Arts

Author Interviews
2:03 am
Sat October 13, 2012

Michael Feinstein: What I Learned From The Gershwins

Composer and educator Michael Feinstein's new memoir is called The Gershwins and Me: A Personal History in Twelve Songs.
Gilles Toucas Courtesy of the author

Originally published on Sat October 13, 2012 11:38 am

Michael Feinstein, the singer and pianist known as the "ambassador of the Great American Songbook," has a serious pedigree to back up that title: a real-life connection to one of America's greatest songwriting teams. It's the subject of Feinstein's new memoir, The Gershwins and Me: A Personal History in Twelve Songs. (A CD of Feinstein singing those songs also comes with the book.)

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Books News & Features
5:01 pm
Fri October 12, 2012

'Black Beauty' Next Up In The Backseat Book Club

Originally published on Mon October 15, 2012 5:04 pm

This fall, as our younger listeners settle into their classrooms, it's time to reunite the Backseat Book Club. Each month, we pick a book to read along with our school-age listeners. Next up: a children's classic, Black Beauty by Anna Sewell.

We'll talk about the book with novelist Jane Smiley, who, in addition to winning a Pulitzer Prize for grown-up literature, has written kids' books starring horses.

Send an email with your thoughts and questions about Black Beauty to backseatbookclub@npr.org.

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History
12:01 pm
Fri October 12, 2012

50 Years On, Reconsidering Cesar Chavez

Originally published on Fri October 12, 2012 12:46 pm

Transcript

CELESTE HEADLEE, HOST:

I'm Celeste Headlee and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Michel Martin is away. Coming up, the Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to the European Union. We'll check in with an expert in Oslo to find out more about that surprising choice. That's in just a few minutes.

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Deceptive Cadence
11:58 am
Fri October 12, 2012

Schumann Of The Apes

Pablo Helguera

Originally published on Wed October 17, 2012 10:40 am

Got an idea for a classical cartoon, or a reaction to this one? Leave your thoughts in the comments section.

Pablo Helguera is a New York-based artist working with sculpture, drawing, photography and performance. You can see more of his work at Artworld Salon and on his own site.

Author Interviews
10:45 am
Fri October 12, 2012

The Man Who Tracks Viruses Before They Spread

H1N1 virus virons appear in a tissue sample.

C. Goldsmith and D. Rollin CDC Public Health Image Library

Originally published on Fri October 12, 2012 12:53 pm

This interview was originally broadcast on Oct. 11, 2011. The Viral Storm will be published in paperback on Oct. 16.

The New Yorker once called virologist Nathan Wolfe "the world's most prominent virus hunter." Wolfe, the director of the Global Viral Forecasting Initiative, spends his days tracking emerging infectious diseases before they turn into deadly pandemics.

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Deceptive Cadence
9:47 am
Fri October 12, 2012

Masur And Levine On Parkinson's, Animating Wild Things And Shattering A Stereotype

Conductor Kurt Masur and his wife Tomoko in 2010.
Sean Gallup Getty Images

Originally published on Wed October 17, 2012 4:53 pm

  • New York Philharmonic Music Director Emeritus Kurt Masur, 85, has announced that he has been living with Parkinson's disease for several years: "I have had the fortune of receiving great medical care since the diagnosis, enabling me to continue my conducting activities. These recent events have served as a good opportunity to make a return to the podium with a greater sense of purpose and awareness."
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Paperback Nonfiction Bestsellers
9:03 am
Fri October 12, 2012

NPR Bestsellers: Paperback Nonfiction, Week Of October 11, 2012

At No. 14, Tiny Beautiful Things compiles Cheryl Strayed's "Dear Sugar" advice columns.

NPR Bestseller List
9:03 am
Fri October 12, 2012

NPR Bestsellers: Week Of October 11, 2012

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

Paperback Fiction Bestsellers
9:03 am
Fri October 12, 2012

NPR Bestsellers: Paperback Fiction, Week Of October 11, 2012

At No. 9, Ann Patchett's State of Wonder uncovers the fate of a team of researchers in the Amazon.

Hardcover Nonfiction Bestsellers
9:03 am
Fri October 12, 2012

NPR Bestsellers: Hardcover Nonfiction, Week Of October 11, 2012

In Killing Kennedy, Bill O'Reilly examines the fallout from JFK's murder. It debuts at No. 1.

Hardcover Fiction Bestsellers
9:03 am
Fri October 12, 2012

NPR Bestsellers: Hardcover Fiction, Week Of October 11, 2012

Knopf

In Jo Nesbo's Phantom, Harry Hole investigates Oslo's most virulent street drug. It debuts at No. 6.

Books News & Features
5:19 pm
Thu October 11, 2012

Nobel-Winning Chinese Writer Inspired By Faulkner

Originally published on Fri October 12, 2012 5:13 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel. This year's Nobel prize for literature was announced today. It went to Chinese writer Mo Yan. The Swedish academy praised what it called Mo's hallucinatory realism. As NPR's Neda Ulaby reports, Mo's work is also brutal, raunchy, funny and, unlike many Nobel literature laureates, relatively well known.

NEDA ULABY, BYLINE: Mo Yan is probably best known for writing what would become the movie "Red Sorghum."

(SOUNDBITE OF TRUMPET BLOWING)

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Books
5:02 pm
Thu October 11, 2012

From Boy King Of Texas To Literary Superstar

Originally published on Fri October 12, 2012 5:13 pm

Domingo Martinez is the author of The Boy Kings of Texas. He has been nominated for a National Book Award in the nonfiction category.

Yesterday morning I'm lying in bed and the phone rings. It's way too early. I'm thinking — "Wow, bill collectors are calling earlier and earlier."

Except it wasn't a bill collector. It was Alice Martell, my agent. She was calling to tell me that I'd been nominated for the National Book Award.

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Monkey See
1:51 pm
Thu October 11, 2012

'Mars Attacks' At 50: A Look Back At A Bloody Battle

The card "Watching From Mars."
Abrams Books

Mars Attacks: 50th Anniversary Collection, an anthology of the 1962 trading card series from the Topps Company and Abrams Comic Arts, comes packaged in a jacket made from the same wax paper as '60s bubble gum wrap. The packaging establishes an air of honeyed nostalgia that the cards themselves are mercifully quick to demolish. The 55 violent images of interplanetary slaughter in the "Mars Attacks" series were controversial in their day, but have atrophied in the popular consciousness as kitsch relics of the Kennedy era.

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Book Reviews
1:50 pm
Thu October 11, 2012

'May We Be Forgiven': A Story Of Second Chances

Viking Adult

Originally published on Thu October 11, 2012 4:58 pm

A.M. Homes is a writer I'll pretty much follow anywhere because she's indeed so smart, it's scary; yet she's not without heart. It's been a while since her last book, the 2007 memoir The Mistress's Daughter, which is certainly the sharpest and most emotionally complex account of growing up adopted that I've ever read.

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Author Interviews
12:07 pm
Thu October 11, 2012

Is Time The Missing Component In Health Care?

Originally published on Thu October 11, 2012 12:25 pm

Dr. Victoria Sweet began working at an almshouse more than 20 years ago. She found that the missing component of today's health care system is time — for doctors to care for patients, and for patients to heal. Host Michel Martin speaks with the doctor about her memoir, God's Hotel: A Doctor, A Hospital, And A Pilgrimage To The Heart Of Medicine.

Books
11:42 am
Thu October 11, 2012

Mo Yan's 'Hallucinatory Realism' Wins Lit Nobel

Chinese writer Mo Yan is the winner of the 2012 Nobel Prize in literature. Mo Yan is a pen name that means "don't speak" — a name he adopted because his parents, who raised him during the Cultural Revolution, warned him to hold his tongue.
STR AFP/Getty Images

Chinese writer Mo Yan won the Nobel Prize in literature on Thursday. The Swedish Academy, which selects the winners of the award, praised Mo's "hallucinatory realism," saying it "merges folk tales, history and the contemporary." The award is a cause of pride for a government that disowned the only previous Chinese winner of the award, an exiled critic.

Peter Englund, the academy's permanent secretary, said the academy contacted Mo, 57, before the announcement. "He said he was overjoyed and scared," Englund said.

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Deceptive Cadence
10:29 am
Thu October 11, 2012

Jonathan Biss: Schumann's Culture Of Musical Nostalgia

Robert Schumann may have been the first to infuse a yearning for music of the past in his own compositions.
Joseph Kriehuber Wikimedia Commons

Originally published on Thu October 11, 2012 1:38 pm

(In this third and final part of a series, pianist Jonathan Biss explores the idea of musical longing in Robert Schumann's music. Click the audio link above to hear Biss play Schumann and discuss the composer with Performance Today host Fred Child.)

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Book Reviews
7:03 am
Thu October 11, 2012

Mapping The Road 'From The Closet To The Altar'

Originally published on Thu October 11, 2012 4:20 pm

During a college visit to Colorado in September, Ruth Bader Ginsburg told students that she expects to rule this coming term on the Defense of Marriage Act. The 1996 law is already on its deathbed — since last year, the Justice Department has refused to argue in court for its constitutionality — but it remains on the books. That means the 130,000 or so married gay couples in America receive none of the federal benefits that straight married couples do.

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NPR Story
4:47 am
Thu October 11, 2012

Nobel Prize For Literature Announced Thursday

Originally published on Thu October 11, 2012 7:22 am

Mo Yan was one of three writers favored to win. He is perhaps best known in the West as the author of Red Sorghum, which was made into a film. He is only the second Chinese writer to win the Nobel — the other is poet Gao Xingjian, who won in 2000.

Author Interviews
3:25 am
Thu October 11, 2012

Emma Thompson Revives Anarchist 'Peter Rabbit'

In Emma Thompson's new book, Peter Rabbit decides he needs a change of scene to cure his mopey mood.
Eleanor Taylor Penguin Young Readers Group

Originally published on Thu October 11, 2012 11:57 am

Emma Thompson isn't just an Oscar-winning actress; she's also an Oscar-winning writer. Thompson authored the 1995 film adaptation of Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility, and now she's taken on another period project — reviving the classic children's book character Peter Rabbit.

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Deceptive Cadence
4:06 pm
Wed October 10, 2012

During Lockout Season, Orchestra Musicians Grapple With Their Future

The Minnesota Orchestra is one of many orchestras around the country dealing with labor disputes.
Greg Helgeson

Originally published on Thu October 11, 2012 1:05 pm

It's been a tumultuous time for American orchestras. Labor disputes have shut down the Minnesota Orchestra and Indianapolis Symphony, and strikes and lockouts have affected orchestras in Chicago, Atlanta and Louisville in the past year.

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Author Interviews
1:25 pm
Wed October 10, 2012

'Signal' And 'Noise': Prediction As Art And Science

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed October 10, 2012 1:56 pm

No one has a crystal ball, but Nate Silver has perfected the art of prediction. In 2008, he accurately predicted the presidential winner of 49 of the 50 states, and the winners of all 35 Senate races. Before he focused on elections, Silver developed a sophisticated system for analyzing baseball players' potential and became a skilled poker player — which is how he made his living for a while.

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Deceptive Cadence
10:40 am
Wed October 10, 2012

Jonathan Biss: Meet The Schumanns (And Their Cryptic Communications)

Communication was not a strong suit for Robert and Clara Schumann. But music surely was.
Lebrecht Music Corbis

Originally published on Tue October 16, 2012 3:39 pm

(Pianist Jonathan Biss decodes the unconventional relationship between Robert Schumann and his wife Clara in this second essay for our week dedicated to this composer. Click the audio link above to hear him play Schumann and discuss his work with Performance Today host Fred Child.)

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Book Reviews
7:03 am
Wed October 10, 2012

'Skinny' Starts A Conversation For Overweight Teens

Courtesy Point/Scholastic

Originally published on Wed October 10, 2012 10:59 am

Young Ever Williams hears a negative voice every day in her head, telling her just how fat and disgusting she is. Ever is the heroine of Skinny, Donna Cooner's new novel for young adults — and "Skinny" is the name she gives that awful voice. Navigating high school is difficult for most kids, but Ever has an additional challenge: She weighs 300 pounds. Her classmates taunt her cruelly, and the boy she likes ignores her.

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Author Interviews
3:15 am
Wed October 10, 2012

Virgin's Richard Branson Bares His Business 'Secrets'

Richard Branson is the founder and chairman of Virgin Group.
Paul Morigi Invision/AP

Originally published on Wed October 10, 2012 8:53 am

Richard Branson is not your average entrepreneur. He dropped out of school at 15 and, despite suffering from dyslexia and attention deficit disorder, went on to found Virgin Group, a business empire that includes airlines, cellphone companies, banks, hotels, health clubs and even a space travel business.

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PG-13: Risky Reads
2:33 pm
Tue October 9, 2012

Poison And Petticoats: The Incomplete Jane Austen

Hulton Archive Getty Images

Originally published on Mon October 21, 2013 3:13 pm

Rebecca Harrington is the author of the book Penelope.

As a young child, I was very much enamored with romance (my Barbies were subjected to appallingly long balls — Ken was very urbane in his own way). So it was with a kind of relief that I first discovered Jane Austen. I was 9 years old when I stole my mother's copy of Pride and Prejudice and read it very late at night. I didn't really understand much or even who was speaking (old J.A. was never one for attribution) but I knew it was extremely romantic and that was all I needed.

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Book Reviews
10:47 am
Tue October 9, 2012

Bits Of Beauty Amidst The Gloom In 'Building Stories'

Pantheon

Originally published on Tue October 9, 2012 10:56 am

For the characters of Chris Ware's astonishingly ambitious comics project Building Stories, leading lives of quiet desperation is surprisingly noisy business. Plaintive, regretful and bitterly self-recriminating thoughts play on shuffle-repeat inside their heads, like a mordant Litany for the (I Wish I Were) Dead:

"Lately, I've been thinking a lot about the end of the world."

"At that point I was starting to get acquainted with the unfairness of life and learning it was better not to expect anything rather than set yourself up for disappointment."

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Deceptive Cadence
10:19 am
Tue October 9, 2012

Jonathan Biss: Shooting Down The Schumann Detractors

Composer Robert Schumann has his share of critics. Pianist Jonathan Biss is out to prove them wrong.
Michael Nicholson Corbis

Originally published on Wed March 27, 2013 11:03 am

(For our week dedicated to Robert Schumann, pianist Jonathan Biss defends this misunderstood composer in the first of three essays. Click the audio link above to hear him play Schumann and discuss the composer with Performance Today host Fred Child.)

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Books
6:31 am
Tue October 9, 2012

Google, Publishers Settle Digital Book Dispute

Originally published on Tue October 9, 2012 11:25 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And now for another chapter in the collision between digital media and old-style books.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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Pages