Arts

Movie Reviews
4:50 pm
Thu June 13, 2013

'Steel' Trap: Snyder's Superman, Between Worlds

Henry Cavill plays the title role in Zach Snyder's expensively earnest iteration of our most recognizably American superhero. An "alien" aesthetic — which ironically owes plenty to the Industrial Age and to the metallo-organic curves of art nouveau — informs everything from the film's palette to its interpretation of Superman's iconic costume.
Clay Enos Warner Bros. Pictures

Originally published on Sat June 15, 2013 7:12 am

Take heart, ye spandex-haters: Zack Snyder's steroidal yet sensitive Man of Steel is not a superhero film.

Full disclosure: Over the past two years, this reviewer has spent a great deal of time thinking about superheroes in general and Superman in particular. Less than some, perhaps, but more — it's safe to say — than most of you reading these words, as you debate whether or not to duck out of the heat this weekend to take in Snyder's latest summertime smash-em-up.

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The Salt
4:49 pm
Thu June 13, 2013

Saving Grandma's Strawberry Cake From The Clutches Of Jell-O

Jeremy Jackson wanted to rethink his grandma Mildred's famous Strawberry Cake recipe, which uses boxed cake mix and Jell-O. His updated cupcake version is shown on the right.
Jeremy Jackson for NPR

Originally published on Thu June 13, 2013 6:35 pm

Jeremy Jackson's grandma Mildred was famous for her strawberry cake. Legend has it that one of the families in her small Missouri town loved the dessert so much, they "commissioned" her to make it for them once a week.

Jackson is the author of Good Day for A Picnic: Simple Food that Travels Well. He shared two versions of his Strawberry Cake for All Things Considered's Found Recipes series.

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Remembrances
2:25 pm
Thu June 13, 2013

Israeli Writer Yoram Kaniuk, 83, On Pain And Peace

Yoram Kaniuk speaks in 2008 at the AFI Fest premiere of Adam Resurrected, based on a novel he wrote.
Michael Buckner Getty Images

Originally published on Thu June 13, 2013 3:34 pm

Born in Israel in 1930, Yoram Kaniuk wrote novels and articles that explored war, the Holocaust, Israel, and the prospect of peace for Israelis and Palestinians. He was an outspoken proponent of the need for Israelis and Palestinians to understand that both groups of people deserve sovereignty.

"Both sides are right, and both sides are so strong about the rightness," he told Fresh Air's Terry Gross in August 1988. He believed that arguing over "who suffered more" wasn't productive.

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Author Interviews
2:25 pm
Thu June 13, 2013

Florida-Grown Fiction: Hiaasen Satirizes The Sunshine State

As with many of his novels, Hiaasen sets his latest — Bad Monkey — in his home state of Florida.
Knopf

Originally published on Thu June 13, 2013 4:45 pm

As a columnist for the Miami Herald and a prolific novelist of books such as Strip Tease, Lucky You and Star Island, Carl Hiaasen has a subject: Florida. Hiaasen grew up in the state during the 1950s and has lived and worked there his entire life, watching it morph from a rural backwater with abundant natural beauty and resources to one struggling with the effects of development and tourism.

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Music Interviews
1:27 pm
Thu June 13, 2013

Flamenco Sensation Buika Embraces Her 'Animal' Voice

Buika blends flamenco with African rhythms, jazz, blues and soul.
Javi Rojo

Originally published on Thu June 13, 2013 4:20 pm

Spanish flamenco singer Concha Buika says the key to her music is singing with a "beautiful idea" and "really big desire." Born on the Spanish island of Majorca to parents who fled their home in Equatorial Guinea, Buika performs music that transcends boundaries of language and race.

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Music Reviews
12:03 pm
Thu June 13, 2013

Slaid Cleaves: 'Still Fighting' With Smart Lyrics And Stories

Slaid Cleaves' music is influenced by singer-songwriters such as Woody Guthrie, Bruce Springsteen, Hank Williams and Johnny Cash.
Karen Cleaves Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu June 13, 2013 3:34 pm

Raised in South Berwick, Maine, and residing in Austin, Texas, Slaid Cleaves is no one's idea of a music-industry insider. He writes and sings songs primarily about working-class people and romantics both hopeful and hopeless. That said, it's also not difficult to hear another element of the fortysomething Cleaves' past: He was an English and philosophy major at Tufts, and his lyrics are underpinned by both a fine sense of meter and moral perspicacity.

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Monkey See
9:51 am
Thu June 13, 2013

Let's Rush To Judgment: 'The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug'

Sir Ian McKellen in The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug.
Warner Brothers Pictures

Well, here it is: the trailer for the next Hobbit movie in the series of three Hobbit movies that will be made out of a single medium-length book.

The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug doesn't come out until December, but you can already delve into the dragons and mountains and birds (oh my).

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Books News & Features
9:39 am
Thu June 13, 2013

Amid Dropping Test Scores, Teen Writers' Creativity Soars

Originally published on Thu June 13, 2013 10:58 am

NPR correspondent Joseph Shapiro and his daughter Eva spent the weekend at the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. Eva, 15, won the "Best in Grade" award, one of two for ninth-grade writers, for a short story. She takes writing classes with Writopia Lab in Washington, D.C.

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The Two-Way
7:20 am
Thu June 13, 2013

Book News: Inmate Fights For His Right To Read Werewolf Erotica

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

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NPR's Backseat Book Club
7:04 am
Thu June 13, 2013

The Complete List: What NPR's Backseat Book Club Has Read So Far

Carina Jaffe, 3; Larissa Jaffe, 9; Denali Jaffe, 10; Zahra Jaffe, 6; and their friend Christina Tonnu, 8, read The Phantom Tollbooth together in Philadelphia.
Courtesy the Jaffe Family

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 4:22 pm

Ever since we launched NPR's Backseat Book Club in 2011, our young listeners have been busy reading — classics like The Wizard of Oz, Black Beauty and The Phantom Tollbooth, and newer tales, like Diary of a Wimpy Kid and The Graveyard Book. If you know a kid age 9-14 who's looking for a great read, look no further: Here are all the books we've read so far. (And here's the list in printable form.)

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