Arts

The Salt
6:17 am
Sat October 13, 2012

When It Comes To Falafel, The Flavors Of Home Can Vary

The reporter's mother, Nawal Elbager, of Khartoum, Sudan, shows off her falafel.
Rashad Baba Courtesy Nawal Elbager

Originally published on Sat October 13, 2012 5:38 pm

Falafel — those crispy, filling fried balls of mashed beans, herbs and spices — is found in cafes and homes all over the Middle East and parts of Africa. It's like a common language shared among sometimes fractious nations.

But until recently, I always thought falafel was made one way — garbanzo beans, onion, garlic, parsley, cilantro and cumin. (That's how my Sudanese mother taught me.) But it turns out there are many recipes out there, each with a flavor distinct to its region.

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Author Interviews
6:17 am
Sat October 13, 2012

A Year's Worth Of Facts From An NPR Librarian

Courtesy of John Wiley & Sons

Originally published on Sat October 13, 2012 10:15 am

The people who host NPR programs are often credited with — or accused of — being knowledgeable.

But really, the most important bit of knowledge they have is just a four digit extension that connects to Kee Malesky in the NPR Reference Library. If you want the names and contact numbers for every left-handed plumber in Kuala Lumpur, she'll fix you up. She's the longest-serving member of a stellar company of reference librarians who check, double-check and mine miles of information, urban legend and spin for cold, hard, glittering facts.

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Author Interviews
2:03 am
Sat October 13, 2012

Michael Feinstein: What I Learned From The Gershwins

Composer and educator Michael Feinstein's new memoir is called The Gershwins and Me: A Personal History in Twelve Songs.
Gilles Toucas Courtesy of the author

Originally published on Sat October 13, 2012 11:38 am

Michael Feinstein, the singer and pianist known as the "ambassador of the Great American Songbook," has a serious pedigree to back up that title: a real-life connection to one of America's greatest songwriting teams. It's the subject of Feinstein's new memoir, The Gershwins and Me: A Personal History in Twelve Songs. (A CD of Feinstein singing those songs also comes with the book.)

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Movie Reviews
12:23 pm
Fri October 12, 2012

'Argo': Too Good To Be True, Because It Isn't

CIA agents Tony Mendez (Ben Affleck) and Jack O'Donnell (Bryan Cranston) plan a risky mission to save six Americans trapped in Iran.
Claire Folger Warner Bros. Pictures

Originally published on Fri October 12, 2012 1:01 pm

Ben Affleck's Argo is two-two-TWO movies in one, and while neither is especially original, by merging them Affleck pulls off a coup. First, he gives you espionage with the You Are There zing of a documentary. Then he serves up broad showbiz satire. For his final feat, he blends the two into a pulse-pounding nail-biter of a climax. And this all really happened. Most of it. Except for that climax.

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WDIY Classics
11:50 am
Fri October 12, 2012

Eugene Albulescu Interview on WDIY Classics

WDIY Classics is an enticing exploration of music from the Baroque to the contemporary with interviews, concert listings, themed shows and more. This week, host Waldemar Vinovskis interviews award-winning performer, Eugene Albulescu.

Author Interviews
10:45 am
Fri October 12, 2012

The Man Who Tracks Viruses Before They Spread

H1N1 virus virons appear in a tissue sample.

C. Goldsmith and D. Rollin CDC Public Health Image Library

Originally published on Fri October 12, 2012 12:53 pm

This interview was originally broadcast on Oct. 11, 2011. The Viral Storm will be published in paperback on Oct. 16.

The New Yorker once called virologist Nathan Wolfe "the world's most prominent virus hunter." Wolfe, the director of the Global Viral Forecasting Initiative, spends his days tracking emerging infectious diseases before they turn into deadly pandemics.

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Hardcover Fiction Bestsellers
9:03 am
Fri October 12, 2012

NPR Bestsellers: Hardcover Fiction, Week Of October 11, 2012

Knopf

In Jo Nesbo's Phantom, Harry Hole investigates Oslo's most virulent street drug. It debuts at No. 6.

Movie Reviews
5:03 pm
Thu October 11, 2012

A 'Big Picture' Intently Focused On The Details

Paul (Romain Duris), an aspiring photographer, assumes another man's identity to escape his job, marriage and dull life.
MPI Media Group

The original French title of The Big Picture — an adaptation of a novel by American expatriate writer Douglas Kennedy — means "the man who wanted to live his life." That's pointedly ironic, since this existential thriller is about a person who seeks personal freedom by becoming somebody else.

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Movie Reviews
5:03 pm
Thu October 11, 2012

A Hollywood Noir Starring 'Seven Psychopaths' (Or So)

Crazy Funny: Seven Psychopaths centers on Marty (Colin Farrell), Hans (Christopher Walken) and Billy (Sam Rockwell), three Tinseltown oddballs with a sideline in dognapping.
CBS Films

If you do the math, the number of true psychopaths in Seven Psychopaths may not quite add up. Perhaps writer-director Martin McDonagh didn't want to go overboard with the murderous crazies. As it is, he's peopled his whimsically brutal comic thriller with — to name just three — an Amish throat-slasher, a dynamite-packing Buddhist and a serial killer who's fond of white bunny rabbits. That's probably enough.

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Movie Reviews
5:03 pm
Thu October 11, 2012

Two Films, Two Takes On Living With Genocide

Simon and the Oaks serves as a rather too cozy consideration of Nazi sympathies in Sweden during the early years of World War II.
The Film Arcade

Simon and the Oaks, a handsomely upholstered Swedish drama about two troubled families trying to survive World War II, is based on a runaway best-selling novel by Marianne Fredriksson. The film was made with money from several Scandinavian countries once occupied by the Nazis, as well as from Germany itself. It won a truckload of Swedish Oscars, and in the accolades heaped upon the movie, the word "epic" is thrown around with abandon.

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