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Updated: 39 min 38 sec ago

Moonshine Makes A Comeback in Virginia. And This Time, It's Legal

Thu, 10/19/2017 - 9:45am

While the revival has taken off around the country, it's especially strong in Virginia, where many of the twists, turns and car chases that are a part of moonshine lore took place.

(Image credit: Buyenlarge/Getty Images)

Custom-Printed Cocktails On The Moon? 'Soonish' Shows Us How

Thu, 10/19/2017 - 9:00am

Zach and Kelly Weinersmith's accessible, occasionally goofy new book lays out futuristic fantasies (like matter-printed cocktails) and connects them to projects scientists are working on right now.

(Image credit: Jennifer Kerrigan/NPR)

Philip Pullman's Realm Of Poetry And Inspiration

Thu, 10/19/2017 - 4:00am

Pullman — author of the beloved His Dark Materials trilogy — says poet William Blake's idea of mystical multiple vision, of different ways of seeing, is "absolutely central" to his new book.

(Image credit: Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP/Getty Images)

Why Da Vinci's Last Privately Owned Painting Probably Won't End Up In A Museum

Wed, 10/18/2017 - 3:41pm

The last known privately owned painting by Leonardo da Vinci is going up for auction. But it will probably go back into private hands because no museum can afford the price. "Salvator Mundi" is likely to sell for more than a $100 million.

'A Line In The Dark' Is A Fresh Approach To The Teen Thriller

Wed, 10/18/2017 - 9:00am

Malinda Lo's new book sets up a classic conflict — townie kids versus prep schoolers — and adds nuanced queer characters. Despite a flawed second half, A Line in the Dark has much to offer.

(Image credit: Dutton Books for Young Readers)

Not Much To 'Smile' About In Roddy Doyle's Intense New Novel

Wed, 10/18/2017 - 6:00am

The Irish novelist is known for his sense of humor — but his latest, about a man abused in his youth by Catholic priests, is distressing and at times almost unbearable. It's also his best book yet.

(Image credit: Jennifer Kerrigan/NPR)

Not Much To 'Smile' About In Roddy Doyle's Intense New Novel

Wed, 10/18/2017 - 6:00am

The Irish novelist is known for his sense of humor — but his latest, about a man abused in his youth by Catholic priests, is distressing and at times almost unbearable. It's also his best book yet.

(Image credit: Jennifer Kerrigan/NPR)

George Saunders Wins Man Booker Prize For 'Lincoln In The Bardo'

Tue, 10/17/2017 - 4:18pm

It's the second year in a row that an American writer has taken home the prestigious literary award.

(Image credit: Chris J. Ratcliffe/AFP/Getty Images)

'Death In The Air' Revisits 5 Days When London Was Choked By Poisonous Smog

Tue, 10/17/2017 - 1:41pm

Kate Winkler Dawson's new book chronicles The Great Smog of 1952, when moist air from the Gulf Stream stalled for days over London, mixing with poisonous gases and causing more than 12,000 deaths.

(Image credit: Hachette Books)

'I Am Full Of Contradictions': Novelist Amy Tan On Fate And Family

Tue, 10/17/2017 - 1:19pm

In Where the Past Begins, Tan connects her experience with spirituality to that of her parents and grandmother. "I don't consider myself any religion," she says. " ... I have an amalgam of beliefs."

(Image credit: Courtesy of Amy Tan)

Tom Hanks Lays Out A Kinder, Gentler World In 'Uncommon Type'

Tue, 10/17/2017 - 6:00am

Tom Hanks' well-documented obsession with typewriters is on display in his new story collection, tales linked not just by typewriters but by a benign, humane view of people and their many foibles.

(Image credit: Jennifer Kerrigan/NPR)

Taran Killam Says 'There Was Never Any Common Ground' When Trump Hosted 'SNL'

Tue, 10/17/2017 - 5:01am

In November 2015, candidate Donald Trump drew protesters to NBC's New York studio. Saturday Night Live alum Taran Killam says, "We could hear the protests during our table read."

(Image credit: Phillip Faraone/Getty Images)

Astronaut Scott Kelly's Latest Mission: A Book

Tue, 10/17/2017 - 3:58am

After a year in space, Kelly says, writing a book was harder than he thought — but still, he adds, "If I write a bad sentence people are only going to get angry with me. They're not going to die."

(Image credit: NASA/Getty Images)

Richard Wilbur, Renowned American Poet And Translator, Dies At 96

Mon, 10/16/2017 - 4:40pm

His commitment to traditional forms, with tight patterns and taut construction, stood out among his contemporaries. He said his craft was finding order in pain and chaos — not creating it.

(Image credit: Nancy Palmieri/AP)

Pulitzer Prize-Winning Poet Richard Wilbur Dies At 96

Mon, 10/16/2017 - 3:43pm

Poet Richard Wilbur won two Pulitzer Prizes and was the second poet to hold the title of Poet Laureate of the United States. He died Saturday at the age of 96.

Sleep Scientist Warns Against Walking Through Life 'In An Underslept State'

Mon, 10/16/2017 - 2:04pm

"Human beings are the only species that deliberately deprive themselves of sleep for no apparent gain," says sleep scientist Matthew Walker. His new book is Why We Sleep.

(Image credit: MCKIBILLO/Getty Images/Imagezoo)

Amy Tan Revisits The Roots Of Her Writing Career In 'Where The Past Begins'

Mon, 10/16/2017 - 2:01pm

In a new memoir, the Joy Luck Club author searches her past for the sources of her creativity. She says, "I certainly think that the bad experiences ... shaped me as a writer."

(Image credit: Courtesy of Amy Tan )

Director Agnes Varda And French Artist JR Team Up In Road Picture 'Faces Places'

Mon, 10/16/2017 - 1:54pm

The odd couple travels around France in the new documentary, photographing strangers and making murals out of their portraits. Critic David Edelstein calls it an "entirely down to earth" art film.

In His 15th Season At 'SNL,' Kenan Thompson Still Knows How To Play It Funny

Mon, 10/16/2017 - 5:00am

Thompson has lasted longer than any other performer in Saturday Night Live history. He's so likeable that the writers sometimes use the action line "Kenan reacts" when they need to get a joke in.

(Image credit: Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images for No Kid Hungry)

Tom Hanks Is Obsessed With Typewriters (So He Wrote A Book About Them)

Mon, 10/16/2017 - 3:53am

The actor's new collection of short fiction — his debut book as an author — is called Uncommon Type, and each story has something to do with the machine close to his heart.

(Image credit: Jennifer Kerrigan /NPR)

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