Arts

Arts & Life
5:02 pm
Sat December 28, 2013

The Trouble With Assessing 'Black Films'

Originally published on Sat December 28, 2013 6:54 pm

This year was lauded by many news outlets as an incredible year for black films. CNN heralded "Hollywood's African-American Renaissance;" The New York Times called 2013 a "a breakout year for black films." Shani Hilton, deputy editor-in-chief of BuzzFeed, talks to NPR's Arun Rath about why she think those assertions are overstated.

Arts & Life
8:55 am
Sat December 28, 2013

As The Lead Cools, Some See Their New Year Take Shape

Is that a cross? A ship with a figurehead? What future do you see in these lead shapes? In one New Year's tradition, fortune-seekers drop molten lead into cold water and guess what the shapes portend.
Deena Prichep for NPR

Originally published on Sat December 28, 2013 4:31 pm

As we approach the threshold of a new year, it's only human to wonder what's ahead. In Germany and a few nearby countries, the answer to this age-old existential question is found in molten lead.

When Gesine Krätzner had some scraps of lead left over from a roofing project last winter, she knew just what to do with them. Krätzner lives in Portland, Ore., but grew up in Germany. As a kid, she would melt bits of lead with her family for a New Year's Eve tradition called Bleigiessen.

Read more
Bonus Round: Ask Me Another
8:37 am
Sat December 28, 2013

Day 4: Mind Your Out-of-Date Manners

Ophira Eisenberg doesn't need your stinkin' etiquette rules. She makes up her own.
Becky Harlan NPR
  • Listen to 'Mad Men's Guide To Etiquette'

This is the fourth day of Ask Me Another's 12 Days of Xmas series.

Read more
PG-13: Risky Reads
8:08 am
Sat December 28, 2013

A Young Seminarian Found Comfort In 'Giovanni's' Melancholy

I was a shy boy of 11, soon to be withdrawn from a Catholic Seminary where I had been bullied and lonely and unhappy, when I found Giovanni's Room. I was on summer holiday; I used to spend my days reading from my parents' extensive library, usually on the rattan lounger on the second-floor porch of our house in the small town of Afikpo. I remember feeling a kinship with James Baldwin — not so much with his characters, whom I couldn't often relate to, but with this melancholy that seeped through his pages.

Read more
Author Interviews
5:02 am
Sat December 28, 2013

'Havisham' Offers A Peek Behind That Decaying Wedding Veil

Originally published on Sat December 28, 2013 11:35 am

The enigmatic Miss Havisham has haunted the popular imagination for more than 150 years. She appeared in Great Expectations, one of Charles Dickens' best-loved novels: It's been read widely since its publication, and was made into several immensely popular movies.

Read more
This Week's Must Read
4:21 pm
Fri December 27, 2013

As Winter Rolls In, One Critic Recalls 'The Wind In The Willows'

Paul Bransom's illustration from a 1913 edition of The Wind in the Willows shows Otter traveling through the snowy woods.
Public Domain

Originally published on Fri December 27, 2013 7:15 pm

We want simple things from books in winter — or at least I do. I want a vindication of my desire to loaf, laze, retreat from the world, the assurances, in short, of The Wind in the Willows, whose edicts are sane and just: "No animal, according to the rules of animal-etiquette, is ever expected to do anything strenuous, or heroic, or even moderately active during the off-season of winter."

Read more
Movie Interviews
4:21 pm
Fri December 27, 2013

'42' Gets The Story Of Jackie Robinson Right

Brooklyn Dodgers first baseman Jackie Robinson (Chadwick Boseman) acknowledges the crowd in 42.
Warner Bros

Originally published on Fri December 27, 2013 7:15 pm

As we close out 2013, we're returning to some of the year's films that were "inspired by a true story" and taking a look at the true-to-inspired ratio. Turns out, 42 — a biopic that portrays Jackie Robinson's 1947 integration of Major League Baseball — gets a lot of things right.

Arnold Rampersad, a professor of English at Stanford University who wrote a biography of Robinson, says the film really rings true.

Read more
Architecture
12:20 pm
Fri December 27, 2013

Architect's Dream House: Less Than 200 Square Feet

Macy Miller

Originally published on Fri December 27, 2013 1:35 pm

You might think going through a divorce and losing your home to foreclosure would be hard to bounce back from, and they are, but Tell Me More caught up with a woman who beat the odds and built a new home for herself.

Macy Miller, an architect from Idaho, built the home with her own two hands at a cost of only $11,000. The house is less than 200 square feet.


Interview Highlights

On building the home

Read more
Book Reviews
3:23 am
Fri December 27, 2013

Nancy Pearl Turns Back The Pages With Picks From The Past

Steve Debenport iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri December 27, 2013 10:32 am

There has been no shortage of noteworthy new books this year. In fact, the prospect of choosing just a few of them to recommend to NPR's Steve Inskeep "kind of overwhelmed" librarian Nancy Pearl. So, "out of a sense of desperation," she says, Pearl combed through her own personal library stacks for some of her favorite titles from years past that readers might have missed the first time around.

Read more
Movie Reviews
6:57 pm
Thu December 26, 2013

In 'Lone Survivor,' Heroics Extend Only As Far As Survival, Solidarity

Mark Wahlberg plays Marcus Luttrell in Lone Survivor.
Universal Pictures

We are awash in war films, and why is it that nonfiction films such as Dirty Wars or Iraq in Fragments increasingly resort to the dramatizing techniques of narrative film, while fiction films strain toward procedure, as if to avoid the sticky business of interpretation altogether?

Read more

Pages