From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
And I'm Melissa Block. A fight between Amazon and the publishing company Hachette is getting nastier. Amazon suggested that while talks between the two companies continue, Hachette authors could get 100 percent of the sale price of their e-books. As NPR's Lynn Neary reports, it was an offer Hachette was quick to refuse.
They say every generation gets the science fiction it deserves, built around its biggest and most primal fears. Well, maybe they don't say that â€” but they should. In the '50s, all those movies about mutant giant monsters going berserk were a way for us to channel our fears about the atomic bomb. In the same way, in that same decade, all those body-snatcher movies were about being unable to tell friend from foe, or trust even your closest loved ones â€” the perfect paranoid parable for the Communist witch-hunting era.
We love to have fun with food, and as you may recall, we recently told you about a scientific experiment showing that people who ate a salad arranged like a Kandinsky painting said it tasted better and was worth more money than a typical pile of greens.
The experiment inspired us to challenge you to tweet pictures of your food as fine art. And boy, you delivered.
At first glance, Adam Richman and Anthony Cumia might not seem to have much in common.
True enough, they are media stars who took a hard fall thanks to untoward comments on social media. Richman, a host on the Travel Channel, saw the debut of his new show delayed indefinitely after an online spat led him to suggest one critic commit suicide.
Don't pay too much attention to the shifty eyes in the old portrait. Same goes for the mysterious tapping down the hall of the vast family manor â€” and, for that matter, the secrets lurking in its attic. Don't even be fooled by the ghost.
The Hundred-Year House may be crowded with the tropes and tricks of classic horror, but make no mistake: It's not a horror story. Rebecca Makkai's style, a patchwork of ambition and aw-shucks charm, lets in just enough sunlight to scatter those things that go bump in the night.
The beloved tale of the little blue engine â€” who helps bring a broken-down train of toys to the good little boys and girls on the other side of the mountain â€” has been chugging along for a very long time. But despite the locomotive's optimistic refrain â€” I think I can, I think I can, I think I can â€” the story has a somewhat checkered past: In its tracks, The Little Engine has left both a legal battle and a debate over whether the little blue engine is male or female.
A 30-year-old novel has just been translated to English but keeps its Spanish name, "Muerte En Una Estrella." The author is Sergio Elizondo, and the translators are Rosaura Sanchez and Beatrice Pita. Our reviewer Alan Cheuse says it crackles.
Americans put a lot of stock in being likable. Pollsters take surveys of the president's likability. Test screenings check whether we like the characters in movies. And when a literary novelist like Claire Messud mocks the notion that fictional characters should be someone we'd like to be friends with, writers of popular fiction attack her for snootiness.