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Updated: 41 min 33 sec ago

'Astonish Me' Is An Artful, Elegant Dance

Wed, 04/09/2014 - 6:03am

Maggie Shipstead's latest is named after Sergei Diaghilev's famous admonition to his dancers. Reviewer Annalisa Quinn says that, while not astonishing, it's a "lemon tart of a book, lovely and neat."

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Some Appetizing Nibbles For Pre-Seder Snacking

Tue, 04/08/2014 - 11:18pm

Passover's ceremonious meal can take a very long time. Small bites with traditional ingredients can help sustain dinner guests, with a nod to the holiday's meaning and to the spirit of hospitality.

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In This 'Almanac,' Fiction Makes The Best Time Machine

Tue, 04/08/2014 - 3:59pm

The new Time Traveler's Almanac is a vast collection of chronological chronicles. Co-editor Ann VanderMeer says she was surprised to find that most time travelers just want to fix their love lives.

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Coming Out In Basketball: How Brittney Griner Found 'A Place Of Peace'

Tue, 04/08/2014 - 1:45pm

At 23, Griner is one of the best female basketball players in the world — and now she's also an author. In a new memoir, she discusses being bullied as a kid and coming out as a lesbian in college.

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'Parenthood' Is Hard, But NBC Gets This Family Drama Right

Tue, 04/08/2014 - 1:03pm

Critic David Bianculli says family dramas have always been one of television's most difficult genres to do properly — without getting too sweet, too overwrought, or too predictable.

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New Mix: Mirah, Fennesz, Brody Dalle, Chet Faker, More

Tue, 04/08/2014 - 12:53pm

This week, hosts Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton come bearing a bunch of song premieres, including a cut from singer-songwriter Mirah's first solo album in five years, Australian electronic artist Chet Faker and power punk rock singer Brody Dalle.

We open the show with Dalle's "Blood in Gutters," a gritty blast from her upcoming album Diploid Love. The singer, who previously fronted the band The Distillers, has a voice and sound firmly rooted in '90s grunge and hard rock. We follow with a brand new, strum-filled track from San Francisco's The Fresh & Onlys. "Animal of One" is from the band's upcoming album, House of Spirits.

Also on the show: Brooklyn-based singer Mirah returns with her first solo album since 2009's (A)spera; Pharmakon, aka New York singer Margaret Chardiet, covers the Cher song "Bang Bang" for Record Store Day; Veteran guitarist and electronic soundscape artist Fennesz has an abstract, multidimensional cut from his upcoming album Becs; And Bob closes out the show with a wistful, warped song by up-and-coming electronic, R&B artist Chet Faker.

A Nonbeliever Tries To Make Sense Of The Visions She Had As A Teen

Tue, 04/08/2014 - 12:37pm

Barbara Ehrenreich — a rationalist, atheist and scientist by training — has written a new memoir called Living With a Wild God: A Nonbeliever's Search for the Truth about Everything.

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For Poetry Month, We're Taking To Twitter — And We Want Your Help

Tue, 04/08/2014 - 12:23pm

April is National Poetry Month, and as part of Code Switch's celebration, we'd like to make a poem with the help of our readers. Poet Kima Jones will be curating lines of verse you submit on Twitter.

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Why Chocolate Is A Bargaining Chip In The Ukraine-Russia Conflict

Tue, 04/08/2014 - 12:01pm

Russia banned chocolate made by the leading Ukrainian presidential candidate at a time when political tensions are high between the countries. And we wanted to know: Is the chocolate any good?

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Ken Jeong, Leaving Medicine For Movies

Tue, 04/08/2014 - 11:29am

Ken Jeong has played Señor Chang on the TV show Community, and Mr. Chow in the film The Hangover. But he was previously known by patients as Dr. Jeong. He talks about getting his big break in acting.

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Creating An Ecosystem In 140 Characters

Tue, 04/08/2014 - 11:20am

Tell Me More continues its national poetry month series "Muses and Metaphor." Regular contributor and poet Holly Bass shares her Twitter poem.

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Book News: Donna Tartt, Jhumpa Lahiri On Baileys Prize Shortlist

Tue, 04/08/2014 - 6:38am

Also: Walter Isaacson is writing a book about the Internet age; one of Harvard's best-known examples of anthropodermic bibliopegy – binding books with human skin – is actually bound in animal skin.

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In 'Paradise,' Finding Understanding In The Ruins Of Horror

Tue, 04/08/2014 - 6:03am

The late Peter Matthiessen's last novel follows a fractious group of attendees at an Auschwitz memorial conference as they bear witness to one of history's greatest atrocities.

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Broadway Director Kenny Leon Opens Theater Doors To New Audiences

Tue, 04/08/2014 - 2:42am

Leon says he likes to attract diverse audiences, so different cultures rub together in the crowd. This spring, he's directing a revival of A Raisin in the Sun and a new musical inspired by Tupac.

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Mickey Rooney, All-American Boy For More Than 90 Years, Dies

Mon, 04/07/2014 - 3:03pm

Bob Mondello offers an appreciation of the career of Mickey Rooney, who died at 93.

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Peter Matthiessen On Writing And Zen Buddhism

Mon, 04/07/2014 - 1:02pm

Fresh Air listens back to our 1989 interview with Snow Leopard author and Paris Review co-founder Peter Matthiessen, who died Saturday at age 86. His new novel In Paradise comes out Tuesday.

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If Jesus Never Called Himself God, How Did He Become One?

Mon, 04/07/2014 - 12:42pm

In How Jesus Became God, Bart Ehrman explores how a Jewish preacher from Galilee was transformed into a deity. "Jesus himself didn't call himself God and didn't consider himself God," Ehrman says.

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Book News: CIA Tried To Use 'Doctor Zhivago' To Weaken The USSR

Mon, 04/07/2014 - 7:43am

Also: Tracy Chevalier will write a novel inspired by Shakespeare's Othello; the best books coming out this week.

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