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Updated: 22 min 42 sec ago

Aztec Gold: Watch The History And Science Of Popcorn

Tue, 01/19/2016 - 4:11pm

Popcorn has been around at least 4,000 years. The Aztecs even had a word for the sound of kernels popping — totopoca. On National Popcorn Day, ponder the story of this beloved snack.

Childhood Resentments Mix With Tragedy In 'The Past'

Tue, 01/19/2016 - 3:30pm

Four adult siblings agree to spend one final summer vacation together in Tessa Hadley's new novel. Reviewer Maureen Corrigan says The Past is "as disturbing as it is diverting."

From Candy To Juleps, Persians Left Imprint On Many Edible Delights

Tue, 01/19/2016 - 3:07pm

With sanctions lifting, Iran is open for trade again. You might not realize we've been consuming the fruits of trade with Persians for centuries — in the names used for many common foods.

'Academy Has A Problem,' David Oyelowo Says At MLK Event Honoring Academy President

Tue, 01/19/2016 - 11:00am

"I am an Academy member and it doesn't reflect me, and it doesn't reflect this nation," the actor said Monday, in a speech that cited black performers' prominent roles in successful films.

'The Portable Veblen' Goes Enjoyably Nuts

Tue, 01/19/2016 - 6:00am

Elizabeth McKenzie's novel inverts the traditional romantic comedy formula — for her odd, brainy lovers, the engagement is only the beginning of their troubles. And did we mention the squirrel?

The Real Woods Behind Winnie-The-Pooh's Forest

Mon, 01/18/2016 - 3:30pm

Winnie-the-Pooh's Hundred Acre Wood is based on a real forest in the English countryside. NPR's Ari Shapiro visits Ashdown Forest with Kathryn Aalto, author of The Natural World of Winnie-the-Pooh.

Amid Controversy, Scholastic Pulls Picture Book About Washington's Slave

Mon, 01/18/2016 - 1:29pm

The book tells the story of Hercules, a slave who President George Washington used as a chef. The book shows Hercules and his daughter happy and taking pride in making Washington a birthday cake.

When Ancestry Search Led To Escaped Slave: 'All I Could Do Was Weep'

Mon, 01/18/2016 - 8:00am

Regina Mason's great-great-great-grandfather, a man named William Grimes, was a runaway slave and the author of what is now considered to be the first fugitive slave narrative.

Actor Idris Elba To British Politicians: More Diversity Needed In Media

Mon, 01/18/2016 - 7:49am

"When you don't reflect the real world, too much talent gets trashed," the Golden Globe winner says. Elba is scheduled to speak to senior TV executives and more than 100 members of Parliament.

Superlatives Notwithstanding, Even 'The Force' Has Its Limits

Mon, 01/18/2016 - 6:00am

NPR film critic Bob Mondello's been listening to the Star Wars hype train. Here's why he isn't climbing aboard.

Chef Trades Toque For Amish Beard, Opens Off-The-Grid Deli In Maine

Mon, 01/18/2016 - 3:40am

A Chicago chef tired of the kitchen grind moved his family off the grid to join an Amish community in Maine. He's now selling charcuterie and cheese from a cabin in the woods.

'Fake Missed Connections' A Genre Of Its Own

Sun, 01/17/2016 - 7:09am

Brett Fletcher Lauer was lost after his divorce and began posting fake "missed connections" on Craigslist. NPR's Rachel Martin talks to him about his book "Fake Missed Connections."

In 'Anything For You,' Raising A Last Glass To Blue Heron Vineyard

Sun, 01/17/2016 - 6:00am

This weekend, we're rewinding the NPR Books Time Machine to look at Kristan Higgins' beloved Blue Heron romance series, which wrapped up last month with book five, Anything For You.

'The Crooked House' Is Haunted, In A World That Denies Ghosts

Sun, 01/17/2016 - 6:00am

Christobel Kent's literary thriller follows a young woman who reinvents herself — even taking a new name — after the mysterious murder of most of her family. But she can't escape the past forever.

A Belgian Playwright Tackles Muslim Radicalization With Comedy

Sun, 01/17/2016 - 4:04am

"We have a problem," says Belgian Muslim playwright Ismaël Saïdi. His solution: writing and producing a comedy play about three men who go to fight a holy war. It's become an unlikely hit in Brussels.

With Leap To HBO, Big Bird's Got A Brand-New Way To Get To 'Sesame Street'

Sat, 01/16/2016 - 5:47pm

Shiny new digs (in more ways than one) are reshaping the children's TV show, which premieres Saturday on HBO. The show's executive producer — and Elmo himself — tell how the neighborhood's changed.

With Leap To HBO, Big Bird's Got A Brand-New Way To Get To 'Sesame Street'

Sat, 01/16/2016 - 5:47pm

Shiny new digs (in more ways than one) are reshaping the children's TV show, which premieres Saturday on HBO. The show's executive producer — and Elmo himself — tell how the neighborhood's changed.

Not My Job: Sutton Foster Gets Quizzed On Tonys (Not The Awards)

Sat, 01/16/2016 - 10:19am

Two-time Tony Award winner Sutton Foster is quizzed on Anthonys.

Looking At Oscar Nominee List As A Symptom Of Hollywood's Racial Bias

Sat, 01/16/2016 - 7:11am

For the second year in a row, the Oscar nominees for acting categories are decidedly — white. NPR's Scott Simon speaks with film critic and interviewer Bobby Rivers about the pallid list.

Family Bonds Are Never Bland In 'The Past'

Sat, 01/16/2016 - 7:11am

In her latest novel, The Past, Tessa Hadley focuses on four siblings spending one last holiday at a soon-to-be-sold summer home. Tensions simmer, secrets break out of storage — but love remains.

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