Arts & Life

Author Interviews
3:24 am
Wed June 12, 2013

With Space-Bound Hubbies, 'Astrowives' Became 'First Reality Stars'

Annie Glenn, Rene Carpenter, Louise Shepard, Betty Grissom, Trudy Cooper and Marjorie Slayton attend a luncheon held in their honor by the American Newspaper Women's Club on April 27, 1962, in Washington, D.C. Mercury Seven wife Josephine Schirra is not pictured.
Harvey Georges AP

Originally published on Thu June 13, 2013 5:53 am

In the late 1950s, after the Soviet Union successfully put their satellite, Sputnik 1, into orbit, American fears over the Communist threat reached a new height. The U.S. was trailing badly in a competition that would come to define the next decade – the race to space.

So on April 9, 1959, the U.S. kicked off its own space age by introducing the country to its first astronauts, known as the Mercury Seven. Their story is well known, but the story of their wives is often overlooked.

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The Record
12:38 am
Wed June 12, 2013

Boards Of Canada Tap A Devout Following To Push New Album

Boards of Canada's new album is titled Tomorrow's Harvest.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu June 13, 2013 5:53 am

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Kitchen Window
12:03 am
Wed June 12, 2013

Kitchen Window: A Guide to Grilling Beyond 'Dude Food'

Peter Ogburn for NPR

Originally published on Wed June 26, 2013 1:40 pm

I have vivid memories of my mom going out of town one weekend and my dad feeding me fried bologna sandwiches for three nights in a row. He didn't make the sandwiches because I liked them; he made them because he can't cook. He can't get around a kitchen. He doesn't know how to chop an onion. He has no idea how to roast a chicken. But the man can grill.

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Monkey See
4:51 pm
Tue June 11, 2013

What Kids Are Reading, In School And Out

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue June 11, 2013 7:11 pm

Walk into any bookstore or library, and you'll find shelves and shelves of hugely popular novels and book series for kids. But research shows that as young readers get older, they are not moving to more complex books. High-schoolers are reading books written for younger kids, and teachers aren't assigning difficult classics as much as they once did.

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Movie Interviews
1:45 pm
Tue June 11, 2013

Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg: Friends Til 'The End'

James Franco (from left), Jonah Hill, Craig Robinson, Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel and Danny McBride all play versions of themselves in the post-apocalyptic comedy This Is the End, written by Rogen and his writing partner Evan Goldberg.
Suzanne Hanover Columbia Pictures

Originally published on Tue June 11, 2013 5:16 pm

In This Is the End, Seth Rogen, James Franco, Jonah Hill, Craig Robinson, Danny McBride and Jay Baruchel — all playing themselves — are at a party at Franco's L.A. home when an earthquake hits.

At least, they think it's an earthquake. Turns out it's the Rapture — the End of Days, as foretold in the Book of Revelation, has arrived.

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Monkey See
9:04 am
Tue June 11, 2013

Theater Of The Absurd: Have Audiences Lost Their Manners?

Scott Griessel - Creatista iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue June 11, 2013 9:58 am

If you woke up this morning thinking, "I really need to hear NPR's Linda Wertheimer say the words 'noisily unwrapping her Twizzlers,'" have I got good news for you.

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The Two-Way
7:16 am
Tue June 11, 2013

Book News: Sales Of Orwell's '1984' Spike After NSA Revelations

Originally published on Tue June 11, 2013 7:17 am

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

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Book Reviews
7:03 am
Tue June 11, 2013

'Taipei' Is Lifelike — But That's Not Necessarily A Compliment

Igor Stevanovic iStockphoto.com

The novelist Tao Lin, because he is young, narcissistic and computer literate, gets the "voice of Generation Y" treatment a lot. It's a safe way of pinning down the uncontainable paradox that is Tao Lin: On the one hand, he's meek, cripplingly shy and unusually talented. But on the other, he can be remarkably alienating.

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NPR Story
7:03 am
Tue June 11, 2013

School's Out: 5 Great Summer Reads For Teens

Andrew Bannecker

Originally published on Tue June 11, 2013 11:48 am

I'm surrounded here at NPR Books by people with sophisticated, grown-up tastes — happy to dive into the latest Claire Messud or Daniel Alarcon or James Salter. Meanwhile, give me — any day — a book about teenagers (and preferably dragons). A good YA novel is a polished gem of solid storytelling, but more than that, it draws us back in time to the teenagers we once were — or never were, or wanted desperately to be.

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Music News
3:16 am
Tue June 11, 2013

Spotlighting Background Singers In 'Twenty Feet From Stardom'

Darlene Love, one of the background singers featured in Twenty Feet From Stardom, didn't receive credit for singing hits in the 1950s and '60s and says her career was derailed by legendary producer Phil Spector.
Radius/TWC

Originally published on Tue June 11, 2013 10:22 am

Twenty Feet from Stardom, filmmaker Morgan Neville's new documentary, is a reminder that most of pop music's catchiest hooks, riffs and refrains were sung by voices harmonizing in the background. Neville says he wanted to put backup singers — black, female and honed in church — front and center.

"I was really more interested in people who were voices for hire," he says, "who were able to walk into sessions never knowing what they had to do and could bring it."

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