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Read: Dana Goldstein's The Teacher Wars … Christian Rudder's Dataclysm … Sheila Heti, Heidi Julavits, Leanne Shapton's Women in Clothes … Randall Munroe's What If? … Charles Seife's Virtual Unreality David Solmonson, Lesley Jacobs Solmonson's The 12 Bottle Bar Listen: Ryan Adams ... Chris Thile, Edgar Meyer ... Robert Plant ... Billy Childs ... Watch: Captain America: The Winter Soldier ... Teenage ... God's Pocket ... Joan Rivers tribute and more.

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Listen to Fresh Air:
A Lesson in How Teachers Became "Resented and Idealized"

The Teacher Wars: A History of America's Most Embattled Profession
By Dana Goldstein

Traces 175 years of teaching in America to demonstrate how educators have endured shifting expectations, comparing the practices and test scores of other nations while revealing the cultural and political factors compromising education today.


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Listen to All Things Considered:
Online Dating Stats Reveal a Dataclysm of Telling Trends

Dataclysm: Who We Are (When We Think No One's Looking)
By Christian Rudder

A provocative look at what our online lives reveal about who we really are — and how this deluge of data will transform the science of human behavior. Big Data is used to spy on us, hire and fire us, and sell us things we don’t need. In Dataclysm, Christian Rudder puts this flood of information to an entirely different use: understanding human nature.


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Listen to The Leonard Lopate Show:
To Armor, Disguise, or Attract? What We Project When We Get Dressed

Women in Clothes
By Sheila Heti, Heidi Julavits, Leanne Shapton

This tribute to self expression invites women to think about their personal style, sharing interviews, essays, sketches and photos that explore key aspects of body image and self-esteem.


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Listen to Weekend Edition:
What If There Were an Entire Book Devoted to Absurd Hypotheticals?

What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions
By Randall Munroe

The creator of the popular webcomic “xkcd” presents his heavily researched answers to his fans’ oddest questions, including “What if I took a swim in a spent-nuclear-fuel pool?” and “Could you build a jetpack using downward-firing machine guns?”


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Listen to The Leonard Lopate Show:
Just Because It's on the Internet Doesn't Make It True

Virtual Unreality: Just Because the Internet Told You, How Do You Know It's True?
By Charles Seife

Digital information is a powerful tool that spreads unbelievably rapidly, infects all corners of society, and is all but impossible to control — even when that information is actually a lie. In Virtual Unreality, Charles Seife uses the skepticism, wit, and sharp facility for analysis that captivated readers in Proofiness and Zero to take us deep into the Internet information jungle and cut a path through the trickery, fakery, and cyber skullduggery that the online world enables.

Taking on everything from breaking news coverage and online dating to program trading and that eccentric and unreliable source that is Wikipedia, Seife arms his readers with actual tools — or weapons — for discerning truth from fiction online.


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Listen to The Splendid Table:
The 12 bottles you need to stock your home bar

The 12 Bottle Bar: A Dozen Bottles.
Hundreds of Cocktails. A New Way to Drink.

By David Solmonson, Lesley Jacobs Solmonson

It’s a system, a tool kit, a recipe book. Beginning with one irresistible idea — a complete home bar of just 12 key bottles — here’s how to make more than 200 classic and unique mixed drinks, including sours, slings, toddies, and highballs, plus the perfect Martini, the perfect Manhattan, and the perfect Mint Julep.

It’s a surprising guide — tequila didn’t make the cut, and neither did bourbon, but genever did. And it’s a literate guide — describing with great liveliness everything from the importance of vermouth and bitters (the “salt and pepper” of mixology) to the story of a punch bowl so big it was stirred by a boy in a rowboat.

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Listen to All Things Considered:
Ryan Adams Rips It Up, Starts Again

Ryan Adams
By Ryan Adams

Ryan Adams’ new album is a self-titled affair and the first to be released on the combined Pax Am/Blue Note imprint. Produced by Adams himself at his own Pax Am Studios in Los Angeles, the new record is the NC-born singer/songwriter's first full length since 2011’s acclaimed Ashes & Fire. The first single "Gimme Something Good" has already elicited wide praise, with Stereogum exclaiming "he doesn’t seem to have lost a songwriting step. This thing is a total knockout."


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Listen to Soundcheck:
Check Ahead: Chris Thile and Edgar Meyer

Bass & Mandolin
By Chris Thile, Edgar Meyer

Nonesuch releases the second recording collaboration by bassist Edgar Meyer and mandolinist Chris Thile. The album features 10 original compositions by the two artists, who have been performing together sporadically for more than a decade and made their recording debut as a duo with 2008's Edgar Meyer & Chris Thile, which The Washington Post, among others, praised, saying "Thile and Meyer are most enthralling when they pass a melody back and forth, fingers flying."


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Listen to The Current:
Robert Plant Interview

lullaby and... The Ceaseless Roar
By Robert Plant

lullaby and… The Ceaseless Roar is Plant's first record since 2010's Band of Joy, which followed 2007's six-time Grammy Award-winning collaboration with Alison Krauss, Raising Sand. Justin Adams and John Baggott of The Sensational Space Shifters appeared on Plant's 2002 release Dreamland, while all but Camara and Smith appeared on 2005's Mighty Rearranger. The 2014 line-up toured the world before recording lullaby and… The Ceaseless Roar at Helium Studios in Wiltshire and Real World Studios in Bath, UK.

"It's really a celebratory record, powerful, gritty, African, Trance meets Zep," Plant says. "The whole impetus of my life as a singer has to be driven by a good brotherhood. I am very lucky to work with The Sensational Space Shifters. They come from exciting areas of contemporary music … I have been around awhile and I ask myself, do I have anything to say? Is there a song still inside me? In my heart? I see life and what's happening to me. Along the trail there are expectations, disappointments, happiness, questions and strong relationships," Plant explains, "… and now I'm able to express my feelings through melody, power and trance; together in a kaleidescope of sound, colour, and friendship."


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Listen to Weekend Edition:
Stars Line Up to Reimagine Laura Nyro

Map to the Treasure: Reimagining Laura Nyro
By Billy Childs

When Grammy Award-winning musician Billy Childs was 11 years old, his older sisters introduced him to the work of songwriter and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame singer-songwriter Laura Nyro. Her blend of Broadway-inspired melodies, jazz improvisation and socially conscious lyrics stayed with him. Now Billy has returned to his early source of inspiration, conceiving and orchestrating his new album, Map to the Treasure: Reimagining Laura Nyro.

Childs is not alone in his enthusiasm for Nyro’s music, an incredible range of musicians join him in interpreting her narratives. Classical soprano Renée Fleming and cellist Yo-Yo Ma add new meaning to her hometown ode, “New York Tendaberry.” Jazz stars Esperanza Spalding and Wayne Shorter collaborate on Nyro’s pictorial “Upstairs by a Chinese Lamp,” and R&B chanteuse Ledisi updates one of Nyro’s biggest hits, “Stoned Soul Picnic.” Other prominent voices include Alison Krauss, Rickie Lee Jones, Shawn Colvin, Dianne Reeves, Susan Tedeschi, Lisa Fischer and Becca Stevens, with featured instrumental soloists Chris Botti, Jerry Douglas, Chris Potter and Steve Wilson. Childs’ own experiences leading jazz chamber groups proved invaluable to creating the widescreen scope of Map to the Treasure — his focus was on arranging the ensemble and guests to best present Nyro’s imagery. Even after Childs’ decades of considering Nyro’s music, at the heart of it all is his unyielding devotion to her art. That love is the heart of the re-imagination of Map to the Treasure.

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Listen to The Takeaway:
Movie Date: Special Guest Scarlett Johansson

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

From the studio that brought you Marvel's The Avengers, comes Captain America: The Winter Soldier, the global phenomenon that teams Captain America (Chris Evans) and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) with their newest ally, the Falcon (Anthony Mackie), in a must-own, epic blockbuster!

Following the battle of New York, Steve Rogers, a.k.a. Captain America, is living quietly in Washington, D.C., trying to adjust to modern life. But when a S.H.I.E.L.D. colleague is attacked, Steve is caught in a web of intrigue that threatens the entire world. Now Captain America, Black Widow and the Falcon must join forces to overthrow their insidious enemy’s most mysterious and powerful “weapon” yet: The Winter Soldier. Expand your Marvel collection as you relive the ultimate battle for the future of mankind. With compelling characters, both familiar and new, this edge-of-your-seat adventure lets you experience even more pulse-pounding excitement via exclusive bonus features.


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Listen to The Takeaway:
An Inside Look at the Invention of Youth Culture & Adolescence

Teenage

Teenagers didn't always exist. They were invented. As the cultural landscape around the world was thrown into turmoil during the industrial revolution, and with a chasm erupting between adults and youth, the concept of a new generation took shape. Whether in America, England, or Germany, whether party-crazed Flappers or hip Swing Kids, zealous Nazi Youth or frenzied Sub-Debs, it didn't matter. This was a new idea of how people come of age. They were dubbed Teenagers. A hypnotic rumination on the genesis of youth culture, Teenage is a living collage of rare archival material, filmed portraits, and diary entries read by Jena Malone, Ben Whishaw, and others. Set to a shimmering score by Bradford Cox (Deerhunter / Atlas Sound), Teenage is a mesmerizing trip into the past and a riveting look at the very idea of "coming-of-age."


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Listen to Fresh Air:
God's Pocket is Horrifying, Humanist and Heartbreaking

God's Pocket

After Mickey Scarpato’s (Philip Seymour Hoffman, in one of his final film roles) stepson Leon (Caleb Landry Jones, Antiviral), is killed in a construction accident, Mickey quickly tries to bury the bad news along with the body. But even in the gritty, blue-collar neighborhood of God’s Pocket, PA, no secret can stay hidden forever. When a local columnist (Richard Jenkins, The Cabin in the Woods) comes sniffing around for the truth, Mickey quickly finds himself stuck in a life-and-death struggle compounded by a body he can’t bury, a wife he can’t please, and a debt he can’t pay. Featuring a top-tier cast including John Turturro and Christina Hendricks, acclaimed actor John Slattery's (Mad Men) impressive directorial debut, God's Pocket, is a winning dark comedy that marks the emergence of an inspired directorial presence.

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Public Radio Remembers Joan Rivers

Joan Rivers

All Things Considered: Joan Rivers, An Enduring Comic Who Turned Tragedy Into Showbiz Success

No one transformed bad times into sidesplitting comedy like Joan Rivers, who kept audiences laughing through a 50-year career that included bankruptcy, getting banned from The Tonight Show and seeing a husband commit suicide.

She even built a standup routine around caring for a handicapped boyfriend.

"I lived for nine years with a man with one leg," she told audiences in her 2012 standup special, Don't Start With Me. "One leg! He lost it in World War II. ... He didn't lose it, he knew exactly where he left it. ... [And] in my mind, that's littering."

But Rivers' talent for rapid-fire jokes and edgy humor was stilled Thursday, when the comic died of complications following a throat procedure. She was 81.

Studio 360: Joan Rivers was a Feminist Piece of Work

Few women have made as big (or as loud) a splash in Hollywood as Joan Rivers. From the red carpet, to multiple memoirs, to her daytime talk show, she took no prisoners; she was quick-witted, sharp-tongued, and had jabs for every celebrity going, including herself. The young, ambitious Rivers got her degree from Barnard, laced up her gloves, and climbed into a ring full of men; she landed some incredible shots that still pack a punch today.

Joan the Stand-Up was a feminist who wore a full face of make-up, talked frankly about her body, and was ruthless about the double standards of society. The last line of her original act shocked audiences in the 1960s: “This business, it’s all about casting couches, so I just want you to know, my name is Joan Rivers, and I put out.” (It caused Jack Lemmon to walk out, she remembers in the excellent 2010 documentary Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work.) When she added abortion jokes into her routine, her manager told her women shouldn’t talk about such things. “I remember thinking, ‘You are so wrong, this is exactly what we should be talking about.’”

Fresh Air: With Age, Joan Rivers Learned to Say Anything: 'It Has Freed Me Totally'

Entire cable networks have been built on her padded shoulders, or by copying and emulating her approach. And some may even argue that Rivers both predated and prefigured the Internet by commenting on every hot celebrity and current topic and saying exactly what she thought. But unlike the anonymous posters of the Internet, Rivers always delivered her one-liners as herself, with full attribution and with nowhere to hide. She owned whatever she said — and for decades, whether talking about her looks or her family or her fellow celebrities, she never held back.

And she simply loved performing.

"Life does not measure up to performing. ... Performing is perfect," Rivers said. "Isn't it a perfect hour? You go onstage, they love you, they want to be there, you want to be there, you all work together to have a great evening."

The Leonard Lopate Show: Leonard Remembers Joan Rivers

Over the years, Joan Rivers has been a guest on my show at least eight times. Yes, she sometimes said outrageous things, but what I remember best is just how funny she was no matter what we were talking about. And how well informed she was (which came in handy when she subbed for me as a guest host earlier this year). And at 81, she remained as quick and as sharp as ever.

In talking about her, most people have focused on her celebrity put-downs, but some of my fondest memories — other than her incredibly quick wit — were of stories she told about her years in show business. One particularly memorable one was about how she and Barbra Streisand had appeared as lesbian lovers in an off-Broadway show when they were just beginning their acting careers. Many years later, she told me, they bumped into each other at a Hollywood party and Streisand asked, “You still in the business?”

She was always a welcome guest on our show and I already miss her greatly.

More:

The Takeaway: Remembering the Iconic Fire of Joan Rivers

WNYC: Hollywood's Funniest Women Remember Joan Rivers

This Emotional Life: Joan Rivers: Quit wasting your time

Press Play with Madeleine Brand: The Real Joan Rivers

The Takeaway: A Gift to Joan Rivers: Meryl Streep Crying in 5 Accents


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Diary of a Mad Diva

I Hate Everyone ... Starting with Me

Men Are Stupid ... And They Like Big Boobs


Murder at the Academy Awards: A Red Carpet Murder Mystery

Joan Rivers:
A Piece of Work

Joan Rivers:
Don't Start With Me


That Show
with Joan Rivers

Joan and Melissa:
Joan Knows Best?

Joan Rivers Presents
Mr. Phyllis &
Other Funny Stories

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Of Interest to Public Radio Fans
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Horton and the Kwuggerbug

A New Thrill in Whoville

Theodor Geisel — better known as Dr. Seuss — has been charming generations of children and adults since the 1950s. And though Seuss died in 1991, a new collection of his lesser-known work, called Horton and the Kwuggerbug and More Lost Stories, was released this week.

"The four stories in this book came from columns that appeared in Redbook magazine in the 1950s," explains Cathy Goldsmith, an associate publishing director at Random House. "Dr. Seuss actually wrote a piece once a month for Redbook."

The new collection features some beloved Seuss characters — like Horton and the Grinch — as well as old haunts, like Mulberry Street. There are some new names as well, like Kwuggerbug, a mean-spirited little creature who bullies Horton into bringing him treats called beezlenuts.

Listen to Morning Edition:
Horton Meets A ... Who? Introducing The Kwuggerbug, From Seuss' Lost Stories

As always, sign up for our Facebook fanpage to keep up with all the news!

David Edin
dedin@mpr.org
Merchandise Manager


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