Arts

Goats and Soda
12:20 pm
Mon July 14, 2014

Nadine Gordimer: Wise Words About Bettering A Troubled World

Nadine Gordimer visited Alexandra, the black township near Johannesburg, in 1986 to pay homage to victims of political unrest.
Reuters /Landov

The great novelist Nadine Gordimer, whose stories told of the immorality of apartheid in her beloved South Africa, has died at age 90.

Gordimer was not only a writer. She was an activist in the fight to end apartheid. In her writings and speeches, the Nobel Prize winner offered words of enlightenment for anyone sharing her commitment to bring a better life to those suffering from prejudice, poor health, poverty, and other ills.

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Monkey See
11:56 am
Mon July 14, 2014

Asking Katherine Heigl The 'Difficult' Question At Press Tour

Katherine Heigl and Alfre Woodard, stars of NBC's new fall drama State of Affairs, speak at the Television Critics Association's summer press tour in Los Angeles.
Frederick M. Brown Getty Images

It may be the toughest task of all at a press tour in Los Angeles packed with TV critics from across the nation: How to ask a celebrity a tough question about her bad reputation without looking like a jerk yourself.

That moment surfaced for me Sunday, when trying to ask star Katherine Heigl about longstanding rumors in Hollywood that she and her manager/mother have been difficult to work with across many projects.

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The Two-Way
9:37 am
Mon July 14, 2014

Nadine Gordimer, Nobel-Winning Chronicler Of Apartheid, Dies

Gordimer, shown here in 2006, died in her sleep Sunday at home in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Guillermo Arias AP

Originally published on Mon July 14, 2014 10:57 am

Nadine Gordimer, a Nobel Prize-winning author famed for her portrayals of South Africa under apartheid, died Sunday, her family said in a statement. She was 90.

Gordimer was considered a modern literary genius, an important chronicler of the injustices of racial segregation along with other white writers such as Athol Fugard and J.M. Coetzee.

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The Two-Way
7:03 am
Mon July 14, 2014

Book News: Famed Philosopher Accused Of Plagiarizing White Separatist Journal

Marxist philosopher Slavoj Zizek, photographed in 2012 in London.
Tim Whitby Getty Images

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

Marxist philosopher Slavoj Žižek — who is one of the world's most prominent living public intellectuals — has been accused of plagiarizing from the white separatist magazine American Renaissance. (The magazine calls itself a "race realist" publication, while the Southern Poverty Law Center calls it a hub for "proponents of eugenics and blatant anti-black racists.")

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Movies
4:12 pm
Sun July 13, 2014

Kids' Films And Stories Share A Dark Theme: Dead Mothers

Sarah Boxer is the author of Ultimate Blogs and the graphic novel In The Floyd Archives.
Courtesy of Sarah Boxer

Originally published on Wed July 16, 2014 4:37 pm

The death of Bambi's mother has moved — and horrified — generations of children. The fleeing, the gunshot, the desperate search and then the gut-wrenching words: "Your mother can't be with you anymore."

For many, that scene was traumatizing; for some it was the very first experience of loss. But Bambi is far from the only animated film featuring a mother's tragic death.

Just ask Sarah Boxer.

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Author Interviews
4:12 pm
Sun July 13, 2014

William T. Vollmann Explores The Afterlife In 'Last Stories'

Originally published on Sun July 13, 2014 6:10 pm

William T. Vollmann has been called a "unique and essential voice in American letters." He's the author of novels, story collections, a memoir and massive works of nonfiction.

His latest book, Last Stories and Other Stories, is his first work of fiction in nine years. And he says at the book's beginning that it will be his final work — as a living human, at least. "Any subsequent productions bearing my name will have been written by a ghost," he writes.

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Movies
4:12 pm
Sun July 13, 2014

The Best Movies Of The Year — From 20 Years Ago

Originally published on Wed July 16, 2014 9:19 pm

Transcript

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

Twenty years ago, movies were movies. Great, good, bad, iconic, worth remembering.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "FORREST GUMP")

HANNA HALL: (As Jenny) Run Forrest run.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "SPEED")

DENNIS HOPPER: (As Howard Payne) Once the bus goes 50 miles an hour the bomb is armed. If it drops below 50 it blows up.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "PULP FICTION")

JOHN TRAVOLTA: (As Vincent Vega) Do know what they call a quarter pounder with cheese in Paris?

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Author Interviews
8:52 am
Sun July 13, 2014

'The Interior Circuit' Meditates On Grief And Mexico City

Originally published on Sun July 13, 2014 10:47 am

Transcript

FRANCISCO GOLDMAN: Mexico City skies are always dramatic - sometimes soaring in azure, with long rows of choreographed white clouds moving slowly or swiftly. The city's pollution abetted sunsets are spectacular. Conflagrations blazing up over the Western mountains, filling the sky with balloon-dye colors, igniting the glassy, modern office buildings that I can see out my rear windows into giant, neon rectangles of scarlet.

ARUN RATH, HOST:

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NPR Story
8:52 am
Sun July 13, 2014

Founders Claimed A Subversive Right To 'Nature's God'

Originally published on Sun July 13, 2014 12:14 pm

The U.S. was not founded as a Christian nation, says historian Matthew Stewart. He tells NPR's Arun Rath about his book Nature's God: The Heretical Origins of the American Republic.

Sunday Puzzle
7:03 am
Sun July 13, 2014

A Puzzle With Ch-Ch-Changes

NPR

Originally published on Sun July 13, 2014 10:47 am

On-air challenge: Today's puzzle is called "Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes." Every answer is a word starting with the letters "ch," and your clue will be an anagram of the word.

Last week's challenge: Name a famous actress of the past whose last name has five letters. Move the middle letter to the end to name another famous actress of the past. Who are these actresses?

Answer: Greta Garbo/Eva or Zsa Zsa Gabor

Winner: Craig Moreland from Okemos, Mich.

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My Guilty Pleasure
4:25 am
Sun July 13, 2014

Confessions Of A Former 'Sweet Valley High' Addict

Often, when people ask me what I read as a young girl, I lie. Or, I should say, I lie by omission. I tell them about my brilliant fourth-grade teacher, Miss Artis, who assigned us Johnny Tremain and Where the Red Fern Grows and Tuck Everlasting, all books that made an impression on me. And people nod in approval.

But the answer I don't usually give is that my favorite books, the ones I read and re-read until the covers were creased and the pages were loosed from the spine, were Sweet Valley High.

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Arts & Life
3:54 pm
Sat July 12, 2014

Wounded Bull-Runner: 'If You Run Long Enough, You Get Gored'

U.S. runner Bill Hillmann is gored on his right leg during the running of the bulls of the San Fermin festival, in Pamplona, Spain, on Wednesday.
Daniel Ochoa de Olza AP

Originally published on Sat July 12, 2014 5:30 pm

When Bill Hillmann joined this year's running of the bulls in Pamplona, Spain, he knew exactly what he was signing up for. After all, he co-wrote the book on it.

Hillmann was a contributor to Fiesta: How to Survive the Bulls of Pamplona. But his expertise didn't protect him from harm this year: A lone bull, or suelto, gored him through the right leg.

From his hospital bed, Hillmann tells NPR's Kelly McEvers that he feels fine. "They've got me on some really good painkillers, so I'm just kind of floating here," he says.

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Author Interviews
3:54 pm
Sat July 12, 2014

'Fightshark' Recounts His Struggles, In Kickboxing And Beyond

HarperCollins

Originally published on Sat July 12, 2014 5:30 pm

In the kickboxing ring, Mark Miller goes by "Fightshark" — a name he chose, he says, because when he smells blood, he attacks.

The legendary super heavyweight kickboxer first made his name in fighting in the early 2000s.

"In the early part of the decade, I was 6'4, 230 [pounds], and I was small for heavyweight kickboxing," he tells NPR's Kelly McEvers. "It's a lot of speed and power involved."

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The Two-Way
12:43 pm
Sat July 12, 2014

Tracy Morgan Sues Wal-Mart Over Truck-Limousine Crash

Tracy Morgan attends One Night Only: An All-Star Tribute To Don Rickles in May, a few weeks before the crash that seriously injured him and killed fellow comedian James McNair.
Charles Sykes AP

Originally published on Sat July 12, 2014 1:59 pm

Comedian Tracy Morgan, who was seriously hurt last month when his limousine was hit by a Wal-Mart truck going 20 mph over the speed limit, is suing the retail giant for negligence.

The complaint, filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in New Jersey, says that Wal-Mart should have known that the driver of the truck had been awake 24 hours and alleges that he fell asleep at the wheel.

The Associated Press says:

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Music Games & Humor
6:39 am
Sat July 12, 2014

Tracking The World's Famous Most Unread Books

Originally published on Sat July 12, 2014 11:12 am

Transcript

TAMARA KEITH, HOST:

We've all done it - bought an important timely book with great intentions of tearing through it. But then reality sets in. We find ourselves less and less motivated to make it to the end. Author and mathematician Jordan Ellenberg wanted to quantify this phenomenon and has come up with a way to measure when exactly a reader gives up. He's with us from his office at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. Welcome.

JORDAN ELLENBERG: Hi. Thanks for having me.

KEITH: So you call your index the Hawking Index. Why is that?

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Movie Interviews
6:38 am
Sat July 12, 2014

Ellar Coltrane Speaks Of Growing Up On Screen In 'Boyhood'

Originally published on Sat July 12, 2014 11:12 am

Transcript

TAMARA KEITH, HOST:

The film "Boyhood," which opened last night in LA and New York, was shot over 12 years. The result is a time lapse of childhood. No special effects, just the sometimes dramatic changes that can take place from year to year - both physically and emotionally. We are joined now by Ellar Coltrane who plays Mason, Jr. - the boy of "Boyhood" - the main character who we see grow up on screen. And let's get something out of the way. This is not a documentary, right?

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Author Interviews
6:38 am
Sat July 12, 2014

'Angels' Find Pre-Civil War Home In Idyllic Interracial Enclave

Originally published on Sat July 12, 2014 11:12 am

Transcript

TAMARA KEITH, HOST:

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Author Interviews
6:03 am
Sat July 12, 2014

History In The Groove: Q&A With Author (And 78 Collector) Amanda Petrusich

Amanda Petrusich and the beginnings of her 78 collection.
Bret Stetka

If you've ever enjoyed the ghostly weird-old-America wail of Robert Johnson, the deep blues of Charley Patton or Skip James' guitar wizardry, you can thank the 78 collecting community — those dedicated (okay, obsessive) folks who hunt down the rare old shellac records that hold so much of our musical past.

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Author Interviews
4:35 am
Sat July 12, 2014

A Marriage In Crisis Is The Model For This 'Drawing'

Robin Black is also the author of If I Loved You, I Would Tell You This.
Picasa Random House

Originally published on Sat July 12, 2014 11:12 am

Life Drawing is a novel that will make you want to hug the person you love and never let go.

It's a thriller and a love story. But it isn't about over-the-moon, happy, young love; it's about love when the marriage is no longer easy, when every move the couple makes is haunted by a betrayal.

Life Drawing is Robin Black's first novel. She tells NPR's Tamara Keith why she chose to explore a marriage in crisis and the challenge of writing about Alzheimer's when she had no experience with the disease.

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Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!
6:15 pm
Fri July 11, 2014

Not My Job: Skier Mikaela Shiffrin Gets Quizzed On Downhill Cheese Races

Jonathan Nackstrand AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat July 12, 2014 11:23 am

Wait Wait is at Colorado's Red Rocks Amphitheatre this week, and so we've invited Colorado native Mikaela Shiffrin to play Not My Job. Shiffrin grew up in Vail, and this year at the Sochi Olympics, she became the youngest person ever to win an Olympic medal in slalom.

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This Week's Must Read
3:37 pm
Fri July 11, 2014

In Aftermath Of Brazil's World Cup Defeat, A Poem To Numb The Pain

Originally published on Fri July 11, 2014 7:21 pm

Any time you're facing big failure is a good time to revisit the 1888 poem "Casey at the Bat." It's the classic story of dashed optimism, of an entire city putting its hopes on the result of one single, heartbreaking at-bat. Here are the last stanzas. It's down to the wire. The Mudville team has two outs, two strikes, and they're hoping Casey will save them.

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Fine Art
3:37 pm
Fri July 11, 2014

After Decades In Storage, Damaged Rothko Murals Get High-Tech Restoration

Panel Five of Rothko's Harvard Murals hangs in Holyoke Center in January 1968.
Courtesy of Harvard University Archives

Originally published on Fri July 11, 2014 7:21 pm

Paintings by postwar abstract artist Mark Rothko are highly coveted — in May one of his works sold at auction in London for $50 million. But oddly enough, Harvard University has had a handful of Rothkos — faded by sunlight and splattered with food and drink — in storage. Now, new technology has led to a potentially controversial restoration.

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Hardcover Fiction Bestsellers
3:00 pm
Fri July 11, 2014

NPR Bestsellers: Hardcover Fiction, Week Of July 10, 2014

"One Plus One" cover.

A struggling single mom gets helps from an obnoxious tech millionaire in Jojo Moyes' One Plus One. It debuts at No. 7.

NPR Bestseller List
3:00 pm
Fri July 11, 2014

NPR Bestsellers: Week Of July 10, 2014

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

Paperback Nonfiction Bestsellers
3:00 pm
Fri July 11, 2014

NPR Bestsellers: Paperback Nonfiction, Week Of July 10, 2014

In Launch, entrepreneur Jeff Walker offers advice for launching a successful product or business in an increasingly digital world. It appears at No. 13.

Paperback Fiction Bestsellers
3:00 pm
Fri July 11, 2014

NPR Bestsellers: Paperback Fiction, Week Of July 10, 2014

At No. 15, Jo Baker's Longbourn reimagines Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice from a servant's perspective.

Hardcover Nonfiction Bestsellers
3:00 pm
Fri July 11, 2014

NPR Bestsellers: Hardcover Nonfiction, Week Of July 10, 2014

"#GIRLBOSS" cover image.

In #GIRLBOSS, Sophia Amoruso delivers an irreverent manifesto for ambitious young women. It debuts at No. 15.

Movie Reviews
1:38 pm
Fri July 11, 2014

Oh, 'Boyhood!' Linklater's Cinematic Stunt Pays Off

Eller Coltrane — pictured here with screen family Ethan Hawke and Lorelei Linklater — grows from boy to man on-screen in Richard Linklater's new Boyhood.
IFC Productions

Originally published on Fri July 11, 2014 7:21 pm

Filmmaker Richard Linklater breezed through plenty of genres in his career, establishing that he's comfortable making loose comedies like Slacker, animated sci-fi thrillers like A Scanner Darkly, and even messing with longer-form studies in time with his Before trilogy, Before Sunset, Before Sunrise and Before Midnight.

Still, it's safe to say that he's never done anything even remotely like Boyhood, his latest film, because neither has anyone else.

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Movie Reviews
1:28 pm
Fri July 11, 2014

In A Remarkable Feat, 'Boyhood' Makes Time Visible

Transcript

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. Our film critic David Edelstein has a review of the new film "Boyhood." It was written and directed by Richard Linklater, who also made the movies, "Slacker," "Dazed And Confused," "School Of Rock," "The Before Sunrise" Trilogy and "Bernie." "Boyhood" covers a dozen years and was shot over a 12 year period. It stars Patricia Arquette, Ethan Hawke and newcomer Ellar Coltrane as the boy we watch grow up.

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Goats and Soda
12:09 pm
Fri July 11, 2014

It's 'Etsy,' Kenyan Style: Making Art Out Of Flip-Flops And Bottle Tops

Apollo Omondi Omware couldn't find a white-collar job, so he created his own business, weaving baskets and training others to weave as well.
Ryan Kellman NPR

Originally published on Fri July 11, 2014 1:37 pm

Sure, it's tough to earn a living as an artist. But it helps if your materials don't cost a lot. At the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, several of the Kenyan craftspeople work wonders with discarded beer bottles and flip-flops.

Jonathan Lento: He Fashions Flip-Flops Into Funky Fauna

Jonathan Lento grips a slender knife in one hand and a colorful block made of glued-together flip-flops in the other.

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