Arts

7:03am

Sun December 22, 2013
Three Books...

In Search Of Identity: Three Of 2013's Best Translated Novels

Originally published on Mon December 30, 2013 12:15 pm

iStockphoto

I tend to like my heroes strong and capable; not self-important, yet with a certain brand of assurance. But in literature, as in life, profound truths often come to us not through confidence but through wrestling — through the quest for who we are and what we hope to become. Three newly-translated novels star not exceptionally robust heroes but unexceptional, aimless ones, each exploring the inward struggles that make us human.

These three international voices offer no barrage of answers. Instead, they remind us of the importance, and the power, of simply asking the questions.

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5:11am

Sun December 22, 2013
Book Reviews

'The Empty Chair' Meditates On The Space Between Two Stories

Originally published on Mon January 6, 2014 6:47 pm

Working in radio, you learn one uncomfortable truth faster than you would have otherwise: Few things make a story more difficult to tell than having a listener expecting to hear it. A microphone can make even the most relentless gabber stammer and become self-conscious.

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5:10am

Sun December 22, 2013
The Salt

Flying This Holiday? Here Are A Few Tips To Survive Airline Food

Originally published on Thu December 26, 2013 9:56 am

Dan Pashman of The Sporkful podcast suggests saucy pastas over meat: "They tend to hold up better to the chilling and reheating process."
iStockphoto

When you think about a scrumptious meal, airline food does not come to mind.

There are plenty of challenges to tasty airline meals, like the fact that many airlines now charge you for anything more than a tiny bag of chips and a plastic cup of non-alcoholic drink, at least on domestic flights. Plus, you can't cook on an airplane, so anything you're served has probably been chilled, then reheated. And flight delays certainly don't help with the freshness factor.

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5:05am

Sun December 22, 2013
The Salt

Grasslands Get Squeezed As Another 1.6 Million Acres Go Into Crops

Originally published on Sat December 28, 2013 6:59 pm

Retired farmer Joe Govert looks at a parcel of family land near Tribune, Kan. It has been enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program.
Charlie Riedel AP

As the year winds down, we here at NPR are looking at a few key numbers that explain the big trends of 2013.

Today's number: 1.6 million.

That's 1.6 million acres — about the area of the state of Delaware.

That's how much land was removed this year from the federal Conservation Reserve Program, or CRP, which pays farmers to keep land covered with native grasses or sometimes trees. Most of that land now will produce crops like corn or wheat.

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5:14pm

Sat December 21, 2013
Movie Interviews

'The Invisible Woman': Charles Dickens' Muse And Mistress

Originally published on Sat December 21, 2013 10:28 pm

Felicity Jones as Nelly Ternan
David Appleby Sony Pictures Classics

Charles Dickens was a celebrity of the Victorian era. His books and plays continue to be celebrated around the world, particularly around Christmas. The new film, The Invisible Woman, focuses on a lesser-known part of his life — his relationship with a young woman named Nelly Ternan.

Felicity Jones plays the young mistress and muse, and Ralph Fiennes, who also directed the film, plays Dickens.

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4:42pm

Sat December 21, 2013
Monkey See

Last-Minute Gift Ideas For The Wild Cards On Your Shopping List

Don't be the bane of the Secret Santa pool this year.
Sharon Dominick iStockphoto

Ah, the holidays — a time for love and good cheer, for snowflakes that stay on your nose and eyelashes. For full-blown panic attacks in department stores brought on by a particularly perplexing Secret Santa pick.

Fret no more: here at NPR Books, we believe that there's a perfect book out there for everyone on your holiday shopping list. And — lucky you! — we've made it easy to sort through this year's top releases to find just the right read.

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10:00am

Sat December 21, 2013
Monkey See

Murderous Intent: Go Ahead, Kill That High-Profile TV Character

Originally published on Wed January 1, 2014 11:42 am

THEY KILLED BRIAN THE DOG! Oh, wait. Nevermind.
AP

9:04am

Sat December 21, 2013
Books

Today, Magazine's Kid Bylines Read Like 'Pulitzer Prize Roll Call'

Originally published on Sat December 21, 2013 11:30 am

According to Paul Collins, St. Nicholas Magazine boasted a list of kid contributors that today "reads like a Pulitzer Prize roll call."
Courtesy of Paul Collins

It sounds practically made up — a children's monthly magazine that published works by William Faulkner, E.B. White and Eudora Welty when they were just kids. But it's true.

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5:18am

Sat December 21, 2013
Books

The Brighter Side Of Darkness: For Some, The Night Inspires

Originally published on Tue December 24, 2013 1:13 pm

Saturday is the winter solstice — the longest night of the year. For many, winter's darkness is depressing. But others seem to bloom, thrive, even come alive in the dead of night.

It's not just vampires who seek the dark: it's poets, painters, musicians and artists of all kinds.

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5:15am

Sat December 21, 2013
Bonus Round: Ask Me Another

The Crossword Turns 100 (Across): Celebrate By Playing Our Puzzle

Originally published on Thu December 26, 2013 10:46 am

John Chaneski
  • Hear Will Shortz Prove His Anagram Prowess On Ask Me Another

The first published crossword puzzle was printed on December 21, 1913, in the The New York World. It was written by Arthur Wynne, a British journalist who moved to the United States at age 19 and wound up in New York City. His puzzle, diamond-shaped and identified as a "Word-Cross," first appeared in the "Fun" section of the Sunday paper.

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