Arts

Book Reviews
7:03 am
Tue July 17, 2012

A 'Thumb' On The Pulse Of What Makes Us Human

The discovery in early July of a subatomic particle that may be the Higgs boson — also known as the God particle — puts physicists one step closer to unlocking the secrets of the universe around us. Sam Kean's dynamic, brainy new book, The Violinist's Thumb: And Other Lost Tales of Love, War, and Genius, as Written by Our Genetic Code, tells a story that's no less profound: how geneticists strive to unlock the secrets of the universe within us.

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Poetry
6:33 am
Tue July 17, 2012

Press-Play Poetry: 'Summer Song'

George Clerk / Michiel de Boer iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue July 17, 2012 10:57 am

Some poetry is meant to be heard as well as read. Press-Play Poetry is an occasional series that celebrates the power of the voice to bring lines on a page to life.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Author Interviews
2:58 am
Tue July 17, 2012

Addict To Activist: How Elton John Found His 'Cure'

Sir Elton John speaks at an Elton John AIDS Foundation benefit in 2010. The organization, which John founded in 1992, provides grants to support HIV and AIDS prevention and treatment programs.
Evan Agostini AP

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 9:51 am

Sir Elton John is constantly remembering his life as a drug addict, whether he wants to or not.

"I still dream, twice a week at least, that I've taken cocaine and I have it up my nose," John tells NPR's Steve Inskeep. "And it's very vivid and it's very upsetting, but at least it's a wake-up call."

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Author Interviews
2:57 am
Tue July 17, 2012

African Politics, And Afros, In 'My First Coup D'Etat'

Originally published on Tue July 17, 2012 12:17 pm

John Dramani Mahama is the vice president of Ghana and the author of a new memoir with one of the most eye-catching titles you'll see all year — My First Coup d'Etat: And Other True Stories from the Lost Decades of Africa.

The title refers to the 1966 military coup that overthrew Ghana's first president. Mahama was 7 years old, and his father, a minister in the government, was imprisoned for more than a year. Mahama tells NPR's Renee Montagne that Africa's "lost decades" lasted from the late 1960s to the 1980s, after the initial euphoria of independence passed.

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Books
5:27 pm
Mon July 16, 2012

Encyclopedia Brown: The Great Sleuth From My Youth

cover detail

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 11:35 am

Donald Sobol, the creator of the beloved character Encyclopedia Brown, died last week of natural causes, his family says. He was 87. The first in the Encyclopedia Brown series book was published in 1963, and the series has never gone out of print.

Crime novelist and forensic pathologist Jonathan Hayes has this appreciation of the character Sobol gave young readers.

While other boys got hooked on books about sports legends and race car drivers, there was something about Donald Sobol's boy detective Encyclopedia Brown that spoke to me right away.

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The Two-Way
1:42 pm
Mon July 16, 2012

Stephen Covey, Author Of '7 Habits,' Dead At 79

Stephen R. Covey, the motivational speaker best known for the book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, died Monday in Idaho three months after a serious bicycle accident in Utah. He was 79.
Ric Feld AP

Originally published on Mon July 16, 2012 3:02 pm

Stephen Covey, whose book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People became a seminal guide to leadership, died this morning.

In a statement, the family said Covey died due the "residual effects" of a biking accident he suffered in April. He was 79.

The Salt Lake Tribune gives us a bit of his biography:

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Arts & Life
11:48 am
Mon July 16, 2012

A Writer's 'Cold, Calculated Acts Of Kindness'

After he was laid off in 2008, writer T.M. Shine adopted a unique approach to finding a job. He says his new goal is being nice to people, and he put that right at the top of his resume. Host Michel Martin speaks with Shine about his journey from unemployment back to work, which he wrote about for this week's Washington Post Magazine.

The Picture Show
11:36 am
Mon July 16, 2012

Mad? Sad? Try The Screamotron3000

Photo from the Screamotron3000 portrait series.
Courtesy of Billy Hunt

Billy Hunt wants you to yell and scream. At your cheating spouse, that insatiable boss, your dad who missed the baseball game. And do it for the camera.

His Screamotron3000 is a converted karaoke boombox that automatically takes a picture when triggered by the sound of a scream.

"It can be a little rough having people yell at you all day," he says, "but I find it so interesting how human emotion plays out."

Though the contraption sounds a bit technical, for Hunt it's more of a psychology experiment:

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Television
11:09 am
Mon July 16, 2012

Aaron Sorkin: The Writer Behind 'The Newsroom'

Aaron Sorkin's work includes A Few Good Men, The American President, The West Wing, Sports Night, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, Charlie Wilson's War and The Social Network.
HBO

Originally published on Mon July 16, 2012 12:16 pm

Aaron Sorkin's new HBO drama The Newsroom follows the inner workings of a fictional cable network trying to challenge America's hyperpartisan 24/7 news culture. It's a typical Sorkin drama, complete with fast-paced dialogue, witty scenes and a strong ensemble cast.

So why a newsroom?

"It suits my style," he tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "I like writing about heroes [who] don't wear capes or disguises. You feel like, 'Gee, this looks like the real world and feels like the real world — why can't that be the real world?' "

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Three Books...
7:03 am
Mon July 16, 2012

Fight Like A Girl: 3 Books That Pack A Deadly Punch

Olympian Diana Lopez (in blue) — not to be confused with the author Diana Lopez — competes in the 2012 Taekwondo Olympic Trials.
Marc Piscotty Getty Images

Originally published on Mon July 16, 2012 9:00 am

In seventh grade, I broke my finger pretending to be a Harlem Globetrotter with the neighborhood boys. Until then, I'd been their equal in sports, but suddenly their shoulders were battering rams, and I was the house of straw from the Three Little Pigs. I hated being a puny, weak-armed girl. But then I saw Sigourney Weaver and Linda Hamilton going mano a mano with aliens and cyborgs, and I realized that I didn't have to be a damsel in distress. Those ladies can pummel any guy on the planet — or in outer space. Here are three books with girls who know how to fight.

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