just one of Obama's many efforts to encourage Americans to eat nutritious food and live healthier lives. Her latest project, a book called American Grown, is a diary of that garden through the seasons and a portrait of gardening in America, past and present.

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Movies
12:00 pm
Mon May 28, 2012

A Selective Preview Of Summer Movies

Pixar's Brave follows the independent and courageous Merida (voice by Kelly Macdonald).
Pixar

Originally published on Mon June 4, 2012 1:01 pm

Forget the calendar. With The Avengers, Battleship, and Men In Black already battling aliens at the multiplex, Hollywood's summer has arguably been under way for weeks.

No doubt, the tent-pole blockbusters — Ridley Scott's Prometheus, The Amazing Spider-Man, The Bourne Legacy, and the rest — will offer plenty of entertainment value, but there are a couple of hardy, resourceful little girls you might want to attend to, too.

Beasts of the Southern Wild (June 27)

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You Must Read This
4:03 am
Mon May 28, 2012

Recalling The Past: The Intimate Objects Of Childhood

Harvard University Press

Originally published on Tue May 29, 2012 6:08 am

Jeffrey Lewis is the author of Berlin Cantata.

Some authors have snob appeal.

Like many people, I long wanted to read, or at least be able to say that I had read, Walter Benjamin, widely acclaimed as one of the geniuses of 20th century literature. But I was daunted by the fact that his most celebrated work, The Arcades Project, is difficult, long and surrounded by dense clouds of academia, mystifying would-be readers in Europe and America.

I became un-daunted, and un-snobbed, when I discovered his Berlin Childhood around 1900.

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Movies
3:49 am
Mon May 28, 2012

NFL Players Learn The Drills To Take On Tinseltown

At the 2012 Pro Hollywood Boot Camp in Los Angeles, former Green Bay Packers running back Ahman Green (left) and free agent fullback Ovie Mughelli hang out on the back lot at Universal Studios.
Johnny Vy NFL Network

Originally published on Mon May 28, 2012 5:26 am

Movie sets are usually sort of surreal — all that make-believe and artifice wrapped in the mechanics of a high-stakes industry. But this particular set, in the Universal Studios back lot, is even weirder. It was built for Westerns, with an old-timey saloon and hitching posts.

Right now, it's overrun by professional football players dressed up as cowboys or working as crew.

"Jackson, you're on the boom!" someone shouts.

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Author Interviews
3:04 pm
Sun May 27, 2012

A Portrait Of The Cartoonist And Her Mother

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Originally published on Sun May 27, 2012 4:56 pm

Cartoonist Alison Bechdel's first memoir came out in 2006. Called Fun Home, it dug deep into her complicated relationship with her father, a closeted gay man who poured his emotional energy into redecorating their Victorian Gothic home. He died, possibly a suicide, shortly after Bechdel herself came out as a lesbian in college.

That's a lot of information to take in, but it's an essential backdrop for Bechdel's new book, Are You My Mother? It's a searching, and at times visceral, portrait of Bechdel and her mother — a relationship that's still evolving.

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Pop Culture
12:09 pm
Sun May 27, 2012

A Rapper Ruined In An Online Firestorm

Tablo, also known as Dan Lee, really did earn both a bachelor's and a master's degree from Stanford — in less than four years.
Hee Chul Kim WireImage

Originally published on Mon May 28, 2012 8:30 am

Dan Lee goes by the name Tablo. He's a rapper and one of Korea's most famous artists. He's also been at the center of a media storm, but not because of his music. His is a story of pop-culture paranoia and conspiracy.

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Author Interviews
6:18 am
Sun May 27, 2012

'Finding Ultra': The Ultimate Athletic Test

Originally published on Sun May 27, 2012 6:55 am

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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Sunday Puzzle
8:03 pm
Sat May 26, 2012

Just Give It A Shot In The Dark

NPR Graphic

Originally published on Tue May 29, 2012 5:16 pm

On-Air Challenge: Every answer is a phrase in the form "___ in the ___." You'll be given rhymes for the first and last words, and you give the phrases.

Last Week's Challenge From Listener Peter Persoff of Piedmont, Calif.: Think of a common three-letter word and five-letter word that together consist of eight different letters of the alphabet. Put the same pair of letters in front of each of these words, and you will have the present and past-tense forms of the same verb. What words are these?

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Movies
3:02 pm
Sat May 26, 2012

The Movie Peter Berg's 'Seen A Million Times'

Jack Nicholson and Danny Devito in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975).
United Artists/Fantasy Films

Originally published on Sun June 24, 2012 11:28 am

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
3:02 pm
Sat May 26, 2012

Sketching The Family Tree, Discovering His Family's History

Lawrence Jackson's previous books include The Indignant Generation and Ralph Ellison. He is a professor of English and African-American studies at Emory University.
Rahmeek Rasul University of Chicago Press

Originally published on Sat May 26, 2012 4:44 pm

Lawrence Jackson went through most of his life not knowing much about his family history. That didn't bother him until he had a child and wanted to share stories about his ancestors.

So he began a search, armed with only early boyhood memories, for his late grandfather's old home by the railroad tracks in Blairs, Va. Jackson describes his journey in a new book, My Father's Name: A Black Virginia Family after the Civil War.

Discoveries

Shortly after Jackson began a search for his roots, he found out his great-grandfather was a slave.

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Author Interviews
5:49 am
Sat May 26, 2012

Author's Tweets Give New Meaning To Short Fiction

Originally published on Sat May 26, 2012 8:52 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Thursday night, dispatches from a glum future began to appear on the Twitter account of The New Yorker magazine's fiction department - a science fiction story, told sentence by sentence, tweet by tweet, a story about Jennifer Egan titled "Black Box." It features a character from her 2010 novel "A Visit from the Goon Squad" which won the Pulitzer Prize.

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The Salt
5:18 am
Sat May 26, 2012

Clean Your Grill, And Other Hot Holiday Tips From Food Network's Alton Brown

Food science guy Alton Brown says the last thing you want to see is flames touching food on the grill.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Sat May 26, 2012 1:40 pm

If there's one grilling tip to remember this Memorial Day weekend, it should be this: Flame is bad.

"Flame does nasty things to food," food historian and science guy Alton Brown tells NPR's Scott Simon in the kick-off segment of Weekend Edition's "Taste of Summer" series.

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Author Interviews
4:18 am
Sat May 26, 2012

'Istanbul': A Twisted Tale Of Foreign Espionage

Atria Books

Originally published on Sat May 26, 2012 8:52 am

The big war is over, and the Cold War has just begun. Leon Bauer, an American tobacco man, wonders how to fit into this new world.

Bauer and his wife, Anna, a German Jew, made it to Istanbul just before World War II began. With his U.S. passport and fluency in German and Turkish, the tobacco man became useful to allied intelligence.

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Fresh Air Weekend
11:58 pm
Fri May 25, 2012

Fresh Air Weekend: David Alan Grier, Sacha Baron Cohen

In Porgy and Bess, David Alan Grier plays the drug dealer Sporting Life, a role closely associated with Sammy Davis Jr. and Cab Calloway.
Courtesy of the American Repertory Theater

Originally published on Sat May 26, 2012 9:02 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:


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Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!
3:51 pm
Fri May 25, 2012

Folk Singer Bonnie 'Prince' Billy Plays Not My Job

Jesse Fischler Courtesy of the artist

Will Oldham is among the most celebrated singer-songwriters in the country, but chances are you haven't heard of him. That's because he doesn't record under his own name, but under a series of pseudonyms — his latest, and most well known, is Bonnie "Prince" Billy.

Oldham sings mostly sad songs, with a truly tragic song thrown in every now and again for good measure. And we were thinking: Who's the singer he's least like? We settled on Doris Day. We'll ask Oldham three questions about the sweet-faced, sweet-voiced singer of the '50s and '60s.

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PG-13: Risky Reads
2:15 pm
Fri May 25, 2012

The End Is Near, And It's No Walk 'On The Beach'

Originally published on Wed June 6, 2012 5:29 pm

Myla Goldberg's books include The False Friend and Bee Season.

Growing up, I had pretty much the same interests as any other early '80s kid: I loved The Muppets and Schoolhouse Rock, and I was obsessed with mutually assured nuclear destruction.

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Monkey See
2:03 pm
Fri May 25, 2012

'Route 66': A Country-Crisscrossing Series Comes To Home Video

Shout! Factory

Originally published on Fri May 25, 2012 3:24 pm

When you've seen a lot of movies where Toronto plays the part of New York, you come to appreciate location shooting. And on today's All Things Considered, you'll hear from the star of one of television's more ambitious series when it comes to location shooting: Route 66, which followed two guys around the country in a cool Corvette as they looked for a place to settle.

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The Salt
1:44 pm
Fri May 25, 2012

The Beverages That Beguile Us, Through A Whole New Lens

Beer
William LeGoullon

What happens when you give an artist who is also a former bartender access to a camera mounted with a microscope?

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Monkey See
1:28 pm
Fri May 25, 2012

Cannes Diary: Ticket Tactics, Plus A Surprise Great Performance

Robert Pattinson as Eric Packer in Cosmopolis.
Festival de Cannes

Originally published on Fri May 25, 2012 2:05 pm

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