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Updated: 3 min 11 sec ago

Book News: George R.R. Martin Was Told Sci-Fi Would Rot His Brain

Tue, 08/12/2014 - 7:47am

Also: a history of novels written entirely in dialogue; the subversiveness of Harriet the Spy.

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Robin Williams: A Supreme Talent Who Was Always On

Tue, 08/12/2014 - 6:44am

Williams was a dervish of comedy — tossing off one-liners, biting asides and sidesplitting routines in a blizzard of accents, attitudes and goodhearted energy. He died Monday at 63.

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Exclusive First Read: Jules Feiffer's 'Kill My Mother'

Tue, 08/12/2014 - 6:00am

Read an exclusive pre-publication excerpt of Jules Feiffer's first graphic novel, Kill My Mother. It's a classic noir tale with delightfully strong, flawed female leads and some modern plot twists.

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Poet Jennifer Chang Reads 'Again A Solstice'

Tue, 08/12/2014 - 4:11am

We've been asking poets to tell us about their summers by reading us poems. Jennifer Chang was once asked to submit a summertime poem to The New York Times, but it was rejected for being too dark.

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Author Explores Irony And Identity In 'A Chinaman's Chance'

Tue, 08/12/2014 - 3:02am

Eric Liu, a former presidential speech writer, addresses in his book how his American identity is "completely infused by [his] Chinese-ness."

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Robin Williams, A Stand-up Act — On Stage, On Set And In Life

Mon, 08/11/2014 - 7:18pm

For NPR's film and TV critic Linda Holmes, a long-time love of Robin Williams began with his stand-up show A Night at the Met. Despite lauded dramatic turns, Williams always displayed humor and charm.

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Robin Williams, Comedic Master And Oscar Winner, Dies At 63

Mon, 08/11/2014 - 7:06pm

Robin Williams has died at the age of 63. Williams is remembered for his roles in TV and film, including an inspiring teacher in Dead Poet's Society and an Oscar-winning turn in Good Will Hunting.

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Actor-Comedian Robin Williams Dies At 63

Mon, 08/11/2014 - 6:33pm

Williams was found in his California home Monday. The cause of death is believed to be suicide, according to a statement by the Marin County Sheriff's Office.

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As Museums Try To Make Ends Meet, 'Deaccession' Is The Art World's Dirty Word

Mon, 08/11/2014 - 3:58pm

Deaccessioning is the permanent removal of an object from a museum's collection. And there are a lot of rules surrounding it — for one, selling art to pay off debt will get you in big trouble.

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Nuclear 'Command And Control': A History Of False Alarms And Near Catastrophes

Mon, 08/11/2014 - 2:33pm

Eric Schlosser, author of Fast Food Nation, spent six years researching America's nuclear weapons. In Command and Control, he details explosions, false attack alerts and accidentally dropped bombs.

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For A More Ordered Life, Organize Like A Chef

Mon, 08/11/2014 - 2:26am

The French phrase mise-en-place means to gather and arrange the ingredients and tools needed for cooking. But for many culinary professionals, its organizing principles are also a way of life.

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WWII POWs Build A Deathly Railway In 'The Narrow Road'

Sun, 08/10/2014 - 6:39am

NPR's Linda Wertheimer talks to Richard Flanagan, author of the new book, The Narrow Road to the Deep North.

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'Blackboard' Chalks A Nostalgic Portrait Of School Days

Sun, 08/10/2014 - 6:03am

Lewis Buzbee's account of his idyllic youth in the California public school system is relentlessly positive, though bracketed with criticism of current school policy and a firm call for more funding.

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Albert Camus' Poker Faced 'Stranger' Became A Much Needed Friend

Sun, 08/10/2014 - 6:03am

At age 14, author Aaron Gwyn was lonely and angry. His dad was dead. His mom was addicted to pills. Then he discovered The Stranger, a novel of absurdity and detachment. Somehow, it helped him deal.

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Sept. 11 Changed Everything: Following Three Women In The National Guard

Sun, 08/10/2014 - 4:28am

In spring 2001, Desma Brooks, Michelle Fischer and Debbie Helton signed up for the National Guard expecting just a few days of drills each month. Soldier Girls tells the stories of their deployments.

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A Beautiful Book, Whether Or Not It Makes You 'Happy'

Sat, 08/09/2014 - 6:03pm

Eleanor Davis' gorgeous new How to Be Happy doesn't actually tell you how to be happy; rather, it dramatizes the promise of happiness, and the funny and tragic effects that follow on from it.

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'Building A Better Teacher': Dissecting America's Education Culture

Sat, 08/09/2014 - 4:12pm

Author Elizabeth Green argues that effective teaching is a craft, not a skill teachers have naturally. She says teachers need more mentorship — not just more mandates.

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Effort To Preserve Yiddish Works Not 'Bupkes'

Sat, 08/09/2014 - 7:49am

The preservation of Yiddish as a spoken language gets more attention, but Yiddish once had a vibrant written tradition as well, filled with plays, poetry, novels and political tracts.

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For A Proper Pretzel Crust, Count On Chemistry And Memories

Sat, 08/09/2014 - 7:03am

The key to getting a good soft pretzel to brown properly is to dip it in a lye solution, the same stuff that's used to make soap. But a German mom insists it takes much more than that.

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Lev Grossman: A 'Magician' Grows Up

Sat, 08/09/2014 - 4:03am

NPR's Petra Mayer sees the sights at San Diego Comic-Con with Magicians Trilogy author Lev Grossman — and discusses what happens when wizardly kids have to face an adult world, without mentors.

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