Tue April 14, 2015

Presidential Campaign Logos Reach New Level Of Sophistication

Originally published on Tue April 14, 2015 7:45 pm

From water bottles and bumper stickers, to fundraising emails and Twitter accounts, the logos of the 2016 presidential candidates will soon be plastered across the country. Graphic designer Armin Vit tells NPR about the designs so far.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit



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Tue April 14, 2015
The Salt

Tea Tuesdays: The Evolution Of Tea Sets From Ancient Legend To Modern Biometrics

Originally published on Mon April 20, 2015 4:19 pm

Ryan Kellman NPR

People have been drinking tea for so long that its origin story is rooted in mythology: More than 4,700 years ago, one popular version of the story goes, a legendary Chinese emperor and cultural hero named Shennong (his name means "divine farmer") discovered how to make a tea infusion when a wind blew leaves from a nearby bush into the water he was boiling.

By the 4th century B.C., as Jamie Shallock writes in his book Tea, the beverage had become part of everyday life in China — though in a very different form than we might recognize today.

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Tue April 14, 2015

Forget Right And Wrong: 'House Of Cards' Is About Pragmatism And Power

Originally published on Tue April 14, 2015 3:05 pm

In House of Cards, Kevin Spacey plays Frank Underwood, a politician who climbs to power using ruthless manipulation. Underwood's wife is Claire, played by Robin Wright.
David Giesbrecht Courtesy of Netflix

["Spoiler" alert: This interview about House of Cards discusses plot points from first two seasons, as well as themes addressed in the third season.]

In the pilot of the Netflix series House of Cards, politician Frank Underwood, played by Kevin Spacey, strangles a dog that was hit by a car. According to creator and showrunner Beau Willimon, there was a big debate among the producers whether to show the dog or not.

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Tue April 14, 2015
Book Reviews

'The Children's Crusade': A Heavily Plotted Family Saga To Dive Into And Savor

Originally published on Tue April 14, 2015 5:13 pm

Ann Packer's new novel, The Children's Crusade, opens in California, on a scene that's so bedrock American, it's borderline corny.

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Tue April 14, 2015
Monkey See

The 'Justified' Finale Brings An End To Another TV Western

Originally published on Tue April 14, 2015 5:30 pm

Timothy Olyphant plays Deputy U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens on FX's Justified. The series finale airs tonight.
Prashant Gupta FX

Here's why I'm going to miss FX's modern-day Kentucky Western, Justified, so much.

In last week's episode, our hero, unflinching U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens, has ambushed his bitter rival, backwoods Kentucky crime lord Boyd Crowder, shooting at him from across a darkened field on the side of a mountain in hopes of finally putting down the man who is most like his opposite number.

"You've given up everything that you are, so you can murder me," Crowder (Walton Goggins) yells at Givens (Timothy Olyphant) while hunched behind a rock for cover.

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Tue April 14, 2015
Book Reviews

'Cold Silver' Drags Epic Fantasy Through The Mud, Wonderfully

Originally published on Wed April 15, 2015 3:54 pm

Early in A Crown for Cold Silver — the debut novel by Alex Marshall (a pseudonym for an established author striking off in an epic new direction) — an old woman's battle scars are mistaken for matronly wrinkles. It's a tiny detail, but it speaks volumes. In Marshall's fictional, vaguely medieval world, Cobalt Zosia is a legendary retired general who once led her fearsome Five Villains to victory in a land rife with injustice, mostly of the haves-and-have-nots variety.

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Tue April 14, 2015
Book Reviews

'Gutshot' Is Gloriously Grand Guignol

Originally published on Tue April 14, 2015 12:22 pm

Gutshot, by Amelia Gray
Courtesy of Farrar, Straus and Giroux

There's a label that occasionally gets slapped on works like these. I'm sure you've heard it before: "This book," reads the label's inevitably bold lettering, "is not for the faint of heart."

It's put there sometimes by censors, more often by sensationalizing marketers, and it always aims to warn you about things like Amelia Gray's Gutshot — a book brimming with blood, sexual deviance, mucus and madness. A book, in other words, that won't fail to make you shudder once or twice.

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Tue April 14, 2015
Code Switch

How Asian-Americans Found A Home In The World Of K-Pop

Originally published on Tue April 14, 2015 8:33 am

Asian music hitmaker Jae Chong, at work in a studio in Seoul. His work is all over Asian charts, but his passport is American.
Elise Hu NPR


Mon April 13, 2015
Author Interviews

Take It From David Brooks: Career Success 'Doesn't Make You Happy'

Originally published on Tue April 14, 2015 11:38 am

The day after Japan surrendered in 1945, and World War II ended, singer Bing Crosby appeared on the radio program Command Performance. "Well it looks like this is it," he said. "What can you say at a time like this? You can't throw your skimmer in the air — that's for a run-of-the-mill holiday. I guess all anybody can do is thank God it's over."

New York Times columnist David Brooks cites this and other aspects of that 70-year-old radio program as evidence that America once marked triumph without boasting.

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Mon April 13, 2015
The Salt

Clear Fruit Brandies Pack An Orchard Into A Bottle

Originally published on Tue April 14, 2015 2:26 pm

A pear in a bottle at Westford Hill Distillery's orchard in Ashford, Conn.
Courtesy of Westford Hill Distillers

Every springtime in the lovely Alsace region of France, people stand in blossoming pear orchards, sliding glass bottles over tender young pears. The workers fasten the bottles securely to nearby branches, and then wait a few months for each tiny pear to grow and ripen in its own little glass greenhouse.

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