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In Cunningham's Latest, Powerful Language Makes Up For Weak Plot

Thu, 05/22/2014 - 3:26pm

Michael Cunningham's newest novel is named after a fairy tale. But this is no Disney fantasy. Instead The Snow Queen is a story of death, drugs and aging (not always gracefully).

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A Second Posthumous Collection From Rock Critic Ellen Willis

Thu, 05/22/2014 - 2:24pm

The Essential Ellen Willis focuses on the writer's explicitly feminist culture criticism. It was edited by Willis' daughter, who published an earlier collection of her mother's essays in 2011.

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Does Smuggling A Cow Into School Make You A Creative Genius?

Thu, 05/22/2014 - 12:25pm

Before graduating, some seniors take time to pull off the perfect prank. But it's not just childish behavior. Journalist Annie Murphy Paul says pranks showcase creativity and attention to detail.

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Rockwell's Baseball Painting 'The Rookie' Sells For $20 Million

Thu, 05/22/2014 - 9:51am

The 1957 Norman Rockwell painting of Boston Red Sox players in a locker room was sold Thursday by Christie's auction house. The work first appeared on a magazine that sold for 15 cents.

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Book News: Sam Greenlee, Author Of 'The Spook Who Sat by the Door,' Dies

Thu, 05/22/2014 - 6:33am

Also: Philip Roth schedules another interview; Neil Patrick Harris' autobiography.

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Full Of Warmth And Wisdom, 'Vacationers' Is A Frothy Beach Read

Thu, 05/22/2014 - 6:03am

The Vacationers is a cinematic family drama set on the picturesque island of Mallorca. While the narrative arc verges on predictable, the book's screwball charms make for a pleasant diversion.

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'Girl In The Road' Is A Dizzying Journey

Thu, 05/22/2014 - 6:03am

Monica Byrne's post-apocalyptic novel follows two women on dangerous journeys around India and Africa; reviewer Jason Heller says the vivid, haunting prose staggers under the weight of too many ideas.

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40 Years After Watergate, A Look Back At Nixon's Downfall

Wed, 05/21/2014 - 3:52pm

Political journalist Elizabeth Drew chronicled the events of 1974 in her recently-reissued Washington Journal. She tells NPR's Robert Siegel that she sees "a certain nobility" in Nixon's resilience.

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Hits And Misses From Cannes Film Festival

Wed, 05/21/2014 - 3:10pm

The annual Cannes Film Festival is underway. Audie Cornish talks with Xan Brooks, a writer for The Guardian, about his favorite movies so far. He also notes some of the festival's bombs.

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How The Koch Brothers Remade America's Political Landscape

Wed, 05/21/2014 - 3:10pm

Charles and David Koch have spent hundreds of millions of dollars trying to bring their libertarian views into the mainstream. In a new book, Daniel Schulman looks at the roots of their ideology.

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'Chameleon' Has Cabaret, Spies And A Plot Fit For Lifetime

Wed, 05/21/2014 - 1:25pm

Francine Prose's latest novel was inspired by a 1932 photo of two lesbians, one of whom was in the Gestapo. Critic Maureen Corrigan says it's an ingenious excursion into the Parisian demimonde.

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'Batman v Superman': A Legal Thriller (We Hope)

Wed, 05/21/2014 - 1:14pm

Today, we learned the title of the upcoming sequel to Man Of Steel, and we're really crossing our fingers that the whole thing is about the Rule Against Perpetuities.

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On The Trail Of Durian, Southeast Asia's 'Crème Brûlée On A Tree'

Wed, 05/21/2014 - 12:39pm

A young couple got hooked on durians after one life-changing bite in 2009. And after two years of tracking the stinky sweet fruit through Southeast Asia, they've become experts on durian tourism.

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Does It 'Suck To Be A Fat Girl'?

Wed, 05/21/2014 - 11:08am

A recent episode of FX show Louie raised some controversial questions about women, weight and body image. Did the episode miss the mark? Our panel of writers and bloggers weigh in.

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Book News: Ray Bradbury's House Is Up For Sale

Wed, 05/21/2014 - 6:08am

"Everyone must leave something behind," the author once wrote. Also: Philip Roth retires from sandwich eating. And Jane Fonda is writing a novel.

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Remembering Two Lives: Which Are The 'Real' Children?

Wed, 05/21/2014 - 6:03am

in Jo Walton's elegant, heartbreaking new novel, an elderly woman remembers two distinct lives and families, in parallel timelines splitting off from one crucial decision: to marry, or not to marry?

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Filmmaker Brings Light To Roma, Holocaust Victims Lost To History

Tue, 05/20/2014 - 4:12pm

Filmmaker Aaron Yeger tells the story of Roma Holocaust victims in the documentary A People Uncounted, and he joins the program to explain more.

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Young Poet, Big Prize: A Conversation With The Sophie Kerr Winner

Tue, 05/20/2014 - 3:27pm

Robert Siegel speaks with Alexander Stinton, the winner of the 2014 Sophie Kerr Prize, the nation's largest undergraduate literary award. Stinton is a graduate of Washington College.

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'The Maya Rudolph Show' And What It'll Take To Bring Back Variety

Tue, 05/20/2014 - 12:01pm

Rudolph's prime-time NBC special is the latest rare attempt by network TV to revive the long-dormant genre. Fresh Air's critic doesn't think they succeeded, but he encourages TV to try, try again.

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In Life And Fiction, Edward St. Aubyn Sheds The Weight Of His Past

Tue, 05/20/2014 - 12:01pm

The writer is best known for his semi-autobiographical novels about an Englishman from a posh but monstrous family. St. Aubyn's new book marks a departure from his regular writing style.

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