Music

The next installment in NPR's Backseat Book Club heads back to where this all started: Diary of a Wimpy Kid, by Jeff Kinney. It was our 2009 interview with Kinney that sparked the idea for a special book club dedicated to kids. On the day before Kinney arrived at our studios, we asked our youngest listeners to send us the questions they would put to the author of the blockbuster series. We were floored by the response. An avalanche of emails hit our inbox from kids all over the country.

What a week it was to have been for Mitt Romney.

But what a week it wasn't.

Poised to triumphantly clinch the Republican nomination for president, Romney instead was upstaged Tuesday by supporter Donald Trump's new birther-on-steroids shtick that stole the headlines and the candidate's big moment.

Then on Thursday, ready to embarrass President Obama by holding a "surprise" press event in front of Solyndra, the Obama-touted California solar energy company that failed after getting a $535 million government loan guarantee, Romney was upstaged yet again.

The other day, I had a conversation with Melody Gardot about space. Not outer space, but the space between notes in her music. These days, there's lots of it.

Spain's borrowing costs hit record highs this week and European stock markets have slumped over fears Madrid can't afford the price tag required to prop up its ailing banks. It's looking ever more likely the country will need some kind of bailout.

After watching Greece from afar for years, many Spaniards now believe Spain's number is up.

A tourist in Madrid might wonder where the crisis is. Traffic is heavy and the tapas bars are packed.

But listen in on some of the conversations, and it's clear that Spaniards are scared.

The school year's winding down, meaning teenagers around the country will soon be trying to pull in some extra cash scooping ice cream or manning those kiosks at the mall.

But with the job market still weak, teens are facing stiff competition landing summer jobs. And while the downturn has hit young job seekers particularly hard, it's not just the lingering effects of the Great Recession working against them: the drop-off in teen summer hiring actually began long before 2007.

Bob Boilen and I are taking our show on the road! It's time we busted out of this two-bit joint and mingled with the world's great unwashed. So here's what we're doing: This summer, we'll visit different cities across the country and bring people together to hear and talk about great music.

Look for guest appearances from public radio's galaxy of stars, as well as surprise performances from our favorite artists. It's our version of a "listening party," and we want to see you there. Here's where we're going and when (more dates to be announced):

Old Faithful geyser, erupting just about every 90 minutes: for many years, this geological icon, and the camera-toting tourists who watch its super-heated water spew skyward, constituted my mental imagery of Yellowstone National Park. Sure, I knew bears and bison wandered this pretty wilderness area, too. All very nice, but I was in no rush to visit.

Sometimes I can get things wrong. Really, really wrong.

Six years ago, I finally went to Yellowstone. I've returned twice and the region's beauty lingers in my dreams.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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You're listening to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News.

Update at 4:24 p.m. ET. Not Guilty:

A jury in Greensboro, N.C. has found John Edwards not guilty on one count and the judge has declared a mistrial on the other five charges, the AP reports.

Portraits Of An American Metal Festival

May 31, 2012

Last weekend I was among the legion of ecstatic metalheads that had descended upon Baltimore to attend Maryland Deathfest. In its 10th year, the Sonar compound was bursting at the seams with fans from across the spectrum and around the globe, stoking a community that stays connected long after the outdoor stages on East Saratoga Street are taken down.

NPR Staff Confesses Love for 'Teen' Reads

May 31, 2012

We've all experienced it: the shiver of nervous excitement as each turn of the page unveiled new, provocative ideas.

Pause. Get your mind out of the gutter!

By resisting efforts at the United Nations to bring concerted pressure on Syrian President Bashar Assad to end the killing in his country, Russia is "in effect, propping up the [Assad] regime at a time when we should be working on a political transition," Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said earlier today in Copenhagen.

Clinton also told an audience that Russia's implicit support for Assad could "help contribute to a civil war" in Syria, The Associated Press reports.

Today on Latin Roots from World Cafe, NPR's Jasmine Garsd discusses the history of Reggaeton. Born and raised in Buenos Aires, Garsd spent her teenage years hooked on Argentine rock. Garsd moved to the U.S. after high school and quickly encountered an eclectic mix of American music; now, she co-hosts NPR's Alt.Latino with Felix Contreras.

Democrat Elizabeth Warren, who is in a tight Senate race in Massachusetts against Republican incumbent Scott Brown, acknowledged for the first time that she told the law schools at Harvard and University of Pennsylvania of her Native American heritage.

From Bauhaus to street art, Berlin's history of design is rich and well-known, although few would cast the city among the gastronomic avant-garde.

A beautifully frenetic electronic-pop oddball — and we mean that in the greatest way — Dan Deacon has announced plans to release a new full-length album this summer. It's triumphantly titled America. Deacon is giving fans a taste of the new record with the song "Lots."

You can also download "Lots" from the Dan Deacon website. America is out on Domino Records August 28.

The Magnetic Fields' music provides one of several outlets for frontman Stephin Merritt's inspired songwriting. The band began recording a string of eclectic albums in 1993, and finally found mainstream recognition with 1999's three-disc 69 Love Songs.

Neil Young and Crazy Horse have a new record coming out Tuesday. Americana is blistering guitar romp through the classic American songbook, from the 1800s to doo-wop and beyond. Well today we we have a 40 minute film created by Bernard Shakey (Young's alias) filled with the music from Americana.

The Archdiocese of Milwaukee admitted yesterday that it had paid abusive priests up to $20,000 to encourage them to leave the ministry.

Regina Spektor has spent much of the past decade perfecting an oddly lovely mix of sweet melodies, piano-driven pop, flashes of experimentalism, and cheery but wistful ruminations on love and heartache. But Spektor writes and performs with the passion of punk, and her otherwise innocent story-songs take unconventional turns.

May is Asian-American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. All month, Tell Me More is talking to people who trace their heritage to that part of the world, and have changed the game in various fields.


Nonprofit "game changer" Ritu Sharma knew from a young age that she wanted to make a difference. Now, as the president and co-founder of Women Thrive Worldwide, she is hoping to lift women and children around the world out of poverty by influencing U.S policy.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Every summer for the past 33 years, a widely scattered group of close friends my husband made in summer camp in the 1960s has rented a beach house on the Jersey Shore for two weeks. I was enfolded into the group some five years into its existence. Apart from the camaraderie — which is precious beyond measure — one of the pleasures of returning to the same place every year lies in observing the subtle changes in the landscape: some new sand on a beach that's suffered erosion; the appearance of a new coffee-and-bagel joint within jogging distance of the rental house.

Most of what they're catching isn't all that exciting, but the folks at the Sunlight Foundation have launched something that has the potential to expose elected officials and politicians as they try to hide embarrassing things that get on to their Twitter feeds.

Politwoops, Sunlight says, is "the only comprehensive collection of deleted tweets by U.S. politicians. From minor typos to major gaffes, Politwoops is now there to offer a searchable window into what they hoped you didn't see."

When we began our search for the albums everyone can love a couple of weeks ago, we neglected to include the "haven't heard" option in our first survey (hey, this music stuff is hard!). So here it is again for all of you who were forced to vote "no" on The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill or Kind Of Blue, when you actually hadn't heard them.

Previous Surveys

Patrick Watson has a lovely, flexible voice and a gift for wringing evocative sounds out of everything from vintage keyboards to bicycle chains, but his real gift lies in his ability to maximize beauty at all times; to guide every noise in such a way that it coheres into something dramatic and graceful. When the Polaris Prize winner performs, he seems almost hypnotized by the sounds around him, yet every second and every unlikely component seems plotted to maximize its impact.

Syria's foremost proponent of nonviolent protest says he's returning to Damascus this week and will keep delivering his long-standing message despite the country's worsening bloodshed.

Sheik Jawdat Said is an 81-year-old Islamic scholar whose books and teachings helped inspire young Syrian activists to challenge the regime in peaceful protests last year.

Lee Smith is a senior editor at The Weekly Standard.

The man who reportedly shot and killed five people Wednesday in Seattle, before taking his own life, changed about five years ago into a mentally ill individual who was "really angry toward everything," his brother tells The Seattle Times.

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