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Arts and Culture

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Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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It has been difficult for Hillary Clinton to seem relaxed and at ease on the campaign trail, especially as questions about her use of a private email server as secretary of state have dominated.

Lutheran pastor Nadia Bolz-Weber admits that she does not look — or act — like a typical church leader. Heavily tattooed and with a tendency to swear like a truck driver, Bolz-Weber was once a standup comic with a big drinking problem.

But she was drawn to Lutheran theology, and when a group of friends asked her to give a eulogy for another friend who had committed suicide, Bolz-Weber discovered her calling.

It's not often that you'll get the National Book Awards confused for that other NBA, but at least in this respect they're the same: They don't go picking their winners lightly — or quickly. Since 2013, in a bid to raise its profile, the prestigious literary prize has been unveiling and then whittling its lists of nominees over multiple rounds, over multiple months.

The first of these rounds wrapped up Thursday, as the National Book Foundation rolled out its long list of 10 nominees for the fiction prize.

Chris Holm can't leave well enough alone. His Collector trilogy — The Big Reap, The Wrong Goodbye, and Dead Harvest — might have worked fine as good ol' retro-noir. Instead he jabbed a dose of eerie urban fantasy into the series, resulting in a grim, imaginative take on the detective yarn.

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Walt Willey web site

Western legend Wild Bill Hickock was born in Troy Grove, Illinois about an hour and twenty minutes north of Bloomington-Normal. Actor Walt Willey grew up in nearby Ottawa, Illinois before making his career on the soap opera All My Children. Willey learned of the central Illinois connection to Hickok only later in life, and was entranced by James Butler Hickok when he was looking for a one man show to do.

Comedian Steve Rannazzisi has admitted to lying for years about being in the World Trade Center on Sept. 11.

In interviews, Rannazzisi said he escaped the south tower when terrorists crashed two airplanes into the buildings in 2001. Wednesday, he tweeted that he was in New York City that day, but in a building in Midtown.

Rannazzisi is a popular stand-up comic and one of the stars of the FX sitcom The League, about a fantasy football league.

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Over the past few years, NBC has tried a few times to revive the prime-time variety show, a TV format that once was as popular and ubiquitous as reality TV is today. NBC even has tried to inject the variety television genre with the excitement of live television, in hopes of luring viewers back to their television sets in real time.

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A New Hampshire public library has voted to continue supporting the controversial Tor network.

The Kilton Public Library in West Lebanon had decided to use its spare bandwidth to serve as a relay for the network. New Hampshire Public Radio reports the library had turned off the relay node after police and Homeland Security warned the library that, among other bad things, the network could allow criminals to move child pornography anonymously.

Juan Felipe Herrera is at the top of his game. A writer who is engaged with the most pressing political and social issues of our moment, he believes (judging from his poems) in all kinds of expression, not just the kind that comes most naturally to him. That's a major qualification for his new job, which, after all, is about encouraging literacy and expression amongst Americans. (Plus, check out this video of him from 1973 looking really cool and playing a mean guitar.)

Fifteen Republican presidential candidates debated Wednesday night in California — the second Republican debate this season.

NPR's live debate chat is now closed, but you can see the archived chat below and post in the comments at the bottom of the page.

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Donald Trump went and gave a speech Tuesday night on the deck of a battleship, the appropriately named USS Iowa. Reporters were expecting a policy speech. What followed was not that at all.

But that's really not the point.

Toward the end of the 13-minute speech, Trump said 178 words that might explain his appeal to conservatives better than almost anything else. (More on that below.)

First, to the policy ...

With Hungary's southern border now sealed, many refugees and other migrants are looking for other ways to reach refuge in northern Europe — and they hope to find an answer in a tricky route through Croatia.

Update at 1 p.m. ET: Tear Gas And Water Cannons At Hungary's Border

With thousands of migrants now bottled up in Serbia after Hungary sealed its border, a tense scene played out after frustrations boiled over Wednesday.

From the border, Lauren Frayer reports for our Newscast unit:

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It happens all the time: We see someone walking down the street, sitting on a train, or standing in line, maybe make eye contact for a split second — and then go on with our day. Normally, we don't give those interactions much thought. But for Nicole Schneit, the New York songwriter behind Air Waves, momentary connections provoke wonder: "We encounter each other in the thick of our complex lives by simply looking at each other all the time," Schneit says.

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If you haven't experienced it yourself, you've no doubt heard about the outrageous — and rapidly growing — prices of certain prescription medications.

The average price for about one year of cancer-drug therapy has skyrocketed from $10,000 or less before 2000 to more than $100,000 by 2012, according to a recent Mayo Clinic study.

United Auto Workers and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles reached a tentative four-year agreement Tuesday night. The deal affects 36,000 Fiat Chrysler workers nationwide and lays the groundwork for upcoming UAW negotiations with General Motors and Ford.

The UAW and the three automakers have been in talks since July.

Sarah Cwiek from Michigan Radio reports:

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People looking out the windows of a Washington, D.C., school saw a group of men outside.

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AnneMarie Zagari found her teenage son unresponsive on the couch after he took too many opioid painkillers in 2011. She began pounding his chest and slapping his face, and finally succeeded in reviving him by giving him CPR. It was a terrifying moment. And that panic wouldn't have been necessary if she'd had access to the drug naloxone (also known as Narcan), which can instantly reverse an overdose.

"It would have been instant revival," Zagari says.

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