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I approached this review with a little bit of dread. How do you write about the iconic novelist Thomas Pynchon, whose books are strange and difficult things, and whose die-hard readers gather online to wax poetic, and use words like Pynchonian, Pynchonalia and Pynchonesque? They are just so into him, and often so articulate about their love. If you read the thoughtful and detailed writing by Pynchon devotees, they make a very persuasive case.

Consumer prices rose a scant 0.1 percent in August from July and were up a modest 1.5 percent since August 2012, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said Tuesday morning.

Why The U.S. Needs Bashar Assad To Stay For Now

Sep 17, 2013

Throughout the Syrian war, President Obama has insisted that President Bashar Assad must go. But now, the U.S. may want, or even need, Assad to remain in power for a while longer so he can oversee the dismantling of his chemical weapons stockpile.

"For the sake of the Syrian people, the time has come for President Assad to step aside," Obama said back on Aug. 18, 2011, in his first explicit call for Assad's ouster, something the U.S. president went on to repeat on multiple occasions.

The flooding that has roared through communities and canyons across Colorado's Front Range in recent days is now being blamed for:

-- as many as eight deaths

-- damaging or destroying 19,000 homes

-- causing up to $500 million worth of damage to roads and highways.

Authorities are set to slap banking giant JPMorgan Chase with a massive fine over the bank's huge trading losses in London last year, confirms NPR's Jim Zarroli.

Though details of the deal are still pending, several reports put the amount at more than $700 million. It comes on the heels of the bank's having recently paid $410 million to settle charges that it manipulated energy markets.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne with an update on a Hawaiian woman with a very long name - Janice Lokelani Keihanaikukauakahihuliheekahaunaele. She goes by Loke, but Honolulu's KHOM2 reported on her complaint that her name was cut off on ID cards, which led to issues with travel and cops.

Now, Hawaii will expand its limit on the length of names on IDs so Loke won't need to use her maiden name - Worth.

It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Good morning, I'm Steve Inskeep.

The head of a Rhode Island school was named Providence Principal of the Year, but that was only the start of the accolades. Police say an employee, Christopher Michael Sheehan, gave his boss a present to celebrate - a half ounce of marijuana. Mr. Sheehan was arrested. Just to be clear, since it can apparently be easy to forget, Rhode Island is not one of the states that has legalized pot, and especially not in a school zone.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep. Good morning. A report by United Nations' chemical weapons inspectors does not blame Syria's government for last month's chemical weapons attack. The inspectors were not authorized to do that. But they did provide substantial evidence, the most detailed look available, of an August 21 attack that led the United States to threaten military action.

Our coverage continues of Monday's shootings at the Washington Navy Yard. Twelve victims and the man who authorities say gunned them down are dead.

Some of the latest developments:

-- Investigators now do not think there was a second shooter, D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier said late Monday evening. Throughout Monday, authorities had run down witness reports and other evidence indicating there might have been additional gunmen.

The French novelist Marcel Proust immortalized the connection between food and memory when the narrator of his novel Remembrances of Things Past bit into a madeleine and was transported to thoughts of his childhood.

But what if that madeleine were poisoned, so to speak?

That is the question underlying Russian American writer Anya von Bremzen's new memoir, Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking. Though it contains recipes, this is not a cookbook but rather, a history of a family and of Soviet Russia.

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