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You'll Get Lost In The Haunted World Of 'Annihilation'

Fri, 02/07/2014 - 6:00am

Jeff VanderMeer's new Annihilation is the first volume in a planned trilogy about the exploration of the mysterious Area X — from which no expedition has returned unscathed. If they return at all. Reviewer Jason Sheehan calls Annihilation "strange, clever, off-putting, maddening ... and altogether fantastic."

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Behind The Movie, Tales From The Real-Life 'Monuments Men'

Fri, 02/07/2014 - 2:27am

George Clooney anchors a thriller about a celebrated military unit that worked to recover and protect precious art and artifacts during the chaos at the end of World War II. NPR's Joel Rose reports on the mission — and some of the surviving members.

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Plenty Of Heart, Not Much Art In 'Monuments Men'

Thu, 02/06/2014 - 6:17pm

A George Clooney project based on the true story of a World War II mission to rescue stolen art from the Nazis, the new film is a long-winded, lackadaisical look at a fascinating real-life story.

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'Lego Movie': A Goofy Toy Story That Genuinely Clicks

Thu, 02/06/2014 - 5:00pm

An order-loving businessman plans to destroy the Lego universe by permanently gluing all of its pieces together. Critic Joel Arnold says the film is a brash brand-merchandising exercise with a gratifyingly silly sense of creativity and play. (Recommended)

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A Horror Comedy With 'Everything' And Then Some

Thu, 02/06/2014 - 4:00pm

A Fantastic Fear of Everything, starring Simon Pegg, packs a lot of inventive and colorful ideas. The only thing it lacks is restraint.

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The Holocaust Recalled, Again, Through The Eyes Of 'The Unjust'

Thu, 02/06/2014 - 4:00pm

Documentary filmmaker Claude Lanzmann, known for his long and thorough examinations of the Holocaust and its memory, presents a series of 1975 conversations between himself and exiled Jewish elder Benjamin Murmelstein. (Recommended).

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Family Matters, With A Dose Of Pharmaceuticals

Thu, 02/06/2014 - 4:00pm

Demi-Soeur, the tale of a developmentally disabled elderly woman getting to know her long-lost half-brother, is sweet if shabbily constructed, an amiably retro comedy set in a Gallic wonderland.

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Book Review: 'Trieste,' by Dasa Drndic

Thu, 02/06/2014 - 3:00pm

Alan Cheuse reviews Trieste, a novel by Croatian writer Dasa Drndic.

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Perfume's Scents Of Subversion? Sweat, Musk And Patchouli

Thu, 02/06/2014 - 3:00pm

In Scent And Subversion, Barbara Herman explains how, at the turn of the 20th century, most perfumes were still just one note, floral. Then along came a fragrance that changed everything. "With Chanel No. 5," Herman says, "Coco Chanel said, 'A woman needs to smell like a woman, and not a rose.'"

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'Day Job' Aims For Romance In Real Life

Thu, 02/06/2014 - 2:00pm

Harlequin editor Patience Bloom maps romance novels onto her own loves in Romance is My Day Job — from tragic heroes and beta males to the one true Mr. Right. Reviewer Bobbi Dumas says Bloom doesn't quite pull off the romance novel parallel — but most readers will find something to identify with in this brave and likeable woman.

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Subway Phasing Out Bread Additive After Blogger Flags Health Concerns

Thu, 02/06/2014 - 11:51am

Just a few days after a food blogger created a buzz with an online petition raising questions about the safety of a food additive commonly used in commercial baking, sandwich giant Subway has announced plans to phase it out of its fresh-baked breads.

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The Two Kinds Of Fairness, As Explained By 'Top Chef'

Thu, 02/06/2014 - 9:47am

'Fair' doesn't only mean following the rules, as one of TV's more popular competitive reality shows learned after crowning its winner.

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Song And Dance: Of Course Clay Aiken Is Running For Congress

Thu, 02/06/2014 - 8:50am

Sure, the instinctive response might be tittering when an American Idol runner-up runs for Congress, but we've got a long and storied history of just this kind of thing. Why not this guy?

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Witness The Birth Of A Chicken McNugget

Thu, 02/06/2014 - 8:32am

Allegations of mystery meat have long dodged the fast-food giant's crispy chunks of chicken. Now, McDonald's Canada is taking a viral approach to dispelling the rumors with a video that reveals exactly how its McNuggets are made.

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Book News: Hundreds Of Writers Denounce 'Chokehold' Russian Laws

Thu, 02/06/2014 - 6:18am

Also: Kobo has a new CEO; Teju Cole is writing a nonfiction book; Natasha Trethewey on W.H. Auden.

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Sensory Fiction: Books That Let You Feel What The Characters Do

Thu, 02/06/2014 - 6:06am

Apparently, just imagining what's happening on the written page isn't enough. A new wearable device uses temperature controls and lighting to mimic the experiences of a story's protagonist.

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'Possessed By Genius': A Centennial Tribute To William S. Burroughs

Wed, 02/05/2014 - 2:53pm

The Beat Generation icon was a magnet for artists, musicians and wannabe hipsters. In a 1985 interview, the author credited his most groundbreaking work to the fallout from his wife's accidental death at his own hands, saying, "It was an event that ... made me into a writer." Burroughs died in 1997.

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Electronic Tongues Are The Beer Snobs Of The Future

Wed, 02/05/2014 - 1:36pm

Researchers in Barcelona have developed an electronic tongue that really knows the difference between a pilsner, a lager and a bock. It's still a prototype, but its creators say it could some day replace human taste-testers.

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Ladies: Good Bacteria In Yogurt May Be Good For Waistlines, Too

Wed, 02/05/2014 - 12:52pm

Women who took a probiotic commonly found in yogurts daily while on a diet regime lost significantly more weight and fat than their counterparts who received a placebo. The findings offer interesting hints about how probiotics might be interacting with the tiny microbes that live in our guts.

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Tim Gunn: On And Off The Runway, 'Life Is A Big Collaboration'

Wed, 02/05/2014 - 10:00am

"Make it work," the fashion guru tells designers on Project Runway. But life hasn't always "worked" for Gunn. He talks with Terry Gross about being bullied, being gay in the 60s and 70s, and how his mother thinks he should "dress more like Mitt Romney."

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