Arts & Culture

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Author Interviews
12:01 am
Thu March 8, 2012

'Fragile Beginnings': When Babies Are Born Too Soon

Dr. Adam Wolfberg had two daughters and another on the way when his wife, Kelly, went into labor. But this joyous occasion had come much too soon — Kelly was three months away from her due date. After just 26 weeks in the womb, their baby daughter Larissa entered the world by emergency cesarean section and was whisked into the neonatal intensive care unit of a Boston hospital. It was the same hospital where Wolfberg was doing his residency in obstetrics and gynecology, and his medical background turned out to be a mixed blessing.

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Books News & Features
12:01 am
Thu March 8, 2012

'Lifespan': What Are The Limits Of Literary License?

iStockPhoto.com

When an author writes something that's supposed to be a true story and readers discover he's stretched the truth, things can get ugly fast. Recall Oprah Winfrey's famous rebuke of author James Frey for making up much of his memoir, A Million Little Pieces. "I feel duped, but more importantly, I feel that you betrayed millions of readers," she told him.

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Monkey See
3:59 pm
Tue March 6, 2012

Spurred By Success, Publishers Look For The Next 'Hunger Games'

Originally published on Tue March 6, 2012 7:19 pm

The film version of the young adult book sensation The Hunger Games opens March 23rd. The hype around the movie has sent the sales of the already best-selling trilogy to new heights. And publishers are eagerly churning out more books set in post apocalyptic dystopian worlds — just like The Hunger Games.

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The Record
2:00 pm
Tue March 6, 2012

Disney Songwriter Robert Sherman Has Died

Composer/lyricist Robert Sherman (left) and his brother Richard stand next to the car used in the 1968 film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. The brothers wrote the songs for the movie, as well as a musical version that began running in 2002.
Ezio Petersen UPI/Landov

Originally published on Wed March 7, 2012 2:33 pm

Robert Sherman — one half of the songwriting team behind Disney movies and major hit musicals — has died. He was 86. The Oscar-winning Sherman Brothers, Robert and Richard, wrote some of the most enduring Disney songs of all time. Their output was astounding: Mary Poppins, The Jungle Book, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Bedknobs and Broomsticks, The Aristocats.

John Lasseter, of Pixar and Disney, once said, "You cannot forget a Sherman brothers song for your life."

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Music Interviews
12:01 am
Tue March 6, 2012

K'Naan: A Song 'More Beautiful Than Silence'

K'Naan's new EP, More Beautiful Than Silence, was released Jan. 31.
Courtesy of the artist

The last time Morning Edition spoke with K'naan, he had just gone back to his native Somalia for the first time in 20 years to highlight the effects of the famine there.

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Music Reviews
3:54 pm
Mon March 5, 2012

Bruce Springsteen's Hard-Bitten Pop Optimism

Bruce Springsteen's 17th album, Wrecking Ball, has a little taste of almost every style he's ever played, including classic E Street rock 'n' roll.
Danny Clinch

Originally published on Mon March 5, 2012 6:02 pm

Ever since The Rising in 2002 — and arguably since 1984's Born in the U.S.A.Bruce Springsteen releases have functioned as State of the Union addresses as much as pop LPs. Wrecking Ball does, too, beginning with its Occupy-era lead single "We Take Care of Our Own," an anthemic bit of wishful thinking which, like "Born in the U.S.A.," seems easy to misinterpret by 180 degrees if you don't pay attention to the verses between the chorus.

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Books News & Features
3:35 pm
Mon March 5, 2012

The Unlikely Best-Seller: 'A Wrinkle In Time' Turns 50

Originally published on Mon March 5, 2012 5:40 pm

Imagine, for a moment, that you're a publisher hearing a pitch about a children's book whose tangled plot braids together quantum physics, fractions and megaparsecs (a measure for distances in intergalactic space). The book also casually tosses out phrases in French, Italian, German and ancient Greek. Sound like the next kids' best-seller to you?

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Author Interviews
4:43 pm
Sun March 4, 2012

They're Nobody And Want To Know Everything

Two mysterious men pull up to the courthouse and head to the public records office. They're strangers, and they ask a lot of strange questions like, "I'd like to look at Mayor John Doe's property deeds." Or, "I want to see Congressman Smith's voting records."

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Author Interviews
2:25 pm
Sun March 4, 2012

A Road Trip In Search Of America's Lost Languages

Trip of the Tongue cover detail
Bloomsbury Publishing

Originally published on Mon March 5, 2012 1:38 pm

The vast majority of the 175 indigenous languages still spoken in the United States are on the verge of extinction.

Linguist Elizabeth Little spent two years driving all over the country looking for the few remaining pockets where those languages are still spoken — from the scores of Native American tongues, to the Creole of Louisiana. The resulting book is Trip of the Tongue: Cross-Country Travels in Search of America's Lost Languages.

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Music Interviews
11:35 pm
Sat March 3, 2012

Suzanne Ciani, Trailblazing Synth Musician, Looks Back

Suzanne Ciani's new retrospective album, Lixiviation 1969-1985, presents long-form works alongside her many commercial projects.
Courtesy of the artist

Suzanne Ciani's start in music was traditional enough. She was classically trained, majored in music at Wellesley College, and got a fellowship to study composition at UC Berkeley. But when she arrived there in the mid-1960s, just in time to witness the student protests that consumed the Bay Area during that decade, her focus shifted.

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Author Interviews
4:55 pm
Sat March 3, 2012

'Enchantments' Of Rasputin's Lion-Taming Daughter

Rischgitz Getty Images

Originally published on Sat March 3, 2012 5:09 pm

The famed mystic Rasputin — notorious for his otherworldly powers and his sexual escapades — may not have seemed like a traditional family man, but in fact, he had a wife and three children.

His eldest daughter, Maria, is at the center of Kathryn Harrison's new novel, Enchantments, a dark fairytale mash-up of history and magical realism set during the last days of Imperial Russia.

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Music Interviews
10:31 am
Thu March 1, 2012

Monty Alexander: Jazz Piano Via Jamaican Pop

New York's Blue Note Jazz Club is currently hosting pianist Monty Alexander for a two-week residency.
Alan Nahigian Motema Music

The sound of one of this year's Grammy-nominated reggae albums, Harlem-Kingston Express Live, may seem perplexing at first. But don't let the blend of swing and dub confuse you: That's just the unique sound of pianist Monty Alexander.

Alexander's music has variously been described as bebop, calypso and reggae. But after 50 years in music and more than 70 albums, he's earned the right to call his music simply his own.

Alexander grew up in Jamaica playing the piano and the accordion, and he was versed in the up-and-coming popular music of the island.

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Opinion
12:01 am
Thu March 1, 2012

My First Crush: A Love Letter To Davy Jones

Monkees singer Davy Jones, seen here in 1968, died Wednesday of a heart attack. He was 66.
Keystone Features Getty Images

Originally published on Thu March 1, 2012 8:11 pm

Kitty Eisele is supervising senior editor at NPR's Morning Edition. In this essay she remembers Monkees band member Davy Jones, who died Wednesday at age 66.

This is embarrassing to write, but years ago when my first crush erupted, I asked my dad to write a love note on my behalf to Davy Jones.

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The Record
5:08 am
Wed February 29, 2012

Music In Political Campaigns 101

Kid Rock performs during a campaign rally for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney in Michigan Monday night. Romney asked for, and was given, permission to use the Detroit rocker's song "Born Free" in his campaign.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 29, 2012 12:08 am

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NPR's Backseat Book Club
7:16 pm
Tue February 28, 2012

Two Books For Kids About How Hard It Is To Fit In

Cover detail: The Hundred Dresses

One of the great things about being a reader is that over time, the books on your shelf seem to start talking to one another. Themes echo and resurface and resonate in new ways. That's why in February, NPR's Backseat Book Club — our monthly feature aimed at young readers — selected a pair of books published 60 years apart that still seem to speak directly to each other.

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