Arts & Culture

Arts & culture

R. O. Kwon's pensive debut novel, The Incendiaries, arrives just in time to stoke up "back-to-school" anxieties, especially those of entering college students and their nervous parents.

'The Third Hotel' Will Get Under Your Skin

Aug 1, 2018

Most novels begin with mystery. A problem, or a warning. Foreboding, or such happiness that we know there's sadness coming. This is how Laura Van Den Berg started her acclaimed debut novel, Find Me. There was a strange disease, a search for the cure. In her follow-up, The Third Hotel, Van Den Berg flips the script: The first thing she does is tell the reader exactly what she's about to do.

The apples won't be harvested until October. But when fourth-generation fruit grower Phil Schwallier walks through his orchard in Sparta, Mich., he already knows which ones he won't be able to sell.

You can get away with calling something "white trash" in polite company, on cable television and in the headline of a magazine article. An article in The New Republic once posed the question of whether President Trump might be "a white trash icon." For some reason, the term manages to come across as less offensive than most other racial slurs.

"I'll be your mirror," intoned Nico in 1966, singing one of the many tunes given her by a lover. In retrospect, the line neatly captures the model-actress-singer's '60s persona: a thin, icily beautiful, dyed-blonde blankness, to be defined by Federico Fellini and Andy Warhol, Lou Reed (who wrote "I'll Be Your Mirror") and Bob Dylan.

Award-winning actor Alan Alda has revealed that he has been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. "I'm not angry," he said.

"It hasn't stopped my life at all. I've had a richer life than I've had up until now," Alda said as he made the announcement Tuesday on CBS This Morning.

If you ask today's guest what she's been up to since the last time she was on World Cafe about a year and a half ago, she might say something like, "Oh, not much. Finished my Masters of Fine Arts, raised a toddler, toured in my husband's band the 400 unit, completed another record of my own, won Emerging Artist of the Year at the Americana Music Awards ... and slept at some point."

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


A hint of optimism creeps into Darius Kasprzak's voice as he pilots his boat, the Marona, out of Kodiak harbor on a recent calm day.

"We're in the morning, we're at the start of the flood tide," he says. "This is where you want to be."

He is fishing a bay on the northwestern edge of the Gulf of Alaska, about 200 miles southwest of Anchorage. The chilly waters here are some of the most productive fish habitat on Earth. In a good year, Kasprzak could catch more than 100,000 pounds of cod.

Gustavo, the Brazilian professor and narrator of Beatriz Bracher's I Didn't Talk, has found himself with a lot of time to think about stories. He's recently retired from his job, and as he goes through years of accumulated papers, he finds himself constantly being transported back in time, remembering his past. "Stories are the shape we gave things to pass the time in line at the bank, on the bus, at the bakery counter," he reflects.

For Many College Students, Hunger 'Makes It Hard To Focus'

Jul 31, 2018

As students enter college this fall, many will hunger for more than knowledge. Up to half of college students in recent published studies say they either are not getting enough to eat or are worried about it.

In early April, when Channel Tres' debut single, "Controller," was pinged into my email by his label co-head and the song's co-songwriter, Nick Sylvester of the independent label Godmode, it had the benefit of landing with zero expectations attached; no associative "sounds like," no particular publication or blog or influencer or publicist pushing connections into the brain. We ended up premiering the song.

Most of us remember the broad outlines of the story: 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was followed, shot and killed by neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman in Sanford, Fla., on the night of Feb. 26, 2012.

More than six weeks later, Zimmerman was arrested and, eventually, tried for second-degree murder in a case that would be as racially polarizing as the O.J. Simpson trial had been nearly 20 years earlier.

'The Provocative Colette' Celebrates The Power of Beauty

Jul 31, 2018

Lusty, obstreperous and ambiguously liberated, Colette has always been a heroine for a certain kind of person: The kind who believes you can do anything if you do it beautifully. The grande dame of 20th-century French letters shocked fin de siècle Paris with her literary and theatrical excesses, and cycled through husbands and lovers almost as briskly as she churned out books. And for many years, she looked great doing it.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit