Arts

12:09pm

Wed December 4, 2013
The Two-Way

Norman Rockwell's 'Saying Grace' Sells For $46 Million At Auction

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 2:06 pm

Norman Rockwell's 1951 painting Saying Grace sold for $46 million Wednesday — a record for the artist.
AP

Three Norman Rockwell paintings sold for a combined total of nearly $58 million at a Sotheby's auction Wednesday. The three paintings, which had long been displayed in a Massachusetts museum named for the artist, were among 10 Rockwell works sold at auction today.

By far, the star of the bunch was the 1951 masterpiece Saying Grace, which sold for $46 million — a record for Rockwell's art. The price includes a buyer's premium. The AP says the artist's previous record of $15 million had been set by Breaking Home Ties at a 2006 Sotheby's auction.

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7:08am

Wed December 4, 2013
The Two-Way

Book News: Manil Suri Takes Bad Sex In Fiction Award

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 7:22 am

Author Manil Suri missed his chance to meet Joan Collins, who presented this year's Bad Sex in Fiction Award at a ceremony in London.
Courtesy of Nina Subin

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

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5:06am

Wed December 4, 2013
Monkey See

The Top 5 Reasons We're Taking A Break From Lists

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 11:30 am

This Christmas, NPR Books would like to find something other than lists in our stockings.
iStockphoto

You love lists. We love lists. Everyone loves lists. And in the past five years, NPR has brought you more than 80 year-end book lists — the best book club books, the best cookbooks, the best gift books, the best guilty pleasures. We listed. You clicked. Everyone was happy.

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3:22am

Wed December 4, 2013
Author Interviews

A Holiday Photo Book That Puts Families In An 'Awkward' Position

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 12:06 pm

Someone has earned a spot on the naughty list this year.
Courtesy of Three Rivers Press

In 2009, Mike Bender was horrified to find that his mother had hung a particularly embarrassing family photo.

"It was a vacation photo. It was my dad's 50th birthday. I was 13," he says. "My dad had my brother and I do a Rockette's kick with our skis. We were on top of a mountain, right by the lift, and I just remember feeling, you know, stuck in that pose: This. Is. Awkward."

But as an adult he realized that the photo was not only awkward — it was hilarious.

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3:05am

Wed December 4, 2013
The Salt

Why $7-Per-Gallon Milk Looms Once Again

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 1:29 pm

Sticker shock in the dairy aisle? If the government fails to pass the farm bill, milk prices could spike sometime after the first of the year.
George Frey Landov

The leaders of the House and Senate agriculture committees are meeting Wednesday as they continue to try to work out the differences between their respective farm bills. If they fail, the country faces what's being called the "dairy cliff" — with milk prices potentially shooting up to about $7 a gallon sometime after the first of the year.

Here's why: The nation's farm policy would be legally required to revert back to what's called permanent law. In the case of dairy, that would be the 1949 farm bill.

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2:32am

Wed December 4, 2013
Kitchen Window

Get Freshly Minted This Holiday Season

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 3:03 pm

Emily Hilliard for NPR

When I was growing up, my uncle Richard farmed mint. In the late summer, he and his crew would mow the mint fields like hay and collect the leaves in enclosed wagons, then drive them down to the still, where they would seal them and pump them full of steam. The steam caused the oil in the leaves to turn to vapor, which re-liquefied when pushed through a condenser.

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4:00pm

Tue December 3, 2013
The Salt

Cookie-Baking Chemistry: How To Engineer Your Perfect Sweet Treat

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 1:38 pm

Engineering the perfect cookie: You can control the diameter and thickness of your favorite chocolate chip cookies by changing the temperature of the butter and the amount of flour in the dough.
Morgan Walker NPR

Baking cookies is almost magical. You put little balls of wet, white dough into the oven and out pop brown, crispy, tasty biscuits.

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1:25pm

Tue December 3, 2013
Author Interviews

Underground Cities And 'Ghost' Miners: What Some People Do For Gold

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 2:41 pm

The price of gold rose dramatically after Lehman Brothers collapsed in 2008.
David Paul Morris Getty Images

Gold is assumed to have eternal, inherent value, but what makes it valuable? And what determines its value now that it's no longer the basis of our currency? In the book Gold: The Race for the World's Most Seductive Metal, journalist Matthew Hart examines the new gold rush driven by investors. He travels to gold mines — including the Mponeng mine in South Africa, where he descended into the deepest man-made hole on Earth — and investigates why gold and crime sometimes go hand in hand.

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1:25pm

Tue December 3, 2013
Author Interviews

Ted Williams: A Perfectionist Ballplayer With Many Demons

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 2:16 pm

Ted Williams, pictured here in 1941, was deeply marked by his parents' absence while he and his brother were growing up.
AP

There are great ballplayers, and then there's Ted Williams. In a 22-year career, Williams accomplished things that give him a legitimate claim to being the greatest hitter who ever lived; but he was also a tormented soul who hurt a lot of people, including himself.

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12:31pm

Tue December 3, 2013
The Salt

Your Waiter Is Having A Bad Day. Can You Tell?

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 6:11 pm

Katherine Streeter for NPR

Imagine how Robbie Travis felt. He waits tables at Libertine, a high-end restaurant just outside St. Louis, and his ex insisted on coming in just a few days after they'd broken up.

Like everyone else, waiters and waitresses have to show up for work on days they'd rather be anywhere else. But it's especially tough to shrug off a bad mood in a job where people expect you to greet them gladly.

"You have to fake it a little bit," Travis says. "That's what pays the bills."

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