It's time for movie critic Bob Mondello's latest home-viewing recommendation, for those who want to pop in a video and pop their own popcorn. This week, Bob's suggesting a new Blu-Ray collector's edition of The Bridge on the River Kwai.
British prisoners of war marching into a Japanese labor camp, whistling "The Colonel Bogey March" as a way of thumbing their noses at their captors, then building one magnificent railroad bridge — the best that British military engineering (and director David Lean's production crew) could manage.
"According to sufferers," the BBC writes, "it is as if someone has parked next to your house and left the engine running. The Hum is a mystery low frequency noise, a phenomenon that has been reported across Britain, North America and Australia in the past four decades."
Delisia Matthews, a doctoral student in consumer, apparel, and retail studies at UNC-Greensboro, spent last summer interning with NPR's consumer products group. She collaborated with the research team to execute a multi-phase survey to better understand what motivates individuals to purchase from the NPR Shop. Delisia is currently incorporating the research in her thesis and gave us a brief update of her findings.
It's not often that a novel leaves me (temporarily) speechless. But Ann Patchett's new novel isn't called State of Wonder for nothing, because that's exactly the state I've been in ever since I first opened it. The numbness has worn off by now, but for days, all I could say to friends who asked me about it was the one-word review: "Wow."
Publishers like to throw around the term "speculative fiction," but you won't see too many fans of the genres it comprises — fantasy and science-fiction — bandying it about. For one thing, it's redundant; all fiction speculates, or it isn't fiction. More importantly, true fans of science fiction or fantasy don't feel a particular need to justify that love, much less dress it up in more "respectable" language. It's a mug's game, after all: Those readers who reflexively turn up their noses at genre fiction will continue to do so, no matter what name it goes by.
On Aug. 6, 1988, a collection of squatters, anarchists and youth took over Tompkins Square Park in Manhattan's East Village to protest a new 1 a.m. curfew. By the time the fated hour rolled around, the gathering had turned violent, as police attempted to shut down the park. The crowd was there to protect a neighborhood where, as Eleanor Henderson puts it in Ten Thousand Saints, "there were shadows to hide in. Here you didn't advertise being gay or straight or rich or poor; you just tried not to get your ass kicked." Injuries and reports of police brutality abounded.