Arts

Monkey See
10:35 am
Tue July 17, 2012

Batman Really Begins: 'I Went From A Kid On The Farm To Robin'

Robert Lowery as Batman and John Duncan as Robin in 1949's Batman and Robin.
Columbia Pictures Photofest

Sure, The Dark Knight Rises may have cost a reported $250 million, but for all that money, will it have underground lairs, secret submarines, zombie henchmen and killer crocodiles? Will there be a chase every 15 minutes, and cliffhangers that leave you wondering if Batman died in the fiery car wreck, or just jumped out before it went off the cliff? Will our hero drive the Batmobile, or will he opt instead for a sleek, stylish Mercury?

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Book Reviews
7:03 am
Tue July 17, 2012

A 'Thumb' On The Pulse Of What Makes Us Human

The discovery in early July of a subatomic particle that may be the Higgs boson — also known as the God particle — puts physicists one step closer to unlocking the secrets of the universe around us. Sam Kean's dynamic, brainy new book, The Violinist's Thumb: And Other Lost Tales of Love, War, and Genius, as Written by Our Genetic Code, tells a story that's no less profound: how geneticists strive to unlock the secrets of the universe within us.

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Critics' Lists: Summer 2012
7:03 am
Tue July 17, 2012

Laughing Matters: Five Funny Books With Substance

Harriet Russell

Originally published on Tue July 17, 2012 8:56 am

It's great to laugh, but so much of what is labeled "entertainment" is, well, toothless. I'm a carnivore where my humor is concerned — I want it to have meat and bite. The following books will give you plenty to chew on if you like a bit of nourishment along with your kicks.

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Poetry
6:33 am
Tue July 17, 2012

Press-Play Poetry: 'Summer Song'

George Clerk / Michiel de Boer iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue July 17, 2012 10:57 am

Some poetry is meant to be heard as well as read. Press-Play Poetry is an occasional series that celebrates the power of the voice to bring lines on a page to life.

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

Remembrances
4:48 am
Tue July 17, 2012

'Encyclopedia Brown' Author Dies, Donald Sobol At 87

Originally published on Tue July 17, 2012 12:17 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Let's take a moment to remember mystery writer Donald Sobol who died last week in Miami. He was a man who wrote his mysteries short. In the 1950s, he succeeded with syndicated column, "Two-Minute Mysteries."

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

But Sobol is most remembered for his "Encyclopedia Brown" kids' books, books that Don Weisberg knew well as both a publisher and a reader. Weisberg is currently the president of the children' book division of Penguin Books.

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Author Interviews
2:58 am
Tue July 17, 2012

Addict To Activist: How Elton John Found His 'Cure'

Sir Elton John speaks at an Elton John AIDS Foundation benefit in 2010. The organization, which John founded in 1992, provides grants to support HIV and AIDS prevention and treatment programs.
Evan Agostini AP

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 9:51 am

Sir Elton John is constantly remembering his life as a drug addict, whether he wants to or not.

"I still dream, twice a week at least, that I've taken cocaine and I have it up my nose," John tells NPR's Steve Inskeep. "And it's very vivid and it's very upsetting, but at least it's a wake-up call."

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Author Interviews
2:57 am
Tue July 17, 2012

African Politics, And Afros, In 'My First Coup D'Etat'

Originally published on Tue July 17, 2012 12:17 pm

John Dramani Mahama is the vice president of Ghana and the author of a new memoir with one of the most eye-catching titles you'll see all year — My First Coup d'Etat: And Other True Stories from the Lost Decades of Africa.

The title refers to the 1966 military coup that overthrew Ghana's first president. Mahama was 7 years old, and his father, a minister in the government, was imprisoned for more than a year. Mahama tells NPR's Renee Montagne that Africa's "lost decades" lasted from the late 1960s to the 1980s, after the initial euphoria of independence passed.

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Remembrances
7:03 pm
Mon July 16, 2012

Stephen Covey's 'Habits' Spanned Business, Life

Covey, a motivational speaker, died Monday in Idaho three months after a serious bicycle accident in Utah. He was 79.
Ric Feld AP

Originally published on Mon July 16, 2012 7:57 pm

Stephen Covey, the management and self-help guru who wrote The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, has died. He was 79.

Covey's family said the writer and motivational speaker died at a hospital in Idaho Falls, Idaho, early Monday from complications caused by a bicycle accident in April.

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Books
5:27 pm
Mon July 16, 2012

Encyclopedia Brown: The Great Sleuth From My Youth

cover detail

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 11:35 am

Donald Sobol, the creator of the beloved character Encyclopedia Brown, died last week of natural causes, his family says. He was 87. The first in the Encyclopedia Brown series book was published in 1963, and the series has never gone out of print.

Crime novelist and forensic pathologist Jonathan Hayes has this appreciation of the character Sobol gave young readers.

While other boys got hooked on books about sports legends and race car drivers, there was something about Donald Sobol's boy detective Encyclopedia Brown that spoke to me right away.

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Deceptive Cadence
2:08 pm
Mon July 16, 2012

Beethoven — For A Buck

HJ Lim, the rising pianist whose nine-hour Beethoven cycle shot to No. 1 on the Billboard classical chart.
courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue September 18, 2012 4:21 pm

To own all the piano sonatas Beethoven wrote, you used to have to buy at least 10 CDs and spend $50, $75, $100 — or more.

What if I told you that you could get them for less than $10? That's about $1 per hour of music.

That's right — the "Moonlight," "Appassionata," "Waldstein" and all your other favorites, for just $9.99!

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The Two-Way
1:40 pm
Mon July 16, 2012

Stephen Covey, Author Of '7 Habits,' Dead At 79

Stephen R. Covey, the motivational speaker best known for the book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, died Monday in Idaho three months after a serious bicycle accident in Utah. He was 79.
Ric Feld AP

Originally published on Mon July 16, 2012 3:02 pm

Stephen Covey, whose book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People became a seminal guide to leadership, died this morning.

In a statement, the family said Covey died due the "residual effects" of a biking accident he suffered in April. He was 79.

The Salt Lake Tribune gives us a bit of his biography:

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Three Books...
7:03 am
Mon July 16, 2012

Fight Like A Girl: 3 Books That Pack A Deadly Punch

Olympian Diana Lopez (in blue) — not to be confused with the author Diana Lopez — competes in the 2012 Taekwondo Olympic Trials.
Marc Piscotty Getty Images

Originally published on Mon July 16, 2012 9:00 am

In seventh grade, I broke my finger pretending to be a Harlem Globetrotter with the neighborhood boys. Until then, I'd been their equal in sports, but suddenly their shoulders were battering rams, and I was the house of straw from the Three Little Pigs. I hated being a puny, weak-armed girl. But then I saw Sigourney Weaver and Linda Hamilton going mano a mano with aliens and cyborgs, and I realized that I didn't have to be a damsel in distress. Those ladies can pummel any guy on the planet — or in outer space. Here are three books with girls who know how to fight.

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Crime In The City
3:22 am
Mon July 16, 2012

Big Crime, Little State: Murder, Mystery In R.I.

Roger Williams, memorialized with a statue in Prospect Terrace Park, founded Providence in 1636. According to crime writer Bruce DeSilva, corruption set in not long after.
Will Hart via Flickr

Originally published on Tue July 17, 2012 10:20 am

Providence, R.I., has a history of mob violence rivaling that of New York or New Jersey, but it comes with a gritty intimacy that could only be found in the nation's littlest state. Author Bruce DeSilva says that's what makes Providence the perfect place to set his crime fiction.

"It is big enough to have the usual array of urban problems," he says. "But it's so small that it's claustrophobic. It's very hard to keep a secret in places like that."

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Author Interviews
4:04 pm
Sun July 15, 2012

Chewing Chia Packs A Superfood Punch

The chia plant is "a petite nutrient-packed powerhouse" writes Wayne Coates. There is evidence that the Aztecs used the seeds as early as 3,500 B.C.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Sun July 15, 2012 6:10 pm

When you hear the word chia, you probably think of chia pets. Maybe you even mutter that catchy slogan: "ch-ch-ch-chia."

Or maybe not, but lately, chia seed has been getting buzz beyond those terra cotta figurines. It's becoming a popular health food. Rich in fiber, protein and the highest plant source of Omega 3s, the little seeds pack a major nutritional punch.

Wayne Coates grows and sells chia seeds and has a book called Chia: The Complete Guide to the Ultimate Superfood.

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Books News & Features
6:12 am
Sun July 15, 2012

In 'Red Chamber,' A Love Triangle For The Ages

The romance between star-crossed lovers Jia Baoyu (left) and Lin Daiyu, depicted here in a relief panel, meets a tragic end in the classic Chinese novel Dream of the Red Chamber.
IvanWalsh.com Flickr

Originally published on Tue August 14, 2012 2:48 pm

Before most readers in China learned of Romeo and Juliet, they were captivated by a love triangle between a boy and his two female cousins.

It's the "single most famous love triangle in Chinese literary history," says author Pauline A. Chen, who's written the latest retelling of the tale of Jia Baoyu and his cousins Lin Daiyu and Xue Baochai. The three characters form the central love story of the Chinese novel Hong Lou Meng, often translated as Dream of the Red Chamber in English.

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Author Interviews
4:31 pm
Sat July 14, 2012

'Sunny Chernobyl': Beauty In A Haze Of Pollution

Garbage litters the banks of India's holy Yamuna River on World Water Day 2010. For decades, the Yamuna has been dying a slow death from pollution. According to Blackwell, even its most ardent defenders refer to it as a "sewage drain."
Manan Vatsyayana AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun July 15, 2012 4:04 am

In some of the dirtiest places on Earth, author and environmentalist Andrew Blackwell found some beauty. His book, Visit Sunny Chernobyl, tours the deforestation of the Amazon, the oil sand mines in Canada and the world's most polluted city, located in China.

Blackwell says his ode to polluted locales is a bid for re-engagement with places people have shrunk away from in disgust.

Radioactive To Its Core

His first stop was the site of the world's worst nuclear disaster, Chernobyl.

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Deceptive Cadence
2:03 am
Sat July 14, 2012

Tanglewood: Celebrating Beethoven In The Backwoods For 75 Years

Christoph von Dohnanyi and the Boston Symphony play Beethoven in the opening night concert of the Tanglewood Festival's 75th anniversary.
Hilary Scott Boston Symphony

Originally published on Tue September 18, 2012 4:22 pm

It now seems like a natural rite of summer — open-air classical music festivals where audiences can hear great music while picnicking under the stars. But 75 years ago, when the Boston Symphony first performed on a former estate called Tanglewood in the Berkshire Mountains of Western Massachusetts, it was a novel idea.

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Deceptive Cadence
2:35 pm
Fri July 13, 2012

Around The Classical Internet: July 13, 2012

Conductor Kent Tritle in Times Square. (And that's WNYC's John Schaefer in the Saratoga T-shirt.)
Charles Ludeke for NPR
  • So we did this thing in Times Square, and some people have seen the video.
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Music Reviews
12:56 pm
Fri July 13, 2012

Tanglewood Celebrates 75th With Free Web Stream

The scene at Tanglewood.
courtesy of Tanglewood

Originally published on Sun July 15, 2012 10:53 am

On July 20, 1958, at Tanglewood — the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra — pianist Leon Fleisher played an electrifying Brahms First Piano Concerto with the orchestra under its former music director, Pierre Monteux. This remarkable teaming has not been heard since then.

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NPR Bestseller List
12:03 pm
Fri July 13, 2012

NPR Bestsellers: Week Of July 12, 2012

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

Hardcover Fiction Bestsellers
12:03 pm
Fri July 13, 2012

NPR Bestsellers: Hardcover Fiction, Week Of July 12, 2012

Chris Cleave's Gold, about bicyclists training for the London Olympics, debuts this week at No. 10.

Hardcover Nonfiction Bestsellers
12:03 pm
Fri July 13, 2012

NPR Bestsellers: Hardcover Nonfiction, Week Of July 12, 2012

Walter Isaacson's Steve Jobs: A Biography is on the list for a 30th week.

Paperback Fiction Bestsellers
12:03 pm
Fri July 13, 2012

NPR Bestsellers: Paperback Fiction, Week Of July 12, 2012

The Night Circus, Erin Morgenstern's tale of romance between magicians, debuts at No. 6.

Paperback Nonfiction Bestsellers
12:03 pm
Fri July 13, 2012

NPR Bestsellers: Paperback Nonfiction, Week Of July 12, 2012

Rebecca Skloot's study of the life behind the HeLa cell is on the list for a 70th week.

Deceptive Cadence
11:58 am
Fri July 13, 2012

Sweatin' To The (Really) Oldies

Pablo Helguera

Originally published on Tue September 18, 2012 4:22 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.

Books
11:14 am
Fri July 13, 2012

This Week's 5 Must-Read Stories From NPR Books

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri July 13, 2012 11:56 am

When I was a kid I used to read all the time — at meals, in cars and even while walking around. I'd hold a book in one hand, and I'd use the other to feel my way along. It's a good method for getting a lot of reading done, but not so great for if you want to see what's in front of you.

But no matter where you're headed, NPR Books has got you covered. Here are the week's five most engrossing stories about books.

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Author Interviews
11:10 am
Fri July 13, 2012

Black Officials More Likely Probed For Corruption?

In Rumor, Repression and Racial Politics, author George Derek Musgrove looks at the history of black elected officials being investigated for alleged wrongdoing. He examines the role of race in U.S. politics between 1965 and 1995. Musgrove shares his research with guest host Maria Hinojosa.

Books
6:54 am
Fri July 13, 2012

Original Fiction In All The 'Shades' Of Fandom

courtesy of Vintage/Anchor Books

Originally published on Tue July 17, 2012 10:17 am

This Friday the 13th, fans of horror films and hobbits, science fiction and fantasy are descending upon the San Diego Convention Center. They're gathering for the annual explosion of pop culture fandom that is Comic-Con. One of the biggest phenomena in pop culture at the moment will be making an appearance, and it's not a man of steel or a boy slinging webs.

It's a 40-something woman who writes... wait for it... steamy romance.

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Author Interviews
5:09 am
Fri July 13, 2012

A Tale Of Two Cities: Donna Leon's Venice

Originally published on Tue July 17, 2012 10:18 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

MORNING EDITION's Crime in the City series takes us, next, to one of the most distinctive cities in the world. Venice is all but a city at sea, built on islands in a lagoon crosshatched with canals with buildings so low that sometimes high water flows right in the doors. It's a city that inspires writers and artists, including the American author Donna Leon. Venice is the backdrop of her "Commissario Brunetti" detective stories. NPR's Sylvia Poggioli has this encore presentation from our series.

(SOUNDBITE OF FOOTSTEPS)

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Deceptive Cadence
1:23 pm
Thu July 12, 2012

Get Out And Hear Music: Classical Summer Festivals 2012

Music and food mix well on the lawn of the Ravinia Festival outside Chicago. This year's edition runs through Sept. 9.
Ravinia Festival

Originally published on Thu July 12, 2012 6:17 pm

With the July Fourth holiday behind us, now is the time to map out a musical adventure. Below is a sampling of just a few of the dozens of summer classical music festivals around the country, grouped by region. From outdoor extravaganzas and picturesque locales to intimate indoor settings, live music thrives in the summertime. Been to a good summer fest not listed here? Tell us all about it.

EAST

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