The world of independent bookstores has a new member: Parnassus Books in Nashville, Tenn., opened its doors on Wednesday. The store has a marquee name behind it — best-selling novelist Ann Patchett, author of Bel Canto and State of Wonder, is the co-owner.
Lawmakers say pizza and french fries deserve to keep their place in school cafeterias. New nutrition standards aimed at putting more fresh and healthy food in front of kids are being revised in a current House agriculture appropriations bill. The latest version says the tomato sauce on a slice of pizza is the equivalent of a vegetable. Critics are likening it to the "ketchup-as-a-vegetable-controversy" during the Reagan administration.
Top Pentagon leaders went to Capitol Hill Tuesday and took tough questions from lawmakers on the future of the U.S. relationship with Iraq. Specifically, they addressed how the decision to withdraw all U.S. combat troops by the end of this year will impact Iraq's stability and U.S. national security interests in the region. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta told a congressional committee that, while U.S. military commanders wanted to keep a contingency force on the ground, it was Iraq's decision to make.
Earlier this year, on Jan. 8, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) was shot in the head as she met with constituents in Tucson, Ariz. She was one of 13 people injured that day. Six people were killed.
It had been four years since Giffords arrived in Washington as a wide-eyed freshman and told NPR: "Life's good and [I'm] very, very excited — so optimistic about taking our country in a new direction."
GUY RAZ, host: From NPR News, it's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Guy Raz.
MELISSA BLOCK: And I'm Melissa Block. Today, the Players' Union for the National Basketball Association decided to disband and take its fight with NBA owners to the courts. The move could jeopardize the entire 2011 to '12 NBA season. The union plans to argue that the NBA lockout of players is illegal and will sue the owners under antitrust laws.
Over the past 30 years, prolific American author Don DeLillo has written more than a dozen novels, including White Noise, Falling Man, Libra and Underworld. But his latest, The Angel Esmeralda, is a departure from his expansive novels. It is a collection of short stories — nine brief flashes, which, like DeLillo's longer works, center on characters who feel out of sync with the worlds around them.
Have you ever read a novel that is so propulsive you don't want to put it down (not even to play with your new kitten), and so well-plotted that it doesn't reveal itself to you until its 288th page — which just happens to be the book's final page as well? Marabou Stork Nightmares by Irvine Welsh is that kind of a novel.
On first glance, if you simply picked it up and shuffled its pages, it might not look appealing to some readers.
A good friend of mine is a Marcel Proust scholar and former milliner. She had just been to see fashion icon and brewery fortune heiress Daphne Guinness's exhibition at the Fashion Institute of Technology's Museum at FIT in New York when she sent me this email:
Would you wear a perfume that made you smell like "A Day at the Beach?" How about "Baby's Butt?" If so, scent inventor Christopher Brosius can help. His Brooklyn boutique is at the vanguard of the anti-perfume movement, as you might suspect by its name: I Hate Perfume.
"I'm not out to sell millions of bottles," Brosius tells weekends on All Things Considered guest host Jacki Lyden. "My work is really about things that really do smell wonderful, but don't have a lot of the properties that commercial perfumes do."
"I don't feel like I need to tell any lies," Betty Wright says. "You get to an age where you get tired of hiding behind whatever people think is correct. You just say what you have to say, and if they don't like it, it's OK."
Wright found fame in the 1970s as the voice behind the R&B hits "Clean Up Woman" and "Dance With Me." Today, Wright is much in demand as a vocalist, coach, writer, arranger and producer. Her first album out in 10 years is out this week; it's called Betty Wright: The Movie.
Round 7 of our Three-Minute Fiction contest attracted more than 3,000 story submissions. Tasked with writing an original short story that can be read in about three minutes, contestants had to include one character arriving to town and one character leaving town.
The judge for this round, writer Danielle Evans, has picked her favorite.
This week D.C. Court of Appeals agreed with the White House that the health care law does not violate the Constitution. The court's senior judge, a respected conservative voice, wrote the majority opinion. Weekends on All Things Considered guest host Jacki Lyden speaks with James Fallows of The Atlantic about this story and others from the past week.
There's no mistaking the protagonist of "Be Brave," a song from the new My Brightest Diamond album, All Things Will Unwind. Shara Worden, the group's classically trained singer, songwriter, and main creative force, makes it clear in the refrain: "Shara, now get to work/Shara, this is going to hurt."
Hugh Jackman has had one of the most bifurcated showbiz careers imaginable. He leapt to superstardom as the mutton-chopped mutant Wolverine in the X-Men movies and won a Tony Award as the gay Australian entertainer Peter Allen in The Boy from Oz. These days, he's starring in the robot-boxing film Real Steel and appearing on Broadway in a one-man show.
As the boxing world mourns the death of champion Joe Frazier this week, they also are gearing up for a big bout this weekend between Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez. Robert Siegel talks with sportswriter Stefan Fatsis about the state of boxing in Joe Frazier's day — and now.
Robert Siegel and Guy Raz revisit arguably one of the program's most memorable phrases this week: ninja librarians. Also, they address one listener's email about the degree of Master of Library Science.
The art of the piano is a study in evolution — of both an instrument and of human talent. Among us there have been a rare few whose gifts included the physical dexterity, the innate musicality and the creativity to make the instrument sound brilliant.
Veterans Day is the day when Americans remember and thank members of the armed forces who fought in foreign wars. Nearly 1.4 million men and women have left the service since serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. A group of musicians in San Marcos, Texas, just down the highway from Austin, has started a songwriting workshop especially for returning veterans, believing that composing music can help a person heal from the wounds of war.
Karl Marlantes is the author of What It Is Like To Go To War.
I returned to America in October of 1969 after 13 months as a Marine in Vietnam. While I was there, I would comfort myself by imagining all the girls I ever knew hugging me in a huge warm group embrace. Somehow, I thought something similar would be waiting for me when I came home.
A steady drip of revelations in the News Corp. phone-hacking scandal has called into question James Murdoch's testimony before a parliamentary committee in July. Murdoch has been asked back to clarify the discrepancies.
The State Department is delaying a decision for at least a year on whether to approve the Keystone pipeline. The $7 billion pipeline would carry oil from the tar sands of Alberta, Canada, through the U.S. to Gulf of Mexico refineries. Nebraska's state government and environmental groups have put intense pressure on the State Department and White House to reject the pipeline's proposed route. NPR's Richard Harris talks with Robert Siegel about the project.
After keeping a nervous world waiting for days, the squabbling politicians of debt-ridden Greece finally announced a new interim government Thursday. It will be headed by a former European Central banker, Lucas Papademos, whose main task will be to ensure that Greece meets the conditions set by its European partners to receive new loan money and avoid default. That means showing that Greece will enforce austerity measures.
It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Guy Raz.
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And I'm Robert Siegel.
Maybe it's not so bad. That seemed to be the read of investors when they saw today's economic numbers. Better than expected news about unemployment stoked some optimism that the U. S. will avoid a double-dip recession. And stock market recovered a bit from yesterday's drop.
But the news is not as good in Europe, as NPR's Chris Arnold reports