New York, New York, it's a wonderful town! And Mark Helprin's new near-epic novel makes it all the more marvelous. It's got great polarized motifs — war and peace, heroism and cowardice, crime and civility, pleasure and business, love and hate, bias and acceptance — which the gifted novelist weaves into a grand, old-fashioned romance, a New York love story that begins with a Hollywoodish meet-cute on the Staten Island Ferry.
Originally published on Mon October 1, 2012 3:48 pm
San Antonio's Hacienda is a family band featuring brothers Abraham, Jaime and Rene Villanueva, as well as their cousin Dante Schwebel. The Tex-Mex rockers had just started the band and recorded their first demo when they had an encounter that would change the course of their careers. In 2005, they met Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys; after listening to their demo, Auerbach took them under his wing.
The Avengers has brought in more money than any other movie this year — more than $600 million domestically. And it's only going to make more, especially with the DVD release this week.
The Avengers features characters from Marvel Comics, but the No. 2 movie of the year was based on a character from rival DC Comics — Batman. It's just the latest skirmish in a long, long, long-running battle between Marvel fans and DC fans.
When the economic crisis erupted in Greece and the bottom fell out of the domestic wine market, the Kir-Yianni vineyard outside picturesque Naoussa decided to adapt. Like other wineries in Greece, it has increasingly tapped the export market, successfully marketing and selling wine in Europe, the United States and even China.
"If you ask me, this crisis has been good for us," says Stellios Boutaris, the son of the company's founder. "It's going to make us stronger."
Early voting is now an option in most of the country, and roughly a third of all Americans casting a ballot in the 2012 presidential race are expected to do so before Nov. 6, Election Day. For an early voting calendar and state deadlines for voter registration, visit http://apps.npr.org/early-voting-2012/
China, Japan and Taiwan all claim the Senkaku-Diaoyu islands as sovereign territory. On Tuesday, coast guard vessels from Japan and Taiwan dueled with water cannons after dozens of Taiwanese boats escorted by patrol ships sailed into waters around the islands.
Credit Kiyoshi Ota / Getty Images
Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara, seen here at a 2009 news conference, is blamed by some for touching off the worst foreign policy crisis between China and Japan in decades.
Japanese politicians are prone to vague pronouncements and a lot of bowing. But not Tokyo's flamboyant, ultraconservative governor, Shintaro Ishihara.
Ishihara, now in his fourth term, thrives on outrageous statements and sensational headlines, and is a central figure in the dispute between China and Japan over uninhabited islands in the East China Sea.
The islands, known as the Senkaku in Japan, and Diaoyu in China, have become the worst foreign policy crisis to embroil the two Asian superpowers in decades, stoked by nationalist feelings on both sides.
Cheryl Gleasner, a research technologist at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, works with a genome sequencing machine designed for disease surveillance. Since the SARS epidemic in 2003, advances in sequencing technologies have greatly speed up the ability to detect and track a new virus.
Credit BSIP / UIG via Getty Images
Coronaviruses get their name from the crown-like tentacles that surround their rims.
Credit Courtesy of Health Protection Agency.
The new coronavirus has been tentatively named London1_novel CoV 2012. A small piece of its genome tells researchers how closely related the virus is to other known coronavirus, such as SARS.
In January, NPR and ProPublica reported on a potential conflict of interest at Freddie Mac, a mortgage giant sponsored by the federal government. The stories noted that even as Freddie Mac was writing rules making it harder for homeowners to refinance their mortgages, it also was stepping up investments in securities that gain when homeowners remain stuck in high-rate loans.
The extended interview above includes parts one and two of the Morning Edition interview, plus additional material.
J.K. Rowling has a new novel. She's moved away from Harry Potter, the boy wizard whose stories prompted millions of kids to obsess over books big enough to serve as doorstops. Having concluded that series, she's written a novel for grown-ups called The Casual Vacancy, a story of troubled teenagers and their even more troubled parents.
After the global financial crisis hit in 2008, Pulitzer Prize winner J.R. Moehringer was so angry at banks, he says, he decided to write about the people who rob them — in the form of fiction, since he's not an economist.
"I thought it would be healthy to live vicariously through a bank robber at that moment that bankers were ruining the world," Moehringer tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross.
In his first historical novel, Sutton, Moehringer writes from the point of view of Willie Sutton, whom he calls the "greatest American bank robber."