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Fans of Amy Hempel have gotten used to waiting. In the 34 years since her debut book, Reasons to Live, was published, the short story writer has released just four books, one of which was a collection of her previous volumes. Her last book of new material, the critically acclaimed The Dog of the Marriage, hit bookstore shelves 14 years ago. In terms of literary output, she's basically the anti-Joyce Carol Oates.

Get Out may have been Michael Abels' first film score, but he's always known what makes music scary. "I actually have a memory of hearing 'In the Hall of the Mountain King' by Edvard Grieg when I was in a crib," Abels says, laughing. "And that piece terrified me."

Laila Lalami's new novel The Other Americans is told from the perspective of nine different narrators who have one thing in common: They've all "had the experience of dislocation," Lalami says.

The book begins with a Moroccan immigrant who is killed by a speeding driver in a hit and run. The narrators include the dead man himself, his wife, his adult daughter, a man who witnessed the crash, an Iraq war veteran, a detective, and others. The first-person accounts form a mosaic of race and class in America.

When Harpo Marx met Salvador Dalí, it was kismet, as Josh Frank reports in Giraffes on Horseback Salad, his diverting graphic novel about the pair's 1937 attempt to collaborate on a movie of the same name. While it's not too surprising that the troublemaking artist and the seditious comedian would be simpatico, their bond went deeper than that. They painted each other, and Dalí sent his new friend a full-size harp strung with barbed wire. Harpo replied with a photo of himself pretending to play the lethal harp, all his fingers wrapped in bandages.

Here's the good news: There's a lot of high-quality streaming video available right now, with great scripts and A-list actors. The bad news? Maybe there's just too much content to choose from.

It can be frustrating when viewers try to figure out which service has what they want to watch — Netflix, Prime, Hulu? It's about to get worse, as more streaming services launch this year.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Editior's note: This story contains a racial epithet.

Damon Young says he's spent much of his life waiting to be called by a name we won't repeat, even though it appears in his new memoir — What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Blacker — a lot. His essays are pointed, ruminative, often barbed and funny reflections on how the fact of his skin color has posed particular lifelong challenges, questions, and anxieties.

Aidy Bryant may be too young to remember, but back in the 1980s, there were a lot of Brians. So we'll ask her three questions — about musician Brian Eno, director Brian De Palma and Brian Johnson of AC/DC — and see how she does.

Bryant got her start doing sketch comedy at The Second City and iO in Chicago, and then headed to New York for Saturday Night Live. She now stars in the Hulu comedy Shrill.

Lawrence Ferlinghetti's Wit Is Afire In 'Little Boy'

Mar 23, 2019

Lawrence Ferlinghetti was a literary gateway drug for me, as he was for many teenagers, generations of them — kids for whom books were life rafts, carrying us over the choppy waters between late adolescence and early adulthood. Pictures of the Gone World, A Coney Island of the Mind, and even its less promising 1997 sequel, A Far Rockaway of the Heart, were like instruction books in freethinking and nonconformity.

The new movie Us, Jordan Peele's follow-up to Get Out, is a horror movie.

It starts with a black family on vacation. They go to the beach; dad buys a boat. Then things start getting creepy.

One night, another family dressed in red jumpsuits shows up in front of the house. And each member of this new family — mom, dad, sister, brother — is an identical copy of the family inside. They're doppelgangers.

Copyright 2019 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

Copyright 2019 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

There have been 45 presidents in the nation's history, but just 17 chief justices. Some of the men who presided over the U.S. Supreme Court were enormously influential. Others, not. The chief justice today, John G. Roberts Jr., has already served for 14 years and, at age 64, he could well serve for another 20.

There was a time in Summer Brennan's life when she wore high heels almost every day — when she was working at the United Nations. It was a place, as she describes it, of "suits and ties, skirts and silk blouses ... freshly shined wingtips and yes, high heels."

The heels were critical, as Brennan saw it, to being the kind of woman — professional, feminine, poised — who marched those halls of power with confidence. Brennan is now a writer, and she explores all this in her new book, High Heel. It's a meditation on beauty and power — and stilettos.

How do you feel when you're watching a detective story and the murder is definitively solved at the halfway point? Cheated ... or intrigued?

Trying To Do Good

Mar 21, 2019

It's always better to help someone than not, right?

We begin this episode in a virtual classroom. Several years ago Kellie Gillespie took an online course in social psychology, taught by Scott Plous of Wesleyan University. Hundreds of thousands of other people enrolled in the same online course.

Some mighty fancy millinery plays a key role in the Hungarian film Sunset.

A single moment approaches true serenity in the boilerplate true-terror thriller Hotel Mumbai. The movie depicts the 2008 terror attacks on the Indian city, some of which centered on a standoff at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel. I remember the attacks; the smoke billowing from the hotel, the survivors clamoring through broken windows to escape to the ground, several floors below. The movie undertakes to present, in excruciating detail, the day's violence.

There's so much to admire about Us, Jordan Peele's muscular follow-up to Get Out, that it's worth appreciating what Peele does when the ebb-and-flow of horror tension reaches low tide. Many of the most celebrated horror maestros are hailed for their big, atmospheric set-pieces, but getting to those moments can often feel like crude narrative patchwork, the listless verses before a killer chorus.

Imagine Georgia O'Keeffe needing "luck" to paint a flower. But there it is, in the artist's twirling calligraphy, in a letter to her friend, documentary filmmaker Henwar Rodakiewicz.

Maybe I've been absurd about wanting to do a big flower painting, but I've wanted to do it and that is that. I'm going to try. Wish me luck.

'The True Queen' Casts A Pleasant Spell

Mar 21, 2019

Poor Muna's arrival in England is less than auspicious. She and her sister Sakti are refugees from Janda Baik, sent away by their mentor Mak Genggang to seek the mystery of their past (and avoid an international incident with colonizers). But Sakti vanished during the sisters' journey through Fairy. And Muna's quest to get her sister back is complicated by British thaumaturgical politics, the mysteries of Fairy, and the fact that Muna has no magic — and nothing to wear to Amelia Stapleton's coming out.

A Summer Of Second Chances In 'Small Town Hearts'

Mar 21, 2019

Before Lillie Vale's Small Town Hearts even began, I was struck by the dedication: "To anyone who ever needed a second chance." I'm a sucker for a good dedication. And who among us hasn't ever wanted (or needed) a second chance at something?

Fair warning: It may be tough to find some of the 2019 Whiting Award winners on the shelves of your local bookstore. Most of the emerging writers have little more than a single widely published book to their name. A couple of them don't even have that.

Copyright 2019 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

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'The Lost Gutenberg' Traces One Bible's 500-Year Journey

Mar 20, 2019

One of the first things I did when I moved to Austin a decade ago was visit the Gutenberg Bible housed in the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas.

As it has annually for 17 years, the Library of Congress picked out a wide-ranging set of recordings — songs, albums, speeches, monologues, field recordings and some very old phonograph cylinders — to add to the National Recording Registry, bringing the total number of works within it to 525.

In 'Horizon,' Considering All That Is Connected

Mar 20, 2019

A Barry Lopez book is never a quick read: "Each place on Earth goes deep."

Of course, deftly sketched landscapes are one of his chief delights — and Horizon, suspended halfway between travelogue and memoir, offers plenty of them. But Lopez — who often chronicles himself wandering from one landscape to another, or away from the group he's journeying with, or away from the initial reason for coming to a place — wants us, above all else, to consider. To find context and connections. To think about where to go from here. To take our time.

The Sackler family's $1.3 million donation to the U.K.'s National Portrait Gallery will not go ahead as planned, as both sides say they're concerned that allegations of opioid profiteering against the family could overshadow the gift and become a distraction.

"It has become evident that recent reporting of allegations made against Sackler family members may cause this new donation to deflect the National Portrait Gallery from its important work," a spokesperson for the Sackler Trust said.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

The Library of Congress has announced the National Recording Registry class of 2018. It is an annual list of 25 recordings that the library deems worthy of preservation. Think of it as a kind of hall of fame for recorded sound, both voice and music.

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