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Updated: 39 min 35 sec ago

'Downton' Returns, And It's As Rich As Ever

Mon, 01/06/2014 - 12:16pm

Downton Abbey is the most popular drama in the history of public television. And when the whole of the TV universe is fragmenting, that isn't just impressive — it's almost impossible. Critic David Bianculli ponders the hit show's unlikely success.

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From 'Cinema Paradiso' Director, An Offbeat 'Offer'

Mon, 01/06/2014 - 10:20am

Guiseppe Tornatore (Cinema Paradiso) turns in an English-language romance-cum-mystery about an art auctioneer (Geoffrey Rush) obsessed with a young heiress and collector (Sylvia Hoeks). With Jim Sturgess and Donald Sutherland.

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The Unreal 'Her'

Mon, 01/06/2014 - 9:44am

The reality and unreality of women takes center stage in the Spike Jonze film about love, technology, and whether feelings of love are the same thing as love itself.

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Fear Of Fainting, Flight And Cheese: One Man's 'Age Of Anxiety'

Mon, 01/06/2014 - 9:15am

Since about age 2, Atlantic editor Scott Stossel has been "a twitchy bundle of phobias, fears and neuroses." Today, his phobias include asthenophobia, a fear of fainting; aerophobia, a fear of flying; and turophobia, a fear of cheese. He wrote his latest book to help him understand and find relief from his anxious suffering.

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Morning Shots: Fiction, Tweet Advertising, And Marvel Envy

Mon, 01/06/2014 - 8:03am

In today's roundup, "women's fiction" gets another look, movie pants go on sale, and a full-page advertisement is built entirely on a single tweet.

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Book News: Steve Jobs Biographer Asks Internet To Help Edit New Book

Mon, 01/06/2014 - 6:24am

Also: Martin Amis on his stepmother, the novelist Elizabeth Jane Howard; journalist and author Simon Hoggart has died; the best books coming out this week.

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Amazon Locavore: Meet The Man Putting Brazilian Food On The Map

Mon, 01/06/2014 - 2:06am

Alex Atala's Sao Paulo restaurant, D.O.M., is ranked among the top 10 restaurants in the world. His cuisines, which showcases irridescent insects, delicate jungle herbs and other ingredients from the Amazon, is pushing the frontiers of gastronomy.

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In High-Drama Parody, Will Ferrell Reveals 'Spoils Of Babylon'

Sun, 01/05/2014 - 3:35pm

The book, written in the 1970s, was made into a miniseries and never saw the light of day — until now. Actually, everything about The Spoils of Babylon is pure fiction. It's a parody of the big, bloated miniseries of the 1970s and '80s, complete with forbidden love between a sister and her adopted brother.

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Eating Tea And Other Food Predictions For 2014

Sun, 01/05/2014 - 9:31am

Say so long to chia seeds and cronuts — so 2013 — and get ready to welcome freekeh, an ancient, fiber-rich grain. Eating local goes into overdrive, and cauliflower is poised to become the new Brussels sprout.

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Day 12: It's A New Year, So Keep Your Brain Sharp

Sun, 01/05/2014 - 9:00am

On the twelfth day of Xmas, Ask Me Another gave to me: A bunch of pop culture math questions that weren't on your SATs. For example, what do you get when you add Jay-Z's "Problems" to Three Dog Night's "Loneliest Number"? You'll find calculus is a lot less scary when it involves your favorite band in the game "Replacement Math."

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A Novice Reporter Begins His Journey In The Congo

Sun, 01/05/2014 - 6:44am

Ever dream of moving to a foreign country and becoming a journalist? Anjan Sundaram did just that. He left a life as a mathematician in America, bought a one-way ticket to the Congo, and started writing. NPR's Rachel Martin talks with Sundaram about his book Stringer: A Reporter's Journey in the Congo, which chronicles what he saw there.

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When Modernism Met Science Fiction: Three New Wave Classics

Sun, 01/05/2014 - 6:00am

Author Kim Stanley Robinson knows that most science fiction fans think the best books were written in their youth — whenever that was. But in his case, he says, it's more than nostalgia: the late '60s and early '70s were a spectacular time for science fiction. He recommends three classics from that fruitful era.

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Robert Indiana: A Career Defined By 'LOVE' No Longer

Sun, 01/05/2014 - 3:32am

In 1968, the Museum of Modern Art bought his painting LOVE and made him a star. It became a sculpture, a stamp, greeting cards — and it obscured the rest of his career. Now the first major retrospective of Indiana's work has begun a national tour at the Whitney Museum of American Art.

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Two Times Harder

Sat, 01/04/2014 - 2:51pm

Every answer is a pair of two-syllable words. The first syllable of the word answering the first clue has the letters A-R, pronounced "are." Change these phonetically to "er," and you'll get a new word that answers the second clue.

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Comic Artist Yumi Sakugawa On Friend-Love, Identity And Art

Sat, 01/04/2014 - 7:00am

How should you tell your friends that you're in friend-love with them? Sakugawa, the artist and author of I Think I Am In Friend-Love With You shares what inspires her work.

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Ice Cube Sculptures, Tulips And Death: A 2014 Poetry Preview

Sat, 01/04/2014 - 4:57am

There's a lot to look forward to in the upcoming year, including collections about religious faith, books that push the boundaries of what we can call poetry and some poems that are too hot for your average English class. Critic Craig Morgan Teicher walks us through the highlights of the year ahead.

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Lovebirds + String + Watering Can + Dog = Rube Goldberg Magic

Sat, 01/04/2014 - 4:53am

The term "Rube Goldberg machine" has become shorthand for a convoluted contraption made up of a series of chain reactions. But Goldberg was also a real person, whose ideas for whimsical devices have captivated imaginations for decades.

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Jimmy Santiago Baca, From Prison To Poetry

Fri, 01/03/2014 - 3:53pm

Jimmy Santiago Baca began writing poetry while he was serving a five-year sentence in prison. His new anthology tells the story of his journey to becoming a celebrated Chicano poet.

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Playboy Gets Pranked: Group Flips The Script On Sex

Fri, 01/03/2014 - 3:29pm

A Baltimore-based group is working to change the messages companies are sending about sex. So far, they have created convincing, fake websites pretending to be Playboy and Victoria's Secret — but putting an emphasis on consent.

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Hip-Hop's Aboriginal Connection

Fri, 01/03/2014 - 2:12pm

Beat Nation is a traveling art exhibition that mines the similarities between hip-hop and indigenous culture. It's made a big splash in Canada, where indigenous protest movements have recently captured headlines.

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