Arts & Life

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This is the soundtrack to one of Disney's most beloved theme park rides.


Nick Laird knows how to turn a phrase. The first 150 pages or so of my copy of his latest novel, Modern Gods, bristle with Post-it notes; I placed them next to scenes or sometimes just words that caught my eye, so fresh can his writing be.

If you crack open a beer this Fourth of July, history might not be the first thing on your mind. But for Theresa McCulla, the first brewing historian at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History, the story of beer is the story of America.

"If you want to talk about the history of immigration in America, or urbanization or the expansion of transportation networks, really any subject that you want to explore, you can talk about it through beer," McCulla says.

"Grief Cottage" By: Gail Godwin

Jul 3, 2017

“Grief Cottage”

Author: Gail Godwin  

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Pages: 336

Price: $20.00 (Hardcover)

Because Gail Godwin lived for a good while in Asheville, North Carolina and has lived in Woodstock, New York since 1976, it is easy to forget she is an Alabama woman, raised in Birmingham.

Godwin had huge early successes with the novels “A Southern Family” and” A Mother and Two Daughters” which has sold over a million and a half copies.

"Extraordinary Adventures" By: Daniel Wallace

Jul 3, 2017

“Extraordinary Adventures”

Author: Daniel Wallace   

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Pages: 328

Price: $25.99 (Hardcover)

Daniel Wallace’s new novel opens with a scene familiar to all. Edsel Bronfman is at home when the phone rings. Poor, naïve Edsel—and who would name a child Edsel, the most sensational failure in American automotive history?—answers, fearing it is bad news. Perhaps his mother is ill or he is being fired from his job. Edsel is not an optimistic fellow.

“The Trouble with Reality: A Rumination on Moral Panic in Our Time”

Author: Brooke Gladstone  

Publisher: Workman Publishing

$8.95 (Paperback)

Pages: 92

Brooke Gladstone, as National Public Radio listeners know, is the co-host, with Bob Garfield, of “On the Media.”

On that show, the hosts give some news, but more often, talk with journalists and others who discuss how the news is gathered, sorted, delivered. What methods are changing? Is the media doing its best? What aspects of media need improving? What sources are trustworthy?

"Small Great Things" By: Jodi Picoult

Jul 3, 2017

“Small Great Things”

Author: Jodi Picoult   

Publisher: Ballantine Books

Pages: 464

Price: $28.99 (Hardcover)

This is the third of the three finalists for the Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction, given to a novel which “features the role of lawyers in society and their power to effect change.” Read all three and cast your vote at by June 30.

Jodi Picoult is a terrifically successful author of popular novels, many of which have been best sellers, the most popular of which may be “Leaving Time.”

"Last Days of Night" By: Graham Moore

Jul 3, 2017

“Last Days of Night”

Author: Graham Moore    

Publisher: Random House

Pages: 357

Price: $28.00 (Hardcover)

Last week I reviewed “Gone Again,” the first of the three finalists for the Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction. This is the second; next week I will talk about the third.

Anyone interested may read all three novels and cast a vote for the winner at The deadline is June 30th.

They call her the queen of summer, because writer Elin Hilderbrand has perfected the kind of book you can devour while sitting on the beach or by a lake, or pretty much anywhere on a hot summer day. She sets her stories in Nantucket, a summer paradise where she lives year round.

Hilderbrand fell in love with summer when she was young, at the cottage her family rented on Cape Cod. Her father set down some strict rules for the kids, including the most important one: If the sun was shining, they had to spend the whole day at the beach.

Japanese purikura photo booths, which produce selfies that you can decorate and print out, predate Snapchat filters by at least a decade. At about $3.50 a pop, they are still attracting hordes of Tokyo teenagers.

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On-air challenge: Here are some words. For each one, think of a word that can follow mine to complete a familiar two-word phrase. The first two letters of my word must be the first and last letters of yours.

Ex. Freedom --> FIGHTER ["freedom" starts with FR, and "fighter" starts and ends with FR]

3-letter answer


4-letter answers





5-letter answers





6-letter answers




Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit


Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit


Hollie McNish is a British poet and a spoken word artist whose videos have millions of views on YouTube, like this one, entitled "Embarrassed," about all the flak that McNish got for breastfeeding her daughter in public.

How Thelma & Louise Drove Hollywood 'Off The Cliff'

Jul 2, 2017

"I don't get it. It's two bitches in a car."

It's the least surprising thing in the world that a nameless Hollywood executive had this reaction to Callie Khouri's script for Thelma & Louise. It could be a line from the movie itself — there's no shortage of men with that attitude. (Thelma and Louise pull one of them over and blow up his truck.) It's more surprising that, in a town where million-dollar business is shaped by such opinions, the movie ever got made.

If you know any musicals at all, then you probably know the beloved Fiddler on the Roof. It tells the story of the dairy man Tevye and his family, and it's set in the town of Anatevka in czarist Russia.

In the musical, and second eldest daughter, Hodel, makes the bold decision to leave her family and everything she knows to find her fiancé, who has been sent to a labor camp in Siberia. As she boards the train, Hodel says to her father, "God alone knows when we shall see each other again."

Natalie Maynor [Flickr]

We humans enjoy sharing things with our pets, but some things that are part of our celebrations can actually harm our furry friends.  Making an emergency trip to the veterinarian's office is no way to celebrate Independence Day! 


Seventy-four high school singers and dancers, selected from a pool of 50,000 kids across America, recently came to New York City to strut their stuff. They were participants in the Jimmy Awards, which honor the best high school musical theater performers from around the country.

I wonder how many households of kids growing up in the late 1980s and early '90s had their ideas of the supernatural formed by the tall, thin black hardcovers of a Time-Life series called Mysteries of the Unknown. My family had them, and I don't think my parents could have told you where they came from. They just seemed to be library staples, with individual volumes like Psychic Powers, Mystic Places and Alien Encounters.

For parents, the thought of a child being sick or hurt can be a heart-stopper. Fortunately, for those who do confront such realities, there are doctors like Kurt Newman.

Newman is president and CEO of Children's National Health System, known as Children's National, in Washington, D.C. He started there as a surgeon more than 30 years ago.

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"Baby Driver" is a heist movie told from the point of view of the getaway driver named Baby.


ANSEL ELGORT: (As Baby) I'm the driver.

Copyright 2017 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.


Meet The Expert

Jun 30, 2017 this installment of Meet the Expert, we chat with Karen Green, the Librarian for Ancient and Medieval History, and the Curator for Comics and Cartoons at Columbia University, about her two passions. Then she helps us challenge guest musician Julian Velard in a game about ancient precursors to comic books

Heard On Betty Gilpin: GLOW-ing Faces

Golden Sidekicks

Jun 30, 2017

In a tribute to Blanche, Dorothy, and Rose, guest musician Julian Velard graces us with the Golden Girls theme song "Thank You For Being a Friend," rewritten to be about famous sidekicks. Our contestants buzz in to answer who he is singing about.

Heard On Betty Gilpin: GLOW-ing Faces

Don't Be So Possessive

Jun 30, 2017

Take ownership of this tough word game, where the S of a famous person's last name is moved to the end of their first name to make a possessive phrase. For example, if we said that this star of Obvious Child is always tardy, the answer would be, "Jenny's Late," from Jenny Slate.

Heard On Betty Gilpin: GLOW-ing Faces

Betty Gilpin: GLOW-ing Faces

Jun 30, 2017

"I [like to] make a lot of weird faces," GLOW's Betty Gilpin said, explaining why in her acting career, she's felt boxed-in by roles that require her only to look beautiful. Her actor parents and theatrical upbringing contributed to her hyper-expressive face. "My mom used to play a lot of super character-y I was sort of raised to be a clown. Because of that, my jobs were fewer and farther-between, but the jobs I did get let me make bigger faces."


Jun 30, 2017

Are you a logophile — a lover of words? Then you know that the suffix -phile is used to specify a love or affection someone has for something. For this game, contestants guess which of two audio clues a certain -phile would be way into.

Heard On Betty Gilpin: GLOW-ing Faces

Seize The Data

Jun 30, 2017

If staying home and binge-watching a streaming show is always your plan B, you might say you have a "Safety Netflix." Our contestants take a trip to Silicon Valley in this game where we mash up common names, phrases, and titles with technology companies.

Heard On Betty Gilpin: GLOW-ing Faces

If And Only If

Jun 30, 2017

What do mastiffs, bailiffs, and chiffon all have in common? The letters I-F-F, of course! For this final round, every answer will contain those letters in consecutive order.

Heard On Betty Gilpin: GLOW-ing Faces

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He is sometimes known as the Indiana Jones of his area of research — ancient ales, wines and extreme beverages. Others call him Dr. Pat.

Patrick McGovern has spent decades searching for and analyzing the residues of fermented drinks that can be hundreds or thousands of years old — and then re-creating them.