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Updated: 19 min 35 sec ago

Pete Seeger And The Public Choir

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 8:34am

Pete Seeger was an activist for many causes, but among them was a passionate belief in the importance and value of public singing.

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Book News: Mexican Poet Jose Emilio Pacheco Dies At 74

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 6:23am

Also: Bookslut launches the Daphnes award; the life of the English literature adjunct; publisher arrested in China.

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Jan. 26-Feb. 1: Stanley McChrystal, Jeff Bridges And James Salter

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 6:00am

In softcover nonfiction, the four-star general describes a culture gap between the military and civilian worlds, and Bridges explains how The Dude – of The Big Lebowski – is a kind of Zen master. In fiction, James Salter chronicles betrayal, Taiye Selasi looks at a grieving Ghanaian family and Philipp Meyer delivers a multigenerational family saga.

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Conflict And Colonization Under Alien Ice In 'A Darkling Sea'

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 6:00am

On a distant, watery moon, three civilizations clash in James Cambias' debut novel A Darkling Sea: human explorers, native scientists, and a self-styled intergalactic police force determined to make the humans go home. Reviewer Annalee Newitz says while flawed, Sea has "the gee-whiz wonder of a classic space opera."

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'Founding Mothers' Helps Kids 'Remember The Ladies'

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 2:44am

Cokie Roberts' new children's book tells the stories of women who contributed to the success of the American Revolution — women like Martha Washington and Abigail Adams. She tells NPR's Steve Inskeep, "These were very, very politically passionate women. ... They were utterly devoted to the patriot cause."

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For Taiwanese News Animators, Funny Videos Are Serious Work

Mon, 01/27/2014 - 3:15pm

The studio responsible for bizarre viral videos featuring 3-D animations of the news is more serious than you'd think. Go behind the scenes at the Taipei-based Next Media Animation to find out why this fast-moving — and controversial — company says it's charting the future of news.

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Book Review: 'The Guts,' By Roddy Doyle

Mon, 01/27/2014 - 3:00pm

Alan Cheuse reviews Roddy Doyle's latest novel, The Guts. The book revisits some of the characters from Doyle's debut hit, The Commitments.

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A New Look At George Eliot That's Surprisingly Approachable

Mon, 01/27/2014 - 3:00pm

Rebecca Mead was 17 the first time she read Eliot's Middlemarch, and the book has remained a favorite ever since. But critic Meg Wolitzer says you don't have to read (or re-read) Middlemarch to love Mead's new book, My Life in Middlemarch, which is a mash-up of literary criticism, memoir and biography of Eliot.

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Sandwich Monday: The White Castle Slider

Mon, 01/27/2014 - 1:57pm

For this week's Sandwich Monday, we eat the humble White Castle Slider. It was just named Time magazine's Most Influential Burger of All Time.

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Making Moonshine At Home Is On The Rise. But It's Still Illegal

Mon, 01/27/2014 - 11:46am

Let's be clear: Making spirits at home with plans to drink it remains against federal law, folks. Even so, more and more people appear to be taking up home distilling as a hobby. For some, it's the first step toward a professional, legit operation.

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'Dear White People' A Hit At Sundance

Mon, 01/27/2014 - 11:28am

The Sundance Film Festival wrapped up this weekend. Host Michel Martin and Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Wesley Morris talk about some of the hits, including the satire Dear White People.

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Pharrell Williams And The Power Hat

Mon, 01/27/2014 - 10:16am

What does it mean when you wear a really unusual hat to the Grammy Awards? Well, a lot, actually.

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'Pope And Mussolini' Tells The 'Secret History' Of Fascism And The Church

Mon, 01/27/2014 - 10:00am

It's commonly thought that the Catholic Church fought heroically against the fascists in Italy. But in The Pope and Mussolini, historian David Kertzer says the church actually lent organizational strength and moral legitimacy to Mussolini's regime.

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On This Spanish Slave Ship, Nothing Was As It Seemed

Mon, 01/27/2014 - 10:00am

In The Empire of Necessity, historian Greg Grandin tells the story of a slave revolt at sea. The 1805 event inspired Herman Melville's Benito Cereno, and Grandin's account of the human horror is a work of power and precision.

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New Muslim Ms. Marvel Doesn't Drink, Date Or Eat Bacon

Mon, 01/27/2014 - 10:00am

The Marvel Universe is filled with people with who can crawl along walls and shoot beams from their eyes. But comic book writer G. Willow Wilson saw one thing that was missing: Muslims. So she created the new Ms. Marvel: Kamala Kahn. She's the first Muslim superhero to star in her own mainstream series. Wilson talks to host Michel Martin about expanding the religious horizons of the Marvel Universe.

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For 'SNL' Cast Member, The Waiting Was The Hardest Part

Sun, 01/26/2014 - 4:59pm

After years of working at a restaurant by day and performing improv comedy by night, Bobby Moynihan got the opportunity of a lifetime: an audition for Saturday Night Live. But as Moynihan recalls, actually getting his 'big break' on the show was much more difficult.

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In Fragments Of A Marriage, Familiar Themes Get Experimental

Sun, 01/26/2014 - 10:42am

Jenny Offill's new book, Dept. of Speculation, uses anecdotes and bits of poetry to tell a nonlinear story of love, parenthood and infidelity. Offill tells NPR's Rachel Martin that her experiences as a mother inspired the book — but that her own marriage is far less dramatic than the one in her novel.

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Watch The Grammy Awards With Us

Sun, 01/26/2014 - 9:24am

Linda Holmes and Stephen Thompson get together for the umpteenth time (well, sixth time) to provide live commentary on the Grammy Awards.

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Doyle's New 'Guts' Has Plenty Of Soul

Sun, 01/26/2014 - 8:44am

Roddy Doyle's new The Guts revisits the Commitments three decades later, grown up and dealing with life's blows. Mastermind Jimmy Rabbitte is out of the hospital after cancer surgery, and he's living life one day at a time. Critic Alan Cheuse says the dialogue-heavy novel is both foulmouthed and bursting with joie de vivre.

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Take Synonyms For A Spin (Or Pirouette)

Sun, 01/26/2014 - 7:01am

For each word given, name a synonym in which the first two letters are the same as the second and third letters of the given word. For example, spin and pirouette.

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