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Updated: 41 min 46 sec ago

Alpha, Beta, Heathcliff — An Alphabet Of Romance Heroes

Sat, 06/27/2015 - 7:09am

As part of the NPR Books Summer of Love series, Lynn Neary digs into the history of the romance hero, the difference between alpha and beta heroes, and why Heathcliff is really kind of a jerk.

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Daniel Silva On 'Double-Edged Sword' Of Writing An Israeli Spy Protagonist

Sat, 06/27/2015 - 7:09am

"Israel is extremely unpopular in the world right now," Silva says, and he doesn't always share his characters' opinions. The English Spy is Silva's 15th novel starring operative Gabriel Allon.

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Prolific Crime Novelist Turns Talents To Dissecting 'Forensics'

Sat, 06/27/2015 - 7:09am

NPR's Scott Simon speaks with crime novelist Val McDermid about her new book, Forensics: What Bugs, Burns, Prints, DNA and More Tell Us About Crime.

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What Happened To The 9-Year-Old Smoking In Mary Ellen Mark's Photo?

Sat, 06/27/2015 - 7:09am

The photographer, who died last month, has a famous portfolio of arresting images. Among them is a shot of two children in 1990. Amanda thought the photo shoot would change her life. It did not.

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The Craft Sequence: Please Do Judge These Books By Their Covers

Sat, 06/27/2015 - 6:03am

This weekend, the NPR Books Time Machine rewinds Max Gladstone's Craft Sequence. Critic Amal El-Mohtar was drawn in by great cover art and discovered a sharp, smart, unusual urban fantasy series.

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'Fresh Air' Remembers Johnny Gimble, The 'King Of The Swing Fiddle'

Fri, 06/26/2015 - 12:16pm

Gimble, who died Saturday at the age of 88, spent years playing fiddle with the Texas Playboys. He was regarded by critics as one of the best to ever pick up a bow. Originally broadcast April 9, 2010.

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How Scientists Created A Typhus Vaccine In A 'Fantastic Laboratory'

Fri, 06/26/2015 - 12:16pm

Writer Arthur Allen describes how a WWII scientist in Poland smuggled the typhus vaccine to Jews — while his team made a weakened version for the Nazis. Originally broadcast July 22, 2014.

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Pop Culture Happy Hour: Judy Blume's New Book And Lifetime's 'UnREAL'

Fri, 06/26/2015 - 8:42am

On this week's show, a beloved author of books for kids writes another one for adults, and Lifetime sets a drama behind the scenes of a reality dating show.

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An American President Lost In The Wilderness Becomes 'Big Game'

Thu, 06/25/2015 - 4:03pm

A Finnish production follows a head of state played by Samuel L. Jackson as he crosses paths with a teenager on his own in the wild.

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Take A Walk With Judy Blume Through Her Old Miami Beach Neighborhood

Thu, 06/25/2015 - 3:37pm

Blume says her time in Miami Beach in the late '40s was the most important time in her childhood. Starring Sally J. Freedman As Herself is a slightly fictionalized autobiography of Blume's life there.

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Make Lava, Not War

Thu, 06/25/2015 - 2:12pm

A sculptor and a geologist are melting hundreds of pounds of rock in a giant cauldron to create realistic lava flows. Cool! NPR reporter Adam Cole pays a visit to learn more about lava's allure.

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A Toast To Butter Sculpture, The Art That Melts The Hearts Of The Masses

Thu, 06/25/2015 - 9:39am

Once the province of nobles, food sculptures became the art of the people in America. Nowhere is this truer than the butter sculpture, a form that is at once familiar and impressive.

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'Keepers' Isn't One: A Critic's Highlight Reel Lacks Spark

Thu, 06/25/2015 - 9:03am

Longtime film writer Richard Schickel's unsatisfying collection of movie musings deems pleasure and intellectualism mutually exclusive.

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Going Through A Midlife Crisis? 'Summerlong' Is No Escape

Thu, 06/25/2015 - 6:03am

Dean Bakopoulos's darkly humorous novel Summerlong features a cast of Midwestern suburbanites suffocating from adulthood.

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'Project Fatherhood' Teaches Parenting Skills To Inner-City Dads

Wed, 06/24/2015 - 1:05pm

Mike Cummings and Jorja Leap are working with men in Los Angeles — many of whom are former gang members — to help them find something that was missing from their lives as they grew up: fatherhood.

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'Patience And Fortitude' And The Fight To Save NYC's Storied Public Library

Wed, 06/24/2015 - 1:05pm

In his new book, Scott Sherman describes how bottom-line business logic nearly gutted New York's preeminent public library. Maureen Corrigan calls it a "slim, smart book" full of colorful characters.

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'Death' Uncovers The Secret History Of Mr. Pickwick

Wed, 06/24/2015 - 6:03am

Stephen Jarvis's debut novel explores the creation of Charles Dickens' classic serial, back when he was an unknown writer going by the name of "Boz," and the real star was illustrator Robert Seymour.

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'The Cartel' Is A True Crime Adventure With A 'Killer' Protagonist

Wed, 06/24/2015 - 6:03am

With the "pace and feel of an exploded documentary," Don Winslow recounts a 10-year odyssey of revenge set in Mexico against the stark history of the drug wars.

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BuzzFeed's Saeed Jones Recommends Books Of Transformation For Summer

Tue, 06/23/2015 - 3:54pm

NPR's Audie Cornish talks with Saeed Jones, literary editor at BuzzFeed, about his picks for summer reading. He recommends books where a character goes on some sort of journey.

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Algerian Writer Kamel Daoud Stands Camus' 'The Stranger' On Its Head

Tue, 06/23/2015 - 12:45pm

His first novel, The Meursault Investigation, Kamel Daoud retells The Stranger from an Arab perspective. John Powers says that Daoud's retelling will forever change the way you read the Camus classic.

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