Arts

The Edge
6:02 am
Wed February 5, 2014

An Olympic Preview, From The Canon Of Russian Literature

The Krasnaya Polyana mountain range, viewed from the Olympic host city of Sochi, shows off the stunning landscape of southern Russia.
Richard Heathcote Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 5, 2014 10:45 am

It is fitting that the Winter Olympics, one of the world's fiercest competitions, is taking place amid the breathtaking beauty of the Caucasus.

For centuries, Russia's greatest writers have been inspired by this volatile region full of not only immense natural beauty but also human misery. No matter how or why these writers came to the area, they found a land full of possibility and pain, rich in beauty, yet rife with violence: in short, a concentrated microcosm of the contradictions of life itself.

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Movies
2:29 am
Wed February 5, 2014

An Oscar Nominee, But Unwelcome At Home In Cairo

Khalid Abdalla, an activist and actor (The Kite Runner, Green Zone and United 93), and Ahmed Hassan protest in Jehane Noujaim's Oscar-nominated documentary, The Square.
Netflix

Originally published on Tue February 25, 2014 4:47 pm

On a cool Cairo evening, the cast and crew of The Square put on an informal screening of the film for their friends. Many of them are in the documentary, which chronicles three years of political unrest and revolution centered on this city's now-iconic Tahrir Square; all of them experienced some part of the events that unfolded there.

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Book Reviews
5:12 pm
Tue February 4, 2014

A Widow's Quiet Life Leaves Room For Sex, Guns And Literature

iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue February 4, 2014 7:00 pm

As of last week, what I knew about Beirut could fit in a sandwich bag. What I knew about being a blue-haired, 72-year-old woman, never mind a widow and a shut-in, was a whole lot less. Now, one week later, I'm much more informed, and I'm happy to encourage you to become so, too.

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The Salt
3:41 pm
Tue February 4, 2014

Sweet Tooth Gone Bad: Why 22 Teaspoons Of Sugar Per Day Is Risky

Even seemingly healthful foods can contain unexpected spoonfuls of sugar.
Meg Vogel/NPR

Originally published on Tue February 4, 2014 7:00 pm

We've written lots lately about the potentially addictive qualities of sugar and the public policy efforts to limit consumption.

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Monkey See
12:32 pm
Tue February 4, 2014

Does It Help To Get Angry At Someone With Addiction?

Candles, flowers and portraits lie in the rain outside Philip Seymour Hoffman's apartment in New York City.
Andrew Burton Getty Images

Originally published on Mon June 16, 2014 6:33 am

Whom, exactly, does anger help when dealing with addiction? In the Washington Post's Style Blog, Philip Kennicott writes:

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Television
11:48 am
Tue February 4, 2014

'Borgen' Is Denmark's 'West Wing' (But Even Better)

Borgen's heroine is Birgitte Nyborg, superbly played by Sidse Babett Knudsen. Pilou Asbaek plays Don Draper-ish spin doctor Kasper Juul.
MHz Networks

Originally published on Wed February 5, 2014 10:10 am

The Danish television series Borgen about a female party leader who unexpectedly becomes Denmark's prime minister was a hit in its home country and in the U.K. It won numerous international prizes, and a cult following in the U.S. after its sporadic TV broadcasts — Stephen King named it his favorite piece of pop culture of 2012. The third and final season has just been released on DVD by MHz Networks, which also brought out seasons one and two.

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Author Interviews
11:48 am
Tue February 4, 2014

Are We Having Fun Yet? New Book Explores The Paradox Of Parenting

The title of Jennifer Senior's book — All Joy and No Fun — contrasts the strains of day-to-day parenting with the transcendent experience of having a child.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue February 4, 2014 3:09 pm

When you're a parent — even when you're a miserably sleep-deprived parent — sometimes magical things happen in the dead of night. Jennifer Senior's son was 1 month old when, during a late-night feeding, he looked directly at her and cooed. "It was this recognition, like 'Oh, you're my mom,' " she tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "I'd like to think that when I'm dying I'll remember that. ... Even in my depressive, sleep-deprived, hysterical, Looney Tunes state, I remember thinking that was just the bomb — that was magic."

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Monkey See
7:33 am
Tue February 4, 2014

Bob And Linda Read Internet Movie Reviews, Part 1: 'American Hustle'

NPR

Originally published on Tue February 25, 2014 4:46 pm

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The Two-Way
6:15 am
Tue February 4, 2014

Book News: Fragment Of Jane Austen's Handwriting Found

Hulton Archive Getty Images

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

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New In Paperback
6:02 am
Tue February 4, 2014

Feb. 2-8: The Virgin Mary, The Prophet Muhammad And A Stalker Student

Scribner

Originally published on Thu March 27, 2014 4:37 pm

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

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

Book Reviews
6:02 am
Tue February 4, 2014

A Little Knowledge Is 'Definitely Maybe' A Dangerous Thing

Boris and Arkady Strugatsky coauthored the 1971 science fiction novel Roadside Picnic.
Courtesy of the Strugatsky Estate

A great truth is this: Some discoveries, like the sting of a painful memory, do a number on your psyche. Definitely Maybe accomplishes just that. It's one for those with a penchant for the strange, those drawn to the grim and the darkly funny — those, like myself, interested in the beautifully rendered pessimism of manic scientists. Never mind, just for a moment, the current state of science fiction. Arkady and Boris Strugatsky, brothers, celebrated Russian geniuses, give it all in this dystopian gem. All and then some.

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Movies
4:09 pm
Mon February 3, 2014

On Philip Seymour Hoffman, And His Many Appearances

Philip Seymour Hoffman at a screening of The Master, for which he was nominated for an Academy Award, during the 2012 Venice Film Festival.
Gabriel Bouys AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 7:16 pm

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Television
3:52 pm
Mon February 3, 2014

A Viewing Guide For The Overwhelmed Olympic Fan

Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 6:33 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Well, if you were to try to watch all of NBC's coverage of the Sochi games, it would be a lot of TV: 1,539 hours of programming. The network is serving up more coverage of the Winter Olympics than ever. NPR's TV critic Eric Deggans has some advice for those sorting through it.

ERIC DEGGANS, BYLINE: Watching the Olympics is like a Rorschach test. Years ago, you just turned on the TV and gobbled down whatever they dished up.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED AUDIO)

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Music
3:52 pm
Mon February 3, 2014

The Fringe Benefits To Bruno Mars' Free Super Bowl Gig

Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 6:33 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Early ratings are in for last night's Super Bowl. And while down a bit from last year, the game clocked a respectable 96.9 million viewers. The half-time show was easily the most high-profile gig singer Bruno Mars has enjoyed in his young career.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "JUST THE WAY YOU ARE")

BRUNO MARS: (singing) Just the way you are.

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The Salt
1:51 pm
Mon February 3, 2014

Food Comics Turn 'ZAP' And 'POW' Into 'Sizzle' And 'Bubble'

Lucy Knisley's Relish is a graphic memoir about how she discovered her love of food and cooking.
Courtesy of Lucy Knisley

Comic book heroes don't have to wear brightly colored spandex or possess superpowers to capture readers' imaginations anymore. They can don toques and wield whisks instead.

A growing number of comic artists are focusing on what's on their plates, rather than dreaming up intergalactic showdowns and caped crusader capers.

So less ZAP, BOOM, POW. More sizzle, crackle, bubble.

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The Salt
1:38 pm
Mon February 3, 2014

Sandwich Monday: Poppin' Pebbles, A Fruity Pebbles Spinoff

Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm get weird.
NPR

Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 6:39 pm

For years, makers of kids' cereals have been upping the ante to get kids interested: hiding a toy surprise inside, adding multicolored marshmallows, setting bear traps in the cereal aisle. Now Post, maker of the classic Flintstones-themed Fruity Pebbles, has created "Poppin' Pebbles," an explosive Pop Rocks-cereal mashup.

Miles: This is the only cereal on the market that fizzes and foams in your mouth. Well, this and Cinnamon Rabies Crunch.

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Remembrances
12:57 pm
Mon February 3, 2014

Philip Seymour Hoffman On Acting: An 'Exhausting' And 'Satisfying' Art

Actor Philip Seymour Hoffman was found dead in his Manhattan apartment on Sunday. He was 46.
Evan Agostini Getty Images

Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 7:21 pm

It's easy to lose yourself in Philip Seymour Hoffman masterful portrayals, but those performances were anything but effortless.

"Like any job," he told Fresh Air's Terry Gross in 2008, it could be exhausting. In our day to day lives, "we're not too introspective," he said. "We don't walk around our lives just constantly trying to delve into the understanding of ourselves unless you're in therapy or something. But that's what actors do, you know? We really explore ourselves and other people."

Hoffman was found dead on Sunday in his Manhattan apartment. He was 46.

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Monkey See
10:35 am
Mon February 3, 2014

Not-stalgia: Why I Don't Miss 'Seinfeld'

Getty Images

Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 11:34 am

I remember laughing occasionally at Seinfeld. I'm pretty sure there's tape of me somewhere, probably on a podcast, acknowledging that it's good. Because of peer pressure.

I don't like Seinfeld, I don't miss it, and every time I'm asked to participate in some sort of acknowledgment of its greatness, or its place in the pantheon, I feel myself cringe and lie and say I understand, but I am here to tell you, and then never to be so cowardly again: I don't understand.

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Television
9:54 am
Mon February 3, 2014

Seinfeld, Coca-Cola and Cheerios: Which Super Bowl Ads Scored?

Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 1:23 pm

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. So there wasn't much suspense on the field in last night's Super Bowl with the Seattle Seahawks blowing out the Denver Broncos. But for fans who sit through the football to watch the ads there was plenty of action. Here to tell us more about the commercial hits and misses is Eric Deggans. He's NPR's TV critic. Welcome back. Thanks so much for joining us.

ERIC DEGGANS, BYLINE: Thanks for having me.

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Monkey See
9:03 am
Mon February 3, 2014

Philip Seymour Hoffman And The Blessings Of Friction

Philip Seymour Hoffman, seen here in November, died Sunday.
Robyn Beck AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 2:42 pm

It is already a cliche, born in the past 18 hours, for a writer to puzzle over the task of remembering Philip Seymour Hoffman, who died Sunday. It is indeed hard to figure out what to say about an artist quite so universally admired, and quite so kindly spoken of with such consistency.

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The Two-Way
6:11 am
Mon February 3, 2014

Book News: J.K. Rowling Says She Regrets Matching Ron And Hermione

Say it Ain't So! Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling now says that beloved characters Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, played by Rupert Grint and Emma Watson (seen in 2011), shouldn't have wound up together.
Adrian Dennis AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 7:20 am

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

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Remembrances
4:22 am
Mon February 3, 2014

Philip Seymour Hoffman On His Portrayal Of Willy Loman

Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 6:43 am

Many famous actors have played the role of Willy Loman in Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman. Philip Seymour Hoffman became the fifth actor to play the harried, 63-year-old Loman on Broadway. (Steve Inskeep's conversation with Philip Seymour Hoffman initially aired on April 12, 2012 on Morning Edition).

Remembrances
4:10 am
Mon February 3, 2014

Police Investigate Death Of Actor Philip Seymour Hoffman

Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 6:43 am

Actor Philip Seymour Hoffman was found dead in his New York City apartment on Sunday. He was 46 years old. Police are investigating the death as a possible drug overdose. He'd struggled with substance abuse throughout his life.

Television
4:01 am
Mon February 3, 2014

'American Promise' Probes Race Issues In NYC Private School

Seun Summers (left) and Idris Brewster have been best friends since before they were kindergartners. They're both college sophomores today, and their parents say each is thriving in his respective school. (Seun is at York College, part of The City University of New York; Idris is at Occidental College in Los Angeles.)
Jason Kempin Getty Images

Originally published on Tue February 4, 2014 6:42 am

Monday evening, PBS will air American Promise, a documentary that traces the lives of two African-American students for 13 years. They both enroll as kindergarteners at The Dalton School, an elite private day school in New York City that says it's making a commitment to diversity.

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Theater
2:30 am
Mon February 3, 2014

'After Midnight,' And The Cotton Club Is Swinging Again

Fantasia Barrino, the American Idol winner who went on to play the lead role in Broadway's The Color Purple, was among the rotating roster of guest stars in After Midnight, a Broadway revue celebrating Harlem's legendary Cotton Club and the stars who performed there.
Matthew Murphy

Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 6:43 am

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Remembrances
6:06 pm
Sun February 2, 2014

Philip Seymour Hoffman: An 'Uncanny' Actor Of Stage And Screen

Hoffman (left) and Eddie Marsan, in a scene from the film God's Pocket, released in January.
Lance Acord AP

Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 1:53 pm

Actor Philip Seymour Hoffman was found dead on Sunday in his Manhattan apartment. He was 46.

Hoffman was steeped in his profession — in film, on stage, in the spotlight and behind the scenes.

In 2005, he won the Oscar for best actor for his portrayal of Truman Capote. The movie focuses on Capote's interviews with two murderers on death row for his nonfiction novel In Cold Blood.

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Around the Nation
5:42 pm
Sun February 2, 2014

Following Oil Boom In N. Dakota: A Cultural Blooming?

Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 1:25 pm

Transcript

ARUN RATH, HOST:

It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR West. I'm Arun Rath.

This week, NPR has been reporting on the effects of the fracking boom in the area known as the Bakken. Williston, North Dakota, offers a haven for a new working class. Tens of thousands of newcomers have flocked to the oil field over the past five years. The region is flush with high-paying, low-scaled work. It's bringing a lot of economic development, and some are hoping it can bring cultural development too. Montana Public Radio's Dan Boyce has the story.

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Author Interviews
5:42 pm
Sun February 2, 2014

'Unnecessary Woman' Lives On The Margins, Enveloped In Books

Trinette Reed iStockphoto

Aaliyah lives in the heart of Lebanon's capital, but she is cut off from parties, war and family.

The title character of Rabih Alameddine's new novel spends her days alone in her Beirut apartment. She translates her favorite books into Arabic, and her manuscripts pile up, unsold. At 72, the former bookstore employee is long divorced without any children.

"She fell in love with books," Alameddine says. "So this is a woman who, whether it is by choice or by circumstance, has been forced into the margins of society."

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Movies
4:18 pm
Sun February 2, 2014

A Century Ago Today, Chaplin Made His Film Debut — In A Dud

Silent-film icon Charlie Chaplin, in character as the Little Tramp, takes aim with his walking stick circa 1925.
Edward Gooch Getty Images

Originally published on Sun February 2, 2014 5:42 pm

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The Salt
3:10 pm
Sun February 2, 2014

Marijuana-Laced Treats Leave Colorado Jonesing For Food-Safety Rules

Truffles are among the many foods infused with THC – the chemical in marijuana that gives you a high — already for sale in Colorado.
Luke Runyon/KUNC/Harvest Public Media

Originally published on Tue February 4, 2014 11:00 am

Where there's pot, there's pot brownies. But how do you make sure those high-inducing sweets are safe to eat?

Colorado regulators are wrestling with that question now that the state has legalized recreational marijuana. From sodas and truffles to granola bars and butter, food products infused with THC – the chemical in marijuana that gives you a high — are already for sale.

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