Arts

PG-13: Risky Reads
4:48 pm
Tue July 3, 2012

Bordellos, Bandits And One Big Mississippi Adventure

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Originally published on Tue July 3, 2012 7:06 pm

W. Ralph Eubanks is the author of Ever Is a Long Time and The House at the End of the Road. He is director of publishing at the Library of Congress.

The work of William Faulkner looms as a mountain too high to climb for many readers, with his long, complex sentences and shifting point of view. But Faulkner's famously tangled mix of literary techniques meant nothing when I was about 12 years old and picked up a copy of The Reivers.

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Deceptive Cadence
2:31 pm
Tue July 3, 2012

'Dead Man Walking' Sings Again

Joyce DiDonato as Sister Helen Prejean and Philip Cutlip as Joseph De Rocher in Jake Heggie's opera Dead Man Walking.
Felix Sanchez courtesy of Houston Grand Opera

Originally published on Wed July 4, 2012 8:03 pm

It's so rare for a new opera — let alone a new American opera — to be recorded even once. But few new operas have been so rapturously received as Jake Heggie's Dead Man Walking, which recounts the true story of a Catholic nun, Sister Helen Prejean, and the convicted rapist and double murderer Joseph De Rocher before he was executed by the state of Louisiana.

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Books
1:30 pm
Tue July 3, 2012

'Monkey Mind': When Debilitating Anxiety Takes Over

Author and journalist Daniel Smith teaches English at the College of New Rochelle in New York.
Tyler Maroney

Originally published on Thu July 5, 2012 11:18 am

There's a lot to be anxious about — an upcoming job interview, a first date or perhaps a big presentation at work. For some, anxiety can be much more than just sweaty palms and quivering hands. It can be a debilitating condition with severe physical and mental effects.

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America estimates that nearly 40 million American adults suffer from a wide range of anxiety disorders — from acute nervousness and increased heart rate to full-on panic attacks.

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Politics
11:05 am
Tue July 3, 2012

Marco Rubio Draws On Family To Keep Him Grounded

Originally published on Tue July 3, 2012 12:03 pm

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. Later in the program, we'll talk about the latest chapter in the work/family debate that's taken off from a provocative magazine piece written by former State Department official Anne-Marie Slaughter. She resigned her high profile post after two years saying she needed to spend more time with family. And she meant it. We'll ask our panel of regulars in our parenting segment to join her to talk about her piece "Why Women Still Can't Have It All."

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Author Interviews
9:57 am
Tue July 3, 2012

Henry Louis Gates Jr.: A Life Spent Tracing Roots

Henry Louis Gates Jr. is perhaps best known for his research tracing the family and genetic history of famous African Americans. A selection of his writings on race, politics and culture appear in The Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Reader. Originally broadcast May 8, 2012.

Author Interviews
9:57 am
Tue July 3, 2012

Cooking Everything? Bittman Gets Back To 'Basics'

In his new book, How to Cook Everything: The Basics, Mark Bittman explains with careful instructions and 1,000 colorful photos how to stock your pantry, how to dice vegetables, which knives you should buy �" and to really get back to basics �" how to boil water. Originally broadcast March 19, 2012.

Book Reviews
7:03 am
Tue July 3, 2012

'Gold' Offers A Winning Take On Cycling

iStockphoto.com

You're going to be hearing a lot about Chris Cleave's gold-medal performance in his first novel since his mega-best-seller, Little Bee. That's because Gold is a heart-pounding, winning tearjerker about three elite cyclists fiercely competing through three successive Olympics — including, most topically, the one about to take place in London this summer. If Olympic medals were awarded for dramatic stories about what drives athletes to compete and succeed, Cleave would easily ascend the podium.

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Critics' Lists: Summer 2012
7:03 am
Tue July 3, 2012

Lesser-Known Lit: Seeking Summer's Hidden Gems

Harriet Russell

Originally published on Tue July 3, 2012 2:35 pm

I know, I know. You've already started tearing through Bring Up the Bodies, pre-ordered Canada and — since you pretend to have read the first few massive volumes of his LBJ bio — uploaded Robert Caro's latest history lesson to your Kindle. Spoiler: The pres dies in the end.

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Books
3:28 am
Tue July 3, 2012

Dog Memoirs Will Fetch, Sit And Stay On Your Shelf

Gromit is the purebred Pembroke Welsh corgi belonging to NPR's Julie Rovner — who says she's hoping to eventually adopt a companion pooch named Wallace.
Julie Rovner

Originally published on Tue July 3, 2012 2:13 pm

The Morning Edition mailboxes are always overflowing with books sent by publishers. And recently, a fair number have fallen into a category you might call "dog memoirs" — books about how dogs transform their owners' lives.

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Author Interviews
3:20 am
Tue July 3, 2012

A Cautionary Tale About Transforming Afghanistan

Scores of Americans engineers worked in southern Afghanistan from the late 1940s to the late 1970s to build two large dams and a canal network. The development project soon became a vast experiment in social engineering. New villages were constructed, with schools and health clinics. A new, modern society was to rise from the desert.
Courtesy of the U.S. National Archives via Foreign Policy

Originally published on Tue July 3, 2012 1:05 pm

The plan in Afghanistan was ambitious. Americans would set up a base in one of the most remote parts of one of the world's most isolated countries. The project would last many years and cost large sums of money. And in the end, Afghanistan, or at least one small part of it, would be a new, modern country.

When Americans think of large-scale U.S. involvement in Afghanistan, most would point to the Sept. 11 attacks that prompted the American invasion of the country in 2001.

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Deceptive Cadence
4:17 pm
Mon July 2, 2012

Copland's 'Lincoln Portrait': Honest Abe's Oratory, Tailored For Orchestra

Hulton Archive Getty Images

Originally published on Wed September 26, 2012 12:39 pm

Brooklyn-born Aaron Copland was an American original in more ways than one. It's not just his music, with its openness and simple elegance. It's that he expected ballet dancers to act like cowboys, pianists to play blues and orchestra players to accompany political speechmaking. His Lincoln Portrait, composed during World War II, matches words from our 16th president with symphonic music.

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Books
2:11 pm
Mon July 2, 2012

The Internal Politics At War In 'Little America'

In Little America, Washington Post correspondent Rajiv Chandrasekaran details the difficulties that followed the 2009 troop surge in Afghanistan.
Patrick Baz/AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue July 3, 2012 12:11 pm

On assignment in southern Afghanistan in 2009, Washington Post correspondent Rajiv Chandrasekaran waded through chest-high water with U.S. Marines, through canals originally dug by Americans 60 years ago. There, he discovered a massive Cold War project to transform the Helmand River Valley through electrification and modern agriculture in an area once known as "Little America."

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Deceptive Cadence
1:57 pm
Mon July 2, 2012

Summer Souvenirs: 75 Years Of Tanglewood In Pictures

Seiji Ozawa and Arthur Fielder, aboard a train during Tanglewood on Parade, 1975.
Heinz Weissenstein/Whitestone Photo courtesy of the Boston Symphony Orchestra

Originally published on Mon July 2, 2012 3:34 pm

Join us Friday as we celebrate the 75th anniversary of Tanglewood, the summer music festival that is both the seasonal home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and a legendary destination in its own right.

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Book Reviews
12:39 pm
Mon July 2, 2012

'The Age Of Miracles' Considers Earth's Fragility

iStock

The Age of Miracles is literary fiction, but it spins out the same kind of "what if?" disaster plot that distinguishes many a classic sci-fi movie. Too bad the title The Day the Earth Stood Still was already taken, because it really would have been the perfect title for Thompson's novel.

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Book Reviews
7:03 am
Mon July 2, 2012

Unicorns And Witches And Wild Mood Swings, Oh My!

Cover Detail

Originally published on Mon July 2, 2012 12:11 pm

Petra Mayer is an associate editor at NPR Books.

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Crime In The City
3:33 am
Mon July 2, 2012

Philly Author's 'Confession': I Lived These Stories

Author Solomon Jones bases his work on his own experiences on the streets of Philadelphia.
Milton Perry

Originally published on Thu July 5, 2012 4:49 pm

Philadelphia may be called the City of Brotherly Love, but author Solomon Jones sees the sadder, more complex side of the city.

Jones' books feature Philly police detective Mike Coletti. When we meet him in The Last Confession, he's on the verge of retirement, but before he can head off into the sunset, he's got to confront some demons from his past and catch a serial killer calling himself the Angel of Death.

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Author Interviews
4:03 pm
Sun July 1, 2012

The Complex 'Tapestry' of Michelle Obama's Ancestry

Fraser and Marian Shields Robinson raised their children, Craig and Michelle, in Chicago, but their family's ancestry can be traced back to pre-abolition Georgia.
Barack Obama Campaign

Originally published on Mon July 2, 2012 10:17 am

When Michelle Obama's great-great-great grandmother was 8 years old, her life underwent a dramatic change.

Melvinia Shields was a slave who grew up at a South Carolina estate with a relatively large community of slaves she knew well. But then she was moved to a small farm in northern Georgia where she was one of only three slaves; most white people in the area didn't own any.

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Author Interviews
5:46 am
Sun July 1, 2012

'Hitless Wonder': On Tour With A Band Of Also-Rans

Colin Gawel (second from right) and Joe Oestreich (second from left) formed Watershed 27 years ago in Columbus, Ohio. They now tour with Dave Masica (left) and Joe Peppercorn (right).
Courtesy of Globe Pequot Press

Originally published on Mon July 2, 2012 10:17 am

Barring a massive shake-up of the Billboard charts — and American tastes — "Little Mistakes" will not be the song of the summer. But that's not for lack of trying.

The song is the lead single off Brick and Mortar, the latest album by Watershed — a band from Columbus, Ohio, that most people have never heard of. But they have been playing dingy bars, tiny clubs and even the occasional arena for 27 years.

That career has inspired a new memoir called Hitless Wonder: A Life in Minor League Rock and Roll, written by one of the band's founders, Joe Oestreich.

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Author Interviews
5:16 pm
Sat June 30, 2012

'Billy Lynn' A Full-Bore Tale Of Wartime Iraq

Ben Fountain sets his new novel in Texas Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys from 1971 to 2008.
Al Messerschmidt Getty Images

Originally published on Mon July 2, 2012 10:19 am

Billy Lynn is a 19-year-old college dropout living in the small Texas town where he grew up. After he's arrested for trashing the car of his sister's ex, he's given two choices: face jail time or enlist in the Army.

He chooses the Army. And Iraq.

Author Ben Fountain's debut novel, Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk, is the story of what happens to Lynn after he joins Bravo Company in the early years of the Iraq war.

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Author Interviews
5:54 am
Sat June 30, 2012

In 'Gold,' Olympic Rivalry Is Personal, Professional

Originally published on Sat June 30, 2012 7:32 am

More than 10,000 athletes are headed to London this summer to run, swim, cycle, shoot, fence and compete in the events of the Olympic Games. Each of them has a story — what they've won, what they've lost and what they've sacrificed just to get their chance to get there.

Chris Cleave's latest novel, Gold, tells the stories of three world-ranked cyclists — Zoe, Jack and Kate — who are training for their last chance at Olympic gold. Zoe and Kate are friends as well as rivals; Jack and Kate are raising an 8-year-old who suffers from leukemia.

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Music News
4:54 pm
Fri June 29, 2012

Young Musicians Leave Nest For New Opportunities

Nathan Schram (back row, third from left) performs with his students from PS 75 in Brooklyn.
Stephanie Berger Getty Images

Originally published on Sat June 30, 2012 8:48 am

The odds of making it in the classical music business are long, but for the past two years, 25-year-old viola player Nathan Schram has received a stipend, health insurance, lots of amazing performance opportunities and a real-world education teaching violin students at an inner-city elementary school in Brooklyn. Now, Schram and his colleagues have to say goodbye to The Academy.

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NPR's Backseat Book Club
4:17 pm
Fri June 29, 2012

Gross-Out Gags AND Life Lessons In 'Wimpy Kid'

Jeff Kinney Abrams

Originally published on Fri June 29, 2012 10:26 pm

We've chosen some popular books for our monthly Backseat Book Club selections, but nothing quite like the boffo best-sellers in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series.

How popular are these books? Consider the numbers: There are six books, and a seventh is on the way. They've been translated into 40 languages and there are 75 million copies in print worldwide. And it was our 2009 interview with author Jeff Kinney that originally inspired us to start a book club just for kids.

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Deceptive Cadence
1:51 pm
Fri June 29, 2012

Around The Classical Internet: June 29, 2012

Myanmar pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi visits Paris' Louvre Museum on June 29, 2012.
FRED DUFOUR AFP/Getty Images
  • How many contemporary political figures have a piano prize named after them? Here's one: Burmese opposition leader and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi. A gold medal will be awarded in her honor at the Leeds International Piano Competition. Playing the piano was one of her coping mechanisms during 15 years of house arrest.
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Deceptive Cadence
12:58 pm
Fri June 29, 2012

Jonathan Biss Embraces Beethoven

Mito-Habe Evans NPR

Originally published on Tue September 18, 2012 4:26 pm

Every musician practices differently. Some turn their own living rooms into rehearsal spaces. Others, like pianist Jonathan Biss, prefer to step out of the comforts of home and into a studio. "It's a more productive way of working," Biss told us as we barged in with cameras and microphones.

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Paperback Nonfiction Bestsellers
12:03 pm
Fri June 29, 2012

NPR Bestsellers: Paperback Nonfiction, Week Of June 28, 2012

Erik Larson's true crime book, The Devil in the White City, is on the list for a 208th week.

Deceptive Cadence
12:03 pm
Fri June 29, 2012

Macaw And More

Pablo Helguera

Originally published on Tue September 18, 2012 4:27 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.

NPR Bestseller List
12:03 pm
Fri June 29, 2012

NPR Bestsellers: Week Of June 28, 2012

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

Hardcover Fiction Bestsellers
12:03 pm
Fri June 29, 2012

NPR Bestsellers: Hardcover Fiction, Week Of June 28, 2012

Originally published on Fri June 29, 2012 1:23 pm

A Hologram for the King, Dave Eggers' tale of adventure and economic hardship, debuts at No. 5.

Hardcover Nonfiction Bestsellers
12:03 pm
Fri June 29, 2012

NPR Bestsellers: Hardcover Nonfiction, Week Of June 28, 2012

The Price of Inequality, one economist's take on "today's divided society," debuts at No. 14.

Paperback Fiction Bestsellers
12:03 pm
Fri June 29, 2012

NPR Bestsellers: Paperback Fiction, Week Of June 28, 2012

The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald's classic '20s novel, resurfaces this week at No. 15.

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