Fresh Air

Terry Gross

Opening the window on contemporary arts and issues with guests from worlds as diverse as literature and economics.

Composer ID: 
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Remembrances
4:02 pm
Fri March 7, 2014

Fresh Air Remembers Surgeon And 'How We Die' Author Sherwin Nuland

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 4:46 pm

Transcript

DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. Because he was a doctor, Sherwin Nuland witnessed many deaths, including those in his own family. Dr. Nuland - who was a surgeon - was the author of "How We Die," an influential book about dying, which won a National Book Award. It was published in 1994. Twenty years after his book was published, Dr. Nuland himself died on Monday at his home in Connecticut from prostate cancer. He was 83.

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Interviews
4:02 pm
Fri March 7, 2014

'Americanah' Author Explains 'Learning' To Be Black In The U.S.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's short fiction has appeared in The New Yorker and Granta. She is also the author of the novels Purple Hibiscus and Half of A Yellow Sun.
Little, Brown and Co.

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 4:46 pm

This interview was originally broadcast on June 27, 2013.

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Movie Reviews
4:02 pm
Fri March 7, 2014

'Grand Budapest Hotel': Kitsch, Cameos And A Gloriously Stylized Europe

Ralph Fiennes plays Gustave H., a hotel concierge given to bedding his elderly guests, in Wes Anderson's latest film.
Bob Yeoman Courtesy of Fox Searchlight Pictures

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 4:46 pm

Wes Anderson has his share of groupies and his somewhat smaller share of skeptics who find him a tad precious. As someone who leans toward the precious view, but is open to his grace notes, I found The Grand Budapest Hotel mostly delightful.

It's a madcap comedy, but with hints of tragedy lurking outside the usual Anderson dollhouse frames. The central character is Gustave H., played by Ralph Fiennes. He's the concierge of a kitschy, opulent, high-class European hotel between World Wars I and II.

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Music Reviews
2:38 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

Pharrell Williams: Just Exhilaratingly Happy

Pharrell, sporting more conventional headwear.
Mimi Valdés Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu March 6, 2014 4:03 pm

Pharrell Williams, who frequently goes by just his first name, is the sort of pop star whom many people would like to view as a friend. Emerging from hip-hop, he makes charming recordings that suggest a deep appreciation of pop, soul and R&B music extending at least as far back as the 1960s. To hear Pharrell on his new album G I R L, you'd think his world consisted of grooving on catchy beats and flirting with women. It's a lightweight image that draws gravitas from his prolific work ethic and a shrewd deployment of those influences.

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Around the Nation
1:01 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

How 4 Inmates Launched A Statewide Hunger Strike From Solitary

The July 8 hunger strike wasn't the first California's Pelican Bay State Prison has seen. Inmates in the prison's isolation unit also protested their conditions in 2011.
Rich Pedroncelli AP

Originally published on Thu March 6, 2014 6:30 pm

Last summer, four alleged leaders of rival prison gangs worked together to coordinate a hunger strike at California's Pelican Bay State Prison. They were protesting long-term, indefinite incarceration in solitary confinement.

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Book Reviews
3:12 pm
Wed March 5, 2014

'Schmuck' Revisits The Golden Age Of Radio, And A Bygone Manhattan

RTimages iStockphoto

Beginning in 1952, and running through 1968, there was a legendary radio show called Klavan And Finch that was on WNEW in New York City. It was a four-hour live program featuring music and antic conversation between handsome, straight man Dee Finch and his live-wire counterpart, Gene Klavan.

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Author Interviews
3:12 pm
Wed March 5, 2014

The Case For Tammany Hall Being On The Right Side Of History

Seen here in 1935, the building that housed Manhattan's Democratic Party, known as Tammany Hall, still stands today.
AP

Originally published on Thu March 6, 2014 9:18 am

Back in 1900, when Americans in cities counted on ice to keep food, milk and medicines fresh, New York Mayor Robert Van Wyck's career ended when it emerged that a company given a monopoly on the ice business was doubling prices while giving the mayor and his cronies big payoffs.

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All Tech Considered
2:46 pm
Tue March 4, 2014

By The Time Your Car Goes Driverless, You Won't Know The Difference

Mercedes' S500 Intelligent Drive is one traditional carmaker's approach to driverless cars.
Johannes Eisele AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu March 20, 2014 9:23 am

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Author Interviews
2:46 pm
Tue March 4, 2014

Fresh Air Remembers Literary Biographer Justin Kaplan

Transcript

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. We're going to remember Justin Kaplan, the Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer who also edited the 16th edition of "Bartlett's Familiar Quotations," published in 1992 and the 17th edition, published in 2002. Justin Kaplan died Sunday at the age 88. His first book, a 1966 biography of Mark Twain, won a National Book Award, as well as a Pulitzer Prize. He also wrote biographies of Walt Whitman and Lincoln Steffens.

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Author Interviews
2:46 pm
Tue March 4, 2014

Kevin Young On Blues, Poetry And 'Laughing To Keep From Crying'

Kevin Young's 2012 essay collection The Grey Album: On The Blackness Of Blackness was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award.
Melanie Dunea CPi

In Kevin Young's new collection, Book Of Hours, poems about the death of his father appear alongside poems about the birth of his son.

He tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross that, in a way, those events were the anchors of his life.

"It was a way of just writing about what had happened and also the way that the cycle of life informed my life, from death to birth to ... a kind of rebirth that I felt afterward."

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