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Best Of The Summer: 6 Books The Critics Adore

Have you ever found yourself in the library or a bookstore, about to leave for vacation, with no idea what books to bring? Well, never fear. NPR's Lynn Neary talks to three book critics about the best reads of the summer.
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Two New Jazz Albums Recall The Wide Open Spaces of The West

Oregon saxophonist Rich Halley takes inspiration from the Wallowa mountain range on his new album Crossing the Passes. On Boss of the Plains, Chicago-based trio Wheelhouse makes music that evokes the Great Plains and wind chimes on a porch when the weather changes.
NPR

Drugs, Chaos And Violence Darken Mexico's 'Midnight'

Journalist Alfredo Corchado covers Mexico for the Dallas Morning News. His new book, Midnight In Mexico, is part memoir and part recent history of the upheaval in the country. He talks to Fresh Air about the power of the cartels, the rampant corruption and the hopes for the future of Mexico.
WAMU 88.5

Ballet Russes

Though few outside the ballet world here know his name,Serge Diaghilev revolutionized dance and music with the Ballet Russes, a radically modern dance company he created in the early 20th century.

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Why Micro-Gardening Could Go Big

Micro-gardens are small spaces, such as balconies, patios and rooftops, cultivated with planting containers like wooden boxes and trash cans. Now, creative reuse of old materials and some new tools for sale are making it easier for urban dwellers to stretch their green thumbs.
NPR

Pedal Power To Horsepower: Toys Point Towards Future Of Cars

Toy cars — from pedal-powered roadsters to Matchbox and Hot Wheels sets — are more than just child's play. Kids' preferences in their toys can point towards future automotive trends, like a growing fondness for eco-friendly cars, and licensing deals can build brand loyalty at a very young age.
WAMU 88.5

Art Beat With Lauren Landau, July 9

This month you can laugh it up at an improv show that pokes fun at the state of our nation, or see an exhibit of paintings that speak to the "spirit and beauty" of mankind.

NPR

France Battles Scourge Of Ready-To-Eat Meals In Restaurants

French dining is world famous, but it has a dirty little secret: Many restaurants rely on microwavable, premade meals. A bill that's already cleared one big hurdle in the French National Assembly would force restaurants to label when their food is made in-house from scratch – and penalize those who lie about it.
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'The Bridge:' Mayhem On The Border, With Big Issues At Stake

On July 10, FX adds another dark serialized drama to an already rich cable crop: The Bridge, starring Diane Kruger. Like The Killing, it's based on a Scandinavian television series.
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As 'Ray Donovan,' Liev Schreiber Cleans Up Hollywood's Messes

In the FX series, Schreiber plays a Hollywood fixer with some personal problems of his own. While TV is newish territory for Schreiber, playing a man plagued by inner demons is not. He talks with Dave Davies about acting the heavy — and how his face has shaped his career.

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