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Updated: 33 min 49 sec ago

Once Exotic, Now Ubiquitous, Bananas Deserve A Bunch More Respect

Wed, 02/19/2014 - 8:26am

They're creamy, delicious, full of nutrients — and, as a crop, they have a complex history. But banana enthusiast Laura B. Weiss keeps it simple in her appreciation of America's No. 1 fruit, with sweet suggestions for breakfast and dessert.

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Book News: Mavis Gallant, Master Of The Short Story, Dies At 91

Wed, 02/19/2014 - 6:12am

Also: Haruki Murakami's next novel to be published in the U.S., Iain Banks' poetry; Rachel Kushner on gendered writing.

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Justice Scalia And Jon Stewart Concur Chicago Pizza Isn't Pizza

Tue, 02/18/2014 - 5:03pm

This weekend, the conservative justice weighed in from Chicago on a national pizza controversy. For months, Stewart and Chicago mayor Rahm Emmanuel have been dueling over whether Chicago's deep-dish style constitutes pizza.

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Hard To Watch? Try Editing '12 Years A Slave'

Tue, 02/18/2014 - 3:00pm

NPR's Neda Ulaby talks with the director and film editor about the "jigsaw puzzle" job of assembling the acclaimed fact-based drama about a free black man kidnapped and sold into slavery in the pre-Civil War South.

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Bob And Linda Read Internet Movie Reviews, Part Five: Philomena

Tue, 02/18/2014 - 1:56pm

We scoured the Internet to uncover the pros and cons of all nine best picture nominations. Today, the divine Judi Dench steps forward in Philomena.

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New 'Tonight Show' Host Jimmy Fallon Walks A Fine Line

Tue, 02/18/2014 - 1:00pm

The SNL veteran and former Late Night host stepped up to the plate last night on The Tonight Show, where he's replacing long-time host Jay Leno. Thanks to a number of celebrity cameos and an earnest appeal to Leno's fan base, Fallon looks poised to bring The Tonight Show into a new age.

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Feb. 16-22: A Secret, A Controversy And A Catcher's Career

Tue, 02/18/2014 - 1:00pm

In softcover nonfiction, Michael Hainey searches for clues about his father's death, anthropologist Napoleon Chagnon examines the heated response to his research and catcher Mike Piazza recounts his unlikely rise to the big leagues. In softcover fiction, D.A. Mishani tells of a detective who confronts an unexpectedly difficult case.

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With Humor And A Nod To History, Fallon Takes Over 'The Tonight Show'

Tue, 02/18/2014 - 12:09pm

On Monday night, Jimmy Fallon paid homage to 60 years of Tonight Show history while claiming his own place in line. "I just want to do the best I can and take care of the show for a while," he said. "If you guys let me stick around long enough maybe I'll get the hang of it."

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Teens Rehearse For Adulthood In Wolitzer's 'Interestings'

Tue, 02/18/2014 - 10:00am

Meg Wolitzer's novel is about lifelong friendship tinged with jealousy. It begins at a summer camp in 1974 and follows a group of friends through middle age. Wolitzer says her teen years were a rehearsal for her adult life and that today she is "different" but "in the same shell."

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Book News: J.K. Rowling's Second Crime Novel Coming Out In June

Tue, 02/18/2014 - 6:12am

Also: Wendy Doniger on having her book yanked in India; Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie on what it means to be a feminist; a letter from Lewis Carroll.

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'A Burnable Book' Is Fragrant With The Stench Of Medieval London

Tue, 02/18/2014 - 6:00am

The hunt for a book of seditious poems is at the heart of medievalist Bruce Holsinger's detail-packed new novel; poet and fixer John Gower is hunting for the book, at the behest of his friend Geoffrey Chaucer. Reviewer Jean Zimmerman says "filth of the street is likely to suck off the occasional shoe," but in the end, the experience is enjoyable.

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Classical Music Piece Enhances Roald Dahl's 'Dirty Beasts'

Tue, 02/18/2014 - 4:00am

On Sunday, the London Philharmonic debuted a new piece of music based on Roald Dahl's Dirty Beasts. With Matilda playing to sold-out crowds on Broadway and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory running in London's West End, this is just the latest work by the author to get a musical soundtrack.

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Getting 'Dallas Buyers Club' Made Took Tenacity And 'Will'

Tue, 02/18/2014 - 2:31am

The Oscar-nominated film tells the story of Ron Woodroof, an AIDS patient who fought the system to get what he needed to survive. But screenwriters Melisa Wallack and Craig Borton had to fight to get the movie to the big screen, with Borton turning to alcohol and drugs along the way.

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The Beauty Of Spilling Your Sad Teenage Guts

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 4:55pm

A new memoir called Notes To Boys finds writer Pam Ribon digging through the real letters she wrote to real boys and finding some funny, sweet, strange truths about being young and wonderfully dumb.

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Don't Know What To Do With Your Life? Neither Did Thoreau

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 10:00am

A new biography reveals that young Thoreau took quite a few detours on his path to Walden. A gossipy young man who loved eating popcorn, ice skating and listening to his music box, schoolmates and neighbors found him standoffish and regarded his fascination with plants and Indian relics as downright odd.

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Last Chance To Read 'Grapes Of Wrath' Before It Turns 75

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 6:00am

Somehow, a lot of us at NPR Books have never read John Steinbeck's Dust Bowl classic. So when we realized this anniversary was coming up, we thought: What better way to pay tribute than to actually crack it open? Which is to say: We're hosting an I Will If You Will book club and you're all invited to join.

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It's French, But Ooh, It's Pulpy: The Dark Adventures Of Fantômas

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 6:00am

Fantômas — even his name is mysterious! The French criminal mastermind starred in a series of 19 deliciously pulpy novels beginning in 1911. Author Rachel Cantor says the series is "part police procedural, part gothic horror story, part courtroom drama, part Sherlockian mystery, part existential potboiler."

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Mike Rowe's Own Dirty Job: Selling Knick-Knacks Overnight

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 4:00pm

Long before Rowe was the host of Dirty Jobs on the Discovery Channel, he bet his friend that he could host on QVC. He says he took it as an opportunity to do the late-night talk show he'd always wanted.

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Vikings Of The World, Unite In Battle: The Apocalypse Is Upon Us

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 4:00pm

According to legend, the Norse gods have embarked on an epic battle called Ragnarok. By Saturday, it will lead to the end of civilization as we know it. In York, England, Viking enthusiasts are gathering for the JORVIK Viking Festival.

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Fumbling Through 'Fatherhood,' Even With The Best Advice

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 4:00pm

For a new documentary Web series, actor Hank Azaria set out to discover why anyone would want to be a dad. Then, he became an expectant father himself. So he asked fellow celebrity dads a new question: Now what should I do?

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