Arts and Culture

In some ways, Yara Shahidi is a lot like Zoey Johnson, the character she plays on ABC's comedy Black-ish. Shahidi, like Johnson, is a 17 year old high school student with several younger siblings, so the two have hit some of the same social and familial milestones at the same time.

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TERRY GROSS, HOST:

My timing has always been a little off with Elizabeth Strout. I've read and pretty much admired everything she's written, but, for whatever reason, the books of hers I've picked to review have been the good ones, like her debut Amy and Isabelle and The Burgess Boys, rather than the extraordinary ones, like Olive Kitteridge, which won the 2009 Pulitzer Prize.

Alzheimer's, Russia, and Landfill

May 2, 2017
Charles Pugh
Liz Mackinder

Lauren Slater buys what she thinks is a farm in New Hampshire but soon discovers it was once a landfill.
  Ivan Kuraev is 8 when he falls deeply in love with a classmate. 
  Ivan Kuraev ’s doting Russian grandmother gets revenge on his boyhood enemies.
  Charles Pugh ’s grandmother is the most loving and supportive person in his life until she gets Alzheimer's disease.

In the dark forests outside Poughkeepsie, N.Y., two sisters live alone. Lexa, mute, communicates only with her unnerving rag doll. Addison, the elder, gets on her motorbike after dark and ventures into the city, now deserted and terribly transformed after a mysterious incident called the Spill — which claimed both their parents.

Last year, the Tony Awards were swamped, particularly in the minds of many who only follow theater casually, by the phenomenon that was Hamilton. It got 16 nominations, it seemed like (and was) a lock to win many of them, and every other Tony story struggled to get a little bit of sunlight.

"The land was drained." That's the first sentence in Daisy Johnson's haunting short story collection, Fen, and she wastes no time in establishing a setting. The Fens of eastern England are marshlands — or they were, until the 17th century when Parliament ordered them drained and converted into farmlands. One environmental expert has called the draining of the Fens "England's greatest ecological disaster."

White evangelicals are a formidable force in American politics. Republican candidates hustle for their votes. White evangelical leaders have befriended presidents of both parties. The group even gets its own separate question in presidential exit polls.

Hollywood has solved another cliffhanger. A massive writers' strike was narrowly averted Tuesday, as a tentative agreement was reached between the members of the Writers Guild of America and the group representing the studios they work for, the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers.

Details of the deal are expected to be provided to members on Thursday. Around 13,000 film and TV writers were ready to strike starting at midnight, but they managed to reach an agreement over pensions and health plans and how much writers get paid.

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KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

This week, two stories about Hollywood and tech. First we start with a big hack.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "YOU'VE GOT TIME")

REGINA SPEKTOR: (Singing) The animals, the animals trapped, trapped, trapped till the cage is full.

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