Arts & Life

Writers are drawn to oddballs and outsiders, in much the way that dogs out for a walk veer toward fellow canines. The endearing pre-adolescent narrator of Camille Bordas' novel, How To Behave in a Crowd, is the youngest of six siblings growing up in a small French village. He's the odd man out because he's the most normal of the lot: All of his older sisters and brothers have skipped multiple grades, and three of them earn PhDs during the course of this book.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Alabama has a new poet laureate. Jennifer Horne was recently elected to the position by the Alabama Writers’ Conclave and is just awaiting Governor Kay Ivey’s signature. We sat on her back porch just outside of Tuscaloosa, and with the buzzing of cicadas, an occasional dog barking, and even a train…I asked her what a poet laureate does?”

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

In the event of a zombie attack, author Max Brooks will be ready. His books The Zombie Survival Guide and World War Z are fictional manifestations of his own fears and anxieties — and his impulse to overcome them by preparing for the worst.

"The notion of learning how to survive when the old world rules no longer apply ... pretty much sums up everything I write about," Brooks says.

Kamila Shamsie's Home Fire opens with a scene that will likely be familiar to any Muslim who lives in, or has traveled to, the West. Isma Pasha waits in a British airport while security officers check her luggage, go through the browser history on her laptop, and demand "to know her thoughts on Shias, homosexuals, the Queen, democracy, The Great British Bake Off, the invasion of Iraq, Israel, suicide bombers, dating websites."

The thing that makes actor Bruce Campbell a cult favorite has less to do with his output (which includes such cheeseball epics as Bubba Ho-Tep and Man with the Screaming Brain) and more to do with his input – that is, the quality he can be counted upon to bring to even the schlockiest table: It's an artisanal cocktail of Dad-joke corniness, jockish swagger, withering derision and a willingness – nay, a palpable need – to come off looking like a jerk.

Back when Amazon first introduced the Kindle, and e-books were all the rage, a lot of people thought printed books and the stores that sell them were going the way of dinosaurs. But a decade later, print is outselling digital, and many independent bookstores are thriving. Even Amazon is opening brick-and-mortar stores (seven so far).

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Nicole was only 23 when she had a double mastectomy following a breast cancer diagnosis. After she recovered, Nicole got a chest tattoo that symbolizes how she wants to live life after cancer.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Growing up in southwestern Virginia in recent decades, poet Molly McCully Brown often passed by a state institution in Amherst County that was once known as the "Virginia State Colony for Epileptics and Feebleminded."

The central plot mechanic that'll drive us to the end of this Game of Thrones season finally reveals itself: Jon needs to prove to ally and enemy alike that the White Walkers are both real and spectacular.

The film The Glass Castle is based on Jeannette Walls' best-selling memoir of the same name. It's the story of her family's tortured upbringing moving around the country and living in poverty with parents who were obsessed with being free of convention. The film stars Brie Larson as Jeannette, Naomi Watts as her mother and Woody Harrelson as her dad, Rex, an alcoholic whose rages and redemptions loomed large over his family.

Martha Anne Toll is the Executive Director of the Butler Family Fund; her writing is at www.marthaannetoll.com.

In the 1980s, quarterback Joe Montana of the San Francisco 49ers was known as the premier passer in the game. But you wouldn't even know his name if there hadn't been someone on the other end to catch his passes. Most often, that was wide receiver Jerry Rice, and today we've invited the Football Hall of Famer to play a game called "Take a seat, Joe Montana! It's time for Hannah Montana." Three questions for Jerry Rice about that other great Montana — Hannah.

Click the audio link above to see how he does.

American Humane Association

The 2017 Hero Dog Awards seek to find and recognize dogs who help people in many important ways.  Dogs are nominated in one of seven categories:  Service Dogs, Emerging Hero Dogs, Law Enforcement/Arson Dogs, Therapy Dogs, Military Dogs, Search and Rescue Dogs, Guide/Hearing Dogs. 

************

 

Great scandals often begin in passion or ambition. But how do you explain France's l'affaire Bettencourt?

Liliane Bettencourt, one of the richest women in the world, is now locked off from the world by Alzheimer's disease. She is heir to the L'Oreal cosmetics fortune of nearly $40 billion. Why would she have given perhaps as much as a billion dollars in cash, real estate, and art to François-Marie Banier, an artist and photographer who is a quarter of a century younger and openly gay? Was it extravagant support for a friend — or the cruel swindle of a senior citizen?

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

(SOUNDBITE OF NOCTURNAL ANIMAL NOISES)

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Nina Martyris is a literature-focused freelancer. Her writing has appeared on The New Yorker's website, The Paris Review Daily, The Guardian, NPR and elsewhere.

Liliane Bettencourt, the beautiful heiress to the L'Oréal cosmetics empire and richest woman in the world, had everything. But she was also bored stiff. Enter François-Marie Banier, a handsome, talented, brazen, witty, gay novelist and photographer, an aesthete known to have a way with older women.

Within weeks of being diagnosed with breast cancer at 29 years old, Nicole O'Hara of Phoenix, Md., underwent a double mastectomy. She had breast reconstruction during the same operation; then it was on to chemotherapy.

The ordeal left O'Hara with "big, ugly, red inflamed scars and stitches and drains," she says.

"It [was] a battlefield."

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Most people go to the fair to ride the Tilt-A-Whirl or eat funnel cakes, but not our Planet Money team. Robert Smith and Kenny Malone traveled to the Ohio State Fair to learn the secret art of selling people things they might not need.

Starting in late summer, national forests in Northwestern states like Oregon, Washington, Montana, and Idaho fill with eager berry hunters hoping to find a cache of dark maroon huckleberries. It's common for demand to exceed supply, leading to conflicts between Native Americans who have certain reserved picking areas, commercial pickers, and families hoping to continue their summer traditions.

In recent years, the British heartthrob Robert Pattinson has gone out of his way to prove that there is life after Twilight. After years spent playing a shimmery, chivalrous vampire, he went all dark and dystopian in art-house chillers like The Rover and Cosmopolis, and he recently popped up in a terrific supporting role in The Lost City of Z. But Pattinson has never undergone a transformation as revelatory as the one he pulls off in Good Time, a nerve-rattling new thriller from the sibling directors Josh and Benny Safdie.

Like a lot of kids in high school, Sam worries that he doesn't fit in.

"I'm a weirdo. That's what everyone says," declares the 18-year-old character at the center of Netflix's new dramatic comedy series Atypical.

One reason Sam struggles to fit in: He has autism.

As his character explains at the start of the first episode, sometimes he doesn't understand what people mean when they say things. And that makes him feel alone, even when he's not.

Part 4 of the TED Radio Hour episode Rethinking School.

About Linda Cliatt-Wayman's TED Talk

As principal of a low-performing high school, Linda Cliatt-Wayman's students faced huge challenges. She describes how she transformed her school while providing unwavering love and support for her students.

About Linda Cliatt-Wayman

Part 3 of the TED Radio Hour episode Rethinking School.

About Sal Khan's TED Talk

Sal Khan turned tutoring lessons with his cousins into a series of free educational videos called Khan Academy. His goal: To make learning accessible for everyone, everywhere.

About Sal Khan

Part 2 of the TED Radio Hour episode Rethinking School.

About Andreas Schleicher's TED Talk

Andreas Schleicher created PISA, an exam that compares the knowledge of 15-year-olds from around the world. He says the test can help us understand why some countries perform better than others.

About Andreas Schleicher

Tyler DeWitt: How Do We Get Kids Hooked On Science?

Aug 11, 2017

Part 1 of the TED Radio Hour episode Rethinking School.

About Tyler DeWitt's TED Talk

When a student complained that science textbooks were boring, teacher Tyler DeWitt got thinking about how he can make his lessons fun. DeWitt recounts his quest to make kids care about science.

About Tyler DeWitt

Pages