Wed September 12, 2012

Michael Lewis Studies 'Obama's Way'

Originally published on Wed September 12, 2012 4:05 pm

Contributing editor Michael Lewis played basketball with President Obama while working on a piece for Vanity Fair.
Pete Souza The White House

Author Michael Lewis made a radical request to the White House that he says he was almost certain would be denied: He wanted to write a piece about President Obama that would put the reader in the president's shoes.

To do this, the Vanity Fair contributing editor would need inside access. So what did he propose?

Read more


Wed September 12, 2012
Arts & Life

Writing On The Lives Of Others

Originally published on Thu September 13, 2012 11:33 am



We turn now to the world of books, particularly biographies. You may not know the name Arnold Rampersad, but the people whose stories he's told changed the course of American history in letters, sports and culture. He is the author of prize winning biographies of poet Langston Hughes, baseball great Jackie Robinson, scholar W.E.B. Du Bois and tennis great Arthur Ashe.

Read more


Wed September 12, 2012
First Reads

Exclusive First Read: 'The Last Dragonslayer'

Originally published on Wed September 12, 2012 11:15 am

Fifteen-year-old foundling Jennifer Strange has a lot of responsibility. In a world that's rapidly losing its magic, she's the acting director of Kazam Mystical Arts Management, riding herd on a crowd of cranky wizards who've been reduced to doing magical odd jobs to make ends meet. But change is afoot in this charming comic adventure for younger readers: Seers throughout the land have been having powerful visions of the death of the very last dragon at the hands of a destined Dragonslayer and the return of Big Magic.

Read more


Wed September 12, 2012
Book Reviews

Scary Parents Both Fertile And Feral In 'Breed'

Originally published on Fri June 14, 2013 2:23 pm

In his satirical horror novel Breed, Chase Novak has hit upon the perfect blend of terrifying real-life topics: genetic engineering and the mating habits of New York's wealthy 1 percent. The story of two rich but barren Manhattanites, the novel begins as a snarky tour of fertility treatment chic among the city's moneyed classes. But it quickly gets a lot weirder.

Read more


Wed September 12, 2012
Tina Brown's Must-Reads

Tina Brown's Must Reads: The Modern Woman

Originally published on Mon January 14, 2013 2:43 pm

Five years after suing Newsweek, Lynn Povich became the magazine's first female senior editor. Povich writes that her then-colleague Oz Elliott (right) was one of the first to say, "God, weren't we awful?"
Bernard Gotfryd Courtesy of PublicAffairs Book

Tina Brown, editor of The Daily Beast and Newsweek, tells us what she's been reading in a feature that Morning Edition likes to call "Word of Mouth."

This month, Brown shares reading recommendations related to the changing role of women, including a book about when the women of Newsweek sued their bosses, an article about a wife becoming the primary breadwinner and another about how a woman's Facebook photo reflects her sense of identity.

'Women In Revolt'

Read more


Wed September 12, 2012
The Salt

Five Ways To Spot A Fake Online Review, Restaurant Or Otherwise

Originally published on Tue September 18, 2012 2:47 pm

One sign that a restaurant review is a fake is if it gives a very high or very low rating without many specifics.
Bill Oxford

Thinking of going to a nice restaurant? Before you decide, you probably go online and read reviews of the place from other customers (or you listen to these actors read them to you). Online reviews of restaurants, travel deals, apps and just about anything you want to buy have become a powerful driver of consumer behavior. Unsurprisingly, they have also created a powerful incentive to cheat.

Read more


Wed September 12, 2012
Kitchen Window

Sorghum Travels From The South To The Mainstream

Originally published on Wed September 12, 2012 9:01 am

Rina Rapuano for NPR

Growing up in a household with predominantly New England and Italian cooking, I didn't have a whole lot of exposure to sorghum syrup, the molasseslike sweetener that maintains a following in the South and in some Midwest states. To be honest, I had never even heard of it or tried it until it started popping up on Washington, D.C., restaurant menus about a year ago. I've seen sorghum chili glaze on duck at one restaurant and sorghum syrup in cocktails and desserts at another. When I noticed sorghum seed incorporated into a salad, I knew sorghum was having a moment.

Read more


Tue September 11, 2012

Toronto Film Fest Offers Hints Of Oscar Contenders

Originally published on Tue September 11, 2012 9:57 pm



The eyes of Hollywood are focused north of the border right now on the Toronto International Film Festival. More than 300 movies from 60 countries are on offer. Many of those titles are headed to theaters and possible Oscar bids later this year. Our film critic, Bob Mondello, is in Toronto, trying to see as many of them as he can. And, Bob, apparently, I'm hearing this is your first festival in almost 20 years. Please tell me how a film critic has managed to avoid film festivals.


Read more


Tue September 11, 2012

'Breed': A Pseudonym To Pen A Tale Of Horror

Originally published on Tue September 11, 2012 9:57 pm

Scott Spencer, writing for the first time under the pen name Chase Novak, is the best-selling author of Endless Love and A Ship Made of Paper.
Wendy Ewald

If you're a horror fan, you're probably familiar with the trope of the demon child — you know, the sweet little kid who undergoes a horrible transformation and terrorizes everyone in his or her path (or is just born evil, like Rosemary's titular baby).

Read more


Tue September 11, 2012
Monkey See

TIFF '12: Billy Bob Thornton's Film That Is Not About 'Jayne Mansfield's Car'

Originally published on Tue September 11, 2012 2:30 pm

Billy Bob Thornton and Kevin Bacon star in Jayne Mansfield's Car.
Van Redin Toronto International Film Festival

[Monkey See will be at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) through the middle of this week. We'll be bringing you our takes on films both large and small, from people both well-known and not.]

Here's a declaration for you: I haven't seen even ten percent of the films playing at the Toronto International Film Festival, but I am convinced that Jayne Mansfield's Car has the worst title.

Let's go back to the beginning.

Read more