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Fiction Friction

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

When the Pulitzer Prize winners were announced in April, many people were surprised that no fiction award was given this year. The publishing industry is understandably irritated by this decision—or indecision. Sig Gissler, the administrator of the Pulitzers for Columbia University, explained that a three-person jury chooses three finalists out of hundreds of books, then sends the finalists to the Pulitzer board, which, this year, was unable to determine a winner. The finalists were Karen Russell’s Swamplandia!, Denis Johnson’s Train Dreams, and David Foster Wallace’s The Pale King, published after the author’s death.

Susan Larson, a Pulitzer fiction juror, spoke with NPR’s Lynn Neary about the board’s not picking a winner.

Novelist and bookstore owner Anne Patchett wrote an Op-Ed in the New York Times about her disappointment

The New York Times asked eight experts to weigh in on who they thought deserved the award this year.

 

Weigh in: What novels do you think should have won this year? Leave a comment below to let us know!

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Things We Learned This Week

Friday, May 04, 2012

A collection of the unexpected, somewhat random things we learned on the Lopate Show this week.

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Conversations with the 2012 Tony Nominees

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

The nominations for the 2012 Tony Awards were announced on Tuesday, May 1, and you can hear Leonard's conversations with many of this year’s nominees. (You can find a full list of the nominees here.) The awards will be presented on June 10.

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Curbing Our Waste

Monday, April 30, 2012

Looking for ways to cut back the amount of garbage you're producing? We have some helpful hints!

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Things We Learned This Week

Friday, April 27, 2012

Our weekly roundup of the quirky, profound, and unexpected things we heard on the Lopate Show this week.

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Afghanistan in Film

Monday, April 23, 2012

Documentary filmmaker Ben Anderson  was in our studio Monday where he discussed his takeaway from the front lines in Afghanistan. In his reporting, Anderson shadowed three different battalions of NATO forces over the course of four years. He documented his experiences in his new book, No Worse Enemy, which draws from the more than 300 hours of footage he captured during his time there. Much of that footage was even used in a documentary he produced for HBO in 2010, The Battle For Marjah.

Both documentary and commercial filmmakers have used our ongoing conflicts in a number of feature films released in the last few years: Stop Loss, The Hurt Locker, No End In Sight, In The Valley of Elah, Generation Kill, Green Zone, and Lions for Lambs all centered on the operations in Iraq. But The Battle for Marjah is one of only a few films that focus specifically on Afghanistan (Sebastian Junger and the late Tim Hetherington’s chilling documentary Restrepo is another).

This got me wondering about our relationship with Afghanistan in cinema. Recent films about the Iraq War have largely been box office blanks, even the ones that were well reviewed—Bob Tourtellotte wrote about this on Reuters' Fan Fare blog. Has that kept studios and filmmakers from focusing on the important subject of Afghanistan? Are there films about Afghanistan worth looking into that we’ve missed? Do you think filmmakers will revisit the subject in years to come?

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Things We Learned This Week

Friday, April 20, 2012

A collection of the touching, funny, and off-beat things we heard on the air this week.

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Pulitzer Prize Winners on the Lopate Show

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The 2012 Pulitzer Prizes were announced on Monday, and a few of the winners have been on the Lopate Show discussing their work.

John Lewis Gaddis won for his biography George F. Kennan: An American Life. Kennan set the strategy of containment that defined U.S. policy toward the Soviet Union, and was an architect of the Marshall Plan. He discussed Kennan's life and influence of Kennan with Leonard in December.

Stephen Greenblatt's book The Swerve: How the World Became Modern, also won. He was on the Lopate Show in December talking about how a nearly forgotten manuscript by the Roman philosopher Lucretius sparked the Renaissance and changed the world.

Matt Apuzzo, Adam Goldman, Eileen Sullivan, and Chris Hawley, of The Associated Press, won for their investigation of a New York Police Department surveillance of mostly Muslim neighborhoods. Matt Apuzzo and Adam Goldman were on the show in February to talk about investigative reporting.

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May's Book Club Author, Teju Cole, on NPR's Morning Edition

Monday, April 09, 2012

Teju Cole was on Morning Edition this morning talking about composing Tweets about small, easily overlooked articles in the newspaper. Listen to that interview here!

And start reading his novel Open City and leave a comment or question for our Book Club discussion on May 7.

 

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Things We Learned This Week

Friday, April 06, 2012

A collection of the odd, wonderful, and even funny things we learned on the Lopate Show this week.

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Things We Learned This Week

Friday, March 30, 2012

A roundup of the interesting, strange and profound things we learned on the Lopate Show this week.

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Things We Learned This Week

Friday, March 23, 2012

A collection of the random, profound, true, and funny things we heard on the show this week.

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Object #1: The Greek Coffee Cup

Friday, March 16, 2012

The top object in our countdown is perhaps the most accidental of New York icons. In its heyday the Anthora cup, with its crisp blue and white Greco design, was the way you drank hot beverages on the go. But, as Leonard pointed out, sometimes the coffee itself wasn’t always that great. Oh, the power of nostalgia. (continue reading)

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Things We Learned This Week

Friday, March 16, 2012

A roundup of the random, interesting, and unexpected things we learned on the show this week.

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Object # 2: The Subway Token

Friday, March 16, 2012

It might seem odd that our listeners chose an object that hasn’t been used in New York City for nearly a decade as number two on our list. But as Robert Del Bango of the New York City Transit Museum told us, it’s actually “a very smart object” to tell the story of New York. (continue reading)

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Object # 3: The Food Cart

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Eating outside has always been a part of the New York City way of life. “The early colony was downtown,” Fabio Parasecoli of The New School told us. “Food had to be brought to southern Manhattan from the nearby farms.” Often, that food was sold and consumed on the street. (continue reading)

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Object #4: The Oyster

Monday, March 12, 2012

Our listeners chose the lowly oyster—not the exalted bagel— as the only edible object on our list of ten items which define New York City. In a number of ways, the rise and demise of the harbor oyster is the story of the city itself.

 “The history of New York is the history of gobbling up everything,” Mark Kurlansky, author of The Big Oyster explains. “When there was deer and elk and lynx and all sorts of things on Manhattan, people ate that stuff. The wild fruit trees that once covered New York are all gone too. It reaches the point where the one natural resource that’s left to eat are oysters.” And by most accounts, early New Yorkers ate oysters by the bucketful. They were harvested by the Lenape Indians and loved by the Dutch and British colonists. The bivalve was once synonymous with New York City. “Today, people come to New York and take in a Broadway Show—it used to be that people from all over the world would come here for the oysters,” Kurlansky said. (continue reading)

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Object #5: 18th-Century Ship Excavated from WTC Site in 2010

Monday, March 12, 2012

This object is an example of New York’s past colliding with its present.

“We’ve never seen a boat like this before,” Warren Reiss a maritime historian and archeologist at the University of Maine explained. “There are a number of things about how this vessel was built that we are still scratching our heads about.” Reiss was the principal investigator of a ship the New York Times dubbed the “S.S. World Trade Center.”  “We don’t even know if it had one mast or two,” Reiss said. (continue reading)

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