Arts

Book Reviews
7:03 am
Wed June 20, 2012

A Question Unanswered: 'How Should A Person Be?'

Originally published on Wed June 20, 2012 10:36 am

The unexamined life isn't worth living, according to Socrates, and you'd be hard-pressed to find a writer who disagrees. Few, though, have taken it to the extreme that Toronto author Sheila Heti does with How Should a Person Be? The relentlessly introspective "novel from life" earned critical raves when it was released in Canada in 2010. The book chronicles Heti's struggle — sometimes hilarious, sometimes heartbreaking — to answer the seemingly simple questions: "What was the right way to react to people? Who was I to talk to at parties? How was I to be?"

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New In Paperback
7:03 am
Wed June 20, 2012

New In Paperback June 18-24

Fiction and nonfiction releases from Michael Ondaatje, Lev Grossman and Ron Suskind.

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

Book Reviews
5:14 pm
Tue June 19, 2012

Review: 'How Should A Person Be'

Originally published on Tue June 19, 2012 6:59 pm

Author Sheila Heti has a fresh pulsing voice in her new novel, How Should a Person Be?

Deceptive Cadence
4:27 pm
Tue June 19, 2012

The Cleveland Youth Orchestra: On The Road In Mozart's Hometown

The Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra embarks on its first European tour.
Roger Mastroianni Cleveland Orchestra

Originally published on Wed June 27, 2012 1:19 pm

Nurturing young talent is a long tradition in the classical music world, and many professional orchestras have their own youth orchestras. But it stands to reason that an organization with the kind of international stature the Cleveland Orchestra enjoys would have a top-notch youth ensemble. It does. And it's called, not surprisingly, the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra — COYO for short. The young musicians have just embarked on a European tour.

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Author Interviews
11:01 am
Tue June 19, 2012

Edible Fermentables: Wine, Beer, Cheese, Meat

Beer may be the oldest fermented beverage on the planet.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu June 21, 2012 10:15 am

In the beginning, the self-described "fermentation fetishist" Sandor Katz loved sour pickles.

"For whatever reason, I was drawn to that flavor as a child," he tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "And then when I was in my 20s, I did quite a bit of dietary experimentation and ... I started noticing that whenever I ate sauerkraut or pickles, even the smell of it would make my salivary glands start secreting."

After Katz moved from New York City to a rural community in Tennessee, his fascination with all things fermented increased.

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Deceptive Cadence
9:29 am
Tue June 19, 2012

Finding The Right Teacher For Your Music-Loving Kid

How do you match your child with someone competent, trustworthy and inspiring?
iStock

Originally published on Tue September 18, 2012 4:45 pm

With the current school year wrapping up and our thoughts turning to how to make next year even better, we're teaming up with our friends at From the Top to create "The Young Person's Guide to Making Music." All this week, we're tackling topics for music-loving kids and their families, from how to choose the right instrument to vanquishing the audition monster, with lo

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Book Reviews
7:03 am
Tue June 19, 2012

Divorce, 'Disgrace' And One Steamy Victorian Diary

Originally published on Thu June 21, 2012 10:16 am

If Isabella Robinson had a Facebook account in 1858, her relationship status would be "It's complicated." Unhappily married to civil engineer Henry Robinson — a most "uncongenial partner" — Isabella set her lonely sights on the dashing and very much attached hydropath Dr. Edward Lane. In a perfect world, Isabella and Edward's respective spouses would die quick and painless deaths, freeing the paramours to be joined in holy, socially sanctioned matrimony. But Victorian England was not a perfect world.

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Critics' Lists: Summer 2012
7:03 am
Tue June 19, 2012

Summer's Best Sci-Fi: Planets, Politics, Apocalypse

Harriet Russell

Originally published on Tue June 26, 2012 3:40 pm

Science fiction is a genre of contradictions. It's an entertaining escape from the dreary everyday, but it also invites you to rethink your everyday life. It can be cheesy but profound, fantastic but sharply political. And like all literature, it's rarely about what it seems to be on the surface. That's why the best sci-fi writers manage to turn space battles into philosophical debates, and zombie hordes into political satire.

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Book Reviews
12:41 pm
Mon June 18, 2012

'Beautiful Ruins,' Both Human And Architectural

In Jess Walter's new novel, Beautiful Ruins, there's a beaten-down character named Claire who works in Hollywood reading scripts for a living. Claire is inundated with reality TV show pitches, many of them featuring drunk models or drunk sex addicts — in short, scripts so offensive that, Claire thinks, to give them the green light for production would be akin to "singlehandedly hastening the apocalypse."

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Author Interviews
12:41 pm
Mon June 18, 2012

It's A Bird, It's A Plane, It's A New Superman Bio!

Christopher Reeve played Superman in Richard Donner's 1978 film. Larry Tye has written a new biography of the Man of Steel.
Anonymous AP

Originally published on Thu June 21, 2012 10:15 am

Eighty years ago, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster created the iconic comic book character Superman, but it took several years of rejections before they finally sold him to Detective Comics Inc. in 1938. The distinctive superhero made his first appearance in the comics in June 1938 — and since then has appeared in radio dramas, TV shows, video games, newspaper comics and countless films.

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PG-13: Risky Reads
10:15 am
Mon June 18, 2012

Teenage Brain: Gateway To A 'Bright And Dark' World

Cover detail

Originally published on Tue June 26, 2012 5:27 pm

Meg Wolitzer is a novelist whose most recent works include The Uncoupling and a book for young readers, The Fingertips of Duncan Dorfman.

You know how people talk about so-called gateway drugs — drugs that lead to harder ones? I think some books can be considered gateway books, because reading them leads you to start reading other books that are similar but more intense. Lisa, Bright and Dark, John Neufeld's 1969 novel for young adults, is one of these.

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Deceptive Cadence
9:52 am
Mon June 18, 2012

Finding True Love: Helping Your Kid Choose The Right Instrument

Can you fall in love with the sound of a plastic recorder?
iStock

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

Whether it's learning saxophone in school band, taking Saturday piano lessons, or participating in a top-flight youth orchestra, there are tens of millions of kids in the United States learning to play instruments. Way back in 2003, Gallup pollsters figured that at least 84 million Americans play an instrument — and at least a third of those players were then between the ages of 5 and 17.

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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.

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