Dec 10, 2013 — The latest installment in the Hobbit movie trilogy opens this week. And some hard-core fans plan to celebrate not just with a marathon screening of the Lord of The Ring films that came before it, but with a full day of feasting — seven meals, hobbit-style. We offer up a sample menu.
Dec 10, 2013 — Nina Borg, the heroine of Death of a Nightingale, is a Red Cross nurse on a mission to save the dispossessed. But she neglects her own family as she rescues those in need in Agnete Friis and Lene Kaaberbol's elaborately plotted page-turner.
Dec 10, 2013 — Hey there, befuddled aunts, uncles and family friends. Not sure what to buy for kids who already have everything? NPR's Book Concierge is here to help you find gifts for all those nieces, nephews and offspring of other people.
Dec 10, 2013 — Lacing a sugar-free candy with the right kind of bacteria might one day help fight off tooth decay, a study suggests. The experimental mint lowered the levels of cavity-causing bacteria in volunteers' saliva. But the microbe candy still has a long way to go before it reaches shelves at Walgreens.
Dec 10, 2013 — Also: Joan Didion on Martha Stewart; Alice Munro's Nobel interview; the difficulties of judging the National Book Awards.
Dec 10, 2013 — A recent survey by the PEN American Center, a nonprofit writers group, suggests that recent revelations about government surveillance are affecting creative expression. David Greene talks about the survey with David Simon, the writer and producer who created the HBO series The Wire, among other hits, and Azar Nafisi, author of Reading Lolita in Tehran.
Dec 10, 2013 — An outdoor art installation in Detroit made from blighted homes and objects is stirring up controversy again. A rash of arsons in the past seven months have destroyed four of the Heidelberg Project's signature homes. But after nearly 30 decades of working on this project and facing resistance, artist Tyree Guyton is determined to make more art.
Dec 9, 2013 — Andre Le Notre helped turn an old hunting lodge into the Versailles we know today, taking his profession way beyond a trade. Experts say Le Notre's work was so groundbreaking, it continues to influence contemporary urban architecture. This year marks the 400th anniversary of Le Notre's birth.
Dec 9, 2013 — NPR comics blogger and pop-culture podcaster Glen Weldon has a few words for director Zack Snyder about the casting news that's gotten him in such hot water.
Dec 9, 2013 — Novelist Delia Ephron says that losing her older sister Nora was like "losing an arm." But for all their collaboration and closeness, Delia writes about the complications of sisterhood in her new collection of autobiographical essays, Sister Mother Husband Dog (etc.).