Mon December 15, 2014
Movie Interviews

Timothy Spall Takes On Painter J.M.W. Turner, A 'Master Of The Sublime'

Timothy Spall says he had to use a lot of empathy to play a character like Mr. Turner, who wasn't always "very pleasant" and was a "man of massive contradictions."
Simon Mein Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

Before he could play British artist J.M.W. Turner, actor Timothy Spall first had to learn how to paint; over the course of two years, Spall took private fine art lessons from London artist Tim Wright.

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Mon December 15, 2014
Book Reviews

Sometimes You Can't Pick Just 10: Maureen Corrigan's Favorite Books Of 2014

Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 1:12 pm

Rows of characters enjoying reading books.
Gustav Dejert Ikon Images/Getty Images

For this year's Best Books of the Year list, I reject the tyranny of the decimal system. Some years it's simply more than 10. Here, then, are my top 12 books of 2014. All of the disparate books on my list contain characters, scenes or voices that linger long past the last page of their stories. In fact, The Empire of Necessity by Greg Grandin, which is my pick for Book of the Year, came out in January and I haven't stopped thinking about it since.

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Mon December 15, 2014
Monkey See

Watts Going On: The Gaudy Excess Of 'The Great Christmas Light Fight'

Originally published on Mon December 15, 2014 12:11 pm

The Fuller family's Christmas light display in Clayton, N.C.
Brownie Harris ABC

Perhaps you are familiar with the oft-quoted wisdom of (allegedly) Coco Chanel that when a woman gets dressed and believes she's ready, she should take off one accessory before she leaves the house.

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Mon December 15, 2014
The Two-Way

Book News: Apple Enters A New Round In E-Book Price-Fixing Fight

In its attempt to obtain a foothold in a market long dominated by Amazon, Apple ran afoul of antitrust law.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

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

Apple is sliding back under the judicial microscope Monday in a legal challenge that could bear big implications for the e-book market. The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is slated to hear the company's appeal of a verdict that found it guilty of violating antitrust law.

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Sun December 14, 2014
The Two-Way

Your #NPRUglySweaters: The Joy Of Knitwear We Ought Not Wear

Originally published on Sun December 14, 2014 11:08 pm

We asked, you delivered — photos of holiday sweaters galore.
Matt O'Malley Twitter

When it comes to the perfect holiday sweater, for many people, cheesy is good — tacky is better — and astonishingly ugly is best of all.

The demand for ugly holiday sweaters has reached such a height that it's changed how businesses stock for the season, as Eleanor Klibanoff reported for us on Weekend Edition Saturday. Wal-Mart and Kohl's sell new "vintage" ugly sweaters, and actual vintage stores have had to start searching for new stock to sell.

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Sun December 14, 2014
Author Interviews

'El Deafo': How A Girl Turned Her Disability Into A Superpower

Originally published on Mon December 15, 2014 1:59 pm

Pages from El Deafo by Cece Bell. Click here to enlarge.

Writer and illustrator Cece Bell has been creating children's books for over a decade, but in her latest, she finally turns to her own story — about growing up hearing-impaired, after meningitis left her "severely to profoundly deaf" at the age of 4.

The book, a mix of memoir, graphic novel and children's book, is called El Deafo. It's a funny, unsentimental tale that follows Cece from age 4 through elementary school, as she transforms from mild-mannered little girl into full-fledged superhero — the "El Deafo" of the title.

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Sun December 14, 2014
Fine Art

'#Blackmendream': Showcasing A Different Side Of Black Manhood

Originally published on Mon December 15, 2014 2:32 pm

A still from the art film #Blackmendream. The film features nine men, turned away from the camera and talking about their hopes and fears.
Courtesy artist

Nine men sit turned away from the camera; their faces are never shown. Many are shirtless or naked. They answer questions like: When did you become a black man? Do you cry? How were you raised to deal with your emotions?

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Sun December 14, 2014
Goats and Soda

He Just Flew In From South Africa To Join 'The Daily Show'

Jon Stewart welcomes Trevor Noah, South Africa's top comic, to the roster of Daily Show regulars.

South African comedian Trevor Noah's debut as a correspondent for The Daily Show generated quite a buzz as he poked fun at Americans' fear of Ebola, the misconception that Africa is nothing but AIDS, huts and starving children, and police brutality in the U.S.

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Sun December 14, 2014

A Holiday Comic Standard: 'Christmas Vacation' Turns 25

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 2:38 pm

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Sun December 14, 2014
Music Interviews

'Pippin' Performs The Final Ballad Of 'The Hobbit'

Originally published on Sun December 14, 2014 12:18 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit



A bittersweet moment for moviegoers and Gandalf fans.


ELIJAH WOOD: (As Frodo) It's done.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: Yes, Mr. Frodo.

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