Arts

PG-13: Risky Reads
6:03 am
Sun October 6, 2013

'Spell'-Bound By A Goofy Book — And Later, United By It

Melissa de la Cruz and her husband Michael Johnston are the co-authors of Frozen.

How is this a risky read, you might ask? Piers Anthony's Xanth series is a tongue-firmly-in-cheek affair, filled with awful puns about bad dreams delivered by horses — literal "night mares" — and corny jokes about how Xanth is eerily similar to the geography of Florida, the author's home state.

Isn't this book just funny? How is it risky? Or dark? Or adult? Yet precisely because of its naughty, offhand humor, we found it risky and thrilling. Let us explain ...

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Movie Interviews
5:08 am
Sun October 6, 2013

Revisiting The Doomed On Their Quest For 'The Summit'

Pemba Gyalje Sherpa survived his August 2008 climb on K2 and was even able to help save some of the other expeditionaries. But 11 died trying to conquer the mountain that month.
Robbie Ryan IFC Films

Originally published on Sun October 6, 2013 6:05 pm

Mountain climbing requires stamina and skill, but at some point — especially on the world's tallest and riskiest peaks — it becomes a game of chance. In August of 2008, if you were one of the dozens of people trying to climb to the top of K2, the odds of your living to tell your story weren't good: During the last push to the summit and the immediate descent that followed, 11 people died.

In the documentary The Summit, filmmaker Nick Ryan tries to piece together what happened in what has been called the deadliest event in modern mountain climbing.

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The Picture Show
4:03 am
Sun October 6, 2013

Capturing The U.K.'s Disappearing Wrestling Culture

From the series Wrestlers.
Daniel Patrick Lilley

Originally published on Sun October 6, 2013 5:01 am

Photographer Daniel Patrick Lilley likes to cheer for the underdog.

As a kid in Southampton, England, he often watched World Wrestling Federation matches on TV and was a fan of the Triple H, a menacing anti-hero.

"I've always rooted for the bad one," he says.

Fast forward to 2010, when Lilley was able to revisit his curiosity for this action-packed genre — this time not as a fan but as a photographer.

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Technology
4:45 pm
Sat October 5, 2013

Developers At Indie Game Festival Looking For Big Break

Originally published on Thu October 10, 2013 11:25 am

Transcript

ARUN RATH, HOST:

Sales of the insanely popular video game "Grand Theft Auto V" passed the billion-dollar mark just three days after its release this month. But not everyone sees mainstream titles as the industry's game changers. When searching for the next big thing, some of the biggest gaming companies actually look to the little guys: indie game developers. And as NPR's Daniel Hajek reports, they're finding them this weekend at a Los Angeles festival that brings out the underground talent.

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Author Interviews
2:58 pm
Sat October 5, 2013

How Reddit Emerged From A Rejected (And Very Different) Idea

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Sat October 5, 2013 5:36 pm

Reddit calls itself "the front page of the Internet." The social news site and global discussion board has become increasingly popular since it launched in 2005. Topics range from politics and entertainment to animal videos and conspiracy theories. Many public figures have used Reddit to reach out to fans and supporters, and last year, President Obama used the site to answer voter questions live.

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Author Interviews
7:03 am
Sat October 5, 2013

Spies And Novelists Both 'Accomplished Liars,' Says New Bond Author

Originally published on Sat October 5, 2013 10:11 am

William Boyd is one of the great living British novelists — and now he's tackling one of the great British heroes.

"I am now a James Bond pedant," Boyd tells NPR's Scott Simon. "I can bore for England on the subject of James Bond. But I knew I couldn't do it frivolously, I had to take it very seriously, however much fun I was having. And I had to make myself, you know, absolutely steeped in Bond and in Fleming and that world."

Steeped in Bond, not shaken, of course.

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Arts & Life
7:03 am
Sat October 5, 2013

At 300, Encyclopedia Pioneer May Yet Get A Hero's Burial

Denis Diderot's work on the Encyclopédie faced stiff resistance in its time, but some scholars credit it with laying the foundations of the French Revolution.
Louis-Michel con Loo Diderot Collection/Gift of M. de Vandeul to the French State in 1911

Originally published on Sat October 5, 2013 10:11 am

Before there was Wikipedia, there were encyclopedias — and Saturday marks the 300th birthday of the father of one of the world's most important.

Eighteenth-century French philosopher Denis Diderot was the driving force behind the Encyclopédie, one of the first compendiums of human knowledge of its time. The anniversary of his birth has prompted calls for Diderot to receive France's highest honor: have his remains reinterred in Paris' Pantheon, a mausoleum of sorts for France's national heroes.

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Reporter's Notebook
7:03 am
Sat October 5, 2013

Does Capitalism Work? A True/False Quiz In Times Square

Steve Lambert's art installation asks people to vote in an effort to open up the discussion about capitalism. That word can be a red flag for many, Lambert says.
Jake Schlichting Times Square Arts

Originally published on Sat October 5, 2013 10:52 am

I'm walking through Times Square, the crossroads of the world. Just when I reach the line for cheap Broadway tickets, I see it: a giant billboard with the word "capitalism" in bright white lights and the words "works for me!" in cursive below. There's a podium and two buttons where you can vote whether the statement is "true" or "false."

Peggy Demitrack, a tourist from Cleveland, is adamant when she pushes the "true" button. She says capitalism works for anyone who strives and educates themselves.

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Author Interviews
7:03 am
Sat October 5, 2013

Children's Author Takes On The Dreaded Itchy Head

Originally published on Sat October 5, 2013 10:11 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

David Shannon has written books about an adorable West Highland terrier, a duck on a bike and a fairy named Alice. Maybe he's tired of drawing cute. So, now the author and illustrator has done a book called "Bugs in My Hair," and it isn't about pets, forests or fantasy creatures. No, it's about head lice. David Shannon joins us from the studios of KQED in San Francisco. Thanks so much for being with us.

DAVID SHANNON: Oh, my pleasure. Thank you.

SIMON: Yuck.

SHANNON: Yeah.

SIMON: Why a book about head lice?

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Code Switch
5:15 am
Sat October 5, 2013

'Linsanity': For Asian Fans, It Felt Just Like 'Young Love'

Jeremy Lin fans cheer during a game between the New York Knicks and Philadelphia 76ers in March 2012.
Drew Hallowell Getty Images

Originally published on Sat October 5, 2013 11:44 am

Twenty months after it first took pop culture by storm, the global sports craze known as "Linsanity" has found a revival on screen.

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Author Interviews
5:07 am
Sat October 5, 2013

40 Years Ago, 'Fear Of Flying' Showed Women Like Sex, Too

Courtesy of Henry Holt and Co.

Originally published on Mon October 7, 2013 8:31 am

In 1973, Erica Jong was tired of reading about silent, seething housewifes, so she introduced a new kind of female protagonist: a frank young woman who loved sex and wasn't ashamed to admit it. Fear of Flying turns 40 this year, as does its most famous phrase: "the zipless f - - - ." Jong defines it in the novel:

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Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!
5:36 pm
Fri October 4, 2013

Not My Job: Shirley Jones Gets Quizzed On Partridge Shooting

Originally published on Sat October 5, 2013 10:04 am

Shirley Jones starred in some of the great movie musicals of the 1950s — Oklahoma, Carousel, The Music Man -- won an Oscar for her role in the film Elmer Gantry and then went on to be the mother in the classic sitcom The Partridge Family. She's just written a new memoir about her life onstage, on-screen and behind the scenes.

We've invited Jones to play a game called "Look, it's the partridge family! GET THEM!" Three questions about the sport of partridge shooting.

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Religion
4:05 pm
Fri October 4, 2013

Snake-Handling Preachers Open Up About 'Takin' Up Serpents'

Andrew Hamblin preaches while holding a snake above his head, LaFollette, Tenn.
Ciaran Flannery NGT

Originally published on Fri October 4, 2013 4:35 pm

Snake handlers dwell at the edge of the spiritual frontier — a community of people who are willing to die for their faith three times a week in church. Members of the Pentecostal Holiness Church take up venomous serpents to prove their faith in God. The practice is still widespread in Appalachia, though mostly hidden.

Pastor Jamie Coots warns about the scent in the snake room behind his house in Middlesboro, Ky.

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Shots - Health News
4:04 pm
Fri October 4, 2013

Want To Read Others' Thoughts? Try Reading Literary Fiction

Would time spent with Anton Chekov, famed for his subtle, flawed characters, make you a better judge of human nature?
Hulton Archive Getty Images

Originally published on Thu October 10, 2013 8:33 am

Your ability to "read" the thoughts and feelings of others could be affected by the kind of fiction you read.

That's the conclusion of a study in the journal Science that gave tests of social perception to people who were randomly assigned to read excerpts from literary fiction, popular fiction or nonfiction.

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All Tech Considered
4:04 pm
Fri October 4, 2013

New E-Book Lending Service Aims To Be Netflix For Books

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri October 4, 2013 4:24 pm

Movie lovers have Netflix, music lovers have Spotify — and book lovers (whether they read literary fiction or best-selling potboilers) now have Scribd. The document sharing website has been around since 2007, but this week it launched a subscription service for e-book lending.

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Movie Interviews
1:55 pm
Fri October 4, 2013

Sandra Bullock, Boxed In On The Set Of 'Gravity'

Many of the special effects in the action-adventure film Gravity were generated by computers — but star Sandra Bullock also had to put in a good deal of work, with choreographed movements simulating weightlessness.
Warner Bros.

Originally published on Fri October 4, 2013 4:24 pm

The eye-popping new movie Gravity will make you very grateful you're planted on terra firma. It's a thriller directed by Alfonso Cuaron, in which shuttle astronauts on a spacewalk are stranded after a collision with a vast cloud of space debris.

And one of those astronauts — played by Sandra Bullock — is left on her own, hundreds of miles above Earth. She's running out of oxygen and tumbling untethered through the void of space.

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Movie Reviews
12:58 pm
Fri October 4, 2013

Houston, We Have A Space Flick: A Sentimental Mission In Zero 'Gravity'

In Alfonso Cuaron's Gravity, Sandra Bullock plays Ryan Stone, an astronaut careening through space after an accident.
Warner Bros.

Originally published on Fri October 4, 2013 1:51 pm

In a season in which we're all talking about AMC's phenomenal Breaking Bad and Netflix's elating Orange Is the New Black, Hollywood needs you, your kids and everyone in Europe and China to get out from behind those TV monitors and into theaters. Movie studios are falling behind on compelling narratives. But they can give you what TV can't: absolute, total bombardment.

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The Salt
12:30 pm
Fri October 4, 2013

Meat-Drenched Oktoberfest Warms To Vegans

Traditional fare at Bavarian Oktoberfest is heavy on meat, but that's changing as restaurants add more vegan and vegetarian options.
Wolfworld Flickr

Originally published on Fri October 4, 2013 3:22 pm

Oktoberfest, one of the world's largest festivals, is mostly about beer. And to soak up all that froth and alcohol, Bavarians have traditionally reached for meat.

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Science
12:05 pm
Fri October 4, 2013

DIY Halloween Hacks

Trying to liven up your ghosts and goblins this Halloween? Windell Oskay, cofounder of Mad Evil Scientist, shares homemade hack ideas for a festive fright fest, from LED jack-o'-lanterns, to 3D printed candy, to spooky specimen jars.

Monkey See
11:49 am
Fri October 4, 2013

Clip Job: 'Five Dances,' One Sweetly Moving Romance

Ryan Steele in Five Dances
Paladin

Originally published on Fri October 4, 2013 3:10 pm

Five Dances might be the least talky movie I've seen in months — but it's plenty expressive. What it says, it says silently, or at least nonverbally, in the music-and-movement language of Jonah Bokaer's haunting choreography, which speaks of solitary strivings and the brief, passionate connections that punctuate them.

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Code Switch
11:23 am
Fri October 4, 2013

Actors With Disabilities In Big Roles? 'We Don't Have A Chance'

The original Ironside starred Raymond Burr as a detective who became a paraplegic after being shot in the line of duty.
The Kobal Collection

Originally published on Thu July 17, 2014 5:19 pm

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Paperback Nonfiction Bestsellers
11:04 am
Fri October 4, 2013

NPR Bestsellers: Paperback Nonfiction, Week Of October 3, 2013

At No. 13, Mindy Kaling's memoir Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? hits one year on the list.

Paperback Fiction Bestsellers
11:04 am
Fri October 4, 2013

NPR Bestsellers: Paperback Fiction, Week Of October 3, 2013

In Louise Erdich's The Round House, appearing at No. 3, a rape leads to a quest for revenge.

Hardcover Nonfiction Bestsellers
11:04 am
Fri October 4, 2013

NPR Bestsellers: Hardcover Nonfiction, Week Of October 3, 2013

Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard's third co-authored history book, Killing Jesus, debuts at No. 1.

Hardcover Fiction Bestsellers
11:04 am
Fri October 4, 2013

NPR Bestsellers: Hardcover Fiction, Week Of October 3, 2013

Stephen King is the author of more than 50 books, including The Shining, Carrie and The Dark Tower series.
Shane Leonard Courtesy of Scribner

Doctor Sleep, Stephen King's new horror novel (and the sequel to The Shining), debuts at No. 1.

NPR Bestseller List
11:04 am
Fri October 4, 2013

NPR Bestsellers: Week Of October 3, 2013

The lists are compiled from weekly surveys of close to 500 independent bookstores nationwide.

Barbershop
10:37 am
Fri October 4, 2013

New York Road Rage Video Raises Difficult Questions

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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Movies
10:37 am
Fri October 4, 2013

'The Fade': Four Barbers, Three Continents, One Film

London barber Faisal Abdu'Allah cuts director Andy Mundy-Castle's hair.
Big Bright Films

Originally published on Mon October 7, 2013 7:35 am

The Fade — a documentary by London filmmaker Andy Mundy-Castle — follows the lives of four barbers on three continents, all at the top of their game. New Jersey barber Johnny Castellanos also known as 'Hollywood' is a barber to the stars. His client list includes rapper and businessman Jay Z and artists and athletes like Pharrell Williams and Amar'e Stoudemire.

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Monkey See
9:38 am
Fri October 4, 2013

Pop Culture Happy Hour: 'Breaking Bad,' Bad Boys, Bad Choices

This guy and his dog are doing all they can to contribute to the world of Grand Theft Auto V.
AP
  • Listen to Pop Culture Happy Hour

First things first: FEAR NOT. This is a non-spoilery Breaking Bad discussion. If you don't believe me, consider that even two of the people in the room haven't seen the whole run of the series, so if there were spoilers, we'd know (and get punched). Instead, we try to put the themes of the series in the context of a bigger discussion about what kinds of protagonists we can and cannot root for, what kinds of television are growing and shrinking, and what kinds of conversations we want to have about the shows we love.

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The Two-Way
6:36 am
Fri October 4, 2013

Book News: Study Says Reading (Literary) Fiction Can Boost Social Skills

Jesmyn Ward won the 2011 National Book Award for Fiction for her book Salvage the Bones.
Tina Fineberg AP

Originally published on Fri October 4, 2013 10:33 am

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

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