The president laughed and stuck the pea in his nose again. The first time he had done it, he had gotten such a big laugh that he simply had to do it again. After all, it was Christmas Eve! No war, no unemployment. Just a little dinnertime fun for the leader of the Free World and his family.
Photographer Edward Curtis started off his career at the tail end of the 19th century, making portraits of Seattle's wealthiest citizens. But a preoccupation with Native Americans and a chance encounter on a mountaintop triggered an idea: Curtis decided to chronicle the experience of the vanishing tribes — all of them. It was an unbelievably ambitious project that would define Curtis, his work and his legacy.
Housesitting is a delicate chore. It involves inhabiting someone else's home — their personal space, watching over their stuff — and sticking to the Boy Scouts' creed to leave no trace. That's pretty much the opposite of what happens in Will Wiles' debut novel, Care of Wooden Floors. It's the story of an already strained friendship pushed to the breaking point by a housesitting favor gone terribly, terribly wrong.
His swearing-in had been sworn, his speech given, the parade finished. At the Inaugural Balls, Bill Taft had danced and eaten. He had listened to the jokes of senators and newspapermen. Now it was all over and there was one thing left to do. He would have a bath.
The bath was an inviting sight: The white tub sparkled, fingers of steam rose from the water.
His attendant Jim asked, "Do you need anything, Mr. President?"
Among the 23 recipients of the MacArthur "genius" grants this past week: an economist, a mathematician, a photographer, a neuroscientist, and a Boston-based stringed instrument bow maker.
Benoit Rolland acknowledges that the violin reigns supreme as the star of the strings, capable of fetching millions of dollars at auction. But what about the bow? "A violin with no bow is not a violin, that's clear," says Rolland.
When we get an early glimpse of Harry Copeland, he's falling in love in an instant, with a girl he sees on the Staten Island Ferry. Her hair "trapped the sun and seemed to radiate light," he writes, "and with New York in 1947, when it brimmed with color, light, drama and a babble of voices that reminded him of the world he fought to save as a paratrooper in World War II."
Multi-platinum musician, producer, activist and aspiring politician Wyclef Jean's new memoir Purpose: An Immigrant's Story provides a candid insight into his life and career. In an interview airing on Monday's Tell Me More, he sits down with host Michel Martin to discuss his family, his music and his hopes for Haiti. Jean also talks about his rocky romantic past with Lauryn Hill, how it inspired his music, and how it eventually broke up the group that made them both stars, The Fugees.
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Coming up, we will hear from musician, activist and now author Wyclef Jean. He's out with a new memoir and we'll hear from him about his career and very interesting life story, and yes, he answers questions that people have about relationships in his life. That's coming up later in the program.
Writer Thomas Cobb may be best known for his novel "Crazy Heart," it went on to become an acclaimed movie starring Jeff Bridges as a country music singer who's seen far better days. Now Cobb is out with a new novel called "With Blood in Their Eyes." Our reviewer Alan Cheuse says it's a Western worth reading.
In The Joy of X: A Guided Tour of Math, from One to Infinity, mathematician Steven Strogatz provides an entertaining refresher course in math, starting with the most elementary ideas, such as counting, and finishing with mind-bending theories of infinity--including the idea that some infinities can be bigger than others.
A new study from the Kauffman Foundation shows that the number of immigrant entrepreneurs in the United States has fallen slightly. But according to Vivek Wadhwa, an author of the study, the drop is especially steep in Silicon Valley, long a magnet for the brightest and most ambitious minds from around the world.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
And I'm Melissa Block. Today, a long legal battle came to an end. On one side, Google; on the other, book publishers. The two have reached an agreement to resolve a lawsuit that's dragged on for seven years. But this does not end Google's legal trouble, as it tries to digitize the world's books. An even more important lawsuit remains unresolved - with thousands of authors of those books that Google has scanned. NPR's Laura Sydell reports.
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."
The Oxford English Dictionary needs your help. Do you know where words like disco, baked Alaska or email come from? For years the widely regarded authority in the English language has asked the public for help tracking down the history of words and phrases. Yet as our lexicon evolves, the mission grows even tougher. A new initiative called OED Appeals hopes to solve that problem by using that same crowdsourcing approach online.
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.
Originally published on Thu October 4, 2012 8:48 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.
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."