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Updated: 1 hour 55 min ago

Book News: Prominent Middle East Scholar Fouad Ajami Dies

Mon, 06/23/2014 - 6:22am

Also: Spanish police break up a suspected book-counterfeiting ring; notable books of the week.

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Librarian Nancy Pearl Maps Out A Plan For Your Summer Reading

Mon, 06/23/2014 - 2:26am

NPR's go-to books guru shares some "under the radar" reads. Several of her recommendations — including fiction, fantasy and nonfiction — will make you reconsider your definition of a map.

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Saving Lives And Surviving Paperwork Inside The LA County ER

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 4:09pm

Trauma victims and the uninsured alike pour through the doors of LA County Hospital. Filmmaker-physician Ryan McGarry's new documentary, Code Black, takes viewers inside the busy emergency room.

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With Memories And Online Maps, A Man Finds His 'Way Home'

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 3:33pm

When Saroo Brierley was 4, he hopped on the wrong train in rural India, losing his way and his family. But as he recounts in A Long Way Home, Google Earth helped him return decades later.

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Almost Intermediate: Adults Learn Lessons In 'Late Starters Orchestra'

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 7:00am

Ari Goldman created the Late Starters Orchestra for people who wanted to do just that. He and other adult musicians play in a strictly enforced egalitarian and non-judgmental environment.

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'Astonish Me' Asks, Is It Enough To Only Be Good?

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 7:00am

For our latest installment of the occasional feature, Weekend Reads, novelist Alexander Chee tells NPR's Rachel Martin about Maggie Shipstead's book, Astonish Me.

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Why TV Drama Is So Obsessed With Pandemics

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 7:00am

Several new TV shows this year revolve around the idea of a deadly virus that grips the world, destroying much of the population. A look at why the enthusiasm for these shows is so infectious.

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In Blocks And Bricks, A Minimalist Returns To The Gallery

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 7:00am

Carl Andre helped shape modern sculpture in the mid-1960s, but his career was jolted when he was tried and acquitted of murder. Now he's the subject of his first major retrospective in 35 years.

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'They Came Together' Is A Terrible Rom-Com On Purpose

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 3:58am

The film lampoons every trope in the romantic comedy textbook. Man-to-man real talk on the basketball court? Check. Sad heart-to-heart with a bartender? There's that too, but not how you'd expect.

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'Silk' Luxuriates In The Bittersweet Pain Of Love And Longing

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 3:58am

Author Ru Freeman first turned to Alessandro Baricco's tale of a French silkworm merchant and his impossible love because it made her homesickness palpable. On second reading, it cured it.

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From Backup Dancer To 'The Wire': How A Scar Transformed A Career

Sat, 06/21/2014 - 4:36pm

Before Michael K. Williams played Omar Little on HBO's The Wire, he was a dancer in music videos starring artists like Madonna. Then a barroom brawl changed everything.

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'Miss Lovely' Exposes The Underbelly Of India's Film Industry

Sat, 06/21/2014 - 4:36pm

No one wanted to talk to director Ashim Ahluwalia on camera about making porn in India. So to cover the rarely discussed topic, he created a fictional film that looks and feels like a documentary.

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Buried By Picasso, The Man Beneath 'The Blue Room' Tells A Story

Sat, 06/21/2014 - 8:17am

In Pablo Picasso's painting The Blue Room, infrared technology this week revealed the canvas' previous occupant: a portrait of a melancholy, mustachioed man.

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Chicago Girl Designs A Parkinson's-Proof Cup

Sat, 06/21/2014 - 6:58am

Lily Born, 11, has designed a spill-proof cup for people with Parkinson's disease. She and her dad, Joe Born, talk with NPR's Scott Simon about the invention she's named Kangaroo Cups.

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How To Catch A Chess Cheater

Sat, 06/21/2014 - 6:58am

Ken Regan could be called a chess detective. NPR's Scott Simon talks to the computer scientist and chess master whose algorithm reveals whether players are cheating at the game.

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Two High-Born Hipsters Are 'Almost Royal'

Sat, 06/21/2014 - 6:58am

Almost Royal is a British comedy series that follows the lives of heirs to the throne. NPR's Scott Simon speaks with the show's stars, Ed Gamble and Amy Hoggart, who play Georgie and Poppy Carlton.

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Magically Romantic Reads For A Short Solstice Night

Sat, 06/21/2014 - 4:29am

At Midsummer, some believe the veils between the worlds part and magic's hold on us grows stronger. For the solstice, reviewer Bobbi Dumas recommends five books with her favorite mix: love and magic.

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A Former Prisoner Out Of Step With Modern China In 'Night Heron'

Sat, 06/21/2014 - 4:27am

Former BBC China correspondent Adam Brookes' new novel follows the ironically named Peanut, a former political prisoner who finds himself adrift — and then in trouble — in post-Tiananmen China.

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Not My Job: We Quiz A Member Of The '7 Up' Series About The Number 8

Fri, 06/20/2014 - 7:05pm

Nick Hitchon, whose entire life has been chronicled in seven-year increments as part of the British "Up" series, is now a professor at the University of Wisconsin.

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Sputtering On Fumes, 'True Blood' Has Outstayed Its Welcome

Fri, 06/20/2014 - 3:20pm

HBO's True Blood is a prime example of a TV show that kept going long after it should have ended. Why is it that some shows stay on air well after they've run out of creative juice?

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