February 26, 2013 We're living in an age obsessed with authenticity, says linguist Geoff Nunberg, but we often choose to nitpick the wrong details. Whether it's Downton Abbey, Mad Men, Lincoln or Argo, Nunberg argues, a historical novel or screenplay should give us a translation, not a transcription.
February 26, 2013 From food scientists who study the human palate to maximize consumer bliss, to marketing campaigns that target teens to hook them for life on a brand, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Michael Moss' new book goes inside the world of processed, packaged goods.
February 26, 2013 Ariel Djanikian's debut novel, The Office of Mercy, imagines a dystopian future America where government euphemisms mask state-sponsored murder. Reviewer Michael Schaub finds traces of George Orwell in the book, which he calls "an indisputable page turner with a surprising ending."
February 26, 2013 Also: Some authors are buying spots on bestseller lists; the legacy of Philip Roth; and details of Thomas Pynchon's next novel.
February 25, 2013 Fiction is reality and reality fiction in Revenge, Yoko Ogawa's absorbing cycle of interlinked, eerie tales. Readers may detect the shadows of Murakami, Borges and Poe, but, says critic Alan Cheuse, Ogawa's delicious tales cast their own singular spell.
February 25, 2013 For this week's Sandwich Monday, we try McDonald's new "Fish McBites." They're basically a seafood version of their Chicken McNuggets. Or as McDonald's calls it, "tender pieces of poppable white, flaky Alaskan Pollock."
February 25, 2013 Some people think competition is an art. Others believe it's a skill. A new book suggests it might be neither — and that there is a science behind winning. Host Michel Martin speaks with authors Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman about Top Dog: The Science of Winning and Losing.
February 25, 2013 NPR's Sam Sanders and Mandalit del Barco were backstage in the press room during the Oscars. Here's a roundup of what they saw that you didn't see, in senior superlative form.
February 25, 2013 Also: Toni Morrison's digital signing; our picks for the best books out this week; and William S. Burroughs in a Nike ad.
February 25, 2013 In fiction, Peter Cameron's complicated romance, Mohammed Hanif's tale of unwelcome inheritance, Kathryn Harrison's historical drama, and Stephen Dau's bildungsroman arrive in paperback. In softcover nonfiction, James Fallows documents the rise of China's aerospace industry.
February 25, 2013 Seth MacFarlane hosted the 85th Academy Awards which Monkey See's Linda Holmes says was one of the worst hosting performances in Oscar history. Jokes about women just kept coming. His sexist jokes were in poor taste, sure, but if they'd been funny, nobody would have cared.