Arts & Life

Dan Reynolds is known to millions of fans around the world as the lead singer of the popular band, Imagine Dragons, because of hits like "Radioactive," "Thunder," and last year's chart topper, "Believer."

The spiritual questions at the core of "Believer" are unmistakable, but also deeply personal. Now, though, Reynolds has taken those questions to new, more public terrain — the treatment of LGBTQ members of the church of Reynold's upbringing, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Mormon Church.

Editor's note: This review contains spoilers. Read on at your own risk.

The Flu - in Dogs

Feb 3, 2018
lizasperling [Flickr]

With the flu season being especially difficult for humans this year, concern is growing about the threat of dog flu.  Yes, dogs have their own strain of flu, not contagious to humans but very easily spread to other dogs and even to cats.  The advice is the same for your dog as it is for you - get the flu shot.

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Tamora Pierce is a fantasy author who has been beloved for so long that both our books editor and producer — 12 years apart in age — kept her books in their school lockers.

Pierce started out as one of J.R.R. Tolkein's heirs — but over the last few decades has expanded the realms of high fantasy to consider issues of gender, race, war and violence. Fellow fantasy writers cite her as an influence, too, as you can see if you flip through the blurbs at the front of her new book, Tempests and Slaughter.

Most animals on earth sleep during the night and are awake during the day, except for the other animals that do the opposite, like raccoons (and Elvis Presley). But why? How do animals set their internal clocks? It was a mystery for centuries, but now we know thanks to Michael Rosbash and his colleagues, who won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Medicine for figuring it out.

Rosbash's crew used fruit flies for their research on circadian rhythms, so we asked him three questions about barflies — the people who seem to spend both days and nights perched on bar stools.

Every now and then I read an article or essay musing about whether or not young adult literature is "too dark" — whether there's too much sex, too much violence, too much sadness. The premise of these essays is usually that teenagers exist in some pristine unspoiled state until they pick up a book about drug use or self-harm that makes them unhappy.

This is of course not the case — and I'm glad that Kim Purcell's This is Not a Love Letter exists for teenagers who have to look after their parents, navigate hostile social environments, and cope with trauma.

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ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Stop me if you've heard this one before.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "GROUNDHOG DAY")

BILL MURRAY: (As Phil) It's February 2, Groundhog Day.

Copyright 2018 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

Salt and pepper shakers are so omnipresent on tabletops that adding a dash of the white or black stuff (or both!) is almost a dining rite. The seasonings pair well with just about everything and they go together like — well, salt and pepper.

I fell in love this week. Happens more often than you might think.

But the fact that it's happened before, and will happen again, doesn't mean this latest infatuation is any less passionate, abiding, head-over-heels, birds-suddenly-appear, stars-fall-down-from-the-sky resolute.

My husband's cool with it. He always is; we have an understanding. Also the object of my love is a podcast. Probably should have mentioned that at the top.

Atia Abawi is used to looking at war through the eyes of a journalist. She's made a career in news covering Iraq and Afghanistan — the latter being the country her own family fled in the early 1980s.

Increasingly though, Abawi has turned to fiction.

"It was a way for me as a journalist to go beyond those 700 words or that two-minute clip," she says. "To give insight in a way that I couldn't as a journalist, to give the full story, a depth that the reader could take in and find a way to empathize more with the people who are struggling."

When Orlando (Francisco Reyes) enters a rooftop supper-club in Santiago at the beginning of the film, he can't take his eyes off Marina (Daniela Vega), a striking young vocalist who's crooning lyrics about throwing her boyfriend out with the garbage because, she sings, his love "is like yesterday's newspaper."

She sings that line straight to Orlando, with a little smile. She's definitely not throwing him away ... she's moving into his apartment as soon as they celebrate her 27th birthday.

The late Iranian master Abbas Kiarostami often talked about the audience "completing" his movies, which of course implies that he left his work deliberately incomplete, as if to tease the imagination. "I make one film as a filmmaker," he once said, "but the audience, based on that film, makes 100 movies in their minds. Every audience member can make his own movie. This is what I strive for."

They say that movies are the language of dreams, so what does it mean when a film's idea of dreamland is as dull and sterile as a linoleum floor? On Body and Soul,a Hungarian production premiering on Netflix Friday, February 2nd, is a romance of the imagination that leaves nothing to ours. Nevertheless, it has just enough sad, weird, Michel Gondry-like touches to snag both the Golden Bear at last year's Berlin Film Festival and an Oscar nomination for best foreign language film.

What is love?

That query proves even more complicated than usual in Before We Vanish, Japanese director Kiyoshi Kurosawa's engaging if messy, and overstuffed, 20th feature. It's a riff on Invasion of the Body Snatchers that meanders from action to satire to romantic affirmation.

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ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

As the investigation into the Trump campaign and Russian interference in the 2016 election forges on, Robert Mueller, the Justice Department special counsel leading the investigation, has managed to stay largely out of public view.

Journalist Garrett Graff says that is in keeping with Mueller's personality: "This is not someone who in any way has tried to grab the spotlight, but instead has kept his head down and worked hard throughout his career."

A lot of very hard work is going on at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C.

A muscled guy in an undershirt tightens a big bolt with his wrench; a farm worker bends almost in half, filling his sack with cotton; Rosie the Riveter rolls up her sleeve to tackle her factory job. They're all part of an exhibition called "The Sweat Of Their Face: Portraying American Workers."

But not all the laborers are big and burly.

For the first time in more than two decades, the National Book Foundation is adding a new category to its annual slate of literary prizes: the National Book Award for Translated Literature. The new prize announced Wednesday will recognize a work of either fiction or nonfiction translated into English and published in the U.S.

Executive Director Lisa Lucas described the move, which was approved unanimously by the foundation's board of directors, as a bid to transcend traditional boundaries and broaden the awards' scope for the sake of American readers.

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TERRY GROSS, HOST:

The Super Bowl halftime show is arguably as big a spectacle as the actual game. And back in 2015, it launched an unwitting star.

Katy Perry was the halftime artist, but one of her dancers stole the spotlight. During her performance of the song "Teenage Dream," she was flanked onstage by two dancers dressed in enormous blue shark costumes. The one on the right seemed to dance in sync; the one on the other side flailed as if he'd been encased in that costume against his will.

"Left Shark" became an instant sensation.

German television is coming into its own. After the recent stateside success of shows like Dark and Deutschland 83, the latest subtitled offering is a crime series set in 1920s Berlin. Launching Tuesday on Netflix, Babylon Berlin (based on the crime novels of German writer Volker Kutscher) explores the Weimar era's raging nightlife, flourishing cabaret scene and brutal criminal underbelly.

Updated 6:45 p.m. ET

Actor Mark Salling died Tuesday in what was reported to the coroner's office as a suicide by hanging. No official determination on whether it was suicide has been annouced. The 35-year-old former Glee star was weeks away from sentencing after pleading guilty to possession of child pornography involving a prepubescent minor.

Attorney Michael Proctor confirmed Salling's death.

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TERRY GROSS, HOST:

To mark Black History Month, Penguin Classics is reprinting six early 20th century books by African-American writers. The five Harlem Renaissance novels, along with W.E.B Du Bois' 1903 masterwork, The Souls of Black Folk, are much more than a summons to reader-ly duty. Rather, they're a shake up and wake up call, reminding readers of the vigorous voices of earlier African-American writers, each of whom had their own ingenious take on "the race problem" and identity politics.

'The Hazel Wood' Has Few Uses For Enchantment

Jan 30, 2018

It's a writer problem: now and then, a book comes along with a premise so delicious that you wish you'd thought of it. But there is danger in a book like that. Will it deliver what you want like a golden box full of perfect snowmelt from atop the highest mountain? Or will you open the box to discover the cut-out heart of a poor maiden who never had a fair shot?

Twenty years ago, in 1997, a bizarre story hit the national news: Thirty-nine people had killed themselves by ingesting poison in a mansion near San Diego. All 39 were dressed identically and had the same haircuts — and they were all members of the Heaven's Gate cult.

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Now we remember a man who spent a lifetime bringing the ski slopes to the big screen.

(SOUNDBITE OF DOCUMENTARY, "SKI COUNTRY")

Driving Truman Capote 

Author: Theron Montgomery  

Publisher: Boat Shop Press

Pages: 63

Price: $11.00 (Paper)

When we want to know the life story of one our favorite authors, we usually go to the full-length biography. In the case of Truman Capote, that would be Gerald Clark or the composite biography that George Plimpton assembled by interviewing about 170 people who knew Capote in Monroeville, New York City, Hollywood or elsewhere and creating a kind of biographical montage of their impressions and recollections.

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