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When the sci-fi teen musical Be More Chill opened in New Jersey a few years ago, it got a ho-hum critical response. But then something surprising happened.

The cast recording and some YouTube videos went viral. Then came fan art, fan fiction and fan covers of the songs on social media.

When the show opened off-Broadway last month, it sold out entirely. In February, Be More Chill will move to Broadway.

The Man Who Came Uptown is the first novel from the acclaimed master of Washington, D.C. noir George Pelecanos that might be deemed literary fiction instead of thriller.

Don't worry, Pelecanos fans. This book still contains plenty of action, all of it set in the district and some of it hardboiled indeed — plastic zip-tie cuffs, sawed-off shotguns and getaway cars abound. Much of this involves a private eye named Phil Ornazian who believes he's a modern-day Robin Hood, but who operates more like a rogue for the ages.

When you open the new novel Housegirl, you'll find a glossary on the first pages — dozens of words and phrases in Twi, a Ghanaian dialect. Author Michael Donkor was born in London to Ghanaian parents and the glossary hints at the push and pull between two worlds.

Take, for example, the term for second-hand clothes: "Oburoni wawu literally means 'the white man is dead,' " Donkor explains. "The idea is that when the white man dies, his family sends over his second-hand clothes to Africa, to be sold in the market."

When Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico in September 2017, chef José Andrés and the groups he founded, World Central Kitchen and Chefs for Puerto Rico, sprung into action.

"We began serving hospitals, because the doctors and the nurses — nobody was feeding them," Andrés says of the initial effort.

But then calls started pouring in from places that were hours away from San Juan. Andrés says the message was clear: "The island is hungry. With one restaurant alone, we have not enough."

Updated at 11:35 a.m. ET

Bob Woodward, the author of an explosive new portrayal of President Trump's White House, tells NPR that administration officials are denying his account out of "political necessity."

In his book Fear, which comes out Tuesday, Woodward describes Trump behaving erratically and impulsively, even on significant issues of national security, and insulting some of his senior officials.

President Trump has repeatedly denounced Woodward's book, calling the veteran journalist an "idiot" and his work a piece of "fiction."

Anyone contemplating the impeachment of a president should read Ken Starr's new book on the case he made for the impeachment of Bill Clinton in 1998.

Not that the author of Contempt: A Memoir of the Clinton Investigation is interested in setting the stage for the next impeachment. His immediate mission here is reshaping our memories of that earlier "national trauma."

The first question was whether Jesse Eisenberg would make a good John Bender. Who, after all, does Jesse Eisenberg think he is?

Sunday night at the Ryerson Theatre in Toronto, director Jason Reitman continued what's becoming his Toronto International Film Festival tradition by staging a live reading of a well-known film script. (He directed similar readings in Los Angeles for years.) Reitman brings actors who are at the festival to promote their new films, and he borrows them for an evening to sit on stage and reinterpret something that many in the audience know well.

For some of the 40 million or so Americans who currently use online dating apps like Tinder, Bumble and Hinge, the findings of the new HBO documentary Swiped might be intuitively obvious.

But for others, there may still be revelations aplenty in the film, which is subtitled Hooking Up in the Digital Age. It's about how these apps may change how we think about relationships — and it doesn't paint a positive picture.

It's back to school season, which means lists of required reading — like these three super hot and totally fun romance novels involving spies, strippers, football players and fifth-grade teachers — plus some very important lessons about life, love and happily ever after.

Magic Mike XXL meets Bridesmaids in Stripped, a sexy, funny contemporary romance by Zoey Castile that asks an important question: What happens when the guy you've fallen for is a stripper?

In a male-dominated industry, Geneva Robertson-Dworet is as rare as the female superhero characters she helps craft. The breakout action-genre screenwriter will be adding a historic project to her resume with Captain Marvel, Marvel's first female-led movie, due out next year.

Robertson-Dworet, who penned the Tomb Raider blockbuster reboot, has also been tapped to work on Sherlock Holmes 3, Gotham City Sirens and the new Dungeons & Dragons adaptation.

Diana Evans' new novel is about two couples who — as John Legend sang — are "right in the thick of love."

Evans took her title, Ordinary People, from Legend's song. The whole album Get Lifted, she says, "is very narrative" as it tells the story of "what can happen in a long-term relationship."

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LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

When James Graham was 48 - this was 1993 - he was told a secret that his family had kept from him. John (ph) Graham, the man who'd raised him in Buffalo, N.Y., was actually not his biological father.

For nearly half a century, Bob Woodward of The Washington Post has been reporting on presidents and power. But not since he covered the Watergate scandal in the 1970s has he assayed a presidency in crisis the way he does in Fear: Trump in the White House.

Woodward has published 18 previous books, most of them about presidents. They typically offer a rather doleful view of the world and an unsparing assessment of American political leaders.

When Leah Dieterich accidentally stumbles upon the phenomenon of vanishing twin syndrome, she believes she might have hit on an explanation she's been looking for her entire life.

"I've always preferred being in the company of one other person to being in a group," she writes in her memoir, Vanishing Twins. "I'd thought this meant I was antisocial, but maybe it's a desire to return to the relationship I had with another person in the womb."

At the Metropolitan Theatrical Awards in Mexico City, actresses in sequined floor length gowns and actors in tuxedos ranging from the debonair to the eccentric, walk the red carpet striking poses for photographers on a recent Tuesday evening at the historic Teatro de la Ciudad.

It is an unusual place for tensions over immigration and cultural identity.

Rick Pitino has an amazing record in college basketball. He coached three different teams — at Providence College, the University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville — to the Final Four of the NCAA Tournament. He's a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame.

Jenny Han is the bestselling author behind To All The Boys I've Loved Before — which has just been adapted by Netflix into a teen romantic comedy. We've invited her to play a game called "To all the toys I've loved before" — three questions about Furbies, Easy Bake Ovens, and one very questionable Cold War-era product for kids.

In A Room Away from the Wolves, angry, complicated girls get entangled in a Gothic mystery with all the classic elements — an old house, a cursed ring, a legacy handed from mother to daughter — but Nova Ren Suma manages to take these tropes and transform them into something modern and biting that lingers far beyond the final page.

Copyright 2018 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

In his essay "On Liars," philosopher Michel de Montaigne famously wrote that the truth has a single face, while its opposite has "a hundred thousand faces."

That disproportion is reflected in the English dictionary. We have only a handful of words to describe statements that correspond to reality, like "correct" and "accurate." In fact, we don't even have a single word that means "tell the truth," which is probably to our credit.

Part 5 of the TED Radio Hour episode Dying Well.

About Lux Narayan's TED Talk

Lux Narayan analyzed 2000 New York Times obituaries, of both famous and not-so-famous people, over a two-year period. One common thread among them? A fierce desire to help others.

About Lux Narayan

Lux Narayan is CEO and co-founder of Unmetric, a social media intelligence company based in New York and India.

About Caitlin Doughty's TED Talk

Mortician Caitlin Doughty is trying to find a more natural and sustainable way to bury our loved ones. But to get there, she says: we need to rethink how we view death altogether.

About Caitlin Doughty

Caitlin Doughty is a mortician and the founder of The Order of The Good Death, a group of funeral industry professionals, academics and artists exploring ways to better prepare for the end.

Part 3 of the TED Radio Hour episode Dying Well.

About Michelle Knox's TED Talk

How can we better cope with grief? After observing funerals around the world, banker and travel blogger Michelle Knox suggests we talk about death with our loved ones — especially when we're healthy.

About Michelle Knox

Michelle Knox works in Finance Transformation for Westpac Banking Corporation in Sydney Australia.

Part 2 of the TED Radio Hour episode Dying Well.

About Emily Levine's TED Talk

Writer Emily Levine has stage IV lung cancer. But instead of fearing the inevitable, she decided to embrace her new reality, and face death with humor and gratitude for a life well-lived.

About Emily Levine

Part 1 of the TED Radio Hour episode Dying Well.

About Jason Rosenthal's TED Talk

Before Jason's wife Amy died, she wrote a heartbreaking farewell essay: "You May Want To Marry My Husband." Jason Rosenthal remembers Amy's life — and the lessons he learned from her death.

About Jason Rosenthal

Kidding is weird. It's tough to know what to make of it.

This is not a complaint.

The premise — a beloved, earnest, Mister Rogers-like host of a children's show finds himself plunged into a deep, dark emotional crisis — seems like a set-up for cheap parody, for taking cynical pot-shots at, well, a lot of things: kids' shows; earnestness; serene public facades that hide private chaos and cruelty.

Kidding takes some of those pot-shots. More than a few. But you can tell, sort of, that its heart isn't in them.

There's an old Klingon proverb that says revenge is a dish best served in under 95 minutes, by a fondly regarded actor who's been out of the limelight for a while. With Taken, French cinematographer-turned-director Pierre Morel rejuvenated the formula, stretching a single, highly quotable telephone speech ("If you are looking for ransom I can tell you I don't have money, but what I do have are a very particular set of skills....") into a $900 million film and TV franchise while granting a then-50-something Liam Neeson a new lease on, well, death.

Don't think of it as a reversal.

Think of it as the first act of a movie in which the lead — an incredibly attractive, symmetrically faced character — is up against seemingly insurmountable odds. Except in this version, that handsome-yet-relatable hero is the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The challenge it faces is trying to make the sluggish annual Oscar ceremony a bit more lively. Only, it's meeting a lot of resistance.

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

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