Arts

The Two-Way
6:23 am
Thu February 27, 2014

Book News: 'Fifty Shades Of Grey' Sales Top 100 Million

Copies of Fifty Shades of Grey by E. L. James at the Politics and Prose Bookstore in Washington, D.C.
Saul Loeb AFP/Getty Images

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

  • E.L. James' Fifty Shades of Grey series has now sold more than 100 million copies worldwide, Vintage Books announced on Wednesday. The erotica series, which began as Twilight fanfiction, features shy Anastasia Steele, her handcuff-happy lover, businessman Christian Grey, and Anastasia's "inner goddess," who is prone to impromptu Latin dancing. About 45 million of the copies have been sold in the U.S.

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Movies
4:12 am
Thu February 27, 2014

FBI's Abscam Videos Are As Unbelievable As 'American Hustle'

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 6:30 am

The Oscar contender is loosely based on the Abscam sting, which nailed a senator and six House members on corruption charges. The FBI videotaped some Hollywood-worthy scenes.

Hollywood Jobs
2:28 am
Thu February 27, 2014

'Clap!' On Set, The Signature Sound Of The Slate

Milan "Miki" Janicin slates a scene on a location shoot for The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift. Given the crowded location, "I'm actually on the phone with my first assistant, so he could let me know when the camera is rolling," Janicin says.
Sidney Ray Baldwin

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 12:12 pm

More than the roar of the MGM lion, more than the 20th Century Fox fanfare, the iconic sound of moviemaking is the sharp clap of a slate — although film folks have a language of their own to describe it.

"Miki's hitting the sticks on this one," says assistant cameraman Larry Nielsen, pointing to his assistant.

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The Two-Way
8:44 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

Mapping Differences In America's Musical Tastes, State By State

A map of the U.S. lists the musical acts that set states apart from each other. It's not a matter of an artist's popularity, says Paul Lamere, who made the map, but of a state's distinct preferences.
Paul Lamere, Director of Developer Platform at The Echo Nest

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 12:24 pm

Are you streaming music right now? If you're in America's Pacific region, there's a much better chance you're nodding along with Cat Power rather than grooving to Fantasia, which you'd be more likely to be doing if you were across the country in the South Atlantic. Those observations come from a map titled "Regionalisms in U.S. Listening Preferences."

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Code Switch
6:02 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

To Play The Part, Actors Must Talk The Talk — In Chinese

Chinese billionaire Xander Feng, played by Terry Chen, shakes hands with Francis Underwood, played by Kevin Spacey, in Netflix's House of Cards.
Nathaniel E. Bell Courtesy of Netflix

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 11:08 am

The success of the Netflix series House of Cards lies in the details.

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Book Reviews
1:20 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

These Stories Consider Solitude, With Echoes Of Emily Dickinson

Courtesy of Knopf

Lorrie Moore isn't quite a household name. This was news to me, because I thought that, given that she's the kind of writer who's published in The New Yorker and profiled in The New York Times, most culture vultures would know who she is. But, over the past couple of weeks when I mentioned her new book, Bark, in conversations, both in the halls of academe and over meals with friends, I mostly got blank stares. (One smarty confused her with that other great literary "Lorrie" — the late Laurie Colwin — whose short stories and novels are also essential reading.)

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Local Bands
11:03 am
Wed February 26, 2014

Local Group War Magic Plays Unique Neo-Folk

Mark Reynolds (left, on keys) & Alistair Reynolds (on guitar) of War Magic
Credit Rachel Otwell

War Magic is a local folk band that you probably haven't heart of. The group's been called "dream-folk" and "neo-folk" - and they've only played a handful of shows in town. Alistair Reynolds and Mark Reynolds recently joined us to talk about their project and share some of their unique music: 

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The Two-Way
10:14 am
Wed February 26, 2014

Book News: Apple Appeals Ruling In E-Book Price-Fixing Case

Apple says in its appeal filed Tuesday that it was ignorant of any price-fixing conspiracy.
Daniel Barry Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 26, 2014 11:42 am

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

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Kitchen Window
9:50 am
Wed February 26, 2014

Fat Tuesday: The Many Different Doughnuts Of Mardi Gras

Emily Hilliard for NPR

Originally published on Wed February 26, 2014 10:02 am

The history of doughnuts is intrinsically linked to the celebration of Mardi Gras. "Fat Tuesday" — the Christian day of revelry and indulgence before the austere season of Lent — features dough deep-fried in fat as its main staple.

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This I Believe 2014
7:35 am
Wed February 26, 2014

I Believe in Snow Cones

Alex Brosseau - Southeast HS

I used to live right on the busiest street in the world. Maybe, I’m exaggerating a little bit, but it seemed pretty busy to me. Cars zoomed up and down the street, traveling around the world, and I wasn’t allowed to go past my block on my own, which now seems to be very logical, but at the time it seemed like the most ridiculous rule. On hot summer weeks when I was cooped up to my huge lawn and vast house, my sole escape was Snow Cone Tuesday.

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Book Reviews
6:03 am
Wed February 26, 2014

Lorrie Moore's New 'Bark' Is Half Of A Good Book

Courtesy of Knopf

There are eight stories in Lorrie Moore's new collection, but only two of them really stand out. Moore's one of the country's most admired writers – and maybe I was so dazzled by the brilliance and power of the two longest stories in these pages that I couldn't read the other pieces — which I found either a little off-kilter or too subtly played — without feeling a certain amount of loss. But my possibly cock-eyed view of Bark is that it's a book, or at least half a book, that anyone who loves contemporary fiction should have a go at.

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Television
5:10 am
Wed February 26, 2014

With Olympics Concluded, New Shows Compete For Viewers

Originally published on Wed February 26, 2014 6:43 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

TV fans might notice an explosion of new material on the small screen this week. That's because many TV networks and cable channels delayed airing new episodes of shows or the start of news series until after the Winter Olympics ended.

Here to tell us about the surge in new TV programming this week is NPR's TV critic Eric Deggans. How are you doing, Eric?

ERIC DEGGANS, BYLINE: I'm doing great.

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Books News & Features
4:09 am
Wed February 26, 2014

When It Comes To Women's Writing, How Do Publications Stack Up?

For the fourth year in a row, VIDA has tallied up the gender breakdown in prominent literary journals — counting both reviewers and authors.
Peter Mautsch iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed February 26, 2014 9:21 am

If it seems like male authors get more attention, there are hard numbers to back that up: The VIDA count.

VIDA is a women's literary organization, and the "count" is the result of eight months spent tracking gender disparity in leading publications. VIDA tallies the gender of authors whose books are being reviewed as well as the gender of those doing the reviewing.

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Book Reviews
7:29 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

Comedian Ages With Humor — And Effort

Courtesy of Blue Rider Press

Originally published on Wed February 26, 2014 9:28 am

What is it about comedians itching to get between the covers — book covers, that is? Annabelle Gurwitch's I See You Made An Effort, a seriously funny collection of essays about teetering over the edge of 50, makes it clear that the draw isn't strictly literary. To tweak Peter Steiner's classic New Yorker cartoon: On the page, nobody knows how old you are.

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Music Reviews
3:19 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

Album Review: 'Morning Phase'

Originally published on Wed March 5, 2014 10:05 am

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

The singer and songwriter Beck is considered one of the most innovative artists of his generation. This week, he released "Morning Phase," his first new album in six years. Critic Tom Moon says the new record returns back to the brooding pop of 2002's "Sea Change," which many consider his best work.

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Book Reviews
3:19 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

Book Review: 'Bark'

Originally published on Tue February 25, 2014 7:01 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Writer Lorrie Moore is known for her clever word play and incisive wit. Now, she's out with a new collection of short stories, her first in 16 years. It's called "Bark." Alan Cheuse has our review.

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Author Interviews
2:02 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

During World War I, Germany Unleashed 'Terrorist Cell In America'

A fireboat sits amid ruins and debris on the piers at Black Tom Island in Jersey City, N.J., on July 30, 1916. Evidence pointed to German sabotage. In Dark Invasion, Howard Blum explores Germany's spy network and sabotage efforts in the U.S. at the beginning of World War I.
AP

Originally published on Wed February 26, 2014 11:06 am

In the early years of World War I, as many as 1,000 American horses per day were shipped off to Europe to assist in the Allied war effort, even though the United States was officially neutral. Those horses became the target of germ warfare, infected with anthrax cultures on American soil; at the same time, mysterious explosions were rocking U.S. munitions factories, and fires were breaking out on ships headed to Europe.

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Remembrances
11:28 am
Tue February 25, 2014

Harold Ramis On Working At 'Playboy' And Writing 'Animal House'

Ramis, shown here in Chicago in 2009, died of complications related to autoimmune inflammatory vasculitis on Monday.
Tasos Katopodis Getty Images for The Second City

Originally published on Tue February 25, 2014 2:02 pm

Comedy actor, writer and director Harold Ramis is best known for the 1984 film Ghostbusters, which he co-wrote and starred in along with Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd. Ramis had co-written and planned to star in the long-awaited Ghostbusters III — but did not get the chance. Ramis died Monday in Chicago from an autoimmune disorder. He was 69 years old.

Ramis co-wrote Animal House, Meatballs and Stripes. He co-wrote and directed Caddyshack and directed Murray in Groundhog Day.

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Monkey See
10:52 am
Tue February 25, 2014

Desk, Set: Seth Meyers Lands In Late Night Very Safely

Actress Amy Poehler during an interview with host Seth Meyers on the premiere of Meyers' Late Night.
Peter Kramer NBC

The best thing about late-night TV can also be the trickiest.

On the fringes of TV's big stage, shows airing after midnight can be a home for invention; a place where quirky personalities and developing talent can try things with the potential for massive success or demoralizing failure with relatively low stakes.

That history — and its potential for greatness — may be one reason why Seth Meyers' funny, well-paced, completely professional debut Monday as the new host of NBC's 12:35 a.m. Late Night show nevertheless left me a little underwhelmed.

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Code Switch
10:18 am
Tue February 25, 2014

Are Americans Tired Of 'Arrogant British' TV Personalities?

Piers Morgan poses for a portrait backstage during a 2011 press tour.
Chris Pizzello AP

Originally published on Tue February 25, 2014 2:24 pm

When the interviewer for BBC Radio finally reached me Monday to talk about the failure of Piers Morgan's 9 p.m. interview show on CNN, she basically had one question, asked many different ways.

Are Americans finally tired of arrogant British TV personalities?

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Monkey See
7:46 am
Tue February 25, 2014

Bob And Linda Read Internet Movie Reviews, Part Seven: Dallas Buyers Club

Bob And Linda Read Internet Movie Reviews: Dallas Buyers Club
NPR

Originally published on Tue February 25, 2014 4:33 pm

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This I Believe 2014
7:35 am
Tue February 25, 2014

The Sneetches

Gabrielle Gardner - Southeast HS
Credit Dan LoGrasso / WUIS

I believe that Sneetches are Sneetches. This probably sounds ridiculous to most people, but it is a belief that has greatly affected my outlook on life. In the children’s story “The Sneetches” by Dr. Seuss there is a very important lesson about people and their differences. In this story, there are Sneetches that live on the beach (or the beaches, as Dr. Seuss would say).  Some of these Sneetches were born with big stars on their bellies while others hadn’t anything on theirs.

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The Two-Way
6:23 am
Tue February 25, 2014

Book News: Bernanke Writing A Book On The Fed And The Great Recession

Ben Bernanke is seen leaving his Washington, D.C., office on Jan. 31, his last day as chairman of the Federal Reserve.
Saul Loeb AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue February 25, 2014 9:24 am

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

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New In Paperback
6:03 am
Tue February 25, 2014

Feb. 23-28: A Migrant Mother, A Lost Twin And A Human Fly

*Some of the language in the summaries above has been provided by publishers.

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

Technology
4:11 am
Tue February 25, 2014

Online, Researcher Says, Teens Do What They've Always Done

Originally published on Wed February 26, 2014 9:04 am

Researcher danah boyd is obsessed with how teenagers use the Internet. For the legions of adults who are worried about them, that's a good thing.

With a Ph.D from the University of California, Berkeley, and a masters from MIT, and as a senior researcher with Microsoft, boyd is something of a star in the world of social media. For her new book It's Complicated, she spent about eight years studying teenagers and how they interact online. She says she wrote the book in part to help parents, educators and journalists relax. "The kids are all right," she says.

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Remembrances
4:11 am
Tue February 25, 2014

Actor Harold Ramis, Who Also Wrote And Directed, Dies At 69

Originally published on Tue February 25, 2014 7:06 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And this morning, we're remembering comedian Harold Ramis. Ramis was probably best known for his time on screen alongside Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd in "Ghostbusters." He and Murray also teamed up as best buddies who have no business joining the Army in the movie "Stripes." Here's Ramis in his deadpan performance as Russell Ziskey.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "STRIPES")

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Architecture
2:38 am
Tue February 25, 2014

A College Project That Imagines A Floating City For Oil Workers

View of central crossing of the central hub island, one of dozens of man-made islands envisioned by Rice University architecture students. The islands would serve as a floating city for oil workers off the coast of Brazil.
Rice School of Architecture

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 7:58 am

Imagine you're in a college-level architecture class and your assignment is to come up with an idea so revolutionary that it could be considered an important advance in industrial design.

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Author Interviews
2:35 am
Tue February 25, 2014

'A' Is For Anxiety, 'G' Is For Guilt: The ABCs Of Breast Cancer

izusek iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue February 25, 2014 7:06 am

A few years ago, Morning Edition interviewed President Obama at the White House. At the time, it was a major news story, but there was another story going on behind the scenes.

Madhulika Sikka, now the executive editor of NPR News, had accompanied the team to the White House, and while NPR's Steve Inskeep was talking to the president, Sikka was waiting on a phone call from her doctor. She had been warned a few days before that the news might not be good.

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The Picture Show
4:48 pm
Mon February 24, 2014

Here Are Some Photos A Robot Decided I Should Remember

NPR

We've all heard the arguments that our lives have become irrevocably mediated by screens and camera phones — that the more we document and publish moments, the less we actually live them. So when Elise Hu over at All Tech Considered got a Narrative Clip in the mail, I was curious.

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Remembrances
4:11 pm
Mon February 24, 2014

Harold Ramis: A Big-Screen Comedy Nerd, Eager To Please

Ghostbusters, starring Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis, was one of Ramis' many successful comedies. The writer, director, actor and producer died Monday; he had co-written and planned to star in the long-awaited Ghostbusters III.
Corus Entertainment / Sony Pictures

Originally published on Mon February 24, 2014 7:02 pm

Harold Ramis, who died Monday at 69, helped create such hits as Animal House, Ghostbusters, Groundhog Day, Caddyshack, Meatballs and others. And he brought an impish spirit to all of them.

Onscreen he was a big smiling lug: shaggy, upbeat, cheery. He was almost always a supporting player, but invariably a forceful one you really couldn't ignore.

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