Monkey See
10:08 am
Tue July 8, 2014

What's Happening In Television: It's Press Tour Time Again

It's that time again.

For the next couple of weeks, I'll be writing from the Television Critics Association Press Tour, where a couple hundred critics convene in a giant hotel ballroom to question producers, writers, network executives, actors, and sometimes other folks about what's coming up on TV. It can bring out both the punchy and the grumpy in many folks you know who write about all this: Tim Goodman at The Hollywood Reporter calls it the Death March With Cocktails. (A little later on, my NPR colleague Eric Deggans will be here, too.)

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The Two-Way
7:23 am
Tue July 8, 2014

Book News: J.K. Rowling Writes A New 'Harry Potter' Story

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

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Book Reviews
7:03 am
Tue July 8, 2014

Balancing Signal And Noise In 'Landline'

Originally published on Tue July 8, 2014 11:57 am

I'm deeply conflicted about how to review this book. On the one hand, I literally laughed and cried from one page to the next and devoured the whole in a brief sitting.

On the other hand, I've also read Rainbow Rowell's other books, and this one pales in comparison.

So I could review it straightforwardly and say that it's funny, clever, charming, endearing, and all that would be true — but I could also review it and say that in some ways it's the least of the books of hers I've read so far, and that would also be true.

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Movie Interviews
5:01 am
Tue July 8, 2014

Richard Dreyfuss' Kids Revisit 'Jaws,' Conclude It Makes No Sense

Robert Shaw (from left), Roy Scheider and Richard Dreyfuss play a shark hunter, a police chief and a marine biologist in 1975's Jaws.
Universal/Kobal Collection

Originally published on Tue July 8, 2014 3:59 pm

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Crime In The City
3:33 am
Tue July 8, 2014

For One Crime Writer, Peaceful Shetland Is A Perfect Place For Murder

Old stone houses abut the harbor in Lerwick, Shetland's largest town. Outsiders are known here as "soothmoothers," because they arrive on the ferry through the south mouth of the Bressay Sound.
Ari Shapiro NPR

Originally published on Tue July 8, 2014 9:51 am

Crime writer Ann Cleeves puts it best in her novel Dead Water: "Shetland didn't do pretty. It did wild and bleak and dramatic."

The Shetland Islands are a damp and rocky place, with endless miles of green and gray. Humanity seems to cling to the land here like a few tenacious barnacles. "I love the idea of long, low horizons with secrets hidden underneath," Cleeves says.

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Book Reviews
5:27 pm
Mon July 7, 2014

Post-Apocalyptic World Falls Flat In 'California'

Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Tue July 8, 2014 11:49 am

Edan Lepucki's debut, California, sold thousands of copies even before the official publication date when talk-show host Stephen Colbert urged readers to pre-order it from a national independent chain as a protest against the "books-and-everything else" giant, Amazon.

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The Salt
4:53 pm
Mon July 7, 2014

Couple Revives Lost Moroccan Fig Liquor, One Bottle At A Time

Bottles of mahia in the Nahmias et Fils distillery.
Alex Schmidt for NPR

Originally published on Mon July 7, 2014 7:56 pm

Before the crowds descend on the Whisky Jewbilee, a kosher alcohol tasting event in Manhattan, David and Dorit Nahmias stand behind their vendor table, getting psyched up.

"This is like the big game," Dorit Nahmias says.

Events like these are a key tool for getting the word out about their tiny distillery, and the Nahmiases attend half a dozen of them per year. The product they're trying to sell is one few people have heard of: mahia. Dorit rehearses her pitch:

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The Salt
1:54 pm
Mon July 7, 2014

Sandwich Monday: The Deep-Fried Grilled Cheese

Unidentified Fried Object.

Originally published on Mon July 7, 2014 2:31 pm

Improving the classics is not an easy task. I, for one, have for years been trying to add a kickstand to my burritos to make them stand upright, but the technical challenges prove insurmountable. Big & Littles in Chicago has done better with its update to the grilled cheese, however: It battered and deep-fried it.

Robert: All I need is a bowl of deep-fried tomato soup and it's a complete meal.

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Music Interviews
1:32 pm
Mon July 7, 2014

For Audra McDonald, Experience And Raw Emotions Make Better Music

Originally published on Mon July 7, 2014 1:44 pm



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1:20 pm
Mon July 7, 2014

'Fresh Air' Remembers Actor Meshach Taylor



This is FRESH AIR. The actor Meshach Taylor died on June 28 at the age of 67. We're going to remember him by listening back to our 1990 interview. Taylor was best known for his role on the TV sitcom "Designing Women" playing Anthony Bouvier, an ex-convict who's a deliveryman for a company of women interior designers in Atlanta. He eventually became their partner in the company.

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