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Author Interviews
1:16 pm
Wed April 2, 2014

The Rise And Fall Of Stefan Zweig, Who Inspired 'Grand Budapest Hotel'

Stefan Zweig was born to a prosperous Jewish family in Vienna. He wrote novels, short stories and biographies.
Keystone/Hulton Archive Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 2, 2014 6:54 pm

In Wes Anderson's latest film, The Grand Budapest Hotel, a writer relates the long and twisting life story of a hotel owner. It's about youthful love and lifelong obsession, and while the story is original, there's a credit at the end that reads: "Inspired by the Writings of Stefan Zweig."

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Parallels
12:21 am
Tue April 1, 2014

Latvia's Ex-President: 'We Have To Worry' About Russia

Latvia's former president, Vaira Vike-Freiberga, is shown here at a NATO summit in 2006. During her presidency, Latvia joined both NATO and the European Union in 2004.
ROMAN KOKSAROV AP

Originally published on Tue April 1, 2014 7:45 am

Russia's takeover of Crimea sent shivers through Latvia.

The tiny Baltic state was itself taken over by the Soviet Union in 1940 and did not regain its independence until the Soviet breakup in 1991. Latvia has a population of just 2 million, and roughly a quarter of those are ethnic Russians.

Given this history, Latvia was eager to align itself with the West. In 2004, under then-president Vaira Vike-Freiberga, Latvia joined both the European Union and NATO and is counting on those allies for protection.

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Author Interviews
2:06 pm
Sun March 30, 2014

In Civilian Snapshot Of Iraq, An Artist Is A 'Corpse Washer'

Courtesy of Yale University Press

In his latest novel, Iraqi author Sinan Antoon gives readers a stark portrait of contemporary Iraq. Originally written in Arabic and translated into English by Antoon himself, The Corpse Washer was nominated for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize this year.

The book's protagonist is a young man named Jawad, an aspiring artist from a family of traditional Shiite corpse washers and shrouders in Baghdad. Jawad breaks from the family business and attends art school, where he devotes himself to the celebration of life rather than the ritual surrounding death.

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My Big Break
2:06 pm
Sun March 30, 2014

Cesar Millan's Long Walk To Becoming The 'Dog Whisperer'

Cesar Millan's television show Dog Whisperer on National Geographic debuted in 2004, but Millan previously spent years struggling to pursue a career as a dog trainer.
Robin Layton Courtesy of Cesar Millan

As part of a series called "My Big Break," All Things Considered is collecting stories of triumph, big and small. These are the moments when everything seems to click, and people leap forward into their careers.

Long before Cesar Millan became the "Dog Whisperer," with TV shows and a best-selling series of books, he had to learn how to ask for a job in English.

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Education
6:18 am
Sun March 30, 2014

What A Small Town's Teen Pregnancy Turnaround Can Teach The U.S.

Michelle Nimmons (with the red shoe) poses with some of the students in her sex education program in Denmark, S.C.
Courtesy of Michelle Nimmons

Originally published on Mon March 31, 2014 8:57 am

Thirty years ago, the small town of Denmark, S.C., had one of the state's highest teen pregnancy rates.

"We had very young grandparents, grandparents were maybe [in their] 30s," says Michelle Nimmons, who has worked for the past 30 years on the issue of teen pregnancy. "Great-grandmamas were in their 40s, and parents were in their teens, so a lot of education had to happen."

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It's All Politics
3:59 pm
Sat March 29, 2014

What's With This Video Of McConnell Doing Stuff?

The Kentucky Opportunity Coalition used footage from Mitch McConnell's campaign for its own ads.
AP

The video uploaded to Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell's YouTube channel on March 11 is no ordinary campaign ad:

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StoryCorps
4:59 am
Sat March 29, 2014

Never Truly Over: Discussing Deployment A Challenge Of Its Own

Army Capt. Drew Pham says his wife, Molly Pearl, helps him push through the difficulties of transitioning back to civilian life after deployment in Afghanistan.
StoryCorps

Originally published on Sat March 29, 2014 8:27 am

Army Capt. Drew Pham, 26, returned from a tour in Afghanistan in October 2011. Since Drew's been back, it's been hard for him to make sense of what he saw there and adjust to his life at home. It's been difficult for his wife, Molly Pearl, to respond to some of the things he would tell her, too.

Pham called once to tell her he had shot a man. He says she didn't know what to say, so she replied, "Well, we'll deal with it when you get home."

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Author Interviews
3:01 pm
Fri March 28, 2014

In 'Storied Life,' Characters Come With A Reading List

Jan Sandvik iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri March 28, 2014 3:34 pm

Thirty-nine year old widower A.J. Fikry is an unlikely romantic hero: He's cranky, he drinks too much, his bookstore is failing and don't get him started on the state of publishing. He's also at the center of Gabrielle Zevin's new novel, The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry.

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Book News & Features
2:38 pm
Wed March 26, 2014

It Was The Best Of Sentences ...

iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu March 27, 2014 11:41 am

Have you ever had a sentence stop you in your tracks? Editors at The American Scholar magazine have put out their list of the "Ten Best Sentences" in fiction and nonfiction. Associate editor Margaret Foster says the inspiration came from water cooler talk around the office.

"We're sometimes struck by a beautiful sentence or maybe a lousy sentence, and we'll just say, 'Hey, listen to this,' " she says.

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Intelligence Squared U.S.
8:26 am
Wed March 26, 2014

Debate: Does Affirmative Action On Campus Do More Harm Than Good?

Martha Stewart Intelligence Squared U.S.
  • Listen To The Full Audio Of The Debate
  • Listen To The Broadcast Version Of The Debate

Many colleges and universities use race as a factor in admissions, but the approach has been a hot-button issue for decades — even making its way to the Supreme Court several times since the late 1970s.

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