Arts & Life

Stories from KUNC, NPR & others on Life, Religion, Arts, Culture, Movies, Books, Theater, Entertainment & more...

Erika Christakis' new book, The Importance of Being Little, is an impassioned plea for educators and parents to put down the worksheets and flash cards, ditch the tired craft projects (yes, you, Thanksgiving Handprint Turkey) and exotic vocabulary lessons, and double-down on one, simple word:

Play.

The Gulf of Mexico is now open for commercial fish farming.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced last month that, for the first time in the U.S., companies can apply to set up fish farms in federal waters.

The idea is to compete with hard-to-regulate foreign imports. But opening the Gulf to aquaculture won't be cheap, and it could pose environmental problems.

In 1999, Jhumpa Lahiri won a Pulitzer Prize for her very first book, Interpreter of Maladies. Her 2003 novel, Namesake, was turned into a movie, and she went on to publish Unaccustomed Earth and The Lowland. But Lahiri wasn't satisfied.

"I've always been searching to arrive at a certain voice that will probably elude me forever," she tells NPR's Ari Shapiro.

So Lahiri is trying something new — very new. She wrote her new memoir, In Other Words, in Italian.

courtesy of the Loveland Chamber of Commerce

Almost everyone who lives in Northern Colorado has probably heard of Loveland's Valentine remailing program. The U.S. Postal Service says the program, which turns 70 in 2016, is the largest of its kind in the country, handling between 150,000 and 200,000 pieces of mail each year.

Beginning as early as December, cards and letters start pouring in from all over the world. For about two weeks before Valentine’s Day, the sound of stamping fills the Loveland Chamber of Commerce.

George Miller's latest Mad Max film, Fury Road, has been nominated for 10 Academy Awards, but the director still isn't sure how the movie will hold up over time.

Out for dinner with a group of friends, Christina Dierkes, a science writer with Ohio Sea Grant in Columbus, was feeling adventurous. It took some steely courage to order the Caribbean Roll at Mr. Sushi's. Not so much for the tuna and avocado on the inside — that's a combination that's appealing to many of us. But the tuna sushi in this spectacularly Americanized roll is topped with a deep-fried banana, honey, mayonnaise and a generous dash of coconut crumbs. Yum?

On the southwestern tip of the Korean Peninsula, laid out across ferry-filled harbors and rolling hillsides, is a vibrant port city called Mokpo.

Famous for its Japanese colonial architecture and for being the jumping-off point to scenic islands like Heuksan and Jeju— the "Hawaii of Korea" — Mokpo is also known for its fishing industry and its local seafood delicacy: hongeo.

In 2009, one of the founders of the online eyeglass maker Warby Parker approached management consultant Adam Grant about becoming an early investor. Grant says he declined because the company's founders weren't working at their startup full time; he also says it was the worst financial decision he's ever made.

There was a time when it felt like Keurig coffee pods were going to take over the world — or at least encircle it.

But now sales are on the decline, down some $60 million from last year.

The company has faced criticism because the individual coffee pods are not kind to the environment. But Venessa Wong with BuzzFeed says that's not the only factor that's contributed to the decline in sales.

The Jordanian movie Theeb has been nominated for a best foreign language film Oscar. It's a beautiful, sweeping story set in 1916 in an area of western Saudi Arabia then known as the Hejaz. The film's director, Naji Abu Nowar, says Theeb covers a pivotal moment in the region's history.

"The First World War is kicking off ... and the war is coming toward this area of Hejaz," he tells NPR's Kelly McEvers. "The British are ... inciting the Arab tribes to revolt against the Ottoman imperialists. And so you're on the brink of a massive change."

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