Tue March 18, 2014
Book Reviews

What U.S. Learned From 'Heathen School' Wasn't Part Of The Lesson Plan

Originally published on Wed March 19, 2014 9:51 am

Picture this. You're a young girl, living in a remote town in Connecticut in 1825. You've taken refuge in a neighbor's house and, as night falls, you peek out a window to see your friends and family members assembling outdoors around two crude paintings: One is of a young white woman (you); the other painting is of a man, a Native American.

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Tue March 18, 2014
NPR Story

Feminism Is Fashionable For Nigerian Writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Originally published on Tue March 18, 2014 11:48 pm

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie won a National Book Critics Circle award for her novel Americanah.
Amy Ta NPR

Nigerian Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie might be Africa's best-known young writer, but she's now making a big mark this side of the Atlantic.

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Tue March 18, 2014
The Two-Way

Book News: U.K. Campaign Wants To Slay Pretty Princesses, Valiant Knights

An artist's rendering circa 750 A.D. of an Anglo-Saxon king and his armor bearer preparing for battle.
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

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Tue March 18, 2014
Book Reviews

All Sides Of A Divorce, Told In Fresh, Lively 'Papers'

Originally published on Fri March 21, 2014 6:20 pm

The "woe that is in marriage," the subject of the Wife of Bath's Prologue in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, is a great old subject. Susan Rieger's smart and wonderfully entertaining domestic comedy, with all its shifts of tone from the personal to the legal and a lot in between, takes up this old problem and makes it fresh and lively — and in some places so painful, because it has to do with a child torn between two parents, you don't want to go on. But you do. The power and canniness of this bittersweet work of epistolary fiction pulls you along.

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Tue March 18, 2014
The Salt

Japanese Tea Ritual Turned 15th Century 'Tupperware' Into Art

Originally published on Tue March 18, 2014 5:24 am

Courtesy Freer Gallery of Art

Eight hundred years ago, tea was rare in Japan. It arrived from China in simple, ceramic storage jars. Chinese ceramists churned these jars out with little care or attention; they stuffed tea leaves into them and shipped them off.

The jars were "the Chinese version of Tupperware," says Andrew Watsky, a professor of Japanese art history at Princeton.

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Mon March 17, 2014
Monkey See

'Veronica Mars' And The Bad Caterpillar Theory

Originally published on Mon March 17, 2014 4:57 pm

In the movie, Veronica Mars (Kristen Bell) is a recent law school grad living in New York when an old flame — Logan Echolls — calls her back to her home town of Neptune, Calif.
Robert Voets Courtesy of Warner Bros. Entertainment

[CAUTION: Contains information about both show and movie. Be warned.]

The story of the Veronica Mars movie has already become the insta-cook version of a legend: creator and star band together for Kickstarter campaign to add chapter to cult series, fans rally, movie gets made.

Does it really matter whether it's a good movie? Maybe not. Maybe wondering whether it's good is the equivalent of critiquing a bobblehead handed out at Comic-Con: it's supposed to make people who loved something nostalgically happy; if it makes them happy, who cares?

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Mon March 17, 2014
Movie Interviews

Jason Bateman, Taking A Turn As The Big Bad

Originally published on Mon March 17, 2014 6:33 pm

Jason Bateman took cues from Arrested Development in portraying the profoundly unsympathetic character Guy Trilby.
Sam Urdank Courtesy of Focus Features

When you see actor Jason Bateman on screen, he's usually playing the nice guy — or at least the nicest guy in the room. On the TV cult favorite Arrested Development, Bateman is easily the heart of the show.

But given the chance to direct a movie, he cast himself as a vulgar sociopath with a gift for coming up with the perfect put-down. The film is Bad Words, and it tells the story of a 40-year-old elbowing his way onto the middle-school spelling-bee circuit, to the frustration of kids, parents and teachers alike.

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Mon March 17, 2014

Lions, Lambs, Whatever: 10 Movies To Help You Weather The Week

Originally published on Tue March 18, 2014 3:37 pm

March giveth and it taketh away, depending on which coast you call home. Here in California, it's sunny, yes — but we're also suffering a drought. Meanwhile, portions of the East Coast are anything but precipitation-deprived as they suffer under several inches of snow.

But whether you're stuck at home unable to get to work or school, or watching your lawn slowly turn brown as you conserve water, it's a good time to enjoy a movie. Get a taste of what isn't happening outside your window with these films about droughts or blizzards:

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Mon March 17, 2014
The Salt

Sandwich Monday: The Subway Flatizza

Originally published on Mon March 17, 2014 4:40 pm

"Flatizza" is not to be confused with "Flatzilla," the two-dimensional lizard monster.

Whether it's James Franco writing novels or Pablo Picasso scrapbooking, all great artists move outside their medium. Subway has recently been experimenting with pizzas. The latest is the Flatizza, which is a combination of "flatbread" and "pizza," and is also embarrassing to say when you have to order one.

Mike: Subway pizza is a tough sell. "Five-dollar foot-wide" feels wrong.

Miles: I just don't understand why Subway demands we wash down the Flatizza with a FlatSoda.

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Mon March 17, 2014

'Fresh Air' Remembers Comedian David Brenner

David Brenner performs at the Riviera Hotel in Las Vegas in 1981.
Las Vegas News Bureau AP

Comedian David Brenner became a star in the 1970s, with the help of The Tonight Show. He made his first appearance with Johnny Carson in 1971 and returned to the show more than 150 times, often as the substitute host. He also had his own short-lived late night show in the mid '80s.

Brenner died Saturday at 78. He grew up in Philadelphia, where Fresh Air is produced, and spoke to Terry Gross in 1990.

Interview Highlights

On how he started doing observational comedy

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