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Updated: 35 min 13 sec ago

Maya Angelou, Poet, Activist And Singular Storyteller, Dies At 86

Wed, 05/28/2014 - 8:41am

Angelou refused to speak for much of her childhood and revealed the scars of her past in her groundbreaking memoir, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. She opened doors for black and female writers.

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'Gottland': A Short Book About Stalin's Long Shadow

Wed, 05/28/2014 - 6:03am

Polish journalist Mariusz Szczygieł's compilation of short vignettes about Czechoslovakia centers on Prague's infamous Stalin monument, a giant edifice that lingers despite its destruction in 1962.

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McMurtry Takes Aim At A Legend In 'Last Kind Words Saloon'

Tue, 05/27/2014 - 4:05pm

The famed writer of Westerns uses his first novel in five years to blow a few holes in the myths surrounding the shootout at the O.K. Corral. Reviewer Alan Cheuse calls it "a peach of a book."

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'Mad Men' Pauses At The Half-Season With A Song And Dance

Tue, 05/27/2014 - 10:03am

Mad Men ended its half-season on Sunday night with Don Draper wondering, as always, whether he can find peace without lies.

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Book News: U.K. Plan To Cut American Lit From Tests Prompts Fierce Backlash

Tue, 05/27/2014 - 7:31am

A push to protect To Kill A Mockingbird. Also: Notable books coming out this week include a wildly original collection of poetry and a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad thriller.

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Tom Robbins Takes A Bite Out Of Life In 'Peach Pie'

Tue, 05/27/2014 - 6:03am

Robbins applies his signature verbal gusto to his own life in a new memoir — and reviewer Jason Sheehan says your enjoyment may depend on how much you really want to hear about Robbins himself.

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'Delicious!' ... Isn't

Tue, 05/27/2014 - 6:00am

Legendary food writer Ruth Reichl stumbles on her first foray into fiction, with a novel about food, love and redemption that critic Heller McAlpin calls "as predictably sweet as packaged cakes."

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How Soviet Kitchens Became Hotbeds Of Dissent And Culture

Tue, 05/27/2014 - 2:22am

After Stalin's death, people in the Soviet Union could begin to debate politics again without fear of repression. This "thawing" took place in private kitchens, where music and art flourished, too.

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Multiplexes Heat Up For Summer Blockbuster Season

Mon, 05/26/2014 - 3:59pm

From apocalyptic sci-fi adventures to musical biopics and road-trip comedies, Hollywood has more than 80 would-be box-office behemoths on tap for moviegoers between now and Labor Day.

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Celebrating 100 Years Of Ham Radio

Mon, 05/26/2014 - 3:59pm

This will be a special year for the hundreds of enthusiasts who converge annually on W1AW, a small station in Newington, Conn., known as "the mecca of ham radio," to broadcast around the globe.

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'Frontcountry' Wanders Through A Changing American West

Mon, 05/26/2014 - 9:09am

Photographer Lucas Foglia spent seven years jumping from town to town, from New Mexico to Montana. He creates a collage of life and landscape in his new book, Frontcountry.

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Stories Of Loss, Brightened By Luminous Language

Mon, 05/26/2014 - 5:59am

The nine tales in Elizabeth McCracken's Thunderstruck deal with death, tragedy and darkness, but the collection shines due to the mesmerizing strangeness of its extraordinary images.

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From Yellowstone To Grand Canyon, WPA Posters Celebrate National Parks

Mon, 05/26/2014 - 2:51am

If you've ever been to a national park gift shop, you may have seen reproductions of these prints for sale. Of more than 1,000 originals, only 40 are known to survive.

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Obscure Producer's Clear Impact On 'The Dirty Business' Of R&B

Sun, 05/25/2014 - 4:22pm

In his short life, 1960s producer-songwriter Bert Berns made an indelible mark. He made many hits, but a changing industry brought tension to the studio, as told in the new book, Here Comes the Night.

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World War II In A New 'Light': Empathy Found In Surprising Places

Sun, 05/25/2014 - 4:22pm

The award-winning author Anthony Doerr's newest novel approaches old history with two unfamiliar perspectives: a blind French girl and a German orphan. He says WWII history is as important as ever.

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Jeff Goldblum Plays A Jazz Show Almost Every Week. No, Really.

Sun, 05/25/2014 - 3:21pm

Known for his roles in The Big Chill and The Fly, the actor hosts a weekly show in Los Angeles with his band, The Mildred Snitzer Orchestra. Among the songs: the lyrics to Jurassic Park's theme music.

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What Makes R2-D2 The 'Most Beloved Robot In The Galaxy'

Sun, 05/25/2014 - 6:57am

R2-D2, the robot in Star Wars, is the subject of an article in Smithsonian Magazine. NPR's Rachel Martin talks to the author, Clive Thompson, about how R2-D2 became such a beloved robot.

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Talking Stick In Hand, Tom Robbins Tells His Own Story

Sun, 05/25/2014 - 6:57am

NPR's Rachel Martin speaks with the irrepressible novelist about his latest book — a memoir this time, called Tibetan Peach Pie -- and why he hates being labeled as a counter-culture writer.

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A Literal Truce Over The Misuse Of 'Literally'

Sun, 05/25/2014 - 6:57am

Can we talk about the word "literally." NPR's Rachel Martin talks with David Haglund of Slate. (This piece originally aired March 10, 2014, on Weekend Edition.)

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At Home In The Strange Latitudes Of 'Man With The Compound Eyes'

Sun, 05/25/2014 - 6:03am

Taiwanese author Wu Ming-Yi's new book, his first to receive an English translation, is a haunting tale of love, loss, millet wine and whales that walks a fine line between sci-fi and magical realism.

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