Arts

Monkey See
10:21 am
Tue July 8, 2014

Voting Blockbusters: One Man's Battle With His Own Mind

Back to the Future (1985), starring Michael J. Fox, is one of two comedies Chris Klimek included on his list of the 15 best summer blockbusters that came out between 1975 and 2013.
Universal Getty Images

Originally published on Tue July 8, 2014 2:19 pm

I've lived a dissolute life of cowardice and regret, but that's no biggie, because I was also part of a 13-critic jury — all staffers of or contributors to the superb website-for-movie-lovers The Dissolve — who chose, via three rounds of voting, the 50 greatest summer blockbusters, circa 1975-2013.

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Monkey See
9:08 am
Tue July 8, 2014

What's Happening In Television: It's Press Tour Time Again

It's that time again.

For the next couple of weeks, I'll be writing from the Television Critics Association Press Tour, where a couple hundred critics convene in a giant hotel ballroom to question producers, writers, network executives, actors, and sometimes other folks about what's coming up on TV. It can bring out both the punchy and the grumpy in many folks you know who write about all this: Tim Goodman at The Hollywood Reporter calls it the Death March With Cocktails. (A little later on, my NPR colleague Eric Deggans will be here, too.)

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The Two-Way
6:23 am
Tue July 8, 2014

Book News: J.K. Rowling Writes A New 'Harry Potter' Story

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

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Book Reviews
6:03 am
Tue July 8, 2014

Balancing Signal And Noise In 'Landline'

Originally published on Tue July 8, 2014 10:57 am

I'm deeply conflicted about how to review this book. On the one hand, I literally laughed and cried from one page to the next and devoured the whole in a brief sitting.

On the other hand, I've also read Rainbow Rowell's other books, and this one pales in comparison.

So I could review it straightforwardly and say that it's funny, clever, charming, endearing, and all that would be true — but I could also review it and say that in some ways it's the least of the books of hers I've read so far, and that would also be true.

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Movie Interviews
4:01 am
Tue July 8, 2014

Richard Dreyfuss' Kids Revisit 'Jaws,' Conclude It Makes No Sense

Robert Shaw (from left), Roy Scheider and Richard Dreyfuss play a shark hunter, a police chief and a marine biologist in 1975's Jaws.
Universal/Kobal Collection

Originally published on Tue July 8, 2014 2:59 pm

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Crime In The City
2:33 am
Tue July 8, 2014

For One Crime Writer, Peaceful Shetland Is A Perfect Place For Murder

Old stone houses abut the harbor in Lerwick, Shetland's largest town. Outsiders are known here as "soothmoothers," because they arrive on the ferry through the south mouth of the Bressay Sound.
Ari Shapiro NPR

Originally published on Tue July 8, 2014 8:51 am

Crime writer Ann Cleeves puts it best in her novel Dead Water: "Shetland didn't do pretty. It did wild and bleak and dramatic."

The Shetland Islands are a damp and rocky place, with endless miles of green and gray. Humanity seems to cling to the land here like a few tenacious barnacles. "I love the idea of long, low horizons with secrets hidden underneath," Cleeves says.

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Book Reviews
4:27 pm
Mon July 7, 2014

Post-Apocalyptic World Falls Flat In 'California'

Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Tue July 8, 2014 10:49 am

Edan Lepucki's debut, California, sold thousands of copies even before the official publication date when talk-show host Stephen Colbert urged readers to pre-order it from a national independent chain as a protest against the "books-and-everything else" giant, Amazon.

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The Salt
3:53 pm
Mon July 7, 2014

Couple Revives Lost Moroccan Fig Liquor, One Bottle At A Time

Bottles of mahia in the Nahmias et Fils distillery.
Alex Schmidt for NPR

Originally published on Mon July 7, 2014 6:56 pm

Before the crowds descend on the Whisky Jewbilee, a kosher alcohol tasting event in Manhattan, David and Dorit Nahmias stand behind their vendor table, getting psyched up.

"This is like the big game," Dorit Nahmias says.

Events like these are a key tool for getting the word out about their tiny distillery, and the Nahmiases attend half a dozen of them per year. The product they're trying to sell is one few people have heard of: mahia. Dorit rehearses her pitch:

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The Salt
1:20 pm
Mon July 7, 2014

Sandwich Monday: The Deep-Fried Grilled Cheese

Unidentified Fried Object.
NPR

Originally published on Mon July 7, 2014 1:31 pm

Improving the classics is not an easy task. I, for one, have for years been trying to add a kickstand to my burritos to make them stand upright, but the technical challenges prove insurmountable. Big & Littles in Chicago has done better with its update to the grilled cheese, however: It battered and deep-fried it.

Robert: All I need is a bowl of deep-fried tomato soup and it's a complete meal.

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Music Interviews
12:32 pm
Mon July 7, 2014

For Audra McDonald, Experience And Raw Emotions Make Better Music

Originally published on Mon July 7, 2014 12:44 pm

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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Remembrances
12:20 pm
Mon July 7, 2014

'Fresh Air' Remembers Actor Meshach Taylor

Transcript

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. The actor Meshach Taylor died on June 28 at the age of 67. We're going to remember him by listening back to our 1990 interview. Taylor was best known for his role on the TV sitcom "Designing Women" playing Anthony Bouvier, an ex-convict who's a deliveryman for a company of women interior designers in Atlanta. He eventually became their partner in the company.

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Remembrances
12:20 pm
Mon July 7, 2014

'Fresh Air' Remembers Screenwriter Paul Mazursky

Transcript

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

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The Two-Way
6:15 am
Mon July 7, 2014

Book News: Does Anyone Actually Finish Thomas Piketty's 'Capital'?

French economist and academic Thomas Piketty, in his book-lined office at the French School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences, in Paris.
Charles Platiau Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Mon July 7, 2014 9:18 am

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

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Author Interviews
2:19 am
Mon July 7, 2014

Rainbow Rowell Does Romance With A Subversive (Read: Realistic) Twist

Rainbow Rowell lives in Nebraska with her husband and two sons.
Augusten Burroughs St. Martin's Press

Originally published on Mon July 7, 2014 12:14 pm

Rainbow Rowell writes conventional fiction unconventionally. They're romances, but there's no meeting-cute, or ripping bodices — the people in them seem real.

Rowell got a lot of attention last year for her best-selling young adult romance, Eleanor & Park, about a half-white, half-Korean boy who falls in love with an overweight white girl. Her newest novel, and her second for adults, is called Landline.

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Movie Interviews
4:33 pm
Sun July 6, 2014

The Life And Death Of 'The Internet's Own Boy'

Aaron Swartz was heavily involved in the popular 2012 campaign to prevent the passage of the federal Stop Online Piracy Act, or SOPA.
Quinn Norton Falco Ink Publicity

Originally published on Mon July 7, 2014 7:48 am

Aaron Swartz was a programmer, a hacker, a freedom of information activist — and a casualty of suicide.

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My Big Break
4:33 pm
Sun July 6, 2014

After Assault, Woman Finds Hope And Career In Restorative Justice

Lorenn Walker, now a lawyer, was assaulted in 1976 in an alley near this hotel in Waikiki, Hawaii.
Robyn Pfahl

Originally published on Mon July 7, 2014 7:28 am

As part of a series called "My Big Break," All Things Considered is collecting stories of triumph, big and small. These are the moments when everything seems to click, and people leap forward into their careers.

Lorenn Walker works to help both victims and offenders after crimes are committed. She's a restorative lawyer from the North Shore of Oahu in Hawaii, where she focuses on violence prevention and works on re-entry programs for prisoners.

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Author Interviews
4:33 pm
Sun July 6, 2014

Undeterred By The Blacklist, Lee Grant 'Said Yes To Everything'

By 1967, Lee Grant was back. She was nominated for an Academy Award for her role in the Best Picture winner In the Heat of the Night. She also featured in the cult classic Valley of the Dolls.

Originally published on Sun July 6, 2014 5:51 pm

When the actress and director Lee Grant was still just a New York City schoolgirl named Lyova Haskell Rosenthal, she was already surrounded by the arts. Her mother and aunt were obsessed with the men and women of the silver screen.

"They spoke all the way up here like this, like rich ladies talked," she tells NPR's Kelly McEvers, elevating her voice. "And so my voice was like that too. I was a bird imitating the birds. And so it was their kind of imaginary world that I was raised in, and it was part delicious and part confusing."

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Games & Humor
7:10 am
Sun July 6, 2014

If You Cut In The Middle, Go To The End Of The Line

NPR

Originally published on Sun July 6, 2014 11:50 am

On-air challenge: Two clues will be given for two five-letter answers. Move the middle letter of the first answer to the end of the word to get the second answer. Example: A weapon that's thrown; a tire in the trunk. Answer: spear/spare

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Author Interviews
6:55 am
Sun July 6, 2014

'Coffee For Roses' And Other Garden Myths Debunked

Originally published on Sun July 6, 2014 11:50 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

It's summer time, when all that hard work putting in the garden really pays off. But some of the hard work might've been for nothing. The garden is a place filled with old wives tales and unscientific advice. For instance, have you ever been told that rusty nails planted with hydrangeas will turn the flowers blue? That myth is busted in a new book by horticulturalist C. L. Fornari. It's called "Coffee For Roses And 70 Other Misleading Myths About Backyard Gardening." C. L. Fornari, welcome to our program.

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Afghanistan
6:55 am
Sun July 6, 2014

In Islamabad, A Rare Piano Teacher Pursues His Mission Quietly

Originally published on Sun July 6, 2014 11:50 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

NPR's international correspondents cover wars, politics and global trends. But sometimes we also ask them to tell us about their lives in the field and the extraordinary people they meet. Here's a postcard sent to us from NPR's Philip Reeves in Pakistan's capital, Islamabad.

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Author Interviews
6:55 am
Sun July 6, 2014

From Expensive To Unholy, Mistakes Are 'Just My Typo'

Originally published on Sun July 6, 2014 11:50 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

A new book called "Just My Typo: From Sinning With The Choir To The Untied States" - this book features some classical and hilarious misspelling, failures to punctuate, things that have been gleaned from historical texts, major media publications - NPR not included - here's one from a magazine cover. Rachel Ray finds inspiration in cooking her family and her dog. Drummond Moir is the collector of these gems and also a book editor. He joins me from our London bureau. Drummond Moir, welcome to the program.

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Music News
4:16 am
Sun July 6, 2014

Even Broadway Has Its B-Sides: The Lost Songs Of Sheldon Harnick

Acclaimed songwriter Sheldon Harnick turned 90 in April.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sun July 6, 2014 11:50 am

Sheldon Harnick has been a working lyricist for over 60 years. He shared a Pulitzer Prize for his work on the musical Fiorello! and a Tony Award for Fiddler On The Roof. But he says a career in the theater means writing some songs that, for whatever reason, don't make the show.

"Sometimes, the song was changed because a scene was changed and it no longer accommodated the song," Harnick says. "So, sometimes there had to be a new song."

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Author Interviews
4:14 pm
Sat July 5, 2014

Release Of 'Echo's Bones' Resurrects Beckett's Rejected Work

Playwright and writer Samuel Beckett, shown here around 1970, wrote Echo's Bones at his editor's request — only to have it cut from his first collection.
Reg Lancaster Getty Images

Originally published on Sat July 5, 2014 6:14 pm

Playwright and author Samuel Beckett, who died 25 years ago, wrote lasting works of literature like Waiting for Godot and Endgame. But a previously unpublished short story of his — now being released for the first time — was not so appreciated.

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Arts & Life
4:14 pm
Sat July 5, 2014

Pigeons Fly In Fear As Rufus The Hawk Guards Wimbledon's Grass

Imogen Davis catches Rufus, a Harris hawk, in the stands above Centre Court at Wimbledon. Rufus scares off pigeons who try to eat the ryegrass on the tennis courts.
Peter Macdiarmid Getty Images

Originally published on Sat July 5, 2014 6:14 pm

At Wimbledon, maintaining the iconic grass courts is as important as the tennis matches themselves.

Every day during the Championships, Centre Court is cut to a precise measurement of 10 millimeters and the white chalk lines are re-drawn.

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Author Interviews
10:47 am
Sat July 5, 2014

A Noodle-Maker's Daughter Falls For Ballroom Dancing In 'Mambo'

Originally published on Sat July 5, 2014 12:08 pm

Transcript

TAMARA KEITH, HOST:

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Author Interviews
6:45 am
Sat July 5, 2014

Author Finds Inscrutable Spaces, Secret Cities For 'Unruly Places'

Originally published on Sun July 6, 2014 5:13 pm

Transcript

TAMARA KEITH, HOST:

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Food
6:45 am
Sat July 5, 2014

On The Hunt For The Nation's Best Burrito

Originally published on Mon July 7, 2014 8:23 am

Transcript

TAMARA KEITH, HOST:

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Book News & Features
4:14 am
Sat July 5, 2014

Roxane Gay: 'Bad Feminist,' Real Person

Roxane Gay's new novel is An Untamed State. Her essay collection Bad Feminist will be released later this year.
Roxane Gay

Originally published on Mon July 7, 2014 1:54 pm

Roxane Gay's new collection of essays, Bad Feminist, is littered with defiant, regal I's. "I do not care for epigraphs." "I was not impressed."

Gay — novelist, essayist and relentless documenter of her own life — proclaims her I-ness everywhere she goes: On her blog, she describes what she ate for dinner, what made her mad on an airplane, what she's afraid of, what she's ashamed of, what makes her lonely.

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Paperback Nonfiction Bestsellers
3:03 pm
Fri July 4, 2014

NPR Bestsellers: Paperback Nonfiction, Week Of July 3, 2014

A House In the Sky, about an adventurous young woman who was abducted and held captive in Somalia, appears at No. 11.

Paperback Fiction Bestsellers
3:03 pm
Fri July 4, 2014

NPR Bestsellers: Paperback Fiction, Week Of July 3, 2014

At No. 3, Elizabeth Gilbert's The Signature of All Things follows a gifted botanist as she researches the mysteries of evolution and falls in love with an artist.

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