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Arts and culture

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Benny Oh hears things. Things have spoken to him since he was 13 and his father died. As Ruth Ozeki writes near the opening of her new novel, "The Book Of Form And Emptiness," books are especially talkative.

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Two YA historical fictions set in America when the 19th century was rolling over into the 20th. One boy haunted by ghostly visions of a traumatic past and one forced to live a captive because of his magic transportive powers. Two thieves and rapscallions who love them, but fear they aren't worthy.

September releases The City Beautiful and Before We Disappear both offer up twisty plots full of crimes, cons, conspiracies, and queer romance.

It has been 30 years since Dan Savage started his column "Savage Love" to answer questions about sex, love and relationships.

He's celebrating the anniversary with a new book, Savage Love from A to Z, an illustrated collection of essays with one for each letter of the alphabet.

Things have changed a lot from when he started writing about sex in The Stranger, Seattle's alternative weekly newspaper, in 1991.

Editor's note: This report includes allegations of sexual and physical abuse.

It has been six weeks of hearing from accusers, former employees and expert witnesses. Now the jury decides what's next for R. Kelly.

Experienced critics know: sometimes it pays to be skeptical of TV show revivals that try to make an old series feel fresh by changing the race of the main characters.

But ABC's Black-centered reimagining of TV's classic exercise in nostalgia, The Wonder Years, avoids that pitfall for a simple reason. The year in which it is set, 1968, was one of the most pivotal times for Black America in recent history.

There Are No Emergencies In Trivia

Sep 24, 2021

The Ask Me Another team has a saying whenever things get stressful: "There are no emergencies in trivia." But you can never be too careful. A long-running inside joke finally pays off as Ophira Eisenberg breaks a glass box containing an emergency word game. Comedians Aparna Nancherla and Joyelle Nicole Johnson take on the challenge.

Heard on The Final Round.

Very Important Puzzlers

Sep 24, 2021

MVP celebrity guests and Ask Me Another fans Kristen Anderson Lopez and Robert Lopez identify clips of other Ask Me Another VIPs (Very Important Puzzlers).

Heard on The Final Round.

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OPHIRA EISENBERG, HOST:

Preshow Ritual

Sep 24, 2021

Ophira Eisenberg and Jonathan Coulton demonstrate and explain the Ask Me Another team's preshow ritual at live tapings.

Heard on The Final Round.

The Final Final Round

Sep 24, 2021

Ophira and Jonathan answer listener questions and say goodbye.

Heard on The Final Round.

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OPHIRA EISENBERG, HOST:

Off The Air

Sep 24, 2021

Ophira quizzes Jonathan about Ask Me Another moments that weren't heard on the show.

Heard on The Final Round.

The Ends

Sep 24, 2021

Guest puzzle guru Cecil Baldwin and guest musician Julian Velard share their favorite Ask Me Another memories. Jonathan Coulton performs his final music parody.

Heard on The Final Round.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

OPHIRA EISENBERG, HOST:

When we're young, it's easy to imagine ourselves as always being on the right side of history. We like to think that, if we were trapped in cruel or barbaric societies, we would be the brave ones stepping in to stop injustice.

The opening image of this week's episode is meant to represent the hard truth that New Year's Eve revelers in Times Square are gross. Well, they were gross, back when there were any, back when people crowded together without fear. So perhaps trash nostalgia is the appropriate emotion as the maintenance crews clean up after last week's big New Year's bash. Let's get right to these warm memories of early 2020, a time we all are eager to relive.

Game Highlights

Rebecca copes with the death of her father and tries to figure out what to do about her new relationship with Sam. Ted walks himself through a panic attack with Dr. Sharon's help. And Jamie surprises Keeley with a confession.

Play-By-Play

Rebecca

"I grew up playing video games, since I was probably five years old," says Michelle Zauner, better known as the brilliant songwriter behind Japanese Breakfast. She and her dad would play Super Nintendo together: "The two of us really loved this RPG [role-playing game] called Secrets of Mana. After school, at night in the den, we would play ... I think that was the first time I realized that games could be a real art form."

Alma (Maren Eggert) is an archaeologist in I'm Your Man, scientific in her approach, skeptical by nature, but even by her own standards she's asking Tom, the charming lug sitting opposite her in a dance club, some pretty odd questions for a first date.

"What are the sixth and seventh lines of your favorite poem?"

"What's the second-to-last letter of that poem?"

"What's 3,587 times 982 divided by 731?"

In 2017, the odd and wonderful British novelist Jon McGregor told a Guardian interviewer he had an "antipathy towards 'big drama.'" His dislike of showiness seems coherent with the book he'd then just released, the unmissably good Reservoir 13, which takes place over the span of 13 years and is collectively narrated by the inhabitants of a rural English town, including the birds and animals living in its hedges.

LOS ANGELES — Britney Spears said in a court filing Wednesday that she agrees with her father that the conservatorship that has controlled her life and money since 2008 should be terminated.

The filing in Los Angeles Superior Court from Spears' attorney Mathew Rosengart says she "fully consents" to "expeditiously" ending the conservatorship, which her father James Spears, who has controlled it for most of its 13 years, asked for in a Sept. 7 petition.

It's been nearly 20 years since B.J. Novak first took the stage as a stand-up comic. He still remembers the date: Oct. 10, 2001, less than a month after the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

It was a tough time to be telling jokes and Novak was inexperienced. His set bombed.

It took him three months to get back on stage after that show. But when he did, he booked five shows in a single week, vowing to himself that he wouldn't let a single show be a referendum on whether or not he should continue.

According to the National Weather Service, at 3:20 p.m. EDT today, the Autumnal Equinox (the moment when the length of daylight and darkness are almost perfectly equal) occurs.

From Matilda to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl's delightfully offbeat children's books have been turned into movie, TV and theater gold over the decades. On Wednesday, Netflix announced it has acquired The Roald Dahl Story Co. (RDSC), which manages all things related to the British novelist's catalogue.

Let's get this out of the way: It's uneven.

There.

Any anthology series has episodes that work better than others. Star Wars: Visions is an anthology series; some of its episodes work better than others.

Which episodes work better for you will depend entirely on what you come to the Star Wars franchise for.

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