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Soba: More Than Just Noodles, It's A Cultural Heritage ... And Art Form

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 11:00pm

The United Nations has named traditional Japanese cuisine — known as Washoku — an intangible cultural heritage. One of the oldest foods of Washoku is the soba noodle. But what most Americans call soba is a pale comparison to the actual cuisine. One woman in Southern California is trying to keep the true traditional noodle alive in America.

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For World Superpowers, The Negotiating Table Often Had A Net

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 3:00pm

Melissa Block talks with Nicholas Griffin about his book, Ping-Pong Diplomacy, which explores the importance of the tabletop game in Chinese political history and foreign policy.

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Book Review: 'Starting Over,' By Elizabeth Spencer

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 3:00pm

Alan Cheuse reviews a collection of stories by Elizabeth Spencer called, Starting Over.

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'The Hunt' Turns 'Enormous Love' To Fear, Hate

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 3:00pm

What happens in a small town when a teacher is falsely accused of molesting a child? That's the story of a Danish movie called The Hunt. Director Thomas Vinterberg and star Mads Mikkelsen discuss the Oscar-nominated film.

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Book News: Amazon Wants To Ship Products Before You Even Buy Them

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 6:21am

Also: Lewis Wolpert admits lifting material from other authors; E. L. Doctorow on reading; the best books coming out this week.

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Jan. 19-25: A Twitter Star, An Infamous Murder And Arab World Intimacy

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 6:00am

In softcover nonfiction, mother-of-three Kelly Oxford wisecracks, Errol Morris reexamines the Jeffrey MacDonald murder case and Shereen El Feki travels across the Arab world asking people about their sexuality.

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The Politics Of Passing 1964's Civil Rights Act

Sun, 01/19/2014 - 11:00pm

The act, among other things, ended the era of legal segregation in public accommodations, like restaurants and hotels. This year marks the 50th anniversary of its passage. Author Todd Purdum joins Fresh Air to talk about the legislative and political battles that surrounded it.

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How Breakthrough 'Captain Phillips' Actor Connected To The Role

Sun, 01/19/2014 - 4:00pm

This past week, Somali-born actor Barkhad Abdi received an Academy Award nomination for his role opposite Tom Hanks in the film Captain Phillips. The part was his first acting role. Abdi plays a Somali pirate who leads the hijacking of the Maersk Alabama. He spoke with NPR's Arun Rath in October about learning to relate to his character. (This story originally aired on All Things Considered on Oct. 20, 2013.)

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Can You Bank On Making Movies Destined For The Oscars?

Sun, 01/19/2014 - 4:00pm

Two researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, have looked into "Oscar baiting," making films that are reliable picks for Oscar nods. Along the way, Gabriel Rossman and Oliver Schilke came up with a formula to predict Oscar success. NPR's Arun Rath talks with Rossman, whose paper will be published in February.

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Three B's Bring You To One

Sun, 01/19/2014 - 7:01am

Name a word that, when combined with three words beginning with the letter B, completes a compound word or a familiar two-word phrase. For example, given "brew," "body" and "base," you would say "home" (home-brew, homebody, home base).

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Chilean Soap Star Shines In 'Gloria'

Sun, 01/19/2014 - 7:00am

Paulina Garcia plays a divorced older woman looking for love in the new critically acclaimed film. NPR's Rachel Martin speaks to Garcia from her home in Santiago.

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'Death Class' Taught Students A Lot About Life

Sun, 01/19/2014 - 7:00am

After covering the shootings at Virginia Tech, journalist Erika Hayasaki became interested in how people respond to death. Her new book is about a nurse and professor named Norma Bowe who taught an entire class to help students confront death head-on.

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Life's Minutiae Gain New Magnitude In Dunn's 'Lines' Of Poetry

Sun, 01/19/2014 - 7:00am

Stephen Dunn's 17th collection of poetry, Lines of Defense, includes several works meditating on the death of his brother. Dunn, a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, often features everyday details in his work — because, as he tells NPR's Rachel Martin, "we live with the little things much more than the large things."

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A Half-Century Later, Fearing's 'Big Clock' Still Ticks On

Sun, 01/19/2014 - 6:00am

If you liked the movie No Way Out, writer and editor Adam Sternbergh has one message for you: The book was so much better. Kenneth Fearing's 1946 noir novel The Big Clock, which inspired the Kevin Costner thriller, is just as tightly plotted and suspenseful — but it's also a moving meditation on mortality and time.

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Cooking With Conifers: An Evergreen Trick That's Newly Hip

Sun, 01/19/2014 - 4:16am

American chefs from coast to coast are using evergreens to develop unique flavors in dishes from white fir and sorrel broth to pine needle vinegar to smoked mussels. It's a food trend with roots that go back centuries.

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'I'll Take You There': The Staple Singers' Rise From Church To Fame

Sat, 01/18/2014 - 4:00pm

The group's sound broke down musical walls and inspired civil rights leaders. NPR's Arun Rath speaks with biographer Greg Kot about his new book, I'll Take You There: Mavis Staples, the Staple Singers, and the March Up Freedom's Highway.

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And The Best Supporting Actor Award Goes To ... Side Dishes

Sat, 01/18/2014 - 12:10pm

In the Oscar-nominated film The Wolf Of Wall Street, just about everything is over the top – including the side dishes. But it turns out, a memorable scene involving extravagantly priced sides isn't so far from the truth. These days, chefs are making these former afterthoughts starring roles of their own – and they come with big price tags to match.

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Not My Job: Historian Doris Kearns Goodwin Gets Quizzed On The Future

Sat, 01/18/2014 - 11:00am

Goodwin's an expert on presidents of the past, so we'll quiz her on presidents of the future — three questions about leaders from science fiction.

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Living, And 'Forgiving,' In A Brilliant Writer's Orbit

Sat, 01/18/2014 - 8:09am

Jay Cantor is a hard author to nail down. He's written about topics as wide-ranging as Che Guevara and Krazy Kat. His latest work expands his range even more, fictionalizing the lives of four of Franz Kafka's friends and lovers. It's called Forgiving the Angel, and Cantor tells NPR's Lynn Neary it's a book born out of gratitude.

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Sundance Festival Celebrates 30 Years Of Independence

Sat, 01/18/2014 - 7:00am

The Sundance Film Festival is celebrating its 30th year this week. NPR's Lynn Neary commemorates the anniversary with Eric Kohn, the chief film critic for Indiewire, an independent film news site.

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