Arts

Books
2:36 pm
Sat August 11, 2012

Batman's Biggest Secret (No, It's Not Bruce Wayne)

Bill Finger (left) helped create the Batman we know today, including his iconic costume, his tragic backstory, and many of his adversaries.
Ty Templeton

Originally published on Mon August 13, 2012 4:41 pm

Batman has many secrets — the best-known one, of course, being his millionaire alter ego, Bruce Wayne. But that may not be the Dark Knight's biggest secret.

Since the 1930s, only one man has been given credit for creating the caped crusader and his home city of Gotham. Bob Kane's name appears in the credits of all the movies, the campy TV show and the associated merchandise, from video games and action figures to sheets and underwear.

But what if Bob Kane didn't do it all by himself?

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Music Interviews
2:03 am
Sat August 11, 2012

Busking In Lansing, To Rave Reviews

Alexis Dawdy plays her violin on the streets of Lansing, Mich.
Scott Pohl WKAR

Originally published on Mon August 27, 2012 1:02 pm

All summer long, Weekend Edition has been sampling the sounds of America's street musicians. The latest to catch our ear is Alexis Dawdy, a young violinist who returned to her hometown of Lansing, Mich., to study at Michigan State University — and do a little busking on the side.

"I'm actually not a music major. This is really a hobby that accidentally became a profession," Dawdy says. "I'm studying linguistics, and I'm 17 credits out from graduation. My goal is to do it debt-free, and this helps a lot. This pays for books and this pays for food."

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Author Interviews
2:03 am
Sat August 11, 2012

'This Will End In Tears': Soundtracks For Down Days

HarperCollins

Originally published on Sat September 1, 2012 3:31 pm

Even the strongest among us get the blues: You can't get out of bed, you don't want to talk to a single other humanoid, and you just want to close the curtains and turn on the music. The songs you choose for those miseries have to be just right.

Adam Brent Houghtaling is something of a connoisseur of the melancholy moment. Perhaps to cheer himself up, he's put that expertise to use by producing a kind of encyclopedia of the best soundtracks for lonely days and nights. It's called This Will End in Tears: The Miserablist Guide to Music.

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Remembrances
5:00 pm
Fri August 10, 2012

David Rakoff Saw The World In All Its Dark Beauty

David Rakoff, the author of Half Empty, Don't Get Too Comfortable and Fraud, was a frequent contributor to This American Life. He died Thursday at the age of 47.
Larry Busacca Getty Images

Originally published on Fri August 10, 2012 7:04 pm

When writer David Rakoff died Thursday at the age 47, he was barely the age he said he was always "meant" to be. In his 2010 memoir, Half Empty, he wrote, "Everyone has an internal age, a time in life when one is, if not one's best, then at very least one's most authentic self. I always felt that my internal clock was calibrated somewhere between 47 and 53 years old."

Rakoff died in New York City after a long struggle with cancer — an ordeal that he wrote about with sobering honesty and biting wit.

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Books News & Features
4:11 pm
Fri August 10, 2012

'Age Of Desire': How Wharton Lost Her 'Innocence'

Edith Wharton moved to Paris in the early 1900s. Not long after, in 1913, after her affair with Morton Fullerton had ended, she divorced her husband of more than 20 years.
Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University

Originally published on Fri August 10, 2012 5:47 pm

Jennie Fields was well into her new novel about Edith Wharton — and her love affair with a young journalist — when she heard that a new cache of Wharton letters had been discovered. They were written to Anna Bahlmann, who was first Wharton's governess and later her literary secretary. Bahlmann had never been considered a major influence on Wharton, but Fields had decided to make her a central character in her book, The Age of Desire, even before she heard about the letters.

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Book Reviews
1:43 pm
Fri August 10, 2012

SciFri Book Club Talks 'Monkey Mind'

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

Up next, our monthly meeting of the SCIENCE FRIDAY book club. Flora Lichtman, our multimedia editor is going to stay here with us. And joining us now also is Annette Heist, our senior producer. Did you get your reading done? (Unintelligible) The book, the book, Annette, you chose, it was "Monkey Mind," right? "Memoir of Anxiety" by Daniel Smith. Tell us a little bit about why you chose that book. What sang to you when you chose it?

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Books
1:33 pm
Fri August 10, 2012

Catching Up With Tom Swift a Century Later

Science fiction hero Tom Swift has amazed children with his incredible inventions since combustion and electricity drove the nation into a new era. These stories captured a cultural love of science and inspired such famous figures as Steve Wozniak and Isaac Asimov — all while predicting new technologies decades in advance.

Monkey See
1:04 pm
Fri August 10, 2012

Pop Culture Happy Hour: On Fall TV And Whether Criticism Is Too Nice

NPR
  • Listen to Pop Culture Happy Hour

This week, I managed to return from press tour, but we are still without Trey Graham. Fortunately, that means that the lovely Barrie Hardymon joined us for this episode, which kicks off with me fully (and exhaustively — sorry!) debriefing the team about fall television as I experienced it out in Los Angeles.

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Deceptive Cadence
12:24 pm
Fri August 10, 2012

Fifty Shades Of Faure

Pablo Helguera

Originally published on Tue September 18, 2012 3:57 pm

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.

Paperback Nonfiction Bestsellers
12:03 pm
Fri August 10, 2012

NPR Bestsellers: Paperback Nonfiction, Week Of August 9, 2012

Malcolm Gladwell explores the roots of success in Outliers, which is on the list for a 48th week.

NPR Bestseller List
12:03 pm
Fri August 10, 2012

NPR Bestsellers: Week Of August 9, 2012

Compiled from weekly surveys of close to 500 independent bookstores nationwide.

Hardcover Fiction Bestsellers
12:03 pm
Fri August 10, 2012

NPR Bestsellers: Hardcover Fiction, Week Of August 9, 2012

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, about a man's journey to see a dying friend, debuts at No. 7.

Hardcover Nonfiction Bestsellers
12:03 pm
Fri August 10, 2012

NPR Bestsellers: Hardcover Nonfiction, Week Of August 9, 2012

Double Cross remembers the spies who facilitated the D-Day invasion. It debuts at No. 3.

Paperback Fiction Bestsellers
12:03 pm
Fri August 10, 2012

NPR Bestsellers: Paperback Fiction, Week Of August 9, 2012

Caleb's Crossing, about the first Native American to attend Harvard, is on the list for a 15th week.

Author Interviews
11:54 am
Fri August 10, 2012

In Krasikov's World, Dreamers Can't Afford Dreams

Courtesy of Random House, Inc.

Originally published on Tue August 21, 2012 9:55 am

Sana Krasikov's collection of short stories, One More Year, delves deep into the lives of characters trying to make it in the new Russia. Each story carries an underlying sense that the strong do what they will, and the weak do what they must.

But Krasikov doesn't consider her stories cynical, she says they're realistic.

"I think, if you're in Russia, you can't sometimes afford not to see it like that," she tells NPR's Michel Martin, as part of Tell Me More's summer BRICSION series.

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Faith Matters
11:54 am
Fri August 10, 2012

'Teavangelicals' Stronger Than Ever, Author Says

Originally published on Mon August 13, 2012 5:11 pm

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Coming up, some updates on some of the recent stories we covered, including one of the Olympic contenders we met on this program. Here's a hint. He's got something new to wear around his neck.

But first, it's time for Faith Matters. That's the part of the program where we talk about faith and spirituality, and fairly often on this program we find ourselves talking about the nexus between faith and politics.

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Monkey See
11:35 am
Fri August 10, 2012

On Already Missing The Angry, Passionate Writing Of David Rakoff

David Rakoff, seen here in 2010.
Larry Busacca Getty Images

Originally published on Fri August 10, 2012 5:00 pm

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Deceptive Cadence
7:33 am
Fri August 10, 2012

Hamlisch At Juilliard, A Deal In Philly And Saving Ives

Marvin Hamlisch in a 1979 portrait.
Evening Standard Getty Images

Originally published on Wed October 24, 2012 1:34 pm

  • Broadway and film legend Marvin Hamlisch died Monday in Los Angeles at age 68. Also the pops conductor for the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra and the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, he began studying at Juilliard at age 7 — and at the time, he was the youngest student to be accepted at there. "My big thing at Juilliard — because I hadn't taken that many piano lessons at that point — was not that I could play Bach or Beethoven, but that I could play 'Goodnight Irene' in any key," Hamlisch told NPR's Scott Simon in 1987.
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Author Interviews
4:45 am
Fri August 10, 2012

Dr. Siri Books Began With A Surprise Hospital Stay

Originally published on Fri August 10, 2012 6:28 am

Author Colin Cotterill believes in fate. Though he didn't know it at the time, fate seemed to determine early on that he would write the Dr. Siri books, a series of mysteries that follows a 70-something Laotian country coroner. (This piece initially aired August 15, 2008 on Morning Edition).

Poetry Games
3:22 am
Fri August 10, 2012

'Swim Your Own Race' Wins NPR's Poetry Games

Ron Tanovitz

Originally published on Fri August 10, 2012 1:24 pm

As athletes have sprinted and soared their way to bronze, silver and gold in London, Morning Edition has celebrated the Olympics with the Poetry Games: We invited poets from around the globe to compose original works about athletes and athletics and asked you to be the judges.

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Favorite Sessions
4:36 pm
Thu August 9, 2012

Leif Ove Andsnes: Fatherhood And Freedom At The Piano

Leif Ove Andsnes.
WGBH

Originally published on Tue July 8, 2014 10:48 am

Now that pianist Leif Ove Andsnes is in his 40s, he's told himself that it's time to "grow up" and immerse himself in Beethoven. This comes at the same time that he's immersing himself in the life of his daughter Sigrid, now 2.

For Andsnes, seeing the world through Beethoven's eyes is one thing, but seeing it through the eyes of a child is something else altogether.

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Deceptive Cadence
11:12 am
Thu August 9, 2012

You Are What You Hear: What Your Favorite Music Says About You

Why are your musical tastes a reflection of you?
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue September 18, 2012 3:57 pm

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Book Reviews
7:03 am
Thu August 9, 2012

'Banyan' Lifts The Veil On Cambodia's Nightmare

Originally published on Thu August 9, 2012 6:33 pm

When Michele Bachmann, through the most circumstantial of evidence, recently linked Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin to the Muslim Brotherhood, it wouldn't have been irrational to think immediately of Joseph McCarthy's witch hunts. Bachmann's claim was quickly dismissed, bringing a rare moment of sort-of agreement between the parties, but it serves as an important reminder. Paranoid character-smearing is a time-honored tool of totalitarian regimes.

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New In Paperback
3:35 pm
Wed August 8, 2012

New In Paperback Aug. 6-12

Fiction and nonfiction releases from Adam Johnson, Ronald Kessler and Peter D. Ward.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Deceptive Cadence
11:23 am
Wed August 8, 2012

Is There A Lawyer In The (Opera) House?

Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, opera fan.
MANDEL NGAN AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed October 24, 2012 1:35 pm

Opera: the stuff of passion, fury, sorrow and ... disquisitions on jurisprudence?

Maybe, if a panel discussion at the just-finished annual meeting of the American Bar Association is to be believed. Called "Arias of Law: The Rule of Law at Work in Opera and the Supreme Court," the session, which was created and moderated by Craig Martin of Jenner & Block LLP, featured U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg; Anthony Freud, general director of Chicago's Lyric Opera; and U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli Jr.

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Book Reviews
7:03 am
Wed August 8, 2012

Divine Beings And Socially Awkward New Yorkers

Meet God, according to Simon Rich. He's a mostly nice dude — compassionate, though he gave up on listening to prayers and intervening in the lives of humans years ago. ("[H]e's really more of an ideas guy, you know?" explains an angel.) He loves golf and the music of Lynyrd Skynyrd, and he's not averse to enjoying a beer or two during the workday. He's easy to like, except for two things: He's planning to destroy all of humanity so he can focus on opening an Asian fusion restaurant in heaven; and even worse, he's a Yankees fan.

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Essays
7:03 am
Wed August 8, 2012

You Call That A Beach Book? Really?

You never know, this woman could be reading The Gulag Archipelago.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed August 8, 2012 5:09 pm

A couple of years ago, on a weekend in August, I was lying on the beach, reading. The sun shone, the waves crashed, and no plans lay ahead beyond soccer, grilling, maybe a stroll to the ice cream stand. My friend, on the towel next to mine, rolled over lazily and glanced at my book. His brow wrinkled. "Are you enjoying that?" he said, laughing.

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Books News & Features
3:26 am
Wed August 8, 2012

With 'Last Book Sale,' Lit Giant Leaves One More Gift

Booked Up Inc. helped put author Larry McMurtry's hometown on the map when it became one of the largest used bookstores in the country.
Donna McWilliam AP

Originally published on Wed August 8, 2012 12:54 pm

Larry McMurtry is perhaps best known for novels like The Last Picture Show, Terms of Endearment and Lonesome Dove; but the author also has a career as a bookseller.

His store, Booked Up, spills across four buildings in his small hometown of Archer City, Texas, and houses nearly half a million rare and used books. But starting this Friday, McMurtry is holding an auction to whittle down that number — by a lot.

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Books
6:00 pm
Tue August 7, 2012

A Comics Crusader Takes On The Digital Future

A panel from part one of Insufferable, the first title offered by the comics website Thrillbent.com. The site's creator, comic-book writer Mark Waid, hopes it will redefine comics in the era of smartphones and tablets.
Courtesy of Thrillbent.com

Originally published on Mon September 16, 2013 2:40 pm

He wouldn't make the claim himself, but when it comes to comic-book writers, Mark Waid is one of the greats.

"I've pretty much hit all of the pop culture bases," Waid says, surrounded by comic-book memorabilia in his Los Angeles home. Batman, Spider-Man and even The Incredibles have all had adventures dreamed up by Waid.

"Jan. 26, 1979, was the most important day of my life," Waid says. "Because that's the day that I saw Superman: The Movie. I came out of it knowing that no matter what the rest of my life was going to be like, it had to involve Superman somehow."

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Book Reviews
4:35 pm
Tue August 7, 2012

Review: 'At The Mouth Of The River Of Bees'

Originally published on Tue August 7, 2012 6:00 pm

Alan Cheuse reviews a collection of science fiction short stories by Kij Johnson, "At the Mouth of the River of Bees."

Pages