Summer vacations are where we do some of our most serious thinking — whether we're sitting by the ocean, cradled in a hammock, or strolling alongside a river. And yet, when it comes to summer reading, we can be quick to grab the latest flashy espionage novel or an earthy romance slathered in buttery prose. Not that there isn't a time and place for brain popcorn, but lately, I find that I want my summer reading material to match my buzzing mind. And for that kind of constant engagement, I turn to memoir.
In 2011, NoViolet Bulawayo was awarded the Caine Prize for African Writing for her short story "Hitting Budapest." In this raw, fierce tale of a gang of near-feral children on the hunt for guavas, the young writer delivered one of the most powerful works of fiction to come out of Zimbabwe in recent years — a clear-eyed indictment of a government whose policies, in the decades since independence, have left many of its citizens destitute.
You know what they say about the early bird? Well, a new species is vying for that title. Scientists have long-regarded an ancient creature, known as the Archaeopteryx, as the earliest bird known to science. But a discovery made in China could change that, according to a study published in Nature magazine. Scientists have found evidence of a feathered, chicken-sized species that's 10 million years older. It's called Aurornis xui, and it lived about 160 million years ago.
As nail-biting hockey fans know well, there has been a lot of drama in this year's playoffs. Last night in the NHL, no different. The Chicago Blackhawks advanced to the semifinals with a thrilling Game 7 overtime win over the Detroit Red Wings.
Chicago had the best regular season record in the NHL this year. But as NPR's Mike Pesca reports, that doesn't mean much when your back is against the wall in an elimination game.
Amazon asked subscribers of its video-streaming service to do the jobs usually left to focus groups and executives. The company released 14 pilot TV shows, then looked at customer reviews and view counts. Amazon announced five pilots have been approved for a full season.
There were questions Wednesday about whether U.S. regulators will approve the takeover of Smithfield Foods Inc., the company that sells all-American hams, hot dogs and bacon, by China's Shuanghui International.
A farmer in Oregon has found some genetically engineered wheat growing on his land. It's an unwelcome surprise, because this type of wheat has never been approved for commercial planting.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture says it's investigating, trying to find out how this wheat got there. The USDA says there's no risk to public health, but wheat exporters are worried about how their customers in Asia and Europe will react.
And he looks ever the boy when he puts on an industrial-sized apron, thick gloves and a metal helmet - the tools of an apprentice welder at the Don Bosco center in this city in southern Colombia.
It's a big complex, complete with classrooms, basketball courts, a dormitory and work rooms. It's home to boys and girls, as well as very young adults, who defected from the FARC rebels or were captured by the Colombian army.
Vaslav Nijinsky as the faun at the premiere of the Ballets Russes' production of Afternoon of the Faun at the Theatre du Chatelet in Paris in May 1912. Click here to see the full costume.
Credit Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art
Léon Bakst's 1912 costume design for The Afternoon of a Faun.
Credit Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Henri Matisse's satin costume for a dancer in The Song of the Nightingale (1920).
Credit 2013 Estate of Pablo Picasso/Artists Rights Society (ARS)
Set designer Alexander Schervashidze enlarged and reproduced a Picasso painting, to serve as a front curtain for "The Blue Train" (1924).
Credit Metropolitan Museum of Art
This 1910 gelatin silver print by Eugène Druet shows Nijinsky in Siamese Dance. The story goes that when asked how he jumped so well, Nijinsky answered, "It's simple. You just jump up there and wait a little while."
If your idea of ballet is a flurry of tutus and toeshoes, a new exhibition at the National Gallery of Art in Washington will expand your vision. "Diaghilev and the Ballets Russes" shows the revolutionary impact a group of dancers, composers, artists and choreographers made on classical dance at the start of the 20th century.