Arts

Arts and culture

New In Paperback May 28-June 3

May 30, 2012

Fiction and nonfiction releases from Daniel Orozco, Donald Rumsfeld, Jim Axelrod and Simon Kuper.

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

PROGRAM:

  • BACH Partita No. 1 in B-flat Major, BWV 825

  • SCHUBERT Sonata in B-flat Major, D. 960

  • CHOPIN Twelve Etudes, Op. 25

  • LISZT Romance, S. 169

  • LiSZT Grande Etude de Paganini, S. 141 "La Campanella"

Zoltan Barbu is a once-exalted author now exiled in Los Angles. He wears capes, seduces actresses in Jacuzzis and hasn't produced anything in decades. If it sounds cliche, that is the point. In Ménage, her first novel in 25 years, the feminist writer Alix Kates Shulman has given us a modern parable: caricatured characters interacting and standing in for real-world archetypes. Zoltan, predictably enough, is her catalyst.

Britten's War Requiem: 50 Years On, Still As Harrowing As Ever

May 29, 2012

There are two war-related anniversaries this week that make today's album review all the more timely. Yesterday was Memorial Day here in the U.S.; tomorrow, May 30, marks 50 years since the world premiere of English composer Benjamin Britten's War Requiem at Coventry Cathedral. The War Requiem was commissioned for the cathedral's reconsecration after it had been destroyed by a Nazi bombing raid in 1940.

'I Am The Cheese': A Nightmarish Nail-Biter

May 29, 2012

Ben Marcus is the author of The Flame Alphabet.

I Am the Cheese opens with Adam Farmer riding his bike. He carries a package for his father and needs to get it to him fast. So far, it's a perfectly harmless adventure story.

'Selected Poems': The Essential Nabokov In Verse

May 29, 2012

The publication of Vladimir Nabokov's Selected Poems is a major literary event. The great, grand and much missed novelist (Lolita, Pale Fire) was "first a poet," as the book's editor Thomas Karshan writes. Yet there hasn't been a new collection of his poetry in more than three decades — which is especially shocking given the insatiable hunger for his work.

Digital books are the fastest growing area of publishing. Libraries are seeing a surge in demand for e-book titles as well, but there's a downside. Most major publishers won't allow libraries to lend their titles, while others impose restrictions or charge double or triple the print price.

One of the first things Michelle Obama did as first lady was to dig up part of the beautifully manicured South Lawn of the White House and plant a vegetable garden. The garden was just one of Obama's many efforts to encourage Americans to eat nutritious food and live healthier lives. Her latest project, a book called American Grown, is a diary of that garden through the seasons and a portrait of gardening in America, past and present.

Vanessa Perez: A Rising Star From Venezuela

May 27, 2012

Some of the best recent classical music stories have come from Venezuela, that country's youth orchestra program El Sistema and its most popular graduate, Los Angeles Philharmonic conductor Gustavo Dudamel.

When the Canadian Brass came to NPR for a Tiny Desk Concert, the group kicked off the show with a piece its members say has been central to its repertoire for more than 40 years. It's a transcription of an organ work, Johann Sebastian Bach's "Little" Fugue in G Minor.

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