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Novelist Mat Johnson Explores The 'Optical Illusion' Of Being Biracial

Sun, 05/24/2015 - 6:27am

Johnson, the son of an African-American mother and an Irish-American father, has just written Loving Day, a funny, sometimes absurd look at what it means to grow up mixed heritage in the U.S.

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Online Art Sites Aim To Fill Gap Between Etsy And Sotheby's

Sun, 05/24/2015 - 6:27am

Let's say you're not a millionaire but you're still interested in buying affordable art from the comfort of your living room. There's now a burgeoning business of selling mid-priced art online.

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Friendship, Magic And Danger Blossom In 'Uprooted'

Sun, 05/24/2015 - 6:03am

Naomi Novik's latest is a re-worked "Beauty and the Beast," with a powerful female friendship at its heart. Reviewer Amal El-Mohtar calls it "moving, heart-breaking, and thoroughly satisfying."

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This Weekend, Navigate The Changing World Of 'Vikram Lall'

Sun, 05/24/2015 - 4:45am

M.G. Vassanji's book, The In-Between World of Vikram Lall, wrestles with questions of identity in a story about a young Indian boy coming of age in 1950s Kenya, a time of great political unrest.

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What If The Drought Doesn't End? 'The Water Knife' Is One Possibility

Sat, 05/23/2015 - 8:48pm

It's Chinatown meets Mad Max in writer Paolo Bacigalupi's new desert dystopia, filled with climate refugees, powerful state border patrols, and secret agents called water knives.

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'Sunshine Superman': A Love Story Against The Backdrop of BASE Jumping

Sat, 05/23/2015 - 4:28pm

BASE jumping pioneer Carl Boenish became famous for jumping with his wife Jean in the 1970s and '80s. Marah Strauch, director of the documentary, says "this felt like a love story to me."

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'Mislaid' Punctures Notions Of Gender And Race

Sat, 05/23/2015 - 6:54am

In Nell Zink's new book, Mislaid, a young woman marries her male professor. It's 1965. She likes women; he likes men. What follows is a biting satire about gender, race and sexuality.

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'Dietland': A 'Fight Club' For Women That Reclaims The Word 'Fat'

Sat, 05/23/2015 - 6:54am

Sarai Walker's new novel centers on Alicia "Plum" Kettle, a 20-something writer who's saving up for weight loss surgery when she joins an underground feminist collective.

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Clean Your Grill, And Other Hot Holiday Tips From Alton Brown

Sat, 05/23/2015 - 6:03am

Whether you're barbecuing OR grilling, a meat-eater or a vegetarian, here's how to keep your flavor from going up in smoke this Memorial Day weekend.

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The Fireworks Of 'Illusionarium' Never Quite Feel Real

Sat, 05/23/2015 - 6:03am

Heather Dixon's novel is a rough roller-coaster of magic and conspiracy, centered on a boy battling a deadly plague. Reviewer Tasha Robinson says it seems more like a movie treatment than a book.

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The Exquisite Dissonance Of Kehinde Wiley

Fri, 05/22/2015 - 3:22pm

The Brooklyn Museum's mid-career Wiley retrospective wraps up this week; his large, elaborate works depict black men and women in traditional forms like oil, bronze sculture and even stained glass.

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The Future Is Bright In The Time-And-Space Twisting 'Tomorrowland'

Fri, 05/22/2015 - 2:36pm

Brad Bird's new sci-fi adventure film features George Clooney, Britt Robertson and an endless sense of possibilities. David Edelstein says the film makes a "near-hysterical case" against pessimism.

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How 'Gatsby' Went From A Moldering Flop To A Great American Novel

Fri, 05/22/2015 - 2:36pm

In So We Read On, Maureen Corrigan looks at the story behind The Great Gatsby, from F. Scott Fitzgerald's life to the era in which it's set. Originally broadcast Sept. 8, 2014.

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Pop Culture Happy Hour: For 'Mad Men' And Letterman, A Week Of Goodbyes

Fri, 05/22/2015 - 11:54am

Mad Men just ended after seven seasons; David Letterman is done with late-night TV after 33. The gang discusses both farewells, both legacies, and What's Making Us Happy this week.

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Can Aging Be Cured?

Fri, 05/22/2015 - 7:24am

Cambridge researcher Aubrey de Grey argues that aging is merely a disease — and a curable one at that.

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What Are The Secrets of Centenarians?

Fri, 05/22/2015 - 7:24am

To find the path to long life and health, Dan Buettner studies the world's "Blue Zones," communities whose elders live longer than anyone else on the planet.

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Beyond The Bestsellers: Nancy Pearl Recommends 'Under The Radar' Reads

Fri, 05/22/2015 - 2:57am

NPR's go-to books guru has sent host Steve Inskeep a stack of books — titles she thinks deserve more attention than they've been getting. Here are her fiction picks, to kick off your summer reading.

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In 'The Seeds Of Time,' One Man's Quest To Save Our Food Supply

Thu, 05/21/2015 - 4:33pm

Sandy McLeod's documentary is a portrait of Cary Fowler, an agriculturalist who is building a biological archive to maintain crop diversity.

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A Journey Of Self-Discovery In 'When Marnie Was There'

Thu, 05/21/2015 - 4:03pm

The latest film from the beloved Studio Ghibli weaves a tale of a girl learning to face her past.

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'Aloft': A Haunting Family Drama Ripe With Magical Realism

Thu, 05/21/2015 - 4:03pm

Claudia Llosa's film features strong performances from Jennifer Connelly and Cillian Murphy and a vivid sense of place.

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