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Aussie Detective Jack Irish Is More Than Old-School Macho

The fictional Australian hard-boiled detective is the star of several sharp, funny novels by Peter Temple. Two of those books have recently been adapted into TV movies starring Guy Pearce. Critic-at-large John Powers says Pearce perfectly conveys a complex blend of old and new masculinity.
NPR

An Epic Pub Crawl Gone Wrong Culminates In 'World's End'

Five old high school friends reunite to finish a pub crawl they started 20 years earlier in the latest from Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and Edgar Wright — the creators of the zombie send-up Shaun of the Dead and action comedy Hot Fuzz.
NPR

'Grandmaster' Ziyi Zhang: 'I Can Do Better Than Just Kicking Ass'

Actress Ziyi Zhang is known for Oscar-winning films like Memoirs of a Geisha and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Now she co-stars in The Grandmaster, inspired by kung fu legend Ip Man. She speaks with guest host Celeste Headlee about her new fierce role and how women have gained prominence in kung fu films.
NPR

Book News: FBI Suspected William T. Vollmann Was The Unabomber

Also: Quebec mulls setting the prices of books; Junot Diaz on his writing habits.
NPR

In Canada, Maine Lobstermen Get Both A Rival And A Tutor

Lobsters are Maine's signature industry, but it's Canada who seems to be doing the better job of marketing its crustaceans. And as Maine lobstermen face record-low prices, the state is hoping to take a few lessons from the success of its northern neighbor.
NPR

Awaiting The Apocalypse In The Quiet Town Of Concord

Ben Winters' mystery novels are set in the capital of New Hampshire, a community hardly known for its crime or intrigue. The twist? In his books, the planet is about to be hit by an asteroid, and everyone knows they're soon going to die. Amid the chaos, one Concord cop fights for law and order.
NPR

Inside The Beef Industry's Battle Over Growth-Promotion Drugs

Beta agonists, a class of drugs widely fed to cattle and hogs to make them put on weight faster, are coming under increasing scrutiny. Reports suggest animals fed these drugs can seem reluctant to move — lethargic, unable to walk properly — and may die more often, too.
NPR

'Things Falling' Is A Potboiler, But One That's Set To Simmer

The Sound of Things Falling by Juan Gabriel Vasquez takes readers on a journey through Colombia starting in the late '60s — but it's not your average detective story. Reviewer Rosecrans Baldwin says the real mysteries in the book are in the minds of the characters.
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50th Anniversary Of The March On Washington

Fifty years ago final preparations for the "March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom" were underway. We talk with speechwriter Clarence B. Jones and Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton about their recollection of that day and the way ahead for the civil rights movement.

NPR

Forget Cronuts: London's 'Townies' Take On Hybrid-Dessert Craze

While New Yorkers line up for the cronut, a croissant-doughnut cross, in London, a tartlet-brownie mashup called the townie is now the rage. Social media is helping to drive these hybrid-food fads, industry watchers say, but how they ultimately impact the bottom line depends on whether purveyors can be more than one-trick ponies.

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