Arts

Goats and Soda
1:20 pm
Mon July 14, 2014

Nadine Gordimer: Wise Words About Bettering A Troubled World

Nadine Gordimer visited Alexandra, the black township near Johannesburg, in 1986 to pay homage to victims of political unrest.
Reuters /Landov

The great novelist Nadine Gordimer, whose stories told of the immorality of apartheid in her beloved South Africa, has died at age 90.

Gordimer was not only a writer. She was an activist in the fight to end apartheid. In her writings and speeches, the Nobel Prize winner offered words of enlightenment for anyone sharing her commitment to bring a better life to those suffering from prejudice, poor health, poverty, and other ills.

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Monkey See
12:56 pm
Mon July 14, 2014

Asking Katherine Heigl The 'Difficult' Question At Press Tour

Katherine Heigl and Alfre Woodard, stars of NBC's new fall drama State of Affairs, speak at the Television Critics Association's summer press tour in Los Angeles.
Frederick M. Brown Getty Images

It may be the toughest task of all at a press tour in Los Angeles packed with TV critics from across the nation: How to ask a celebrity a tough question about her bad reputation without looking like a jerk yourself.

That moment surfaced for me Sunday, when trying to ask star Katherine Heigl about longstanding rumors in Hollywood that she and her manager/mother have been difficult to work with across many projects.

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The Two-Way
8:03 am
Mon July 14, 2014

Book News: Famed Philosopher Accused Of Plagiarizing White Separatist Journal

Marxist philosopher Slavoj Zizek, photographed in 2012 in London.
Tim Whitby Getty Images

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

Marxist philosopher Slavoj Žižek — who is one of the world's most prominent living public intellectuals — has been accused of plagiarizing from the white separatist magazine American Renaissance. (The magazine calls itself a "race realist" publication, while the Southern Poverty Law Center calls it a hub for "proponents of eugenics and blatant anti-black racists.")

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Movies
5:03 pm
Sun July 13, 2014

Kids' Films And Stories Share A Dark Theme: Dead Mothers

Sarah Boxer is the author of Ultimate Blogs and the graphic novel In The Floyd Archives.
Courtesy of Sarah Boxer

Originally published on Wed July 16, 2014 5:37 pm

The death of Bambi's mother has moved — and horrified — generations of children. The fleeing, the gunshot, the desperate search and then the gut-wrenching words: "Your mother can't be with you anymore."

For many, that scene was traumatizing; for some it was the very first experience of loss. But Bambi is far from the only animated film featuring a mother's tragic death.

Just ask Sarah Boxer.

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Author Interviews
5:03 pm
Sun July 13, 2014

William T. Vollmann Explores The Afterlife In 'Last Stories'

Originally published on Sun July 13, 2014 7:10 pm

William T. Vollmann has been called a "unique and essential voice in American letters." He's the author of novels, story collections, a memoir and massive works of nonfiction.

His latest book, Last Stories and Other Stories, is his first work of fiction in nine years. And he says at the book's beginning that it will be his final work — as a living human, at least. "Any subsequent productions bearing my name will have been written by a ghost," he writes.

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NPR Story
9:52 am
Sun July 13, 2014

Founders Claimed A Subversive Right To 'Nature's God'

Originally published on Sun July 13, 2014 1:14 pm

The U.S. was not founded as a Christian nation, says historian Matthew Stewart. He tells NPR's Arun Rath about his book Nature's God: The Heretical Origins of the American Republic.

Sunday Puzzle
8:03 am
Sun July 13, 2014

A Puzzle With Ch-Ch-Changes

NPR

Originally published on Sun July 13, 2014 11:47 am

On-air challenge: Today's puzzle is called "Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes." Every answer is a word starting with the letters "ch," and your clue will be an anagram of the word.

Last week's challenge: Name a famous actress of the past whose last name has five letters. Move the middle letter to the end to name another famous actress of the past. Who are these actresses?

Answer: Greta Garbo/Eva or Zsa Zsa Gabor

Winner: Craig Moreland from Okemos, Mich.

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My Guilty Pleasure
5:25 am
Sun July 13, 2014

Confessions Of A Former 'Sweet Valley High' Addict

Often, when people ask me what I read as a young girl, I lie. Or, I should say, I lie by omission. I tell them about my brilliant fourth-grade teacher, Miss Artis, who assigned us Johnny Tremain and Where the Red Fern Grows and Tuck Everlasting, all books that made an impression on me. And people nod in approval.

But the answer I don't usually give is that my favorite books, the ones I read and re-read until the covers were creased and the pages were loosed from the spine, were Sweet Valley High.

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Arts & Life
4:54 pm
Sat July 12, 2014

Wounded Bull-Runner: 'If You Run Long Enough, You Get Gored'

U.S. runner Bill Hillmann is gored on his right leg during the running of the bulls of the San Fermin festival, in Pamplona, Spain, on Wednesday.
Daniel Ochoa de Olza AP

Originally published on Sat July 12, 2014 6:30 pm

When Bill Hillmann joined this year's running of the bulls in Pamplona, Spain, he knew exactly what he was signing up for. After all, he co-wrote the book on it.

Hillmann was a contributor to Fiesta: How to Survive the Bulls of Pamplona. But his expertise didn't protect him from harm this year: A lone bull, or suelto, gored him through the right leg.

From his hospital bed, Hillmann tells NPR's Kelly McEvers that he feels fine. "They've got me on some really good painkillers, so I'm just kind of floating here," he says.

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Author Interviews
4:54 pm
Sat July 12, 2014

'Fightshark' Recounts His Struggles, In Kickboxing And Beyond

HarperCollins

Originally published on Sat July 12, 2014 6:30 pm

In the kickboxing ring, Mark Miller goes by "Fightshark" — a name he chose, he says, because when he smells blood, he attacks.

The legendary super heavyweight kickboxer first made his name in fighting in the early 2000s.

"In the early part of the decade, I was 6'4, 230 [pounds], and I was small for heavyweight kickboxing," he tells NPR's Kelly McEvers. "It's a lot of speed and power involved."

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