Arts

7:03am

Wed February 6, 2013
Book Reviews

Brutality, Balkan Style In A Satiric 'Stone City'

Originally published on Fri February 22, 2013 10:26 am

Grove Atlantic

From Swift to Orwell, political satire has played a major role in the history of European fiction. Much of it takes on an allegorical cast, but not all. The Fall of the Stone City, an incisive, biting work by Ismail Kadare — one of Europe's reigning fiction masters — refines our understanding of satire's nature. Kadare's instructive and delightful book takes us from the 1943 Nazi occupation of a provincial Albanian town, the ancient stone city of Gjirokaster, to the consolidation of communist rule there a decade later.

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2:53am

Wed February 6, 2013
Books

Hollywood Hot Shots, Scientology And A Story Worth The Risk In 'Going Clear'

Originally published on Wed February 6, 2013 12:26 pm

AK2 iStockphoto.com

In the 1970s, a young man named Paul Haggis was walking down a street in Ontario, Canada. He encountered a man peddling a book.

"And he handed the book to Paul, and he said, 'You've got a mind — this is the owner's manual,' " journalist Lawrence Wright tells NPR's Steve Inskeep. "And inside, there was a stamp saying 'Church of Scientology,' and Paul was intrigued, and he said, 'Take me there.' " Haggis soon became a member of the Church of Scientology — and he's a central character in Wright's new book, Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood and the Prison of Belief.

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5:08pm

Tue February 5, 2013
Books News & Features

Why Traditional Publishing Is Really In A 'Golden Age'

Originally published on Tue February 5, 2013 6:36 pm

Michael Pietsch is currently executive vice president and publisher of Little, Brown and Company. He'll become CEO of Hachette on April 1.
Courtesy of Hachette

How healthy is the traditional publishing industry? Not very, says Mark Coker, founder of the self-published book distributor Smashwords. On Monday, Coker told NPR's Audie Cornish that "over the next few years, traditional publishers are going to become more and more irrelevant."

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4:13pm

Tue February 5, 2013
Monkey See

Ann Harada, From 'Smash' To Stepsisterhood

Originally published on Tue February 5, 2013 4:45 pm

Actress Ann Harada (in pink) returns to the stage in the Broadway premiere of Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella, an update of the made-for-TV movie from 1957. Her other theater work has included Avenue Q and Les Miserables.
Carol Rosegg

Ann Harada is that rare Asian-American musical theater actress who's never starred in The King and I or Miss Saigon. After a few summer stock stints as Bloody Mary in South Pacific, Harada realized if she was going to make it in theater, it would be as a character actor. In 2003, she originated the role of Christmas Eve in the irreverent puppet musical Avenue Q, a part she played on and off for six years.

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3:56pm

Tue February 5, 2013
Kitchen Window

Chocolate: Out Of The Box, Into The Frying Pan

Originally published on Wed February 6, 2013 12:02 pm

Peter Ogburn for NPR

Chocolate is like sex or pizza: Even when it's bad, it's still pretty good. There are those who prefer light, refreshing desserts after a big meal, but I think those people are crazy. I always gravitate to the most decadent dessert on the menu, which is usually laden with chocolate. And while I love the stuff, there is nothing sadder than giving or receiving a box of boring chocolates on Valentine's Day. Each year, men and women shamefully duck into grocery stores and pharmacies to grab a box of assorted chocolates. Because nothing says "I love you" quite like chocolate from a gas station.

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12:54pm

Tue February 5, 2013
Theater

Rebecca Luker Has 'Got Love' For Jerome Kern

Originally published on Tue February 5, 2013 2:39 pm

Soprano Rebecca Luker made her Broadway debut as an understudy to Sarah Brightman in Phantom of the Opera in 1988.
Leslie Van Stelten Derek Bishop

For her latest album, Broadway soprano Rebecca Luker brings her live show — featuring songs by legendary theater composer Jerome Kern, recorded at the Manhattan club 54 Below — to the recording studio. The album, I Got Love: Songs of Jerome Kern, features 14 tracks and classics ranging from "Bill/Can't Help Loving That Man" to "My Husband's First Wife."

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12:17pm

Tue February 5, 2013
Movie Interviews

Michael Apted, Aging With The '7 Up' Crew

Originally published on Tue February 5, 2013 2:39 pm

Jackie, Lynn and Sue — pictured here at age 7 — are three of the children featured in the landmark 1964 documentary 7 Up. The series returns this year with 56 Up, checking in with a group of 14 men and women whose lives have been documented since they were kids.
First Run Features

Every seven years since 1964, in what's known as the Up series, Granada Television has caught us up on the lives of 14 everyday people. The subjects of the documentary series were 7 years old when it began; in the latest installment, 56 Up, they are well into middle age.

The original idea behind the series was to examine the realities of the British class system at a time when the culture was experiencing extraordinary upheaval.

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10:28am

Tue February 5, 2013
Monkey See

Even Balzac Had To Intern

Originally published on Wed February 6, 2013 1:01 pm

Before he became a founder of realism and an unlikely literary sex icon, the young Honoré de Balzac was proofreading legal filings.
Hulton Archive Getty Images

A young man graduates from college. At his father's insistence, he begins interning at a law firm. But when it comes time to pursue the profession, he refuses: He wants to do something more meaningful. He wants to write.

Sound like your son/cousin/roommate/best friend? It was Honoré de Balzac.

That's right – before he became a founder of realism and an unlikely literary sex icon ("Do not suppose," an Italian count wrote to his wife, "that the ugliness of his face will protect you from his irresistible power"), the young Balzac was proofreading legal filings.

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7:54am

Tue February 5, 2013
The Two-Way

Book News: Mary Ingalls May Not Have Gone Blind From Scarlet Fever

Originally published on Tue February 5, 2013 2:30 pm

Mary Ingalls, the sister of Laura Ingalls Wilder, went blind from illness at age 14.
Wikimedia

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

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7:03am

Tue February 5, 2013
Book Reviews

Writing Well Is The Wronged Wife's Revenge In 'See Now Then'

Originally published on Tue February 5, 2013 8:42 am

Jamaica Kincaid, author of numerous works of fiction and nonfiction, lives in Vermont.
Kenneth Noland Farrar, Straus and Giroux

On one level, See Now Then, Jamaica Kincaid's first novel in a decade, is a lyrical, interior meditation on time and memory by a devoted but no longer cherished wife and mother going about the daily business of taking care of her home and family in a small New England town. But it is also one of the most damning retaliations by a jilted wife since Nora Ephron's Heartburn. See Now Then reads as if Gertrude Stein and Virginia Woolf had collaborated on a heartbroken housewife's lament that reveals an impossible familiarity with Heartburn and Evan S.

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