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A Short List Of The Best 'Longform' Journalism Of 2014

Fri, 12/26/2014 - 3:26pm

Editors at Longform read hundreds of print and online journalism pieces each year. Co-founder Max Linsky talks to Audie Cornish about highlights from 2014, from literary stalwarts and upstarts alike.

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Book News: Egypt Bans Ridley Scott's 'Exodus' For 'Historical Inaccuracies'

Fri, 12/26/2014 - 11:55am

Censors say the film takes liberties with its source material, the Book of Exodus, especially its depiction of the parting of the Red Sea. Also: American Sniper prepares to return to court.

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Hollywood's Acceptance Of White Privilege Revealed By Sony Hack

Fri, 12/26/2014 - 8:03am

While some leaked Sony emails seemed racist, NPR TV critic Eric Deggans says they hint at a wider issue: an acceptance of practices, habits and perceptions that limit diversity in Hollywood.

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Pop Culture Happy Hour: 'Into The Woods' And How To Make A Franchise

Fri, 12/26/2014 - 7:03am

On this week's show, we invite film critic Bob Mondello for a chat about the new adaptation of Into The Woods, and we talk about why some films make for good franchises and others ... don't.

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After The Presents, A Buttery Tea Cake Tradition

Thu, 12/25/2014 - 3:16pm

For one family in Overland Park, Kan., it's not Christmas without Mrs. Lawrence. The tea cake, rich with butter and spices, is named for the neighbor who would hand deliver it every holiday season.

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In Britain, A Christmas Tradition Of Slapstick And Silliness

Thu, 12/25/2014 - 3:16pm

For centuries, British families have celebrated the Christmas season by attending "pantomimes," silly musical comedies of stories such as Aladdin and Cinderella. The tradition is alive and well today.

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What Would Jesus Drink? A Class Exploring Ancient Wines Asks

Thu, 12/25/2014 - 3:16pm

The details of wine and winemaking practices in biblical times are debated among experts. But we do know that vino in Christ's day was very different from what we imbibe today.

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Why Bury Fig Trees? A Curious Tradition Preserves A Taste Of Italy

Thu, 12/25/2014 - 3:16pm

For generations, Italian-American fig growers in the Northeast have buried their trees in trenches for the winter. It's a tradition that preserves both flavor and ancestral ties to southern Italy.

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A Punch Line In The U.S., Christmas Fruitcake Is Big In Calcutta

Thu, 12/25/2014 - 2:24am

Seen as indestructible in the West, fruitcakes are indispensable in the bustling Hindu city. Bakers of all faiths have the ovens running round the clock to feed Calcutta's appetite for the cakes.

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'Selma' Manages To Be Both Passion-Inspiring And Measured

Wed, 12/24/2014 - 3:25pm

Critic Bob Mondello reviews Selma, Ava DuVernay's film chronicling Martin Luther King Jr.'s historic voting-rights march in 1965. Mondello notes that recent protests make the film resonate today.

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The Perfect Family Book List

Wed, 12/24/2014 - 3:25pm

For the holidays, critic Alan Cheuse is making up a list of books to give to each of his family members. Only the best of 2014 for them. Here's his picks.

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Independent Theater Owner In D.C. Gets Ready To Screen 'The Interview'

Wed, 12/24/2014 - 3:25pm

Theater owner Josh Levin is preparing for the limited release of "The Interview." He speaks with Audie Cornish about what sparked a decision to show the controversial film — Sony Pictures had initially canceled the release.

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'Crabs For Christmas': A Tuneful Baltimore Tradition (Really!)

Wed, 12/24/2014 - 3:25pm

More than 30 years ago, David DeBoy wrote a hit holiday song about a local delicacy. Its success led to other Baltimore-themed Christmas songs, then to albums and finally to a live show.

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50 Wonderful Things From 2014

Wed, 12/24/2014 - 3:02pm

Books, movies, television, things to read — we look back at 50 of the great things that entered our field of vision in 2014.

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Bianculli's Top 10: 2014 Was A 'Good Year For Programming'

Wed, 12/24/2014 - 11:28am

TV critic David Bianculli says that he's encouraged by how far TV has come. He picks The Good Wife as the best show of 2014, which has "the deepest roster of really strong regulars and guest stars."

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In A 'Depressing' Year For Films, Edelstein Finds Some Greats

Wed, 12/24/2014 - 10:11am

Film critic David Edelstein says in 2014 none of the great material came from Hollywood studios. But, he says, it was a "wonderful year" for indie films. He names Boyhood as the best of the year.

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Book News: It's Snowing Poet Laureates

Wed, 12/24/2014 - 9:43am

North Carolina named Shelby Stephenson its new poet laureate, just days after Ohio established a post for its own state poet. Massachusetts may not be too far behind.

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Guyanese Christmas Gives A Whole New Meaning To Slow Food

Wed, 12/24/2014 - 5:33am

Two classic Christmas dishes beloved by the people of Guyana are pepperpot and garlic pork. To get the flavors just right, you have to cook them and let them sit out for weeks.

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Mother, Empress, Virgin, Faith: 'Picturing Mary' And Her Many Meanings

Wed, 12/24/2014 - 2:17am

This Christmas, images of Mary created over five centuries glow on the walls of the National Museum of Women in the Arts. Curator Kathryn Wat says that, to her, Mary represents bravery and strength.

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In Seattle, Maurice Sendak's 'Wild' 'Nutcracker' Reaches Its Final Act

Tue, 12/23/2014 - 5:58pm

For more than 30 years, the Pacific Northwest Ballet's Nutcracker has used sets and costumes designed by the author of Where the Wild Things Are. This year, the ballet is retiring the production.

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