Arts & Life

Days after announcing that America's Test Kitchen co-founder Chris Kimball had left the company over a contract dispute, the enterprise's parent company says Kimball will continue to host America's Test Kitchen Radio, which is also a podcast.

Editor's note: A version of this story originally ran in November 2014.

The countdown to Thanksgiving has begun. And for those of us who already feel short on time during a regular week, the pressure is on to figure out just how to squeeze in all that extra shopping, prep work and cooking ahead of the holiday.

Sooty 'Lungdon' Is A Breathlessly Exciting Finale

Nov 19, 2015

I have read the conclusion to Edward Carey's Iremonger trilogy and am left a bit breathless, which on the whole is a good thing, as this is a sooty, choking, lung-blackening sort of book, and reading it with held breath is probably safest.

In 1950, Isaac Asimov revolutionized how we think about robotics with his short story collection I, Robot. The world has changed a lot since then, a fact Curtis White points out — and points out, and points out — in his book We, Robots. Subtitled Staying Human in the Age of Big Data, White's book is something of a sequel to his last one, 2013's The Science Delusion, in which he stirred up controversy by using both philosophy and satire to help puncture what he sees as today's overreliance on rigid, systematic thinking and social organization.

It was a glitzy night of bow ties and bon mots in New York City. But the real attractions at the 66th annual National Book Awards were the winners themselves: Adam Johnson, in fiction; Ta-Nehisi Coates, in nonfiction; Robin Coste Lewis, in poetry; and Neal Shusterman, in young people's literature.

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Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit



First there was "Chicago Fire," then "Chicago P.D." Last night came "Chicago Med." Chicago is taking over your TV.


The upcoming Thanksgiving holiday is generally celebrated with a bounty of food — and a mountain of leftovers, some of which, let's face it, will end up in the trash.

Growing up in New York City, film director and animator Peter Sohn remembers visiting the American Museum of Natural History as a kid and being awed by the dinosaurs on display there.

"There was a barosaurus in the atrium," Sohn tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "It was kind of standing on two legs, and it blew me away, that thing. ... It ignites the imagination to think that something that large could've roamed around New York."

[This piece describes plot elements of Misery stretching back to the novel that was published in 1987. Hopefully, you've read it by now, or maybe seen the movie, which is also quite good and is 25 years old. The age of both will hopefully earn a bit of indulgence when it comes to talking about plot.]

John Lennon "Walrus" eyeglass frames are for sale on the Web; Strawberry Fields has become a Tic Tac flavor. The Smart Beatle has been entombed by pop culture and rampant capitalism. There's nothing more to be written about him. It's all been said — but no one said it to Kevin Barry, author of the fab-tastic Beatlebone, a fictional biography that manages to be strange, hilarious and insightful all at once.

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When it comes to writing, David Mitchell, author of Cloud Atlas and The Bone Clocks, likes a challenge. Maybe that's why, in 2014, he began sharing his newest novel in a series of tweets.

The American writer Edgar Allan Poe might have invented detective fiction, but it's been a long time since the United States has had a monopoly on the genre. In the past few decades, Americans have fallen in love with mystery writers from as far away as Iceland and Japan.

Before the attacks on Paris on Friday, Matthew Inman was thinking a lot about the unpredictability of life.

A few days earlier he had posted his latest comic to his popular website, "The Oatmeal."

The cartoonist apologized to his fans because this comic strip is not like his usual work. It's not funny.

He says he didn't leave his house much over the five days it took him to draw and write the comic titled "It's going to be okay."

Dear Ms. You,

Hey, Mary-Louise Parker, you're a killer actress, you've hit 50, and you've written a funny, clever, genuinely moving book, Dear Mr. You. You took a form, the epistolary novel, mashed it up with another form, the celebrity memoir, and turned them both on their heads. Thirty-four intimate letters to various "Mr. You's" collectively demonstrate you've lived many lives. All the letters are to men, but of course they really serve to reveal ... Mary-Louise Parker.

Dear Prudence, also known as Emily Yoffe, has answered questions about everything: deathbed confessions, mysterious boxes in the attic, cheating spouses of course and, once, incestuous twins.

But after nearly a decade as Slate's advice columnist, Yoffe is stepping down. She wrote her last advice column on Thursday.

And now she's passing the baton to Mallory Ortberg, the writer, editor and co-founder of the site The Toast.

The Queen Of Swing Takes Old Age In Stride

Nov 15, 2015

The 1920s gave life to jazz, jukeboxes and the career of Norma Miller — the Queen of Swing. Now, at 95 years old, Miller is the last living member of Whitey's Lindy Hoppers, the group that took Lindy Hop — the original swing dance — out of Harlem's ballrooms and across the world.

In the aftermath of the coordinated terror attacks on Paris, people around the world have been taking to social media to share their grief and show support for the French people.

One image, in particular, has become a kind of icon of international solidarity: a simple, but powerful, black-and-white ink drawing of a peace sign — with the Eiffel Tower at its heart. The picture popped up online last night, and since then it has been shared, liked, tweeted and retweeted as people attempt to cope with the tragedy.

Greencolander (Michelle Tribe) [Flickr]

This is a time of year when there are fewer puppies and kittens available to adopt.  But shelters still have lots of great adult animals and even some older (senior) pets who need good homes and loving owners!


June Squibb was a professional actor for 60 years before landing her first Oscar nomination — at the age of 84 — for her role in the movie Nebraska. Her latest film is Love the Coopers.

We've invited her to play a game called "Horrible, tentacled monsters of the deep" — three questions about squids.

Saying that someone writes like an angel is a well-intentioned cliché. But Roger Angell writes like no one else. His eye and style are utterly clear, compelling, often funny, frequently moving. He's the only writer to be inducted into both the Baseball Hall of Fame and the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Instead of marking a half century with a few of her greatest hits from the ballet, Broadway or modern dance, the woman who has transformed dance in our time is on the road with two new pieces. Twyla Tharp says Preludes and Fugues, set to music by Bach, is "the world as it ought to be," and a jazz piece called Yowzie shows "the world as it is."

At 74 years old, Tharp is lean, limber and silver as a greyhound, with unblinking brown eyes behind round, owlish glasses.

When she thinks a question is wrong, silly or just obvious, she corrects it.

Book Review: 'Wild Hundreds,' Nate Marshall

Nov 13, 2015
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Nate Marshall is a rapper and breakbeat artist from the South Side of Chicago. He also publishes poetry. His first book - his first book of poems is called "Wild Hundreds." Tess Taylor has a review.

Last week, James Bond, this week James White — proof, should any be required, that fall movies come in all shapes and sizes.

Filmmaker Josh Mond, making his feature directing debut after producing a slew of intriguing indies, brings intensity to an intimate domestic drama about a feckless New York City slacker who appears to have a fight-or-flight approach to a familial crisis.

When you were a little kid, everyday objects could be amazing — twigs, bugs, old tires, there was potential in everything. And it's that sense of awe that the Smithsonian's Renwick Gallery is trying to recapture in its new show, Wonder.

The Coopers have a gorgeous kitchen. And since it's Christmastime, those granite countertops are lined end to end with magazine-ready displays of food: fresh chocolate pastries, fluffy mashed potatoes, brilliant red tomatoes, a shimmering glazed ham with pineapple slices. The extended family gathers only once a year under the same roof and Charlotte (Diane Keaton), the matriarch, wants everything to be perfect. Even Rags, the family dog, has a festive red bow tied around its neck. This is all pretext for a holiday entertainment that feels more like a horror movie.

Chef and food writer Kenji Lopez-Alt recently paid a visit to old stomping grounds: the Boston area, home to his alma mater, MIT.

He helped prepare one dinner at Roxy's Grilled Cheese, a small, hip sandwich shop in the Allston neighborhood, to share a recipe from his new book The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science.

Five years ago, the world was riveted by the plight of 33 miners trapped deep underground in Chile. For 69 days, we waited to see if the men would survive the collapse of a gold and copper mine. Then came a miraculous ending: All the miners were carried to safety in a tiny capsule called The Phoenix.

A Smarter Romantic Comedy In 'Man Up'

Nov 12, 2015

The producers of every romantic comedy wish they could unite two actors as cool as Lake Bell and Simon Pegg. Of course, landing leads of that caliber only ups the pressure for the film to do them justice. Man Up, the movie that made this connection happen, is smart and uses its excellent cast well enough to raise the bar a bit for breezy larks and big smooches.