Arts

You Must Read This
6:11 am
Sun January 20, 2013

Fiction Truer Than Fact: A Haunting Autobiographical Novel

Originally published on Mon January 21, 2013 1:28 pm

Sarah Manguso's latest book is called The Guardians.

I like autobiographies that approach their subjects insidiously. My favorite ones begin as a study of someone or something else. Then, partway through, the author realizes he's the subject. And my very favorite autobiographies are the ones, in all their particularity, that might as well be about me — or you, or anyone.

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Author Interviews
6:00 am
Sun January 20, 2013

Presidents Use Bully Pulpit To Shape American Language In 'Words'

Bloomsbury

Originally published on Sun January 20, 2013 8:05 am

The office of the president offers a lot of responsibilities and privileges. Your actions drive the world's most powerful military, billions of dollars worth of domestic policy and, perhaps most importantly, the way the country speaks.

That's what linguist and writer Paul Dickson contends in his new book, Words From the White House. It's a look back through history at the words and phrases popularized by our presidents — including the ones they don't get credit for anymore.

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Monkey See
12:13 am
Sun January 20, 2013

Our Royalty: Bangs Aren't All Michelle Obama And Kate Middleton Have In Common

First lady Michelle Obama waves after addressing the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., on Sept. 4.
Jae C. Hong AP

Originally published on Tue January 22, 2013 12:28 pm

Ask yourself this question: How weird would it be if you changed your hair and it was on the news?

No, seriously. Pull back from everything you know about celebrity and pretend it's about you. You change your hair. You decide, "Hey, you know what? It's been long for a while; what if I went a little shorter?" And so you go a little shorter. And then it is on the news.

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Sunday Puzzle
12:03 am
Sun January 20, 2013

What's In A Name?

NPR Graphic

Originally published on Sun January 20, 2013 11:25 am

On-air challenge: You will be given the first names of two famous people, past or present. The first person's last name, when you drop the initial letter, becomes the second person's last name. For example, given "Harold" and "Kingsley," the answer would be "Harold Ramis" and "Kingsley Amis."

Last week's challenge: Think of two familiar, unhyphenated, eight-letter words that contain the letters A, B, C, D, E and F, plus two others, in any order. What words are these?

Answer: feedback; boldface

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Author Interviews
5:02 pm
Sat January 19, 2013

'All We Know': Three Remarkable But Forgotten Lives

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Originally published on Sat January 19, 2013 7:25 pm

The scene is Paris in the 1920s. The stars are three women: Esther Murphy, a product of New York high society who wrote madly but could never finish a book; Mercedes de Acosta, an insatiable collector and writer infatuated with Greta Garbo; and Madge Garland, a self-made Australian fashion editor at British Vogue. All three were lesbians.

Their histories burst onto the literary scene this summer in the biography All We Know: Three Lives by Wesleyan University professor Lisa Cohen.

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Monkey See
6:03 am
Sat January 19, 2013

A Memorized Poem 'Lives With You Forever,' So Pick Carefully

John Keats' poetry lends itself to memorization particularly well. Fortunately, you can learn his texts by heart without having to adopt his moody pose.
Hulton Archive Getty Images

Originally published on Mon January 28, 2013 5:39 pm

Take just a moment to estimate how many songs you know by heart. Dozens? Hundreds? Thousands?

Now, how many poems do you have memorized?

For most modern readers, even poetry fans, that number's pretty low. But Poetry By Heart, a new competition in the U.K., is seeking to bring the art of poetry memorization to a new generation.

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The Salt
5:53 am
Sat January 19, 2013

Inaugural Balls Where Food Isn't An Afterthought

Guests arrive for the Black Tie and Boots Inaugural Ball in Washington back in 2005 to celebrate President Bush's second term.
J. David Ake AP

Like everyone else in Washington, D.C., right now, we're gearing up for the long inaugural weekend, bracing ourselves for various events and balls around town that can be thrilling, patriotic, touristy and traffic-jamming, all at the same time.

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Poetry
5:38 am
Sat January 19, 2013

U.K. Asks Students To Learn Poetry 'By Heart,' Not By Rote

Emily Musette Hays performs in the 2012 Poetry Out Loud finals in Washington, D.C. The U.S. competition served as a model for the U.K.'s Poetry By Heart contest.
James Kegley The Poetry Foundation

Originally published on Sat January 19, 2013 7:13 am

When the Internet offers a superabundance of material to read, watch, listen to and play, it's easy to skim over text and half-listen to broadcasts. But the British government is inviting schoolchildren to put down their cellphones, turn off their news feeds and spend a long time lingering over a poem — so long that they learn it by heart.

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Books
5:38 am
Sat January 19, 2013

'Art Of Betrayal': A History Of MI6 That Reads Like A Spy Novel

Pegasus Books

Originally published on Sat January 19, 2013 7:13 am

For an organization that's supposed to be "secret," the British Secret Service, MI6, is awfully famous. MI6 agents turned novelists include Ian Fleming, Graham Greene and John LeCarre, and their books — together with the film franchise starring Fleming's James Bond — have made the intelligence organization a global brand.

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Author Interviews
5:38 am
Sat January 19, 2013

Former Sox Manager Reflects On Turbulent Tenure

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Originally published on Sat January 19, 2013 7:13 am

Terry Francona probably never has to buy his own drink in Boston. He's the manager who helped steer the Red Sox to the World Series in 2004 and then again in 2007, turning the franchise from a kind of national sob story into a sleek, rich and successful sports enterprise.

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