Arts

Book News & Features
4:16 am
Thu May 29, 2014

Library Of Congress Searches For Missing Jefferson Books

Originally published on Thu May 29, 2014 6:33 am

Staffers at the Library of Congress have been looking for 250 books that belonged to Thomas Jefferson. He gave these books and several thousand more to start the library more than 200 years ago.

Book News & Features
4:11 am
Thu May 29, 2014

Authors Angered Over Amazon's Dispute With Publisher Hachette

Originally published on Mon June 2, 2014 8:37 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

We've reached a moment that probably shouldn't surprise us when it comes to the modern publishing industry. A lot of people are addicted to buying books online using Amazon. But Amazon is now in a pricing dispute with the publisher Hachette. The online giant is refusing to accept orders for upcoming books from Hachette, which has a heavy-hitting roster of authors. NPR's Mandalit del Barco reports.

MANDALIT DEL BARCO: Some authors are furious at Amazon.

NINA LADEN: They don't really care. It's all about money.

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Photography
2:03 am
Thu May 29, 2014

Home Has 4 Wheels: Photos Of People Who've Broken Down Walls

"The real reason we're down here is for the art of Salvation Mountain." - Kirsten and Adam in Slab City, Calif.
Andrew Waits

Originally published on Mon June 2, 2014 7:56 pm

Tiny homes — you've heard of them: those cute-as-a-button, 200-square-foot, closet-sized prefabs on the covers of glossy shelter magazines, tempting us to downsize and live the eco-chic American Dream.

But what we haven't seen a lot of is the four-wheeled alternative — the life lived by many of those who go against the grain by ditching four walls altogether.

Contrary to what some may think, not everyone who lives out of a car is homeless. In fact, there's an entire population of auto dwellers out there that chooses to forgo the white picket fence for a pop-top.

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Fine Art
1:56 am
Thu May 29, 2014

As Portraits Became Passé, These Artists Redefined 'Face Value'

Joan Brown's 1970 Self-Portrait with Fish and Cat is the first image you see at the National Portrait Gallery's "Face Value" exhibit.
Estate of Joan Brown Courtesy of George Adams Gallery/National Portrait Gallery

Originally published on Thu May 29, 2014 12:34 pm

"Walk softly and carry a big fish" was one curator's take on a humorous self-portrait of a tall woman, holding an enormous yellow fish and a paintbrush, with a black cat lurking below.

Bay area artist Joan Brown's image is the first thing you see at a new National Portrait Gallery exhibition called "Face Value: Portraiture in the Age of Abstraction." Brown's painting, like so many in this Smithsonian show, is powerful and funny.

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Arts & Life
3:21 pm
Wed May 28, 2014

Maya Angelou Reads 'Still I Rise'

Originally published on Wed May 28, 2014 5:17 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And we're going to take a moment now to listen to one of Maya Angelou's best-known poems. Here she is, reading "Still I Rise."

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED BROADCAST)

MAYA ANGELOU: You may write me down in history with your bitter, twisted lies. You may trod me in the very dirt, but still, like dust, I'll rise.

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Book News & Features
3:21 pm
Wed May 28, 2014

Burton Calls On 'Star Trek' Fans To Bring 'Reading Rainbow' To The Next Generation

Reading Rainbow went off the air in 2009, but the show's host, LeVar Burton, is keeping the brand alive. He is raising money for an interactive website to "bring Reading Rainbow back for every child, everywhere."
GPN/Nebraska ETV Network and WNE

Originally published on Wed May 28, 2014 8:08 pm

What happens when you tap into the nostalgia surrounding not one, but two, beloved television franchises? LeVar Burton is about to find out.

For 26 years host Burton encouraged kids to embark on reading adventures on the PBS show Reading Rainbow. After the show went off the air in 2009, Burton acquired the rights to the brand and its library.

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Remembrances
3:06 pm
Wed May 28, 2014

The Life Of Poet Maya Angelou, From Poverty To Presidential Prizes

Originally published on Wed May 28, 2014 5:18 pm

Poet, performer and political activist Maya Angelou has died after a long illness at her home in Winston-Salem, N.C. She was 86.

Author Interviews
1:45 pm
Wed May 28, 2014

'Fresh Air' Remembers Poet And Memoirist Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou's most recent autobiography, Mom & Me & Mom, looked back on her complicated relationship with her mother.
Doug Mills AP

Originally published on Wed May 28, 2014 2:10 pm

In her memoirs, Maya Angelou explored how race and gender affected her life. Her first memoir, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, was published in 1969 and describes growing up in the segregated South. It includes the story of how, as a child, Angelou was raped by her mother's boyfriend. After the rape, she withdrew into herself and went through a long period of not speaking.

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Remembrances
11:12 am
Wed May 28, 2014

Nikki Giovanni Honors Her Late Friend Maya Angelou

Originally published on Wed May 28, 2014 11:24 am

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. We'd like to pay tribute now to the legendary author and poet Maya Angelou. She died this morning at the age of 86. Here is a clip of her reading part of one of her most beloved poems "Phenomenal Woman."

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

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Beauty Shop
11:12 am
Wed May 28, 2014

#YesAllWomen Puts Spotlight On Misogyny

Originally published on Wed May 28, 2014 11:24 am

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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The Two-Way
10:33 am
Wed May 28, 2014

Book News: Amazon Defends Tough Negotiating Tactics

Amazon is "not optimistic that this will be resolved soon," speaking about its dispute with the publisher Hachette. The retailer is not allowing customers to pre-order Hachette's books.
Philippe Merle AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 28, 2014 12:17 pm

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

Note: This post was written before news of writer Maya Angelou's death emerged. Annalisa will be away until early next week, but feel free to send her your bookish thoughts and questions on Twitter at @annalisa_quinn.

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The Two-Way
9:06 am
Wed May 28, 2014

Maya Angelou, Poet, Activist And Singular Storyteller, Dies At 86

Angelou became Hollywood's first black female movie director on Nov. 3, 1971. She also wrote the script and music for Caged Bird, which was based on her best-selling 1969 autobiography. She had been a professional singer, dancer, writer, composer, poet, lecturer, editor and San Francisco streetcar conductor.
AP

Originally published on Wed May 28, 2014 11:58 am

Poet, performer and political activist Maya Angelou has died after a long illness at her home in Winston-Salem, N.C. She was 86. Born in St. Louis in 1928, Angelou grew up in a segregated society that she worked to change during the civil rights era. Angelou, who refused to speak for much of her childhood, revealed the scars of her past in I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, the first of a series of memoirs.

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Book Reviews
6:03 am
Wed May 28, 2014

'Gottland': A Short Book About Stalin's Long Shadow

Originally published on Wed May 28, 2014 1:03 pm

It was 50 feet high and 70 feet long, more than 37 million pounds of granite and concrete. It dominated Letná Park in Prague for the seven years it stood. But in 1962, the biggest monument to Josef Stalin in the world was destroyed, after the dictator fell out of ideological favor in Czechoslovakia.

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Book Reviews
4:05 pm
Tue May 27, 2014

McMurtry Takes Aim At A Legend In 'Last Kind Words Saloon'

Originally published on Tue May 27, 2014 8:04 pm

In a prefatory note to The Last Kind Words Saloon, his first novel in five years, Western writer supreme Larry McMurtry states that he wants to create a "ballad in prose." And he borrows a line from great moviemaker John Ford: "When legend becomes fact, print the legend."

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Economy
3:17 pm
Tue May 27, 2014

'Financial Times' Picks Apart Picketty, Sparking An Argument

Originally published on Tue May 27, 2014 6:58 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

The feeling among the super-rich that capitalism is under siege may be heightened by the release of the book "Capital In The Twenty-First Century." It's by the French economist, Thomas Piketty. The book, which deals with growing inequality, has been a publishing phenomenon. It currently tops many non-fiction best seller lists. But late last week, The Financial Times published a story citing errors in the book and suggesting that some of its conclusions are mistaken. NPR's John Ydstie reports.

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Books
1:54 pm
Tue May 27, 2014

China Turns To Africa For Resources, Jobs And Future Customers

Over the next few years China will build a multi-billion dollar railway linking the Kenyan port of Mombasa to Nairobi (shown here), based on an agreement signed earlier this month by East African and Chinese officials. It's one of many examples of China's increasing economic engagement with African countries.
Tony Karumba AFP/Getty Images

China's economic engagement in Africa can be measured in dollars — for instance, the $71 million airport expansion contract in Mali, funded by American foreign aid, that went to a Chinese construction firm.

More remarkably, it can be measured in people: More than a million Chinese citizens have permanently moved to Africa, buying land, starting businesses and settling among local populations.

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Music Videos
11:52 am
Tue May 27, 2014

Mark Stewart On Q2 Music's 'Spaces'

Q2 Music

Originally published on Tue July 8, 2014 10:06 am

In his own words, Mark Stewart makes a living playing a little bit of popular music, quite a bit of semi-popular music and an enormous amount of unpopular music — the last being all the music you probably haven't heard.

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Monkey See
10:03 am
Tue May 27, 2014

'Mad Men' Pauses At The Half-Season With A Song And Dance

Jon Hamm as Don Draper, who ended the first half of Mad Men's last season in a state of uncertainty — as always.
Justina Mintz AMC

Originally published on Tue May 27, 2014 3:38 pm

A death, a divorce, a song and dance number and a sale; must be the end of another Mad Men season.

Creator Matt Weiner has a reputation for ending seasons on a melodramatic note. And even though this year's run of Mad Men episodes was cut in half by AMC to set the series finale next year, Sunday's "Waterloo" still managed to close 2014's seven-episode run with a jolt.

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The Two-Way
7:33 am
Tue May 27, 2014

Book News: U.K. Plan To Cut American Lit From Tests Prompts Fierce Backlash

Britain's Education Secretary Michael Gove, seen here in 2013, has been forced to respond to critics of his plan to pull classic American novels from a major British standardized test.
Alastair Grant AP

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

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Book Reviews
6:38 am
Tue May 27, 2014

'Delicious!' ... Isn't

Originally published on

The exclamation point in its title is a clear tipoff: Delicious!, Ruth Reichl's first novel, is about as subtle as a Ring Ding. It's an enthusiastic but cloyingly sentimental story about a 21-year-old who finds happiness by making peace with her past — namely, her crippling, self-deprecating hero-worship of her older sister. After much angst, she comes to realize that "it was finally time to stop running from the best in me."

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Book Reviews
6:03 am
Tue May 27, 2014

Tom Robbins Takes A Bite Out Of Life In 'Peach Pie'

Originally published on Tue May 27, 2014 12:37 pm

In years past, if someone asked me, "Hey, I found this Tom Robbins book lying around, so should I read it?" I would've said yes. No hesitation. No equivocation. "That guy," I'd say, "is a stylist. And I mean that in the best possible way."

Because that's what Tom Robbins is, was, forever shall be: He's the god young writers pray to when they're lost and trying to find their voice. He's the mountain every working writer surveys when they're trying to put a sentence together that's more complicated than subject-verb-predicate.

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NPR Story
4:09 am
Tue May 27, 2014

Bob Newhart Looks Back On A Career Of One-Sided Conversations

Originally published on Tue May 27, 2014 6:57 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, BYLINE: Amazing to think comedian Bob Newhart has been in television for more than 50 years. But his first Emmy - last year for a guest role on "The Big Bang Theory." He played a professor who hosted a geeky science show that was canceled long ago.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "THE BIG BANG THEORY")

JOHNNY GALECKI: (As Leonard) If you would've told me when I was a kid that someday I would be doing science next to Prof. Proton, I would not have believed you.

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The Salt
2:22 am
Tue May 27, 2014

How Soviet Kitchens Became Hotbeds Of Dissent And Culture

A typical Russian kitchen inside an apartment built during the early 1960s, when Nikita Khrushchev led the Soviet Union — what later became known as Khrushchev apartments.
Courtesy of The Kitchen Sisters

Originally published on Tue May 27, 2014 1:45 pm

When Nikita Khrushchev emerged as the leader of the Soviet Union after Stalin's death in 1953, one of the first things he addressed was the housing shortage and the need for more food. At the time, thousands of people were living in cramped communal apartments, sharing one kitchen and one bathroom with sometimes up to 20 other families.

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Movie Reviews
3:59 pm
Mon May 26, 2014

Multiplexes Heat Up For Summer Blockbuster Season

Originally published on Mon May 26, 2014 4:43 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block. The long Memorial Day weekend usually marks the start of Hollywood blockbuster season. But it's been well underway with "Godzilla" and "X-Men" already in theaters. That said, there are another 87 would-be hits scheduled before Labor Day. We asked critic Bob Mondello for a selective preview.

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Around the Nation
3:59 pm
Mon May 26, 2014

Celebrating 100 Years Of Ham Radio

Originally published on Tue May 27, 2014 9:34 am

This month marks the centennial of the American Radio Relay League, the largest ham radio association in the United States. That means it will be a special year for the hundreds who converge annually on W1AW, a small station known as "the mecca of ham radio" in Newington, Conn., to broadcast radio signals across the globe.

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Remembrances
3:59 pm
Mon May 26, 2014

Singing Star Of All-Black Cowboy Movies, Herb Jeffries, Dies

Originally published on Mon May 26, 2014 4:43 pm

Herb Jeffries was the first singing star of all-black cowboy movies in the late 1930s, garnering him the nickname the "Bronze Buckeroo." The jazz baritone had a seven-decade career, including singing with Duke Ellington's Band. He died Sunday in California, at age 100.

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Photography
9:12 am
Mon May 26, 2014

'Frontcountry' Wanders Through A Changing American West

Adam Killing a Cow, Mortensen Family Farm, Afton, Wyoming 2010
Lucas Foglia

Originally published on Mon May 26, 2014 1:31 pm

The American West is sometimes characterized in simple, iconic images: the cowboy, the miner, the farmer. "This book is edited against that," says Frontcountry photographer Lucas Foglia. "The pictures wander on purpose."

Foglia spent seven years with his camera, jumping from town to town, from New Mexico to Montana. He captures moments that distinguish the West from the rest of the country, as well as moments that could have happened anywhere in America. And then he mixes them all together.

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The Two-Way
7:49 am
Mon May 26, 2014

Killed The Mockingbird? American Classics Cut From British Reading List

Harper Lee's Pulitzer Prize winning novel To Kill A Mockingbird didn't make the cut in the U.K.
Tim Boyle Getty Images

Originally published on Mon May 26, 2014 11:56 am

For decades, British students have grown up reading the American classics To Kill A Mockingbird, Of Mice and Men and The Crucible. Now, if students want to read those books, it will be on their own time. Harper Lee, John Steinbeck and Arthur Miller are out — perhaps replaced by the likes of Charles Dickens, Jane Austen and George Eliot.

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Books
5:59 am
Mon May 26, 2014

Stories Of Loss, Brightened By Luminous Language

iStockphoto

Elizabeth McCracken is a former public librarian best known for her quirkily endearing 1996 novel, The Giant's House, about an unlikely romance kindled at the circulation desk between a petite librarian and a freakishly tall boy. Over time, her work — filled with misfits, giants, and oddballs — has become darker. Loss dominates the triple-trinity of stories in her new collection, Thunderstruck, though she continues to slyly celebrate resilience and unlikely connections.

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Fine Art
2:51 am
Mon May 26, 2014

From Yellowstone To Grand Canyon, WPA Posters Celebrate National Parks

Yellowstone serigraphs, circa 1939.
Courtesy of Doug Leen and the Interior Museum

Originally published on Mon May 26, 2014 6:23 am

If you've ever been to a national park and stopped off in the gift shop, you may have seen drawings of iconic park sights for sale as posters or post cards. The brightly colored print reproductions showcase the parks' impressive vistas, such as Yellowstone's Old Faithful geyser and the Grand Canyon's overlooks.

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