Arts

Book Reviews
11:55 am
Thu October 4, 2012

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

Riverhead Books

Originally published on Thu October 4, 2012 3:58 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.

Read more
Book Reviews
7:03 am
Thu October 4, 2012

A Mashup Of Mundane And Magical In 'Dragonslayer'

Courtesy of Harcourt

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.

Read more
Author Interviews
2:39 pm
Wed October 3, 2012

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

The Tobolowsky Files." href="/post/tobolowsky-actors-life-low-totem-pole" class="noexit lightbox">
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 10:37 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."

Read more
Commentary
1:28 pm
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 3:10 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.

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

Depression-Era Evil: Horror In A Haunted Land

Originally published on Tue January 8, 2013 2:19 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.

Read more
Book Reviews
7:03 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.

Read more
New In Paperback
7:03 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/.

Author Interviews
5:20 pm
Tue October 2, 2012

In 'House,' Erdrich Sets Revenge On A Reservation

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue October 2, 2012 6:14 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.

Read more
Author Interviews
11:40 am
Tue October 2, 2012

Stacy London: Dangerous To Call Style Superficial

Originally published on Wed October 3, 2012 9:55 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.

Read more
Deceptive Cadence
10:49 am
Tue October 2, 2012

Classical Lost And Found: Neglected Symphonies By A Great Dane

Vagn Holmboe is considered Denmark's finest composer of symphonies after Carl Nielsen.
Jesper Hom Dacapo records

Originally published on Thu October 11, 2012 1:07 pm

Most would agree that Vagn Holmboe (1909-1996) was Denmark's greatest symphonist after Carl Nielsen and Rued Langgaard. So it's something of an occasion that the three chamber symphonies from the latter half of his career finally see the light of day on this new release on the Dacapo label.

Without a wasted note, this is rigorously compact, sinewy music that grows on you with each listening. The composer's principle of thematic metamorphosis is evident throughout these world premiere recordings.

Read more
All Songs Considered Blog
8:03 am
Tue October 2, 2012

Song Premiere: Beck Remixes Philip Glass With 'NYC: 73-78'

Philip Glass (left) and Beck.
Courtesy of the artists

Originally published on Sat October 6, 2012 12:58 pm

The latest tease from this fall's upcoming collection of remixed Philip Glass tunes comes from Beck. The 20-minute song, "NYC: 73-78," includes snippets from more than 20 Glass songs, which Beck cut together and re-imagined.

Read more
Book Reviews
7:03 am
Tue October 2, 2012

Details Weigh Down The Drama In 'Live By Night'

William Morrow

Originally published on Tue October 2, 2012 11:28 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.

Read more
Books
3:21 am
Tue October 2, 2012

Boozy Birth Of The American Mafia In Lehane's Latest

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue October 2, 2012 1:08 pm

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?' "

Read more
Author Interviews
5:11 pm
Mon October 1, 2012

Housekeeping Tips From One Mercurial 'Mommy'

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Originally published on Mon October 1, 2012 6:20 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.

Read more
Education
12:07 pm
Mon October 1, 2012

How Teachers Can Avoid The October Blues

For many teachers, September brings grand plans for the new school year. October sees those plans fall under the weight of classroom challenges. Teacher Roxanna Elden writes about how young educators can survive and thrive in her book, See Me After Class: Advice for Teachers by Teachers, and she speaks with guest host Celeste Headlee.

Books
11:29 am
Mon October 1, 2012

Being 'Joseph Anton,' Rediscovering Salman Rushdie

Salman Rushdie is the author of The Satanic Verses, which inspired a fatwah calling for his death. His novel Midnight's Children has been adapted into a film that opens in the U.S. on Nov. 2.
Johannes Eisele AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue October 9, 2012 10:39 am

In the fall of 1989, I was walking down a London street when someone handed me a flier that asked, "Should Rushdie Die?" The following afternoon, I headed over to the Royal Albert Hall to hear that question answered by a renowned Islamic scholar.

Read more
PG-13: Risky Reads
6:03 am
Mon October 1, 2012

For Lois Lowry 'Brooklyn' Was Raw And Real

cover promo
cover promo

Originally published on Mon October 1, 2012 3:52 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.

Read more
Books
5:16 pm
Sun September 30, 2012

Three-Minute Fiction

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Sun September 30, 2012 7:11 pm

The judging process for Round 9 of Three-Minute Fiction is now under way. NPR's Bob Mondello reads an excerpt from one standout story, The Interview, written by Georgia Mierswa. You can read the story in its entirety below, and read more stories at www.npr.org/threeminutefiction.

Read more
Three-Minute Fiction
5:03 pm
Sun September 30, 2012

Interview

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu October 4, 2012 3:58 pm

Anne Royall was a professional, first and foremost — a point she had to keep reminding herself the morning she caught President John Quincy Adams swimming naked in the Potomac.

"Caught" might not be quite right, since she had planned it and followed him, waited in the woods while he disrobed and dove (rather gracefully for a man of politics) beneath the quicksilver surface. An onlooker might have found her pursuit romantic, the greenery lush about her, dappled with rosy light. But the widow Anne was sharp-tongued and ruthless and had been waiting for this a long time.

Read more
Author Interviews
3:51 pm
Sun September 30, 2012

From Tea To T-Shirts: The History Of U.S.-China Trade

Originally published on Mon October 1, 2012 5:25 pm

You probably don't give much thought to the phrase "Made in China" when you see it written on the bottom of your coffee mug, or on the tag of your T-shirt, but Americans have traded with China for hundreds of years.

In his new book, When America First Met China, Eric Jay Dolin takes us back to the beginning of the long and complicated trade relationship between the two countries.

Read more
Author Interviews
7:45 am
Sun September 30, 2012

How Humans Are Facilitating More Disease 'Spillover'

Originally published on Sun September 30, 2012 8:04 am

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

About 10 years ago, doctors in southern China started seeing a lot of patients with signs of what looked like a new illness.

DAVID QUAMMEN: It's like a very, very bad flu that gets people coughing and wheezing and with lung blockage.

MARTIN: That's David Quammen. He's a science writer who writes about the emergence of human diseases in his new book, "Spillover."

QUAMMEN: It causes a throbbing headache and a high fever. And then in some cases, if I recall correctly, it begins to cause organ shutdown, as well.

Read more
Author Interviews
6:20 am
Sun September 30, 2012

The 'Future' Of Movies? Critic Says It's Not So Bright

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Sun September 30, 2012 8:04 am

According to David Denby, 1979's Apocalypse Now came "out of a movie world so different from our own that sitting through it again is almost a masochistic experience."

The New Yorker film critic clearly loves movies, but in his new book, Do the Movies Have a Future?, he argues that complex films like Apocalypse Now are becoming more and more of a rarity. Denby joins NPR's Rachel Martin to discuss promising directors, what it means to be a film critic and the future of film.

Read more
Author Interviews
6:19 am
Sun September 30, 2012

Inverting 'King Lear' In 'Goldberg Variations'

Scribner

Originally published on Sun September 30, 2012 8:04 am

Author Susan Isaacs has written 13 books; 12 of them have been best-sellers. The women who inhabit Isaacs' books are smart, sexy, a little snarky, and filled with some serious chutzpah.

The center of Isaacs' latest novel, Goldberg Variations, is no exception. Gloria Garrison owns a multimillion-dollar makeover business, and she is not exactly an easy lady to get along with.

Isaacs talks with NPR's Rachel Martin about writing strong women and growing up wanting to be a cowgirl.

Read more
Three-Minute Fiction
5:03 pm
Sat September 29, 2012

Butterflies

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu October 4, 2012 12:29 pm

He finishes knotting his American-flagged tie and steps back, assessing. The office has taken its toll — he looks older, more jowly, slackened. His hair is grayer than it was — four years? Seven years? — ago. Some days he thinks it's his father looking back at him and he waves, two-fingered.

His wife is in the kitchen, sipping a cup of coffee, the rest of the pot keeping warm. He crosses the room to pour himself a cup but stops midway, thinking of something else. "Is today my speech?"

Avis smiles. "It could be."

Read more
Author Interviews
4:28 pm
Sat September 29, 2012

Actor Robby Benson Is 'Not Dead ... Yet!'

Originally published on Mon October 1, 2012 11:34 am

Robby Benson began his career at the age of 12, on the Broadway stage, and became a teen heartthrob in the '70s, starring in films such as Ode To Billy Joe, Ice Castles and One on One, which he co-wrote. He was also the voice behind the Beast in the 1991 Disney film, Beauty and the Beast.

Read more
Author Interviews
7:43 am
Sat September 29, 2012

'Instant' Recounts The Magic Of Polaroids

Originally published on Sat September 29, 2012 3:17 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Decades before people would camp out for days, to get the latest next-big-thing in new technology, there was the magic of pictures you could snap and see instantly - or almost. Edwin Land created a company in his garage - sound familiar? - that would be both a success, and an inspiration, to Steve Jobs and other inventive entrepreneurs of a new era, Polaroid. Its products were considered elegant, original and desirable. The company was miles and dollars above any other, in innovative technology. So why couldn't it last into the 21st century?

Read more
Author Interviews
7:43 am
Sat September 29, 2012

Online And In The Open: Transparent Novel Writing

Originally published on Sat September 29, 2012 3:17 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Writing's often depicted as a private act - scribbling, crossing out, then crumpling two sheets into a fireplace; trial, error and angst - all of which is best kept private. Silvia Hartmann is now writing on a kind of electronic stage - in an open document, a Google doc - so that readers can see her story appear line by line, edit by edit. Silvia Hartmann joins us from the south coast of England. Thanks so much for being with us.

SILVIA HARTMANN: Hi.

SIMON: So what are you trying to do here, write a novel?

Read more
Deceptive Cadence
6:14 am
Sat September 29, 2012

Leonard Bernstein's 'Kaddish' Symphony: A Crisis Of Faith

The traditional Jewish Kaddish prayer gets turned on its head in Leonard Bernstein's Symphony No. 3.
Fethi Belaid AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue October 16, 2012 3:46 pm

I can't think of anything I loved more than talking to Leonard Bernstein. Or, more accurately, listening to him talk — about music or any topic under the sun. I remember a long discourse we had about one of my favorite books, Thomas Mann's The Magic Mountain, and Bernstein's summarizing statement: "Well, of course, every author spends his whole life writing the same book."

Read more
Author Interviews
6:11 am
Sat September 29, 2012

'Listening In' To JFK's Secret White House Recordings

Listening In, a new book and CD set, includes more than 260 hours of transcribed conversations and 2.5 hours of audio from inside the Kennedy White House.
Evening Standard Getty Images

Originally published on Mon October 1, 2012 7:41 pm

In the spring of 1963, as the U.S. was mired in conflicts with Vietnam and Cuba and the Soviet Union, President John F. Kennedy called his old friend David Hackett to express his frustration at the U.S. men's ice hockey team — and their miserable record overseas.

JFK: Dave, I noticed that in the paper this morning that the Swedish team beat the American hockey team 17-2.
Hackett: Yeah, I saw that.
JFK: Christ! Who are we sending over there? Girls?

Read more
NewsPoet: Writing The Day In Verse
4:50 pm
Fri September 28, 2012

NewsPoet: Philip Schultz Writes The Day In Verse

Philip Schultz visits NPR headquarters in Washington on Monday.
Ryan Smith NPR

Originally published on Fri September 28, 2012 7:24 pm

Today at All Things Considered, we continue a project we're calling NewsPoet. Each month, we bring in a poet to spend time in the newsroom — and at the end of the day, to compose a poem reflecting on the day's stories.

Read more

Pages