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Arts and culture

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MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

During World War II, the British were worried about their own countrymen with Nazi sympathies.

That's the historical basis for Kate Atkinson's new novel, Transcription. It follows a character named Juliet Armstrong, who was recruited to the British Secret Service as a teenager to help monitor fascist sympathizers in 1940.

For some, there's a niggling feeling of being inside your own life that attacks you in your late 20s.

You're past your early adolescence, grounded in one place and in friendships, looking at the world around you and thinking: I am on the cusp of becoming exactly the person I am.

New Book: Vaccines Have Always Had Haters

Sep 23, 2018

Vaccinations have saved millions, maybe billions, of lives, says Michael Kinch, associate vice chancellor and director of the Center for Research Innovation in Business at Washington University in St. Louis. Those routine shots every child is expected to get can fill parents with hope that they're protecting their children from serious diseases.

But vaccines also inspire fear that something could go terribly wrong. That's why Kinch's new book is aptly named: Between Hope and Fear: A History of Vaccines and Human Immunity.

As a Girl Raised In The South, I grew up knowing the legend of the infamous Unclaimed Baggage Center, the Alabama store that buys and sells lost airline bags. Back in the day, their major claim to fame was the acquisition of a Hoggle puppet from the production of Labyrinth — my favorite character in one of my favorite movies. I never managed to make a pilgrimage, but the title of this book definitely piqued my interest. And what a magnificent gem of a story I found.

When Katharine Briggs — a mother and homemaker — began what she called a "cosmic laboratory of baby training" in her Michigan living room in the early 1900s, she didn't know she was laying the groundwork for what would one day become a multi-million dollar industry. Briggs was just 14 years old when she went to college, and ended up graduating first in her class, explains author Merve Emre. She married the man who graduated just behind her at No. 2 — and while he became a scientist, she was expected to take care of the home.

The second season of Netflix's American Vandal dropped last Friday. The first season proved a slow-build, under-the-radar, word-of-mouth phenomenon; the second arrived to a devoted and vocal fanbase. Season one was something you started hearing about over the course of weeks and months, from disparate friends and family; full, spoilery reviews of season two were posted at 12:01:01 a.m. last Friday.

When Aly Raisman was a little girl, she used to watch and rewatch the 1996 U.S. women's gymnastics team win the Olympic gold and say to herself: Someday, that will be me. She was right, not once — but twice. Raisman won two team gold medals as captain of the U.S. Olympic teams in 2012 and 2016. And she also won gold for her floor exercise in 2012. Raisman chronicles her career the memoir Fierce: How Competing for Myself Changed Everything.

You think you're accomplishing something in life until you realize that at age 29, playwright Lorraine Hansberry had a play produced on Broadway. Not only did she have a play, but her drama, A Raisin in the Sun, beat out Tennessee Williams and Eugene O'Neill to win the prestigious New York Drama Critics' Circle for the best play of the year. Let that sink in.

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

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

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

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

The title of The Sisters Brothers is both tongue-in-cheek and matter-of-fact. It's about two brothers with the last name Sisters: Eli Sisters and Charlie Sisters.

The whole movie is like that, a series of deadpan jokes wrapped in a shambling no-big-deal realism. The humor never feels arch or tacked-on; it wells up naturally from the characters and the funny, stirring, brutal story in which they find themselves.

Life Can Be A Mess, But So Is 'Life Itself'

Sep 20, 2018

Imagine that you sit down in a darkened theater to see a film about which you know nothing. (This film does not exist, but go with it.) In the first scene, a man lovingly rehabilitates a three-legged dog. In the next — apparently unconnected — scene, a young girl sits behind the wheel of a car on her father's lap, giggling as he lets her "drive." Words come up on the screen: "Written by Dan Fogelman." At this point, if you are smart, you will lean over to the person next to you, and you will whisper in their ear, as inconspicuously as you can.

There's a deft sleight-of-hand at work in John Bellairs' The House with a Clock in its Walls, a children's mystery published in 1973, about warlocks and witches, necromancy, and a doomsday machine that nonetheless carries itself with whimsy. Those who encountered the book as children will remember the lingering creepiness of its gothic elements, enforced by Edward Gorey's illustrations, and the old house at 100 High Street, which is full of wonder and terror in equal measure.

What if Merchant-Ivory ... but woke?

What if you took the sumptuous production design of A Room With a View or Howards End — all those bustles and corsets and dickeys and top hats, all those horse-drawn carriages and calling cards and country estates — and invested it with a new sense, and/or sensibility, of this our modern age?

I'll tell you what if. Wash Westmoreland's handsome, achingly well-intentioned and less than lively Colette, is what if.

"Success and celebrity doesn't quite go with comedy," Gilda Radner once said. "Because there's something about being an underdog and a voyeur that makes comedy possible."

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

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

When the creators of the HBO series The Deuce first approached Maggie Gyllenhaal about starring in the show as a sex worker, she didn't immediately say yes.

Set in New York City in the 1970s, The Deuce centers on the intersection of sex work, pornography, organized crime, the police, politicians and feminists. Gyllenhaal didn't have a problem with the role, but she did have strong feelings about how the power dynamics of sex should be portrayed.

Updated at 1:30 p.m. ET

Judges have unveiled their finalists for the 2018 Man Booker Prize on Thursday, whittling the prestigious fiction award's possible winners to a shortlist of just half a dozen novels: Anna Burns' Milkman, Esi Edugyan's Washington Black, Daisy Johnson's Everything Under, Rachel Kushner's The Mars Room, Richard Powers' The Overstory, and Robin Robertson's The Long Take.

Henri Langlois never made a single film — but he's considered one of the most important figures in the history of filmmaking. Possessed by what French philosopher Jacques Derrida called "archive fever," Langlois began obsessively collecting films in the 1930s — and by the outset of World War II, he had one of the largest film collections in the world. The archive's impact on the history of French cinema is legendary — as is the legacy of its controversial keeper.

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Dancer and choreographer Arthur Mitchell has died.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED BROADCAST)

ARTHUR MITCHELL: I was the first black classical dancer with a major company in the United States of America.

Americans like to think of our country as the land of the free — but that's not the case for everyone: More than 2 million Americans are in jails or prisons in the U.S.

Khaled Hosseini is known for his books about Afghanistan: The Kite Runner, A Thousand Splendid Suns, And The Mountains Echoed.

His latest work Sea Prayer is a departure from those best-selling novels — it's a short work of fiction that captures the heartbreak of the Syrian refugee crisis. It's told as a poetic letter, from a father to a son as they prepare to embark on a journey across the sea, and features the illustrations of Dan Williams.

When Linda Kay Klein was 13, she joined an evangelical church that prized sexual "purity" and taught that men and boys were sexually weak.

According to Klein's faith, girls and women were responsible for keeping male sexual desire in check by wearing modest clothing, maintaining a sexless mind and body and taking a "purity pledge," in which they promised to remain virgins until marriage.

The title of Jill Lepore's new history of the United States should be instantly recognizable to all Americans.

It comes from, of course, the second sentence of the Declaration of Independence: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." It's hard to think of a single passage more emblematic of the American ethos.

Luce D'Eramo's Deviation, first published in Italian in 1979, went on to become a worldwide bestseller. Though considered a novel, the book's story and structure untangle its author's complicated life through a combination of autobiographical fiction and memoir. As such, it defies neat categorization. Finally, 39 years after its debut, comes its first-ever English edition, vividly translated by Anne Milano Appel.

Rarely has the opening of an awards show felt as inauspicious as the first 10 minutes or so of Monday night's Emmy Awards. An opening number called "We Solved It," making light of the idea that Hollywood's meager progress toward greater diversity constitutes a meaningful resolution to the issue, featured a number of appealing TV personalities: Saturday Night Live's Kenan Thompson and Kate McKinnon, Tituss Burgess of The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Kristen Bell of The Good Place, RuPaul, Sterling K. Brown of This Is Us, and Ricky Martin.

The 70th annual Primetime Emmy Awards ceremony is airing Monday night on NBC. But before presenters took to rattling off nominees, before award winners began their acceptance speeches — even before this year's hosts, Colin Jost and Michael Che of Saturday Night Live and Weekend Update fame, started cracking jokes — the stars first streamed down the red carpet. Here's a look at what they wore.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

When Burt Reynolds died earlier this month, he was remembered as a charismatic movie star ready with a wink and a smile on and off screen. Sally Field's memories of him are more complicated.

Emmys 2018 Winners: The Complete List

Sep 17, 2018

Updated at 10:59 p.m. ET

The 2018 Primetime Emmy Awards were broadcast Monday night on NBC. Below is the list of winners. (Winners are in bold italics.)


Outstanding drama series

The Americans (FX)

The Crown (Netflix)

Game of Thrones (HBO)

The Handmaid's Tale (Hulu)

Stranger Things (Netflix)

This Is Us (NBC)

Westworld (HBO)

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