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Updated: 23 min 26 sec ago

Understanding Society Through 3 American Classics

Sun, 10/19/2014 - 6:43am

NPR's Rachel Martin speaks with Azar Nafisi about her new book, The Republic of Imagination, a reflection on America through three of its most memorable books.

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Here's What Happens When Gandalf Talks To Schoolchildren

Sun, 10/19/2014 - 6:43am

Sir Ian MacEllen made a special appearance at an English school. What special magical message did he impart? Do your homework!

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Chef Ottolenghi Makes The Case For 'Plenty More' Vegetables

Sun, 10/19/2014 - 6:43am

Israeli chef Yotam Ottolenghi talks with Rachel Martin about the difference between supermarket hummus and Middle Eastern hummus and why he doesn't like to call his cookbooks "vegetarian."

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After A Flurry Of Literary Awards, A Book On The 'Wonder' Of Words

Sun, 10/19/2014 - 6:03am

It's literary awards season. The Nobel, the National Book Awards shortlists, and the Man Booker Prize were all recently announced. Author Jason Sheehan recommends some reading on all this reading.

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Amid The Chaos Of Debt Collection, 'Bad Paper' Offers A Riveting Roadmap

Sun, 10/19/2014 - 4:32am

It's not often that a book can mix machetes with hedge funds. Then again, few industries are as chaotic, and compelling, as debt collection — which Jake Halpern's book reveals in alarming detail.

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9 Lives And Counting: Hello Kitty Turns 40

Sun, 10/19/2014 - 4:32am

In the time since the first simple coin purse was sold in Japan back in 1974, Hello Kitty has become a multi-billion dollar empire. A retrospective in Los Angeles celebrates the beloved cartoon cat.

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Watching 'Dear White People' At Harvard

Sat, 10/18/2014 - 4:07pm

Dear White People follows four black students at a prestigious, majority white college, where racial tensions are threatening to bring chaos to campus. So why not catch a screening at Harvard?

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A Funny Philosopher Tackles A Tough Query: 'Does Santa Exist?'

Sat, 10/18/2014 - 4:07pm

Eric Kaplan's son had a zoo trip canceled because one mom worried about reindeer-induced questions. So Kaplan, a comedy writer and philosophy grad student, started pondering the puzzle of St. Nick.

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The Man Who Coined 'Genocide' Spent His Life Trying To Stop It

Sat, 10/18/2014 - 4:07pm

Polish lawyer Raphael Lemkin coined the word in 1943, as part of his life-long campaign to make the world acknowledge and prosecute the crime. A new documentary, Watchers of the Sky, tells his story.

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424 Steps To Happiness: A Father's Journey Beyond 'The Fall'

Sat, 10/18/2014 - 10:33am

A son with cerebral palsy inspires a new way to think about imperfection, exaltation and love in a new memoir by Brazilian novelist and screenwriter Diogo Mainardi.

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Not My Job: Actor Jeff Goldblum Plays A Game Called 'Your Fly Is Open'

Sat, 10/18/2014 - 9:47am

Goldblum starred in a 1986 movie called The Fly so we've invited him to answer three questions about zippers.

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Fracking Boom Town Wary Of Pastor's 'Overnighters'

Sat, 10/18/2014 - 6:43am

Jesse Moss tells NPR's Scott Simon about his documentary, The Overnighters. It follows a pastor in a North Dakota oil boom town whose life is upended when he opens the church to down-and-out workers.

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300,000,000 Is A Horrific, Poetic Anti-Ode To America

Sat, 10/18/2014 - 6:03am

Blake Butler's new novel, 300,000,000, is not for the squeamish. This portrait of a serial killer and the detective who hunts him will curdle the blood — and possibly the soul — of any reader.

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Back Across The Wall: Questions For Garth Nix

Sat, 10/18/2014 - 6:03am

Author Garth Nix returns to the world of the Old Kingdom with Clariel, the story of a young woman of great magical power who, denied the freedom to live as she wants, chooses a dangerous path.

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A Collection Of Poems That Offers An Unlikely Kind Of Hope

Sat, 10/18/2014 - 4:45am

In his second poetry collection, The New Testament, Jericho Brown weaves together strains of religious invocations with his uneasy identity as a southern, gay, black man into a beguiling self myth.

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Oscar Pistorius' Sentencing And The Classic True Crime Novel

Fri, 10/17/2014 - 5:33pm

Oscar Pistorius, superstar athlete, was back in court this week for his sentencing hearing, after a culpable homicide conviction. Journalist Mandy Wiener says his case reminds her of a favorite book.

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Email Just Can't Compete With Heartfelt 'Letters Of Note'

Fri, 10/17/2014 - 4:43pm

The art of letter writing is also an act of preserving history. The correspondences gathered in the book Letters Of Note tell stories of delight, hope and loss — and the nature of human connection.

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Out Of The Lockerbie Bombing, A Bond And A 'Letter Of Note'

Fri, 10/17/2014 - 3:25pm

Audie Cornish speaks with Frank Ciulla about a poignant letter cherished by his family. It was written after his father was killed in the Lockerbie bombing in 1988.

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The Brutalities Of War Bring Surprising Angles To 'Fury'

Fri, 10/17/2014 - 12:51pm

Brad Pitt stars in a war movie that contemplates the horrors of war, but also the horrors that the men who fight it may commit.

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'Birdman' Follows A Film Actor Frantic To Prove Himself Onstage

Fri, 10/17/2014 - 12:48pm

The choreography by Alejandro Iñárritu, who directed 21 Grams and Babel, will wow you. But the story about a washed-up actor about to bring off his Broadway debut is an "empty masterwork."

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