Fortunate happenstance has led to me reviewing Laline Paull's The Bees alongside Dave Goulson's A Sting in the Tale. I am more than a little obsessed with bees, honey, watching wildlife and reading dystopias, and am therefore predisposed to find both books interesting. Together they make a splendid double-header of fiction and non-fiction: there is a precision and economy to the former and an almost lazy charm to the latter that makes them remarkably complementary.
In recent years, the effort to bring the Mafia under control in Sicily has spilled over into the world of food. Today a movement of small organic agricultural cooperatives has sprung up across the island to farm land once confiscated by the Mafia and bring these goods to a global market.
When people talk about extending the human lifespan to 120 it bothers Roz Chast. "That upsets me for a lot of reasons," she tells NPR's Melissa Block. "I feel like these are people who don't really know anybody over 95." The reality of old age, she says, is that "people are not in good shape, and everything is falling apart."
Actress Diane Keaton remains an icon, decades after her Oscar-winning performance in Annie Hall. At 68, she's a single mother of two, once romantically linked to some of Hollywood's biggest heartthrobs and still starring in films. And she still rocks her trademark look: a bowler hat, tinted glasses, oversized clothes, scarves, gloves, long sleeves and boots — "Clothing that actually hides the body," she says. "There's a lot to hide in my case. I'm the only remaining person on earth with this particular look."
First, there was the cronut, the croissant-doughnut hybrid. Then there was the doughscuit. Then, the Liger. And now, there is the wonut, a waffle-doughnut hybrid from Waffles Cafe in Chicago. We ordered ours in Tiramisu flavor — that's those little speckles on top. (In case you were thinking, "Wait, it's topped with Dippin' Dots? All my dreams have come true!")
Todd Barry is one of comic Louis C.K.'s favorite comedians. So when Barry had the idea to film a tour in which all he did was crowd work — or, engage the audience in improvised conversations — Louis C.K. decided to produce the film, called The Crowd Work Tour, and feature it on his website.
Barry also plays a version of himself on Louis C.K.'s show Louie, which begins a new season on Monday. He's recorded several comedy albums, appeared in the film The Wrestler and done a lot of voice-over work for animated TV series.
There's something romantic about biographer Amanda Vaill's device of making the Hotel Florida in Madrid the hub of her new book about the Spanish Civil War, called Hotel Florida; but, then again, there's always been something romantic about the Spanish Civil War itself. For the Spanish loyalists — who were supported by Russia and Mexico as well as the International Brigades of civilians from Europe and the Americas — the Spanish Civil War was a gallant stand against fascism.
Just days after the Sept. 11 attacks, Rais Bhuiyan was working at a Dallas gas station when Mark Stroman walked in, asked him where he was from, and then shot him in the face.
Bhuiyan, a former air force officer from Bangladesh, survived. But that shooting was one of three attacks Stroman carried out after Sept. 11. He killed two other South Asian immigrants, whom he perceived to be Muslim or Arab.
Let's get one thing straight right away: Fox's new version of 24 references all sorts of newfangled ideas about politics, espionage and terrorism — from the use of drones to kill America's enemies to efforts by hackers in the Edward Snowden mold to expose governments' illegal acts.
But the heart of Fox's slimmed-down 24: Live Another Day is the same as it's always been: a principled, misunderstood Jack Bauer letting no rule book, villain or clueless bureaucrat stop him from doing what must be done for the greater good.
In 1887, American journalist Nellie Bly had herself committed to New York's notorious Blackwell's Island insane asylum — on purpose, as part of an assignment from the New York World newspaper. When she was released 10 days later, she had seen cruelty that made her shudder.
As part of a series called "My Big Break,"All Things Consideredis collecting stories of triumph, big and small. These are the moments when everything seems to click, and people leap forward into their careers. The following is what you might call an "almost big break."
Darth Vader walks the Earth today. By that, we mean he's walking all over the place. Fans of the sci-fi franchise are celebrating Star Wars Day — or May 4 for the less geek-inclined.
The day brings an excuse for people to dress as storm troopers and rebels and celebrate the films that first hit theaters in 1977. Star Wars Day is also being commemorated by businesses offering deals — discounts on videos, comics and other merchandise, from backpacks to Vans sneakers. You can find a list of the deals here.
On-air challenge: Every answer is a five-letter word. You will be given a clue for the word. Besides describing the answer, the clue will also contain the answer in consecutive letters. For example, given "It's near the planet Mars," you would say, "Earth."
Last week's challenge Mike Reiss, a writer for The Simpsons: Name a famous actor or actress whose last name ends in a doubled letter. Drop that doubled letter. Then insert an R somewhere inside the first name. The result will be a common two-word phrase. What is it?
The writer Michael Cunningham is probably best known for his book "The Hours," which won him a Pulitzer Prize and was made into a film. Like "The Hours," Cunningham's new novel, "The Snow Queen," explores inner lives and family dynamics. But the characters in this new book also plunge into the metaphysical world. When I spoke with Michael Cunningham this past week, I asked him to read from a section of his new novel. It's a scene where one of the main characters, a man named Barrett, sees an ethereal light in the skies above N.Y.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin. Next week, South Africa will go to the polls. It's a milestone election, coming 20 years after the country's first free election in 1994. It is also the first general election since the death of Nelson Mandela last December. For academics Katherine Newman and Ariane De Lannoy, this was an important moment to assess South Africa.
More than once this week I've caught myself reading yet another news story about Donald Sterling or Cliven Bundy, wondering what it means for me, a black gay man, to exist in America at the same time as men like them. Have they been thinking about people like me just as intensely as I, for the past few days at least, have been thinking about them? Are Sterling and Bundy privately wringing their hands? Or are they cursing America for eavesdropping on their bigotry?
President Obama made fun of himself at the White House Correspondents Association dinner on Saturday, the annual nerd-ball schmooze fest where Washington's media stars get comfy with a mix of political bigwigs and Hollywood beautiful people to celebrate a year of journalism.
Obama, known for his comic timing and delivery, didn't disappoint.
A few years ago, the cartoonist Matt Freedman started having nagging pain around his ear. He bought mouth guards and tried pain relievers, but nothing seemed to work. Slowly, the pain got worse. In 2012, a bump appeared on his neck. It was a slow-growing, dangerous cancer that had already spread to his lungs.
Efrem Zimbalist Jr., an actor whose streak of leading-man success on TV stretched over three decades, has died. Zimbalist, who starred on ABC's 77 Sunset Strip and The F.B.I., was 95; his family announced his death, saying he died at home on Friday.
"We are heartbroken to announce the passing into peace of our beloved father, Efrem Zimbalist Jr., today at his Solvang ranch," the family said in a statement. "He actively enjoyed his life to the last day, showering love on his extended family, playing golf and visiting with close friends."
The world is in a terrible fix. Drones are zipping. Threats are flying. Secrets are leaking. The president of the United States is in the crosshairs of crisis. Only one person can help - Chloe O'Brian. Oh, and her friend, Jack Bauer. But not everyone's happy.
Pawel Pawlikowski is a Polish filmmaker who gained international attention for his 2004 movie "My Summer Of Love." It's about two young women who spend an English summer together. It earned the British equivalent of an Oscar for best film and launched the career of actress Emily Blunt.
His latest movie is opening in the U.S. this weekend. It's called "Ida." And like "My Summer Of Love," it centers on two women. But as Howie Movshovitz of member station KUNC reports, it couldn't be more different.
Ralph Nader has never been elected president, but his new book has a broad-based coalition of endorsements that range from Grover Norquist on the right to Robert Reich and Cornel West on the left, in which Mr. Nader finds in a partisan time the outlines of a new political force that crosses all party lines. His new book is "Unstoppable: The Emerging Left-Right Alliance To Dismantle The Corporate State." Ralph Nader joins us in our studios. Thanks so much for being with us.
Poker is a favorite metaphor for life, and Colson Whitehead says it's not a bad comparison — especially for big city life. "I think you survive in New York just by having fewer bad things happen to you," he tells NPR's Scott Simon. "And I think that's true for poker as well: If you can play your good cards your bad cards decently and hope that your other player is not as adept at riding these currents of luck and circumstance, you're in good shape."