Arts

Books
7:03 am
Mon June 18, 2012

The Best Young Adult Novels? You Tell Us

Harriet Russell

Originally published on Thu June 21, 2012 10:11 am

Teen fiction shares the virtues of youth itself: energy, vividness, passion. Like adolescents, teen novels revel in drama and grapple with Life's Big Questions.

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Author Interviews
3:56 pm
Sun June 17, 2012

After War And Fame, Dad Is Author's Challenge

Anthony Swofford is the author of Jarhead: A Marine's Chronicle of the Gulf War and Other Battles, which was adapted into a film starring Jake Gyllenhaal as the author.
John Moore Getty Images

Originally published on Mon June 18, 2012 7:47 am

Seven years ago, writer and former U.S. Marine Anthony Swofford had the success of a lifetime when his 2003 memoir Jarhead was turned into a high-budget Hollywood movie.

Swofford, then 35, had hit it big. But flush with cash and still grappling with post-war life, he suddenly found himself in the throes of a self-destructive rampage replete with drugs, alcohol and infidelity.

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Author Interviews
5:47 am
Sun June 17, 2012

A Future President Finds Himself In New Obama Bio

A new biography of President Obama provides a rare glimpse of him as a young adult. In Barack Obama: The Story, journalist David Maraniss chronicles the president's "classic search for home."
AP

Originally published on Thu June 21, 2012 10:10 am

In the years since he took office, there has been no shortage of coverage of Barack Obama's presidency and politics. But for journalist David Maraniss, it is the president's personal history that remains intriguing.

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Critics' Lists: Summer 2012
5:46 am
Sun June 17, 2012

Want A Winner? These Books Made The Critics' Cut

Harriet Russell

Originally published on Thu March 27, 2014 9:32 am

It's an election year, and that may be good news for those of us who like our summer reading: Laura Miller of Salon.com says a lot of publishing companies don't want to release all their best books in the fall because they'll have to compete with all that presidential campaign news. And that means more great books to choose from when the weather is hot.

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Author Interviews
5:20 pm
Sat June 16, 2012

No Longer A Southern Writer, Richard Ford Goes To 'Canada'

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Sat June 16, 2012 5:57 pm

"First, I'll tell you about the robbery our parents committed. Then about the murders, which happened later."

So begins Pulitzer Prize-winning author Richard's Ford's latest novel, Canada.

The story is narrated by retired school teacher Dell Parsons as he looks back on the tumult that ensued when his parents — two unlikely criminals — find themselves in a financial bind and haphazardly hold up a small-town bank.

It's part of his job as a writer, Ford says, to set the unexpected into motion.

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Commentary
8:03 am
Sat June 16, 2012

Raising Dad: Books For A New Kind Of Fatherhood

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Sat June 16, 2012 10:54 pm

My father, like many who raised kids in the 1960s and '70s, would never have thought to reach for a book on parenting. No matter how engaged he was in our lives, he always deferred to "the expert" — our mom. These days, however, it seems more and more fathers are writing books about fatherhood, and this year the sheer number of them suggests a generational watershed.

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Author Interviews
6:08 am
Sat June 16, 2012

A Shriver Learns It's Harder To Be Good Than Great

Originally published on Sat June 16, 2012 2:22 pm

When Mark Shriver's father died last year at the age of 95, it seemed that everyone who knew him — politicians, priests, waitresses, presidents and trash collectors — used the same phrase to tell him what they had thought of his father. He was "a good man."

A Good Man is also the title of Shriver's new memoir about his father, R. Sargent Shriver. The elder Shriver, who once ran for president, ran the War on Poverty, the Peace Corps, Job Corps and the Special Olympics. On top of that, he was U.S. ambassador to France and married into the Kennedy family.

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Author Interviews
6:03 am
Sat June 16, 2012

Rediscovering A Forgotten Boxer's 'Longest Fight'

Originally published on Sat June 16, 2012 2:22 pm

Just a couple of years before boxer Jack Johnson was lauded, reviled, and hounded as the world heavyweight champ — and decades before Muhammad Ali lost his title when he took a stand on Vietnam — a man named Joe Gans was the lightweight champion of the world. He reigned from 1902 to 1908 as the first African-American boxing champ in history, and a man who broke trails for the great fighters who followed.

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Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!
8:21 pm
Fri June 15, 2012

Novelist John Irving Plays Not My Job

Cesar Rangel AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat June 16, 2012 11:54 am

John Irving is the author of The World According To Garp, A Prayer for Owen Meany, The Cider House Rules and many other works of fiction. His latest novel is called In One Person.

We've invited Irving to play a game called "The World According to Gorp." Garp is about sex, castration and bears. Gorp, on the other hand, is the mix of "good old raisins and peanuts" you eat when you're hiking.

Deceptive Cadence
4:42 pm
Fri June 15, 2012

Around The Classical Internet: June 15, 2012

Could Andrew Litton be the next Colorado Symphony leader? Check your inbox.
Unbenannt Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Fri June 15, 2012 7:46 pm

  • The Colorado Symphony Orchestra, under the new leadership of chief exec Gene Sobczak has pulled off "a kind of short-term miracle." Less than a year ago, the orchestra was "so toxic that 20 trustees made an angry and abrupt exit," and they've been looking for a new artistic director for about four years.
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Paperback Fiction Bestsellers
12:03 pm
Fri June 15, 2012

NPR Bestsellers: Paperback Fiction, Week Of June 14, 2012

Set in a gaming-oriented dystopia, Ernest Cline's Ready Player One debuts at No. 15.

Paperback Nonfiction Bestsellers
12:03 pm
Fri June 15, 2012

NPR Bestsellers: Paperback Nonfiction, Week Of June 14, 2012

The Eighty-Dollar Champion, about the rise of an equine jumper, climbs to No. 9 this week.

NPR Bestseller List
12:03 pm
Fri June 15, 2012

NPR Bestsellers: Week Of June 14, 2012

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

Hardcover Fiction Bestsellers
12:03 pm
Fri June 15, 2012

NPR Bestsellers: Hardcover Fiction, Week Of June 14, 2012

Kiss the Dead, Laurell K. Hamilton's latest "Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter" novel, debuts at No. 13.

Hardcover Nonfiction Bestsellers
12:03 pm
Fri June 15, 2012

NPR Bestsellers: Hardcover Nonfiction, Week Of June 14, 2012

The Amateur, Edward Klein's critique of President Obama, debuts at No. 6.

Deceptive Cadence
11:58 am
Fri June 15, 2012

Wichita (Symphony) Lineman

Pablo Helguera

Originally published on Tue September 18, 2012 4:46 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.

Remembrances
11:53 am
Fri June 15, 2012

For 'Wiseguy' Henry Hill, Mobster 'Days Were Over'

Hill (left, with Ray Liotta, who played him in the movie GoodFellas) was the central figure in Wiseguy, the 1986 Nicholas Pileggi book that later became the Martin Scorsese-directed film.
Rebecca Sapp WireImage

Originally published on Fri June 15, 2012 6:29 pm

Henry Hill, the mobster-turned-informant portrayed by Ray Liotta in the film Goodfellas, died Tuesday at age 69. Hill's colorful life — he lived in Cincinnati; Omaha; Butte, Mont.; Independence, Ky.; and Topanga, Calif., among other places — was documented in crime reporter Nicholas Pileggi's 1986 book Wiseguy and then in Martin Scorsese's film Goodfellas, which was based on Pileggi's book.

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Three Books...
5:03 am
Fri June 15, 2012

Revolutionary Reads For A North African Adventure

An Egyptian protester waves his national flag in Cairo.
Mohammed Abed AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon June 18, 2012 9:15 am

NPR Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep is taking a Revolutionary Road trip from Tunisia to Cairo to see how the countries that staged revolutions last year are remaking themselves.

We've asked two authors, Hosam Aboul-Ela and Lin Noueihed, to suggest some books that can illuminate the journey.

Deceptive Cadence
2:03 am
Fri June 15, 2012

Tracing The Trail Of Musical Fathers

Fathers have played an important role in shaping musical history.
Matthew Scherf iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri June 15, 2012 10:56 am

With Father's Day coming up this weekend, Morning Edition music commentator Miles Hoffman has been thinking about a few musical dads and their children.

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Three Books...
6:27 pm
Thu June 14, 2012

3 Books That Enhance Steve Inskeep's Journey

Mohammed Abed AFP/GettyImages

The area from Carthage to Cairo has commanded the world's attention. Since the Arab Spring last year, it has been filled with protesters, journalists, rebels, and change. It would be hard to put together a reading list for this area without thinking of politics, but writing from the region often surprises us — it suggests the variety and vitality of social life. Here are three books that show why this long-time locale of dictators has suddenly become one of hope.

Book Reviews
4:52 pm
Thu June 14, 2012

Review: 'Truth Like The Sun'

Originally published on Thu June 14, 2012 5:39 pm

In Truth Like The Sun, author Jim Lynch traces the growth of Seattle after it hosted the 1962 World's Fair. The novel deals with themes of idealism versus pragmatism and high idealism versus raw ambition.

New In Paperback
9:33 am
Thu June 14, 2012

New In Paperback June 11-17

Girls in White Dresses book cover

Fiction and nonfiction releases from Jennifer Close, Christopher Plummer and Mohamed ElBaradei.

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

Book Reviews
7:03 am
Thu June 14, 2012

'Redshirts:' A Love Letter To Sci-Fi Fans

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri June 15, 2012 3:24 am

Science fiction is often a genre in conversation with itself; from Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels to Galaxy Quest, from The Walking Dead to The Purple Rose of Cairo, it thrives on metatext and a love of details. It's a place inhabited by loyal, passionate fans who are nonetheless acutely aware of — and happy to question — the minutiae of what they love.

In fact, it's a show's biggest fans who are most likely to be watching a starship crew suit up for a mission and asking the screen, "All three top-ranking officers are going? Really?"

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Critics' Lists: Summer 2012
7:03 am
Thu June 14, 2012

Sail Into Summer With Novel Picks From Alan Cheuse

Harriet Russell

Originally published on Wed June 20, 2012 6:23 pm

Head to the bookstore or pick up your Nook or Kindle or iPad, and prepare, if you will, to make some decisions about your summer reading life. My suggestions this year tend to be fine new fiction, the kind that not only flows on the page but also makes a sort of music in your mind. So, word music it is! Strike up the orchestra! It's going to be a big summer for big broad American literary voices, voices that leap from the page and linger with you, echo through your summer and perhaps even beyond.

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PG-13: Risky Reads
4:32 pm
Wed June 13, 2012

Teenage Tales: Sneaking Looks In Sexy Books

Cover detail

Originally published on Mon June 18, 2012 5:22 pm

Emily Danforth is the author of The Miseducation of Cameron Post.

I was at a garage sale with my grandmother when I found a paperback copy of Rita Mae Brown's Rubyfruit Jungle.

I was, without much enthusiasm, rummaging through a pile of books. And then I turned over a small paperback. There, on the back, was a reviewer praising this "account of what it's like growing up lesbian ..." I flinched — such a private word to place in such prominence on a book cover.

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Deceptive Cadence
1:26 pm
Wed June 13, 2012

NPR Classical's Favorite Albums Of 2012 (So Far)

SFS Media

Originally published on Thu June 14, 2012 12:50 pm

If the classical music record industry is trouble, you'd never know it by looking at my desk, or that of my colleague Anastasia Tsioulcas — mountains of good old-fashioned compact discs, ready for listening. And our digital space is also getting crowded by more and more downloads. It all adds up to a super broad range of music and musicians. As the year is half over, we've taken stock of a few (of our many) favorites and surprises so far. Listen to our discussion above and hear longer excerpts below of some of the best classical releases of 2012.

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Fresh Food
12:16 pm
Wed June 13, 2012

'Fermentation': When Food Goes Bad But Stays Good

Yogurt is produced by the bacterial fermentation of milk. "Bacteria in our gut enable us to live," says author Sandor Katz. "We could not survive without bacteria."
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed June 13, 2012 3:48 pm

The list of fermented food in our lives is staggering: bread, coffee, pickles, beer, cheese, yogurt and soy sauce are all transformed at some point during their production process by microscopic organisms that extend their usefulness and enhance their flavors.

The process of fermenting our food isn't a new one: Evidence indicates that early civilizations were making wine and beer between 7,000 and 8,000 years ago — and bread even before that.

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Book Reviews
7:03 am
Wed June 13, 2012

'Red House': A Kaleidoscope Of Family Dysfunction

iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed June 13, 2012 8:03 am

You can get to know people awfully well by spending a week with them on vacation. In The Red House, Mark Haddon brings together two long-estranged siblings and their disjointed families for a shared holiday at a rented house on the Welsh border six weeks after their mother's funeral. Seven days comes to feel like an eternity — for his characters and his readers.

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Deceptive Cadence
2:03 pm
Tue June 12, 2012

Analog For Astronauts: An Ambient Classic Reimagined

The Apollo 11 space module above the surface of the moon.
Hulton Archive Getty Images

Originally published on Tue June 12, 2012 5:02 pm

(Classical Detours meanders through stylistic byways, exploring new recordings from the fringes of classical music.)

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Author Interviews
12:10 pm
Tue June 12, 2012

Under The 'Nuclear Shadow' Of Colorado's Rocky Flats

cover detail: Full Body Burden

Originally published on Tue June 12, 2012 3:40 pm

Kristen Iversen spent years in Europe looking for things to write about before realizing that biggest story she'd ever cover was in the backyard where she grew up. Iversen spent her childhood in Colorado close to the Rocky Flats nuclear weapons factory, playing in fields and swimming in lakes and streams that it now appears were contaminated with plutonium. Later, as a single mother, Iversen worked at the plant but knew little of its environmental and health risks until she saw a feature about it on Nightline.

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