Arts

Book Reviews
6:13 am
Wed September 24, 2014

In 'Afterworlds,' A Teen Imagines Worlds Within Worlds

YA is thriving, but it's become a diverse genre, linking books widely spread across more traditional classifications like mainstream literature, fantasy, mystery and romance. What these books often have in common is their unremitting fondness for ordinary, everyday people — just like the reader, perhaps — who become Chosen Ones by suddenly discovering they have powerful abilities, or a unique birthright, or a complicated, passionate love triangle forming around them.

Read more
Books
3:01 am
Wed September 24, 2014

Too Graphic? 2014 Banned Books Week Celebrates Challenged Comics

Repeat Offender: Dav Pilkey created artwork for Banned Books Week featuring his frequently complained-about hero, Captain Underpants.
Dav Pilkey

Originally published on Wed September 24, 2014 12:31 pm

Comics and graphic books are flourishing these days — writers and illustrators are taking on increasingly sophisticated topics and children's authors are finding just the right balance between naughty and nice. But a number of the books have come under fire from critics who would like to see them banned from schools and libraries. That's why comics and graphic books are the focus of this year's Banned Books Week, an annual event that calls attention to challenged titles.

Read more
Book Reviews
3:24 pm
Tue September 23, 2014

A Historic Backdrop Frames Forbidden Love In 'The Paying Guests'

Originally published on Wed September 24, 2014 8:46 am

Frances has it bad, and that's not good. Normally she's an intelligent, reliable, resourceful young woman, a companion to her widowed mother, keeper of the large house on Champion Hill in which the two of them rattle about, now that the men of the family have died. But then Frances falls in love, and the carefully wrought edifice of her life collapses in a heap of passion and catastrophe.

Read more
The Salt
2:46 pm
Tue September 23, 2014

Before You Take A Bite Of That Mushroom, Consider This

This grocery store packet of porcini mushrooms contained a surprise: three species of fungi never before named or described.
Bryn Dentinger/Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew

Originally published on Fri September 26, 2014 5:03 pm

If you haven't been DNA-sequencing your dinner lately, you've been missing out. In particular, we suggest examining those spongy, wild fungi before you lay them on your pizza.

Bryn Dentinger and Laura Suz, mycologists with the Royal Botanic Gardens in Surrey, England, were curious about what was in their marketplace 'shrooms. So they bought a packet of dried Chinese porcini and took it to the lab.

Read more
Book Reviews
12:45 pm
Tue September 23, 2014

After WWI, A Mother And Daughter Must Take In 'Paying Guests'

Originally published on Tue September 23, 2014 3:10 pm

Sarah Waters' new novel, The Paying Guests, is a knockout, which isn't a word any of her characters would use.

The book opens in 1922: The Edwardian Age, with its high collars and long skirts, is dead; the Jazz Age is waiting to be born — at least, that's the case in the suburban backwater of London where Waters' main character, a 26-year-old spinster named Frances Wray, lives with her mother.

Read more
The Salt
11:54 am
Tue September 23, 2014

Rosh Hashana's Sacred Bread Offers Meaning In Many Shapes And Sizes

The author's braided round challah.
Deena Prichep NPR

Originally published on Thu September 25, 2014 9:36 am

Editor's Note: This post was originally published on Sept. 15, 2012.

Challah is a rich, eggy bread baked every week for the Jewish sabbath, or shabbat. But for Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year that starts tomorrow at sundown, it gets a few tweaks. There's a little extra honey or sugar, for a sweet new year. And instead of the usual long braid, it's round.

Read more
Code Switch
7:16 am
Tue September 23, 2014

How Not To Handle A New Voice In TV

Shonda Rhimes (left) with Scandal star Kerry Washington at a 2012 press conference.
Frederick M. Brown Getty Images

Originally published on Thu September 25, 2014 11:26 am

This is what happens when voices that have normally been pushed to the background take center stage.

That's the reaction I usually offer these days whenever someone asks me about a race-based media firestorm — this time, in reference to the nuclear-sized backlash against New York Times TV critic Alessandra Stanley's bewildering commentary on Shonda Rhimes, one of the most successful showrunners in television history.

Read more
The Two-Way
6:19 am
Tue September 23, 2014

Book News: Gabriel Garcia Marquez Books Go Digital

Nobel Prize-winning novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez appeared in public during a celebration marking his 87th birthday on March 6 in Mexico City. He died in April.
Yuri Cortez AFP/Getty Images

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

Read more
Book Reviews
6:03 am
Tue September 23, 2014

A Feisty Writer Spars With Her Young Protege

Originally published on Tue September 23, 2014 6:38 pm

What a treat it is to read Brian Morton's latest novel, populated with the prickly, civic-minded liberal intellectuals we've come to expect from him. Florence Gordon, his fifth book, like Starting Out in the Evening, his best known, is set on Manhattan's Upper West Side and concerns a feisty older writer and a much younger admirer and would-be mentee. Both novels not only feature curmudgeonly characters who insist on living on their own terms but explore questions about what constitutes a successful life.

Read more
Book Reviews
6:03 am
Tue September 23, 2014

'My Life' Asks: How Do You Leave A War Behind?

Brian Turner is director of Sierra Nevada College's MFA program and has previously written two books of poetry, Here, Bullet and Phantom Noise.
W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.

With each new story we hear about PTSD, about the lasting price paid by those fortunate enough to have returned from war, our notion of a soldier's sacrifice expands: There are those who sacrifice their lives, those who sacrifice parts of their bodies, and those who — forever anguished by their experiences — sacrifice their minds.

Read more
Television
4:13 am
Tue September 23, 2014

Meet The Johnsons, TV's 'Black-ish' Family

Originally published on Tue September 23, 2014 12:20 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Read more
Fine Art
2:32 am
Tue September 23, 2014

Now That's An Artifact: See Mary Cassatt's Pastels At The National Gallery

These pastel boxes originally owned by Mary Cassatt were acquired recently by the National Gallery of Art. Click here for a closer look.
National Gallery of Art

Originally published on Tue September 23, 2014 12:20 pm

Imagine if you could see the pen Beethoven used to write his Symphony No. 5. Or the chisel Michelangelo used to sculpt his David. Art lovers find endless fascination in the materials of artists — a pen, a brush, even a rag can become sacred objects, humanizing a work of art.

Read more
Author Interviews
2:26 am
Tue September 23, 2014

Remembering The 'Short And Tragic Life Of Robert Peace'

Originally published on Wed September 24, 2014 9:02 am

On a May night in 2011, a man was murdered — shot — in a basement just outside Newark, N.J. Cash and marijuana were found at the scene.

Given the circumstances, it might be easy to make assumptions about that man.

Reality, however, is more complex.

Read more
Book Reviews
4:21 pm
Mon September 22, 2014

An 'Epilogue' That Makes Sense Of The Chaos Of Memory

Originally published on Mon September 22, 2014 4:40 pm

Will Boast's parents, Andrew and Nancy, met and married in Southampton, a port city on England's south coast. Fleeing the social and economic malaise that blighted the country in the late '70s — workers on strike, power outages and high inflation — and with ambitions for his young family, Boast Sr. moved them to Fontana, Wis., where he worked for a plastics company.

Read more
Monkey See
3:27 pm
Mon September 22, 2014

Mia Wasikowska On The Sounds Of Camels And The Lure Of Travel

Mia Wasikowska plays Robyn Davidson, a woman whose real-life journey across the Australian desert is depicted in Tracks.
Transmission Films

Originally published on Mon September 22, 2014 4:40 pm

Mia Wasikowska wants you to know that camels get kind of a bad rap.

Read more
The Salt
2:48 pm
Mon September 22, 2014

Sandwich Monday: The Abe Lincoln

The Abe Lincoln
NPR

Originally published on Mon September 22, 2014 3:46 pm

Fourscore and 700 calories ago, I took my first few bites of the Abe Lincoln Sandwich from Skrine Chops in Chicago. In a tribute to our 16th president, they've stacked up sausages like Lincoln Logs, set them atop a bed of mashed potatoes and doused them in barbecue sauce, all on a hamburger bun.

Ian: How is this sandwich not the first thing on Lincoln's Wikipedia page?

Kelsie: The ONLY way to play Lincoln Logs is with sausages.

Read more
The Salt
1:59 pm
Mon September 22, 2014

Got Dessert? Slather On The Salted Caramel, Or Just Nibble Some

Salted caramel has arrived. Here it is at TGI Friday's, on cake, topped with a Ghirardelli salted caramel sauce.
Courtesy of TGI Friday's

Originally published on Tue September 23, 2014 8:27 am

The legendary American sweet tooth may be growing up. It's classier now; more sophisticated. It lusts after salt with its sweets.

Driven by an increasingly adventurous population of palates, now even mainstream retailers and restaurants are expanding their salty-sweet repertoire. Just 0.4 percent of U.S. restaurants offered salted caramel desserts on menus in 2010, according to food and beverage consultancy CCD Innovation. This year, 3.1 percent of them do.

Read more
Author Interviews
1:39 pm
Mon September 22, 2014

Ron Perlman On 'Sons Of Anarchy' And His Many On-Screen Transformations

Ron Perlman played Clay Morrow on FX's Sons of Anarchy.
Prashant Gupta FX

Originally published on Mon September 22, 2014 2:47 pm

[Editor's Note: This conversation discusses plot points from the sixth season of Sons of Anarchy.]

Read more
Television
1:39 pm
Mon September 22, 2014

Fall TV Preview: 'Gotham,' 'Scorpion' And 'Black-ish'

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. For the major broadcast networks tonight is the official start of the new TV season. Our TV critic, David Bianculli, has a list of the new shows you should make an effort to sample. He says it is not a very long list.

Read more
Monkey See
9:33 am
Mon September 22, 2014

Deggans Picks 'Gotham,' 'Black-ish,' 'The Flash' Among Fall TV's Best

Ben McKenzie (front right) and Donal Logue (left) lead the cast of Fox's Batman prequel Gotham.
Fox TV

Originally published on Tue September 23, 2014 9:20 am

Read more
Monkey See
8:18 am
Mon September 22, 2014

The Only One: A Talk With Shonda Rhimes

Shonda Rhimes speaks onstage at the How to Get Away with Murder panel during the Television Critics Association summer press tour.
Frederick M. Brown Getty Images

Originally published on Mon September 22, 2014 1:02 pm

I saw Shonda Rhimes at a panel presentation at the Television Critics Association press tour this summer where she helped introduce How to Get Away with Murder, the new ABC drama she helps produce but did not create. I found her pleasantly (and a little amusingly) transparent in not loving some of the questions she was asked (including one about whether she was worried that #HTGAWM, which was printed on the promotional cookies ABC handed out, was an unwieldy hashtag), and I thought, "She is an interview for which you would want to be on your toes."

Read more
Book Reviews
6:03 am
Mon September 22, 2014

'Sally Heathcote' Rescues Women's Suffrage From The Doldrums

Originally published on Mon September 22, 2014 9:36 am

It's the hats. In century-old photos of women's suffrage activists, there's something just plain dowdy about the headgear. Teetering atop laboriously pinned-up hair, groaning under the weight of improbable foliage, the hats can't help but make suffragists seem irredeemably stodgy to modern eyes.

Read more
Author Interviews
4:29 pm
Sun September 21, 2014

A Poet Parses The Legacy Of War In 'My Life As A Foreign Country'

Originally published on Mon September 22, 2014 7:06 am

War is in Brian Turner's blood. His father served during the Cold War, his uncle fought in Vietnam, his grandfather fought in World War II and his great-grandfather in World War I. And the family's warrior tendencies went beyond deployments: Turner's dad built a martial arts studio in the garage, and the family mixed napalm and blew things up for fun.

Read more
Children's Health
4:02 pm
Sun September 21, 2014

It May Be 'Perfectly Normal', But It's Also Frequently Banned

Michael Emberley's illustrations, like this one showing an egg traveling through a fallopian tube, make sexual health information accessible to an elementary and middle school audience. But elements of the art, including naked bodies, make some parents uncomfortable.
Candlewick Press

Originally published on Mon September 22, 2014 6:48 am

Banned Books Week kicks off Sunday: Each year, the American Library Association takes this week to sponsor events all over the country to talk about the books that shock, offend and generally make Americans uncomfortable.

Violence and curse words are two of the top three reasons books get banned in the U.S.

The third reason is sexual content. For example, the Fifty Shades of Grey series has been frequently banned from libraries for its explicit descriptions of intercourse.

Read more
My Big Break
4:02 pm
Sun September 21, 2014

Mafia Wife, Getaway Driver, Stuntwoman: From The Underworld To Hollywood

In order to secure a career as a stuntwoman, Georgia Durante would show up on Hollywood film sets asking for work. At first, directors ignored her. Then they saw her drive.
Courtesy of Georgia Durante

Originally published on Mon September 22, 2014 10:20 am

As part of a series called "My Big Break," All Things Considered is collecting stories of triumph, big and small. These are the moments when everything seems to click, and people leap forward into their careers.

Georgia Durante's life has taken some unexpected turns. She was a model for Kodak — a "Kodak Girl" — who went on to do TV and commercial work as a stunt driver. In the '90s, she appeared in Chevrolet ads and was the stunt double for Cindy Crawford in a Pepsi commercial.

Read more
Television
3:40 pm
Sun September 21, 2014

In 'Transparent', Transgender Issues Are A Family Affair

Amy Landecker and Jeffrey Tambor are two of the stars of Transparent, in which Tambor's character comes out as transgender to her three adult children.
Beth Dubber Amazon Studios

Originally published on Mon September 22, 2014 10:59 am

This fall, one of the more interesting and bold TV shows you'll see isn't being released by a major network — instead, it's coming out of Amazon Studios.

Transparent is a comedy-drama that centers on a family and their lives following the discovery that their father, whom they'd known as Mort (played by Jeffrey Tambor of Arrested Development fame) is a transgender woman named Maura.

"Are you saying you're going to start dressing up like a lady all of the time?" asks daughter Sarah (Amy Landecker).

Read more
Code Switch
6:46 am
Sun September 21, 2014

Adding Color To 'The Great White Way'

Sharp observations about race, class and gender plus pure passion for the theater: That's what get when you ask a distinguished panel of playwrights whether "The Great White Way" is still too white.
Getty Images

Originally published on Sun September 21, 2014 10:15 am

Sharp observations about race, class and gender plus pure passion for the theater: That's what you get when you ask a distinguished panel of playwrights whether "The Great White Way" is still too white.

Award-winning dramatists David Henry Hwang, Lydia Diamond, Kristoffer Diaz and Bruce Norris are some of America's most critically acclaimed contemporary playwrights. Their work captures the tensions and aspirations of an increasingly diverse America, but they all acknowledged that it was a challenge to bring a more diverse audience to theaters.

Read more
Movie Interviews
6:46 am
Sun September 21, 2014

Boys Puzzle Through Twists And Turns In 'Maze Runner'

Originally published on Sun September 21, 2014 10:15 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

WADE GOODWYN, HOST:

Read more
Author Interviews
6:46 am
Sun September 21, 2014

Jargon-Free History Of The Universe Finds Beauty In Ordinary Words

Originally published on Sun September 21, 2014 10:15 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

WADE GOODWYN, HOST:

Read more
Book News & Features
6:46 am
Sun September 21, 2014

Finding A Voice — Again — In The Pages Of A Comic Book

Recall and Given recasts the story of David Rector and Roz Alexander-Kasparik as a superhero comic.
Roz Alexander-Kasparik

Originally published on Sun September 21, 2014 10:15 am

This is a story about love. It's a story about bad things happening to good people, about memory and perseverance — and comic books. But most of all, it's a story about a voice. A mellow, smooth voice, just right for late-night jazz.

Read more

Pages