Arts/Life

NPR's Backseat Book Club
12:48 pm
Tue April 24, 2012

May Backseat Book Club Pick: 'Heart Of A Samurai'

cover detail

Originally published on Thu May 31, 2012 2:27 pm

Our May book takes us on the most action-packed adventure yet for NPR's Backseat Book Club. In the Newbery Honor-winning Heart of a Samurai by Margi Preus, we meet 14-year-old Manjiro, a Japanese boy who works on a fishing boat. Manjiro looks out across the sea and wonders what lies there. "Barbarians live there," he's told.

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The Salt
10:59 am
Tue April 24, 2012

Poll: Are Your Friends Bombarding You With 'Food Porn'?

NPR's Becky Lettenberger freely admits she is guilty of showering her friends with her food photos.
Becky Lettenberger NPR

Originally published on Wed April 25, 2012 8:22 am

Is the "culinary paparazzi" out of control? That's the message of a parody video by musical comedians The Key of Awesome.

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Monkey See
10:53 am
Tue April 24, 2012

'...Baby One More Time' One More Time

A screencap from the Britney Spears video, "...Baby One More Time."

Originally published on Tue April 24, 2012 2:09 pm

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Arts & Life
9:41 am
Tue April 24, 2012

Poker Player's Poem Offers A Winning Hand

As part of Tell Me More's series for National Poetry Month, host Michel Martin shares a poetic tweet from poet and poker player Joel Dias-Porter. Listeners are invited to tweet original poems of 140 characters or less to #TMMPoetry.

Author Interviews
9:28 am
Tue April 24, 2012

Anna Quindlen: Over 50, And Having 'Plenty Of Cake'

Anna Quindlen is a Pulitzer Prize-winning writer whose new memoir, Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake, explores her past, present and future.
Courtesy of the author

Originally published on Tue April 24, 2012 10:44 am

As a little girl, Anna Quindlen wasn't afraid of a whole lot. She frequently got into trouble and occasionally shot off her mouth. But as she grew older, the Pulitzer Prize-winning writer became what she calls a "girl imitation."

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Book Reviews
9:28 am
Tue April 24, 2012

'Death And The Penguin' Captures Post-Soviet Reality

Originally published on Mon January 27, 2014 9:32 am

When you hear the words "Russian novel," you probably picture something as big and heavy as an anvil. Yet ever since the fall of communism, we've seen the ascent of Russian novelists who are shorter-winded and jauntier.

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Poetry
6:48 am
Tue April 24, 2012

Press-Play Poetry: 'Failing And Flying'

Alexander Chernyakov iStockphoto

Originally published on Mon July 16, 2012 9:27 am

Some poetry is meant to be heard as well as read. Press-Play Poetry is an occasional series that celebrates the power of the voice to bring lines on a page to life.

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

Book Reviews
5:03 am
Tue April 24, 2012

'Lots Of Candles': Growing Older Ecstatically

iStockPhoto.com

Originally published on Tue April 24, 2012 12:09 pm

Before mommy blogs and the now ubiquitous parenting columns about the life-work balance, there was "Life in the Thirties," Anna Quindlen's must-read New York Times column weighing in on everything from baby gear and baby sitters to flannel nightgowns and abortion. When Quindlen left newspaper journalism (and her Pulitzer Prize-winning "Public and Private" op-ed column, which succeeded "Life in the Thirties") to become a full-time novelist in 1995, many of her readers felt as if a close friend had suddenly stopped calling.

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Author Interviews
1:27 am
Tue April 24, 2012

A Rival For Pigeon In Willems' New 'Duckling'

Author Mo Willems says the character of Pigeon first appeared in the margins of other projects, and demanded to be written about.
Marty Umans

Originally published on Tue April 24, 2012 11:51 am

For a certain set of readers, one need only say the word "pigeon" to set off a frenzied outburst of delight. Pigeon is the star of a series of best-selling children's books, including The Pigeon Finds a Hotdog! and Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! He's not much more than a stick figure with two circles for eyes, but he can still get huffy and display all the melodrama of a 4-year-old.

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Arts & Life
9:47 am
Mon April 23, 2012

Hip Hop Author Freestyles In Haiku

Originally published on Mon April 23, 2012 10:04 am

As part of Tell Me More's series for National Poetry Month, host Michel Martin shares a poetic tweet, in the form of a haiku, from Scott Heath. He's a professor of African-American literature and black pop culture. Listeners are invited to tweet original poems of 140 characters or less to #TMMPoetry.

Movie Interviews
9:20 am
Mon April 23, 2012

Jack Black: On Music, Mayhem And Murder

In Bernie, Jack Black plays a local mortician who murders his live-in companion after she won't stop nagging him. The movie is based on a true story.
Deana Newcomb Wind Dancer Films

Originally published on Mon April 23, 2012 9:59 am

Actor Jack Black is best known for his comedic performances in films like Nacho Libre and School of Rock. In his latest film, Bernie, Black goes to a darker place: He plays a serious small-town funeral director who uncharacteristically murders his live-in companion, a wealthy widow played by Shirley MacLaine.

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Monkey See
8:31 am
Mon April 23, 2012

'Mad Men': Hallucinations And Love Songs Are Often Mistaken For One And The Same

Jane Sterling (Peyton List) and Roger Sterling (John Slattery) made progress, in a way, on Sunday night's Mad Men.
Jordin Althaus AMC

Sunday night's Mad Men took 20 minutes or so to reveal its structure. We watched Peggy Olson fight with her boyfriend, flame out at the Heinz presentation, take herself to the movies, smoke a joint with a stranger, hook up with him (after a fashion) in the dark, return to the office, hear the sad story of Michael Ginsburg, and then meet up with her boyfriend again. Only a mysterious, frantic phone call from Don suggested that there were pieces missing.

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You Must Read This
5:03 am
Mon April 23, 2012

Beyond The 'Blonde': A Look At Marilyn's Inner Life

Gabriel Bouys AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 9, 2012 5:19 pm

Manuel Munoz's first novel is What You See in the Dark.

Think Julianne Moore's take on Sarah Palin, or Meryl Streep's depiction of Margaret Thatcher.

Actors in biopics have a major leg up on writers when it comes to developing character. Even casual viewers can judge the performance a success if it mimics what we remember of the public persona.

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Author Interviews
1:23 am
Mon April 23, 2012

Rodney King Comes To Grips With 'The Riot Within'

After suffering from injuries from the beating and struggling publicly with alcoholism, today Rodney King is contented, sober and engaged — to Cynthia Kelley, who served on the jury of King's civil trial against the city.
Morgan St. John

Originally published on Mon April 23, 2012 9:30 am

With a helicopter buzzing overhead, the videotape of Rodney King's encounter with police is so famous, you could say he was beaten into American history: The image of him writhing in pain as several Los Angeles police officers repeatedly beat, kicked and tasered him is, by now, world-famous — and synonymous with abuse of power.

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Author Interviews
1:22 am
Mon April 23, 2012

The Artistry Of 'Children's Picturebooks' Revealed

Originally published on Mon April 23, 2012 8:15 am

Children's books seem simple, but good ones are deceptively complicated to write and illustrate.

"Traditionally illustrated books are books where the text makes sense on its own. It doesn't necessarily need words," writer Martin Salisbury tells NPR's Renee Montagne, whereas with picture books, neither the text nor the images stand separately — they need each other.

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Author Interviews
12:21 pm
Sun April 22, 2012

India: A Country In The Midst Of Change

Riverhead Books

Originally published on Sun April 22, 2012 8:23 pm

Akash Kapur is the son of an Indian father and an American mother. In 2003, after working professionally in New York City for more than a decade, he decided to return to India. As he writes in his book, India Becoming: A Portrait of Life in Modern India, he arrived in a place he hardly recognized.

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Movies
5:33 am
Sun April 22, 2012

That's Not CGI: At Monsterpalooza, Monsters Are Real

Traditional monster makeup helped transform actor Chris Sarandon in the 1985 version of Fright Night.
Columbia Pictures/Photofest

Originally published on Sun April 22, 2012 9:43 am

Summer is coming, and with it comes big summer movies, stuffed full of computer-created aliens, monsters and giant explosions. Not all filmmakers want to use CGI, however, and many of them gathered to celebrate the craft of "practical effects" at a recent convention called Monsterpalooza in Burbank, Calif.

Sara Karloff is the daughter of one of the most famous movie monsters of all time: Boris Karloff. She says she never saw her father's Frankenstein makeup in person. "I'm awfully glad I didn't see him in those makeups," she says. "I would have probably been a damaged child."

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Author Interviews
4:34 am
Sun April 22, 2012

Our Roaring 20s: 'The Defining Decade'

iStock Photo

Originally published on Sun April 22, 2012 9:43 am

It's almost that time of year again, when a new crop of 20-something college graduates prepares to take those first steps into the working world.

In her new book, The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter — And How to Make the Most of Them Now, University of Virginia clinical psychologist Meg Jay argues that those first years of adulthood are the most important time in a young person's life.

Jay recently joined NPR's Rachel Martin to discuss why the 20s are such a crucial age for both college grads and non-college grads.

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Monkey See
4:31 am
Sun April 22, 2012

In 'Veep,' Julia Louis-Dreyfus Plays A 'Political Animal' With Bite

Julia Louis-Dreyfus plays the frustrated vice president in the new HBO comedy, Veep.
Bill Gray HBO

Originally published on Mon April 23, 2012 7:42 am

Julia Louis-Dreyfus knows it must seem like she's "arrived," as NPR's Rachel Martin says during their discussion on Sunday's Weekend Edition. She's well-known from Seinfeld, of course, but she's also been on Saturday Night Live, and for five seasons held down her own CBS sitcom, The New Adventures Of Old Christine. Her new HBO comedy, Veep, in which she plays the vice president to an unseen and unknown president, premieres Sunday night.

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Author Interviews
4:03 am
Sun April 22, 2012

Wartime Translator Explores Her 'Father's Country'

Originally published on Sun April 22, 2012 9:43 am

As an Afghan-American woman, Saima Wahab straddles two worlds — disparate places that have been brought together over the past decade by war.

Wahab has literally mediated those two worlds. As a Pashto translator and cultural adviser for the U.S. military in Afghanistan, she often found herself standing between American soldiers and Afghan civilians.

In her new memoir, In My Father's Country: An Afghan Woman Defies Her Fate, Wahab writes about leaving Afghanistan as a young girl, growing up in the United States and later returning to her birth country.

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Movie Interviews
4:03 am
Sun April 22, 2012

Jason Segel: Creating Comedy With The Tone Of Life

In The Five-Year Engagement, which Jason Segel co-wrote, he plays Tom, the devoted fiance to Violet (Emily Blunt), who agrees to postpone the wedding day as life continues to throw obstacles their way.
Universal Pictures

Originally published on Sun April 22, 2012 11:25 am

More and more, audiences are getting to know Jason Segel. After featured roles in Judd Apatow projects like Freaks and Geeks and Knocked Up, Segel has gone on to star in Forgetting Sarah Marshall and The Muppets -- both of which he wrote — and he also plays a lead on the hit sitcom How I Met Your Mother.

But even as Segel is an increasingly leading man, his characters don't exactly fit the leading-man mold. They're more beta than alpha males — tall but unassuming, likeable and understanding.

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Sunday Puzzle
10:03 pm
Sat April 21, 2012

A Puzzle Worthy Of Don Draper

NPR Graphic

Originally published on Sat April 28, 2012 2:23 pm

On-Air Challenge: You'll be given classic advertising slogans and catch phrases in which the letters of the last word are scrambled. First, unscramble the word. Then name the product or company that is the advertiser. For example, given "Get a piece of the cork," the answer would be "Get a piece of the rock," which is a slogan of the Prudential Insurance Company.

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Pop Culture
3:00 pm
Sat April 21, 2012

Pop Culture's 40-Year Itch

Transcript

GUY RAZ, HOST:

And if you're just joining us, this is WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Guy Raz. And we're going to talk about music, movies and culture now, and in particular, about something known as the 40-year rule. Adam Gopnik is with us now from New York. He's written about it for the latest issue of The New Yorker. Hello, Adam.

ADAM GOPNIK: Hey, Guy. How are you?

RAZ: I'm good. Let's explain this with a pop quiz, Adam. You know the answers. so don't give it away because this is for the listeners.

GOPNIK: All right.

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Author Interviews
3:00 pm
Sat April 21, 2012

'Jumped In': Love, Life And Violence In L.A. Gangs

Jorja Leap has spent time in crisis zones from Bosnia to New Orleans. As an international expert in crisis intervention, she never expected to end up doing most of her work in her own backyard.

Ten years ago, Leap returned to her hometown of Los Angeles to work with some of the toughest gangs around. A UCLA alumna with a Ph.D. in psychological anthropology, Leap works with outreach and intervention programs spanning Los Angeles' most gang-saturated territories.

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Monkey See
12:21 pm
Sat April 21, 2012

In 'Veep,' Washington Is Viewed With A Skeptical Eye

Julia Louis-Dreyfus and her staff, including Tony Hale and Anna Chlumsky, in Veep.
Bill Gray HBO

Originally published on Fri May 11, 2012 8:16 am

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Monkey See
9:35 am
Sat April 21, 2012

What Zac Efron's Beard Means For Men And Women In Hollywood

Zac Efron plays Logan, a former Marine with all kinds of feelings, in the new film The Lucky One.
Patti Perret Warner Brothers Pictures

Originally published on Mon April 23, 2012 7:13 am

This is the weekend they try to make Zac Efron a grown-up movie star.

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Author Interviews
4:25 am
Sat April 21, 2012

'Steinbeck In Vietnam': A Great Writer's Last Reports

Originally published on Sat April 21, 2012 8:46 am

The last piece of published writing from one of America's greatest writers was a series of letters he sent back from the front lines of war at the age of 64.

John Steinbeck's reports shocked readers and family so much that they've never been reprinted — until now.

Steinbeck won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1962 for a life's work writing about those who had been roughed up by history — most notably his Depression-era novels, Of Mice And Men and The Grapes of Wrath. Four years later, Steinbeck left for Vietnam to cover the war firsthand.

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Theater
4:25 am
Sat April 21, 2012

Blair Underwood On Stanley, Stella And 'Streetcar'

Stanley (Blair Underwood) and his sister-in-law, Blanche DuBois (Nicole Ari Parker), spar while Stanley's wife, Stella (Daphne Rubin-Vega), sits outside.
Ken Howard

Originally published on Sat April 21, 2012 8:46 am

There's a lot of juicy material for an actor in Tennessee Williams' landmark drama A Streetcar Named Desire. Sex, booze, class, betrayal — all set in the seething French Quarter of 1940s New Orleans.

A new Broadway revival has added another set of layers to the play: The multiracial production stars Blair Underwood in one of the most iconic roles in American theater — Stanley Kowalski.

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World
12:23 pm
Fri April 20, 2012

'Racist' Cake Episode Cuts The Wrong Way

Swedish culture minister Lena Adelson Liljeroth
Courtesy Asa Andersson

Originally published on Fri April 20, 2012 2:14 pm

When Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth, Sweden's culture minister, cut into a cake last Sunday, she had no idea the act would spark an international incident.

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Arts & Life
9:55 am
Fri April 20, 2012

Pennsylvania Poet Delves Into Metaphors, Myths

Originally published on Fri April 20, 2012 12:23 pm

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. We're going to head into the Barber Shop in just a few minutes. But first, the latest in our series Muses and Metaphor.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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