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Music
6:48 am
Mon January 7, 2013

Antibalas: Cooking Up Afrobeat In A Sweltering Kitchen

Antibalas was founded in 1998 by baritone sax player Martin Perna (far right, in hat) and is fronted by singer-percussionist Amayo (center, in head wrap). The group has seen many lineup changes in its decade and a half together.
Marina Abadjieff Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sun January 6, 2013 9:02 am

Years ago, without setting out to do so, the Afrobeat ensemble Antibalas jumped out ahead of the pop-culture curve in two ways. First, geography: The band was formed in Brooklyn in the 1990s, before the New York borough became the mecca of independent music that it is today. Second, the music itself: Afrobeat makes its way into lots of popular music today, but Antibalas was doing it before it had a mainstream foothold.

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Books
6:47 am
Mon January 7, 2013

'The Great Agnostic': Giving Up Politics To Preach Against Religion

Originally published on Sun January 6, 2013 9:02 am

Attention American history buffs, here's a name you might not have heard before: Robert Ingersoll. According to author Susan Jacoby, he was "one of the most famous people in America in the last quarter of the 19th century."

"He went around the country," Jacoby tells NPR's Rachel Martin. "He spoke to more people than presidents. He was also an active mover and shaker behind the scenes of the Republican Party."

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Books
6:44 am
Mon January 7, 2013

For 'Wheel Of Time' Fans, The Last Battle Is At Hand

The Wheel of Time series tells the story of Rand Al'Thor, a farm boy who discovers he's a prophesied hero.
Tor Books

Originally published on Sun January 6, 2013 9:02 am

  • Hear An Extended Interview With Harriet McDougal
  • Hear an Extended Interview With Brandon Sanderson

It's the moment fantasy fans have been waiting for (really!): After more than 20 years, and 13 doorstopper volumes, the last book in the best-selling Wheel of Time series comes out Tuesday. The series unfolds an epic battle between good and evil — think Game of Thrones but more so: more characters, more magic, more tiny little world-building details, more everything.

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Author Interviews
6:43 am
Mon January 7, 2013

Kids Rule In The Land Of 'Hokey Pokey'

Originally published on Sun January 6, 2013 12:41 pm

You put your right foot in, you put your right foot out ... chances are you know the rest. But in Jerry Spinelli's latest book, the Hokey Pokey is much more than a children's song and dance. Hokey Pokey is the name of a magical universe where kids are in charge — no adults in sight. There are herds of bikes, endless cartoons, a cuddle station and dessert for lunch every day.

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You Must Read This
6:43 am
Mon January 7, 2013

Adjust Your Vision: Tolstoy's Last And Darkest Novel

cover detail

Originally published on Sun January 6, 2013 6:03 am

George Saunders' latest book is called Tenth of December: Stories.

It's become commonplace to say that good fiction "wakes us up." The speaker usually means that he — a righteous, likable person, living in the correct way — becomes, post-reading, temporarily even more righteous and likable.

Resurrection, Tolstoy's last and darkest novel, works differently.

It's a shocking and impolite book, seemingly incapable of that last-minute epiphanic updraft or lyric reversal that lets us walk away from even the darkest novel fundamentally intact.

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Animals
6:43 am
Mon January 7, 2013

Cat Tries To Help Inmates Bust Out Of Prison

Originally published on Mon January 7, 2013 6:56 am

Authorities at a Brazilian prison noticed a bulky cat wandering on prison grounds. They discovered the small black-and-white cat was hauling in saws, drills, a cell phone and charger — all taped to its body.

Essays
6:42 am
Mon January 7, 2013

At Home In Fantasy's Nerd-Built Worlds

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Sun January 6, 2013 6:03 am

Once, in an age long past, "epic" was a dirty word.

Way back when I was a young nerd growing up in the Midwest in the 1980s — long before I became a professional writer — histories of magic rings and chronicles of ancient evils were not exactly mainstream fare. Indeed, to publicize one's knowledge of Elvish sword-names and Orcish myth was to contract a kind of voluntary leprosy.

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Around the Nation
6:34 am
Mon January 7, 2013

Mass. Cops Egg Each Others House

Originally published on Mon January 7, 2013 6:56 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Good morning, I'm Steve Inskeep.

Police in Framingham, Massachusetts received word of somebody egging a house. They investigated and found the suspect was a cop, and so was the victim. Investigators say the homeowner is a police sergeant in Newton, Massachusetts. He's the superior officer of the guy who was tossing the eggs. The Metro West Daily News reports that both men were off-duty at the time, and both insist it was just a joke between friends.

The Two-Way
6:27 am
Mon January 7, 2013

Counterterrorism Adviser Brennan To Be Tapped For CIA

John Brennan, who President Obama wants to lead the CIA.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Mon January 7, 2013 8:46 am

  • From 'Morning Edition': NPR's Tom Bowman on the Hagel nomination

President Obama will announce today that he plans to nominate John Brennan to be the next director of the Central Intelligence Agency, an administration official with knowledge of the decision tells NPR's Tom Bowman.

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Europe
5:53 am
Mon January 7, 2013

Competitive Advantage Could Force French Labor Changes

Originally published on Mon January 7, 2013 6:56 am

French President Francois Hollande has vowed to improve his country's competitiveness. But to better compete, France has to overhaul its labor market, and some hard-earned workers' rights and privileges could be lost.

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