Arts & Life

The Record
10:54 am
Wed May 29, 2013

What It Means When 'Hip' Albums Top The Charts

Daft Punk's album Random Access Memories sold 339,000 copies in its first week in stores, the second highest total for any new album in 2013.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed May 29, 2013 6:50 pm

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Book Reviews
7:52 am
Wed May 29, 2013

The Courage To Cross An Ocean, Explored In 'TransAtlantic'

Originally published on Sun June 9, 2013 6:36 pm

In 1845, Frederick Douglass sailed to Ireland on a speaking tour to raise money for the abolitionist cause back home. About 75 years later, two airmen, Jack Alcock and Teddy Brown, performed the first nonstop trans-Atlantic flight, flying 16 hours from Newfoundland to land in an Irish bog. And 79 years after that, George J. Mitchell, the former senator from Maine, repeatedly crisscrossed the ocean — New York, Belfast, New York, Belfast — to steer the Northern Ireland peace process on behalf of President Clinton.

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First Reads
7:38 am
Wed May 29, 2013

Exclusive First Read: 'TransAtlantic' By Colum McCann

Hulton Archive Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 29, 2013 11:51 am

  • Listen to the Excerpt

Like his 2009 National Book Award-winning novel, Let the Great World Spin, Colum McCann's TransAtlantic is a braided novel that weaves together the stories of various characters — some historical, others invented. The storylines illustrate the deep and complex connections tying Ireland and the U.S. over a span of some 150 years, beginning with Frederick Douglass, who visits Ireland in 1845 to drum up abolitionist support, and ending with Sen.

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The Two-Way
7:25 am
Wed May 29, 2013

Book News: Kipling Admitted Plagiarizing 'Promiscuously'

English poet and novelist Rudyard Kipling poses in 1925.
Hulton Archive Getty Images

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

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Kitchen Window
2:03 am
Wed May 29, 2013

Rhubarb Brings Spring To The Table

Nicole Spiridakis for NPR

Originally published on Wed May 29, 2013 1:48 pm

Rhubarb — like spring itself — is fleeting and lovely. A vegetable that often masquerades as a fruit in sweet dishes, it is a true harbinger of the season, appearing in April and, if we're lucky, lasting until July. But it is best to seize rhubarb's moment and take full advantage as soon as its delicate pink and green ribs start appearing in markets and gardens.

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Author Interviews
6:13 pm
Tue May 28, 2013

Novel Examines Afghanistan War From A Pakistani Perspective

The sun sets just east of Chaman, Pakistan, near the Afghan border, on Nov. 8, 2001.
Laura Rauch AP

Originally published on Wed May 29, 2013 8:43 am

Two young men — foster brothers in love with the same woman — leave their small Pakistani town for Afghanistan in late 2001. Jeo, a medical student, wants to help wounded civilians and Mikal is there to look after Jeo, but their good intentions aren't enough to keep them safe in an increasingly dangerous war zone.

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Monkey See
5:15 pm
Tue May 28, 2013

Comikaze: Not Just The Other Comic Convention

Last year's Comikaze, seen here in September 2012, attracted tens of thousands of attendees.
AP

Originally published on Wed May 29, 2013 8:43 am

You may be familiar with the San Diego Comic-Con, a constantly expanding convention for fans that started as a niche event for comic-book nerds and is now a sprawling pop-culture event.

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Music News
4:01 pm
Tue May 28, 2013

Coming Home: The Woody Guthrie Center Opens In Tulsa

Outside the Woody Guthrie Center, there's a large mural of Guthrie holding his guitar bearing the phrase, "This Machine Kills Fascists."
Brett Deering WireImage

Originally published on Wed May 29, 2013 8:43 am

Woody Guthrie's relationship with his home state has always been complicated. The singer-songwriter left Oklahoma and traveled the nation, composing some of the best-known songs of his time and ours. But to many in the state, his progressive political views did not fit with a strong conservative streak during the Cold War period. His reputation there is now closer to a full restoration as Oklahoma opens his archives.

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Pop Culture
3:34 pm
Tue May 28, 2013

What Happens To Spelling Bee Kids? Years Later, The Prize Is Perspective

Srinivas Ayyagari onstage in 1992 (left); at right, Ayyagari today. "Seeing someone from ESPN commenting on your style and strategy was bizarre and weird. But it's the closest I'll ever come to being an athlete," Ayyagari says.
Srinivas Ayyagari

Originally published on Wed May 29, 2013 8:45 am

For an academic contest pitting young spellers against the dictionary, the Scripps National Spelling Bee has taken on the intensity of the fiercest athletic events. Feeling the warmth of television lights — not to mention nerves and distractions — all while sports commentators are analyzing your "style" and approach is something only a select club of young word-nerdy Americans gets to experience. How does that early experience affect these mostly middle-school-aged kids later in life?

Lasting Memories

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Author Interviews
2:56 pm
Tue May 28, 2013

Stephen King On Growing Up, Believing In God And Getting Scared

Stephen King delves into the seedy underworld of carnies for his latest novel, Joyland.
Hard Case Crime

Originally published on Fri June 14, 2013 2:29 pm

For 20 years, Stephen King has had an image stuck in his head: It's a boy in a wheelchair flying a kite on a beach. "It wanted to be a story, but it wasn't a story," he tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. But little by little, the story took shape around the image — and focused on an amusement park called "Joyland" located just a little farther down the beach.

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