Arts

Ask Me Another
9:10 am
Thu December 5, 2013

Not On The List

There are songs that express heartfelt emotions, telling stories of love or loss that are both universal and deeply personal. Then there are songs that are pretty much just lists of things. This game covers those songs, though house musician Jonathan Coulton and VIP Nellie McKay have cheekily swapped out some of the items. Raindrops on roses and what on what, again?

The Two-Way
6:43 am
Thu December 5, 2013

Book News: Amazon Launches An Imprint For Short Fiction

Amazon.com founder and CEO Jeff Bezos speaks at a 2009 event in New York unveiling a new version of the Amazon Kindle.
Mario Tama Getty Images

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

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Arts
3:07 am
Thu December 5, 2013

Sangamon Valley Youth Symphony's New Conductor Previews First Concert Of The Season

Eugene Power
Credit svys.org

Eugene Power says working with young musicians allows him to see their musical journeys.  He's taught high school band and has worked with youth in other settings.  Recently, he was named the Sangamon Valley Youth Symphony music director and conductor. 

"You can be involved with music in many, many ways throughout your entire life," Power said. "And that's what I like to see... students kind of catch fire with that and carry it with them."

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Code Switch
5:22 pm
Wed December 4, 2013

Telemundo's 'Highly Unusual' Resurrection of 'El Señor'

Rafael Amaya plays drug lord Aurelio Casillas on El Señor de los Cielos.
Billy Coleman Telemundo/NBC Universal

Telemundo recently announced that its telenovela El Señor de los Cielos (Lord of the Skies) will be back for a second season; production began this week in Mexico City. This resurrection sets it apart from almost every other telenovela because, unlike American soap operas, telenovelas have a clear beginning and a definitive ending, airing for a set number of episodes.

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Movie Interviews
5:22 pm
Wed December 4, 2013

On Becoming Llewyn Davis, A Hero Who Excels At Failing

Oscar Isaac as the titular character in Joel and Ethan Coen's Inside Llewyn Davis.
Alison Rosa Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 3:10 pm

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The Salt
12:18 pm
Wed December 4, 2013

Mushroom Foraging: When The Fun(gi) Hunt Gets Out Of Hand

Hank Shaw, author of Hunt, Gather, Cook, snaps the end off a mushroom in a Washington, D.C.-area park. When broken, the inside turns blue, identifying it as an inedible species of bolete.
The Washington Post/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon December 9, 2013 10:26 am

The first heavy rains of the season fell two weeks ago at Salt Point State Park, on the northern California coast, and now ranger Todd Farcau is waiting anxiously for the forest floor to erupt with mushrooms.

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The Two-Way
11:09 am
Wed December 4, 2013

Norman Rockwell's 'Saying Grace' Sells For $46 Million At Auction

Norman Rockwell's 1951 painting Saying Grace sold for $46 million Wednesday — a record for the artist.
AP

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 1:06 pm

Three Norman Rockwell paintings sold for a combined total of nearly $58 million at a Sotheby's auction Wednesday. The three paintings, which had long been displayed in a Massachusetts museum named for the artist, were among 10 Rockwell works sold at auction today.

By far, the star of the bunch was the 1951 masterpiece Saying Grace, which sold for $46 million — a record for Rockwell's art. The price includes a buyer's premium. The AP says the artist's previous record of $15 million had been set by Breaking Home Ties at a 2006 Sotheby's auction.

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The Two-Way
6:08 am
Wed December 4, 2013

Book News: Manil Suri Takes Bad Sex In Fiction Award

Author Manil Suri missed his chance to meet Joan Collins, who presented this year's Bad Sex in Fiction Award at a ceremony in London.
Courtesy of Nina Subin

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 6:22 am

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

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Sports
4:33 am
Wed December 4, 2013

NFL Thursday Matchup: 2 Losing Teams Will Still Get Ratings

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 6:14 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

It must be said the NFL game between the Houston Texans and the Jacksonville Jaguars tomorrow night, is not a marquee matchup. The Texans are two-and-10, the Jaguars look a little better, having won three of their last four games, but that was only after losing the first eight games of the season. In fact, these teams combine for the lowest-winning percentage in the history of the NFL Network's "Thursday Night Football" games.

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Monkey See
4:06 am
Wed December 4, 2013

The Top 5 Reasons We're Taking A Break From Lists

This Christmas, NPR Books would like to find something other than lists in our stockings.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 10:30 am

You love lists. We love lists. Everyone loves lists. And in the past five years, NPR has brought you more than 80 year-end book lists — the best book club books, the best cookbooks, the best gift books, the best guilty pleasures. We listed. You clicked. Everyone was happy.

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Book Reviews
4:06 am
Wed December 4, 2013

NPR's Book Concierge: Our Guide To 2013's Great Reads

Originally published on Sat December 21, 2013 12:53 pm

Over the past five years, we've published more than 80 year-end book lists. So this year, we decided to try something new. Introducing NPR's Book Concierge, your personal guide to the best books published in 2013.

NPR staff and critics selected more than 200 standout titles. Now it's up to you: Choose your own adventure! Use the categories to search through our favorite books and find the perfect read for yourself or someone else. Happy reading!

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Author Interviews
2:22 am
Wed December 4, 2013

A Holiday Photo Book That Puts Families In An 'Awkward' Position

Someone has earned a spot on the naughty list this year.
Courtesy of Three Rivers Press

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 11:06 am

In 2009, Mike Bender was horrified to find that his mother had hung a particularly embarrassing family photo.

"It was a vacation photo. It was my dad's 50th birthday. I was 13," he says. "My dad had my brother and I do a Rockette's kick with our skis. We were on top of a mountain, right by the lift, and I just remember feeling, you know, stuck in that pose: This. Is. Awkward."

But as an adult he realized that the photo was not only awkward — it was hilarious.

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Sweetness And Light
2:07 am
Wed December 4, 2013

To Liven Up NFL Pregame Shows, Take A Cue From 'The View'?

Fox sportscasters Terry Bradshaw, Howie Long and Jimmy Johnson appear during the 2005 Super Bowl pregame show in Jacksonville, Fla.
Frank Micelotta Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 11:39 am

The Sunday pregame shows feature interchangeable ex-players and ex-coaches saying the same banal things, one after another.

"They've got to cut down on turnovers."

"They've got to convert more third-down situations."

And so on. There's no human interaction, just mirthless recitations. But on female-centered shows like The View and The Talk, the hosts actually discuss, argue, hash things out, laugh for real and behave like flesh-and-blood human beings. And they dare do it all without a net, before a live audience.

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The Salt
2:05 am
Wed December 4, 2013

Why $7-Per-Gallon Milk Looms Once Again

Sticker shock in the dairy aisle? If the government fails to pass the farm bill, milk prices could spike sometime after the first of the year.
George Frey Landov

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 12:29 pm

The leaders of the House and Senate agriculture committees are meeting Wednesday as they continue to try to work out the differences between their respective farm bills. If they fail, the country faces what's being called the "dairy cliff" — with milk prices potentially shooting up to about $7 a gallon sometime after the first of the year.

Here's why: The nation's farm policy would be legally required to revert back to what's called permanent law. In the case of dairy, that would be the 1949 farm bill.

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Kitchen Window
1:32 am
Wed December 4, 2013

Get Freshly Minted This Holiday Season

Emily Hilliard for NPR

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 2:03 pm

When I was growing up, my uncle Richard farmed mint. In the late summer, he and his crew would mow the mint fields like hay and collect the leaves in enclosed wagons, then drive them down to the still, where they would seal them and pump them full of steam. The steam caused the oil in the leaves to turn to vapor, which re-liquefied when pushed through a condenser.

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The Salt
3:00 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

Cookie-Baking Chemistry: How To Engineer Your Perfect Sweet Treat

Engineering the perfect cookie: You can control the diameter and thickness of your favorite chocolate chip cookies by changing the temperature of the butter and the amount of flour in the dough.
Morgan Walker NPR

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 12:38 pm

Baking cookies is almost magical. You put little balls of wet, white dough into the oven and out pop brown, crispy, tasty biscuits.

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Author Interviews
12:25 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

Underground Cities And 'Ghost' Miners: What Some People Do For Gold

The price of gold rose dramatically after Lehman Brothers collapsed in 2008.
David Paul Morris Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 1:41 pm

Gold is assumed to have eternal, inherent value, but what makes it valuable? And what determines its value now that it's no longer the basis of our currency? In the book Gold: The Race for the World's Most Seductive Metal, journalist Matthew Hart examines the new gold rush driven by investors. He travels to gold mines — including the Mponeng mine in South Africa, where he descended into the deepest man-made hole on Earth — and investigates why gold and crime sometimes go hand in hand.

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Author Interviews
12:25 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

Ted Williams: A Perfectionist Ballplayer With Many Demons

Ted Williams, pictured here in 1941, was deeply marked by his parents' absence while he and his brother were growing up.
AP

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 1:16 pm

There are great ballplayers, and then there's Ted Williams. In a 22-year career, Williams accomplished things that give him a legitimate claim to being the greatest hitter who ever lived; but he was also a tormented soul who hurt a lot of people, including himself.

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The Salt
11:31 am
Tue December 3, 2013

Your Waiter Is Having A Bad Day. Can You Tell?

Katherine Streeter for NPR

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 5:11 pm

Imagine how Robbie Travis felt. He waits tables at Libertine, a high-end restaurant just outside St. Louis, and his ex insisted on coming in just a few days after they'd broken up.

Like everyone else, waiters and waitresses have to show up for work on days they'd rather be anywhere else. But it's especially tough to shrug off a bad mood in a job where people expect you to greet them gladly.

"You have to fake it a little bit," Travis says. "That's what pays the bills."

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Monkey See
8:31 am
Tue December 3, 2013

Little Ditty About Lackin' Diane: Hug A Skeptic Today

iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 9:11 am

Perhaps while you were enjoying your Thanksgiving turkey (or, in my case, your hotel tub and your Hallmark movies), you heard the story of "Diane in 7A."

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The Two-Way
6:50 am
Tue December 3, 2013

Book News: Ancient Texts From Vatican And Bodleian Libraries Digitized

An illustration from The Reginensis Graecus 1, a 10th century Greek Bible that is among the texts included in the digitization project.
Bodleian Libraries and Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana

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

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Book Reviews
6:19 am
Tue December 3, 2013

Moving Fables Of Gods, Men, Love And Monsters In 'Early Earth'

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 7:56 am

Despite its title, British writer and illustrator Isabel Greenberg's The Encyclopedia of Early Earth is not mere history, with its assiduous accounting of dusty facts, but is instead a compendium of funny, sad and surprisingly moving fables from the pre-history of a world that exists only in Greenberg's febrile imagination — one that bristles with capricious gods, feckless shamans, daring quests and, of course, doomed love.

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Politics
4:13 am
Tue December 3, 2013

Upset Over Divisive Political Culture? Blame Burke And Paine

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 5:02 pm

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

The writer Yuval Levin contends that our divisive political culture comes down to two competing ways for Americans to view their country.

YUVAL LEVIN: You look at the world, it's imperfect. There are good things and bad things. Are you struck first and foremost by the good or are you struck first and foremost by the bad? Do you think this is something to build on or do you think we've got to start over?

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Fine Art
2:19 am
Tue December 3, 2013

For Miami, A New Art Project, Complete With Drama

The boats of For Those in Peril on the Sea, by artist Hew Locke, hang in the entrance hall of the Perez Art Museum Miami, which opens this week.
Daniel Azoulay Perez Art Museum Miami

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 5:02 pm

Outside the glittering new Perez Art Museum Miami, finishing touches were still being applied late last month to the spacious plazas and gardens surrounding the $220 million building. Next door to the art museum, a new science museum is also going up. When it's all complete, the 29-acre Museum Park will provide a focus and a gathering spot on Biscayne Bay for those who live in, work in and visit downtown Miami.

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Movie Interviews
4:25 pm
Mon December 2, 2013

Teller Breaks His Silence To Talk 'Tim's Vermeer'

Directed by Teller, of the magic act Penn and Teller, Tim's Vermeer follows Tim Jenison (above) as he attempts to re-create the methods and work of the Dutch master.
Sony Pictures Classics

Originally published on Mon December 2, 2013 6:12 pm

The documentary Tim's Vermeer follows inventor Tim Jenison on a singular project — the attempt to paint in the way the 17th century Flemish master Johannes Vermeer painted.

Jenison was inspired by Vermeer's paintings and by the book Secret Knowledge, in which the contemporary English artist David Hockney theorized that Renaissance painters might have achieved photographic accuracy by employing tools that anticipated photography.

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Parallels
3:12 pm
Mon December 2, 2013

E-Readers Mark A New Chapter In The Developing World

A student at Ntimigom School in Kilgoris, Kenya, uses his e-reader.
Jon McCormack

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 3:58 pm

A former Amazon executive who helped Jeff Bezos turn shopping into a digital experience has set out to end illiteracy. David Risher is now the head of Worldreader, a nonprofit organization that brings e-books to kids in developing countries through Kindles and cellphones.

Risher was traveling around the world with his family when he got the idea for Worldreader. They were doing volunteer work at an orphanage in Ecuador when he saw a building with a big padlock on the door. He asked a woman who worked there what was inside, and she said, "It's the library."

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New In Paperback
2:34 pm
Mon December 2, 2013

Dec. 2-8: Doorbell Ringers, A Heat Seeker And One Witty Ghost

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

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

The Salt
1:45 pm
Mon December 2, 2013

Sandwich Monday: The Big King From Burger King

Burger King has copied McDonald's groundbreaking proprietary technology known as "stacking food on food."
NPR

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 12:36 pm

Fast food, for the most part, is about huge, innovative leaps: the heat lamp, the KFC Double Down, the Wendy's Sentient Bacon Classic. But imitation has its place, too, and Burger King has unveiled the Big King, an unapologetic knockoff of McDonald's Big Mac.

Ian: This is a clear violation of copywrong.

Miles: You have to admit, this is exactly what America would utilize cloning technology for.

Eva: Isn't Big King what everyone called Elvis late in his career?

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Movie Interviews
1:12 pm
Mon December 2, 2013

Director Alexander Payne On Mining Every Film For Comic Potential

Alexander Payne arrives at the 69th annual Golden Globe Awards in 2012.
Chris Pizzello AP

Originally published on Mon December 2, 2013 1:18 pm

Alexander Payne directed and co-wrote the films Election, About Schmidt, Sideways and The Descendants. He's directed Jack Nicholson and George Clooney in starring roles and has won two Oscars for best adapted screenplay.

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Hardcover Nonfiction Bestsellers
12:03 pm
Mon December 2, 2013

NPR Bestsellers: Hardcover Nonfiction, Week Of November 28, 2013

Originally published on Mon December 2, 2013 12:45 pm

Ari Shavit's My Promised Land looks at Israel through the eyes of its citizens. It debuts at No. 8.

Pages