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5:11pm

Sun January 11, 2015
Author Interviews

Miranda July Balances Weirdness And Reality In Debut Novel

Originally published on Sun January 11, 2015 6:45 pm

Cheryl is odd — just a little off, somehow. She's obsessive, and delusional, living in a world that feels like reality twisted a few degrees off kilter.

So it may come as no great surprise that she's an invention of Miranda July, the screenwriter, actor, artist and writer who is famous for her quirky creations. Her movie Me and You and Everyone We Know — which July wrote, directed and starred in — won the 2005 Camera d'Or award. Her 2008 short story collection No One Belongs Here More Than You established her as a writer outside film.

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7:50am

Sun January 11, 2015
Author Interviews

After Silence, An 'Outline' Of A Life In Fragments

Originally published on Sun January 11, 2015 11:26 am

What's left when a family falls apart? Rachel Cusk's new novel Outline explores that question, following a writer on a short summer teaching trip to Greece as she comes to terms with the dissolution of her marriage.

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7:50am

Sun January 11, 2015
Book News & Features

This Weekend, Visit San Francisco's Famed Forbidden City In 'China Dolls'

Originally published on Sun January 11, 2015 11:26 am

The "Chop Suey Circuit" was the name given to vaudeville shows that starred all-Asian casts, popular from the 1930s through to the 1960s. One of the most famous venues was the Forbidden City club in San Francisco — which serves as the setting for Lisa See's novel China Dolls.

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6:02am

Sun January 11, 2015
The Salt

'Tasty': How Flavor Helped Make Us Human

Originally published on Wed January 14, 2015 11:43 am

"Flavor is the most important ingredient at the core of what we are. It created us," John McQuaid writes in his book Tasty: The Art and Science of What We Eat.
Getty Images

Our current cultural obsession with food is undeniable. But, while the advent of the foodie may be a 21st century phenomenon, from an evolutionary standpoint, flavor has long helped define who we are as a species, a new book argues.

In Tasty: the Art and Science of What We Eat, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist John McQuaid offers a broad and deep exploration of the human relationship to flavor.

"Flavor is the most important ingredient at the core of what we are. It created us," McQuaid writes.

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5:26pm

Sat January 10, 2015
Author Interviews

'Blood Of The Tiger': Shedding Light On China's Farmed-Tiger Trade

Originally published on Sat January 10, 2015 6:47 pm

Joanne Stemberger iStockphoto

In 1991, wildlife investigator J. A. Mills went to China to verify rumors about tiger farming. She worked undercover, for the World Wildlife Fund and an organization called Traffic.

"I mainly pretended I was a student of traditional Chinese medicine to try to figure out not only what was being traded, but why it was being traded," Mills tells NPR's Arun Rath.

She says she found China's first tiger farm — complete with a hand-written ledgers filling up with orders for tiger bone.

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5:19pm

Sat January 10, 2015
Arts & Life

'Holy Smokes!': Rare Baseball Card Collection Hits Home Run

Originally published on Sat January 10, 2015 6:47 pm

Even Leila Dunbar (right), Antiques Roadshow appraiser, was overwhelmed by the collection. "It is the greatest archive that I have ever had at the Roadshow," she says.
Meredith Nierman WGBH

This week on Antiques Roadshow on PBS, a woman brought in a set of old baseball memorabilia that she had found in a desk drawer — and received a big surprise.

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5:19pm

Sat January 10, 2015
All Tech Considered

Forget Wearable Tech. People Really Want Better Batteries.

Originally published on Thu January 15, 2015 4:58 pm

Smart watches based on Qualcomm chipsets are displayed at CES — but do consumers want them?
Jae C. Hong AP

The International Consumer Electronics Show has wrapped up its showcase of the latest in high-tech, from wearables to curved-screen phones to extremely high-definition 4K televisions.

But according to a survey from the magazine Fortune, many Americans have a simpler wish: better batteries.

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7:50am

Sat January 10, 2015
Author Interviews

Australian Cyberthriller 'Amnesia' Echoes Julian Assange Story

Originally published on Sat January 10, 2015 11:31 am

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange appears at a 2012 press conference in London. Author Peter Carey says he was drawn to Assange's story because of their shared Australian history.
Kirsty Wigglesworth AP

Peter Carey's new novel, Amnesia, opens just as a computer virus is unlocking the cells of Australian prisons from Alice Springs to Woomera. And because those computer systems were designed by an American company, the virus also worms its way into thousands of U.S. prisons, from dusty towns in Texas to dusty towns in Afghanistan. Around the world, security monitors flash with this message: "The corporation is under our control. The Angel declares you free."

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5:57am

Sat January 10, 2015
Author Interviews

'West Of Sunset' Imagines F. Scott Fitzgerald's Last Years In Hollywood

Originally published on Sat January 10, 2015 11:31 am

This portrait of F. Scott Fitzgerald was done in 1925, back when things were going well for the young writer. "Everything was golden for him early on," says writer Stewart O'Nan, "and then things started going against him ... it's a spiral."
Hulton Archive Getty Images

In West of Sunset, novelist Stewart O' Nan imagines F. Scott Fitzgerald's final years, which he spent in Hollywood. It's a time when the glow of The Great Gatsby has dimmed, and he's trying to punch up scripts — most of which will never be produced — with a few lines of dialog for $200 a day. Holed up in the Garden of Allah apartments on Sunset Boulevard, he's supporting his daughter and the lost love of his life, Zelda, who is in a North Carolina sanitarium.

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6:04pm

Fri January 9, 2015
Movie Interviews

'I Was A Dramatic Kid': For Jessica Chastain, Acting Came Naturally

Originally published on Mon January 12, 2015 5:06 pm

Jessica Chastain says her grandmother has played a key role in her career. "I've taken her to the Oscars both years," Chastain says. "She's really a special lady and has helped me in more ways than I could ever explain."
Rafa Rivas AFP/Getty Images

The new movie A Most Violent Year is set in New York City in 1981 — a chaotic time of spiraling crime. The story involves corruption in the heating oil industry: the hijacking of fuel tankers, a businessman trying to stay on the straight and narrow, and a prosecutor who has that businessman in his sights. And finally, there's the story of the businessman's wife ... who may hold all the cards.

Jessica Chastain plays Anna Morales, the upwardly mobile daughter of a Brooklyn gangster. She keeps the books for her husband's fuel business — as well as a number of secrets.

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