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Shakespeare's Twelfth Night; Jonathan Franzen; on Horseback through Eurasia; E-Cigarettes; Fast Evolution

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Thursday, November 21, 2013

Stephen Fry as Malvolio, Paul Chahidi as Maria, Mark Rylance as Olivia in teh Shakepeare's Globe production of Twelfth Night, directed by Tim Carroll, playing at teh Belasco Theatre. ((c) Joan Marcus/Boneau/Bryan-Brown)

On today’s show: Mark Rylance, Stephen Fry, and Paul Chahidi discuss starring in Twelfth Night, which they’re performing in repertory with Richard III on Broadway. Jonathan Franzen joins us for the Leonard Lopate Show Book Club to talk about his debut novel from 1988, The Twenty-Seventh City. Tim Cope tells about the challenges he faced when he re-created the journey of nomadic Mongolians following the trail of Genghis Khan. We’ll learn about the fastest-evolving place on Earth, and we’ll take a look at e-cigarettes.

 

Mark Rylance, Stephen Fry, and Paul Chahidi in Twelfth Night and Richard III

Actors Mark Rylance, Stephen Fry, and Paul Chahidi discuss their roles in Shakespeare’s Globe repertory productions of William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night and Richard III on Broadway. Mark Rylance stars as the love-struck noblewoman Olivia in Twelfth Night and as the ruthless and conniving title monarch in Richard III. Stephen Fry makes his Broadway acting debut as Malvolio in Twelfth Night. Paul Chahidi plays witty maid Maria in Twelfth Night, and dual roles Hastings and Tyrrell in Richard III. Both plays are at the Belasco Theatre.

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The Twenty-Seventh City, by Jonathan Franzen

Jonathan Franzen has been called one of the most important living fiction writers in America. His 2001 novel The Corrections won the National Book Award and Freedom was named as one the best books of 2010 by Time, the New York Times Book Review, and Publishers Weekly, among publications. We’re going back to his very first novel, The Twenty-Seventh City, written in 1988 and set in his home town, St. Louis. In the novel, St. Louis is a quietly dying city until it hires a charismatic young woman from Bombay, India, as its new police chief. The story predicts a number of shifts that were to come decades later in American life: suburban malaise, surveillance culture, domestic terrorism, and paranoia.

Leave your questions for Jonathan Franzen below!

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On the Trail of Genghis Khan

Tim Cope tells us about traveling on horseback across the entire length of the Eurasian steppe, from Karakorum, the ancient capital of Mongolia, through Kazakhstan, Russia, Crimea, and the Ukraine to the Danube River in Hungary. He writes about the journey, which was inspired by the nomadic life of the Mongols, in On the Trail of Genghis Khan.

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The Fastest Evolving Place on Earth

Scientists recently determined that Páramos, small, high-elevation ecosystems in the Andes, are the fastest evolving places on earth. Science writer Carl Zimmer explains what makes these tiny mountainous enclaves—and their giant daisy trees—so diverse.

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Understanding E-Cigarettes

E-cigarettes—small devices which deliver vaporized nicotine to users—are a $2 billion industry. The three large tobacco companies have also made forays into the market. While regulators study the health impacts and safety of e-cigarettes, the demand for the product continues to grow. E-cigarettes are not subject to New York City bans on smoking in public parks or beaches, and it’s not uncommon to see users “vaping” in restaurants, subways and theaters. Dr. Richard Hurt, director of the Nicotine Dependence Center at the Mayo Clinic, and Dr. Deepak Saxena, assistant professor of basic science and craniofacial biology at the NYU College of Dentistry, talk about how e-cigarettes work and their growing popularity.

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Video: Questions for Jonathan Franzen

Novelist Jonathan Franzen shares a few of his favorite science fiction books from his high-school days. He also recommends Christina Stead's novel The Man Who Loved Children and Adelle Waldman's debut novel The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P. And he says the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge is a good place to take a walk and see some birds. Just don't ask him for hot new restaurant recommendations.

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