Arts & Culture

Arts & culture

Kumail Nanjiani and Emily Gordon created a film about their very unusual courtship called The Big Sick, so we've invited them to play a game called "The Big Chick" — three questions about Big Bird. They've recently launched a podcast called Staying In with Emily & Kumail to help people get through the long days of coronavirus quarantine.

Click the audio link above to find out how they do.

Julia Alvarez has written what she calls her first novel as "an elder."

"It took a while to sort of process this stage of life that I'm in," she says. "And you know, what are the stories that I can tell now, from the hindsight and the insights that I've gained that is different. And you have to, you know, learn that."

The author of beloved and bestselling novels for adults and children, including How the García Girls Lost Their Accents and In the Time of the Butterflies, has brought out her first novel for adults in a decade and a half.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

NPR's Scott Simon speaks with author C Pam Zhang about her debut novel, which follows two sisters brought from China to the California Gold Rush by their father, who dies soon after they arrive.

Rebecca Dinerstein Knight's strange and delightful second novel, Hex, opens with its protagonist in crisis. Nell Barber is an ex-doctoral student at Columbia; her lab, which studied toxins, has been disbanded after a student accidentally poisons herself, and now Nell is floating through New York, grief-stricken and in need of work. She's also profoundly lovesick for her dissertation advisor, a magnetic young botanist named Dr. Joan Kallas. Without Joan's "absolutely necessary nearness," Nell is undone.

Back in January, Laura Gao, a 23-year-old product developer for Twitter living in San Francisco, was preparing to visit her relatives in Wuhan, China. The trip was to celebrate her grandmother's 80th birthday.

But in the days leading up to her flight, Gao's relatives told her to cancel her trip. The coronavirus was spreading throughout the city.

Gao, a native of Wuhan, stayed in San Francisco and on January 23, the day after her flight would have landed, the city went on lockdown. If she'd taken her trip, Gao thinks she'd still be in Wuhan today.

Yeast, baking powder and spiral hams were big hits in America's shopping carts last week.

As the country settles in — possibly for the long haul — under stay-at-home orders, baking projects appear to be a common distraction, while panic purchasing of some products seems to be subsiding.

Sales are still up significantly compared to a normal week. And shelf-stable foods, meats, produce and snacks are all flying off shelves at unusual rates.

But for many products, the remarkable sales spikes from early March have started to subside.

In Clark County, Nev., the nation's fifth-largest school district, a school food service worker has reportedly died of COVID-19. That death is one of around 40 recorded in the state of Nevada as of Friday afternoon.

The coronavirus pandemic is heightening interest in raising young chickens for a reliable supply of eggs, with hatcheries saying they're seeing a flood of new customers.

"We are swamped with orders," says Nancy Smith, owner of the Cackle Hatchery in Lebanon, Mo. "We can't answer all the phone calls, and we are booked out several weeks on most breeds."

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

Take a trip to the grocery store and you may notice staple products are missing. For some people, that includes yeast - those little envelopes with the pellets that make bread rise.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

After journeying through worlds unknown to humankind, a bearded and weathered Fact Bag has returned with a brand new set of facts. Facts about interstellar crimes. Facts about Chicken McNugget shapes. Now, Fact Bag can rest. Thank you, Fact Bag. For everything. Featuring Stay F. Homekins hosts Paul F. Tompkins and Janie Haddad Tompkins.

Patently Obvious

17 hours ago

Comedians Naomi Ekperigin and Andy Beckerman, hosts of the podcast Couples Therapy, name everyday items as described by the item's patent.

Heard on Debra Messing & Paul F Tompkins: Show Yourself Some Grace.

Teletherapy

17 hours ago

Comedian couple Naomi Ekperigin and Andy Beckerman host Couples Therapy, a podcast where they invite comedians and performers to talk about their relationships. In this audio quiz, Naomi and Andy hear the blues a-callin' in this quiz on fictional television therapists.

Heard on Debra Messing & Paul F Tompkins: Show Yourself Some Grace.

The Ask Me Another Hotline

17 hours ago

Listeners call in to tell us how their behavior has changed since social distancing began.

Heard on Debra Messing & Paul F Tompkins: Show Yourself Some Grace.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Debra Messing: Show Yourself Some Grace

17 hours ago

Actor and activist Debra Messing was already a recognizable performer by the time Will & Grace premiered. She starred as Stacey Colbert in the Fox comedy Ned & Stacey for two seasons and had the lead role in the short-lived ABC drama, Prey.

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