Tina Brown, editor of the Daily Beast and Newsweek, joins NPR's Steve Inskeep again for an occasional feature Morning Edition likes to call Word of Mouth. She talks about what she's been reading and gives us some recommendations.
This month, her reading suggestions have a common theme: luck. Not good luck, not bad luck, but the often-ambiguous element of chance.
A Small Village Wins Big
Brown's first selection is a Michael Paterniti article from GQ, which Brown calls "a fabulous piece of very offbeat reporting."
It really only hit yesterday: It's the end of The Office.
After nine seasons, Dunder Mifflin is going dark Thursday night, with an hour-long retrospective at 8:00 and a 75-minute episode at 9:00 that may or may not feature a cameo from Steve Carell. There have been denials of an appearance from him that could be read as emphatic or tiptoeing, depending on whether you focus on the obvious implications of those denials or the technicalities that might allow for wiggle room.
Before I tell you about J.J. Abrams' second Star Trek film, with its youngish new Starship Enterprise crew, let me say that just because I've seen every episode of the original StarTrek and of The Next Generation, and most of the spinoff series, and every movie, I'm not a Trekkie — meaning someone who goes to conventions or speaks Klingon or greets people with a Vulcan salute.
Some novelists interest us because they turn the light of a style we enjoy on whatever subject they take up. Some novelists we enjoy because they have found a great subject and work it well and lovingly. John le Carre seems to belong to the latter group, having found his vein of fiction gold in the world of Cold War espionage.
First things first: Can we talk about hair? Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has written a big knockout of a novel about immigration, American dreams, the power of first love, and the shifting meanings of skin color; but, as Adichie has said in interviews, she also knows that black women's hair can speak volumes about racial politics.
Sarah Polley earned wide acclaim for directing the drama Away from Her, about a woman fading into the twilight of Alzheimer's, as well as for her acting performances in an array of films including The Sweet Hereafter and My Life Without Me. Her latest film, Stories We Tell,is a documentary, though — and a personal one at that.
This was the week of the broadcast network "upfront" presentations, which are the splashy ads for new programming that networks show to advertisers to entice them into ignoring their fears that everybody is fast-forwarding through all the commercials anyway.
Butterscotch is going through something of a revival. So much so, that two Kitchen Window regular contributors wanted to write about it. Therefore, welcome to the more-than-you-ever-thought-you-needed-to-know-about-butterscotch special coverage. Today is the first in our two-part butterscotch series. Check in next week (May 22) for more recipes featuring this resurgent flavor.
There are novels you read to find out what happens next, and novels you read to linger in the moment. Tom Drury's new book, Pacific, falls squarely in the second category. Drury started writing about the inhabitants of fictional Grouse County in 1994, in The End of Vandalism, and continued with 2000's Hunts in Dreams. But to call Pacific a sequel implies that you need to read the first two installments to fully invest in this slight, beguiling third. You don't.
I've been following Easy Rawlins since reading Devil in a Blue Dress in the '90s. That's a lot of time to give to a character. And as I read Little Green, I realized that I hadn't been following Easy, the character, all these years. In the past I was more invested in other parts of the stories.
A year ago, writer Neil Gaiman told the graduating class at Philadelphia's University of the Arts that life is sometimes hard — that things will go wrong in love and business and friendship and health, and in all the other ways that life can go wrong. And that the best thing an artist can do at those times is to "make good art."
That commencement speech became a hit on the Web and has now been adapted into a small book, titled, appropriately, Make Good Art.
Pop culture does not mean celebrity culture; I have perhaps said this more often than anyone you're going to meet. Who dates, who gets a divorce, who has a tantrum, who has surreptitious photos snapped of him by mangy, grim opportunists — these things are not culture of any kind, popular or otherwise, unless there is something else at stake. They are curiosities, and given that we are curious creatures, their pull is not surprising, nor is it new, nor was it invented by the internet, or television, or Americans.
American literature has plenty of coming-of-age novels. What we need more of, judging by the strengths of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's new book, are novels about coming to America. In particular, books that address our biggest problems — in this case, race. Because things natives don't see about themselves often stand out like neon to foreign eyes. And if you think racism expired when President Obama was elected, this is perhaps not — or absolutely is — the book for you.
One need pick up on only a hint of the zeitgeist to know that monsters that once worried their careers had peaked in B-movies of the '50s are now enjoying a sustained resurgence. On screens and in the "Teen Paranormal Romance" section of Barnes and Noble, supernatural creatures of all stripes battle for the hearts (or throats) of our homecoming queens.
Jessica Buchanan was working as an aid worker in Somalia in the fall of 2011. She was based in northern Somalia, but in October, she traveled to the more dangerous southern half of the country for a training.
Credit Courtesy Erik Landemalm / Atria Books
Erik Landemalm, Buchanan's husband, was also an aid worker in northern Somalia. He expected Buchanan to get in touch and say that she'd returned from her trip; instead, he received a call saying that she'd been kidnapped.
In 2011, Jessica Buchanan was an aid worker in northern Somalia, helping to raise awareness about how to avoid land mines. The north was the relatively safe section of the country; that October, she traveled to the more dangerous southern region for a training. The night before she left, she texted her husband, Erik Landemalm, also an aid worker in Somalia. She asked him a question: "If I get kidnapped on this trip, will you come and get me?"
This year marks the centenary of the birth of Albert Camus, the great novelist of existentialism. It's a movement that many Americans think of as quintessentially Parisian, born of cafe-table philosophizing and fueled by packs of Gauloises. But Camus wasn't a native of metropolitan France. He was born and raised in Algeria into a pied-noir family ("black foot," the phrase used to describe descendants of French settlers), grew up in working-class Algiers, and pined for north Africa long after he moved to the French capital in 1942.
For the past 37 years, Robert Caro has devoted his life to writing the definitive biography of Lyndon Johnson. So far, The Years of Lyndon Johnson has four acclaimed volumes and has shown readers just how complex the 36th president was, as both a politician and a man.
New Orleans might be famous for its culinary legacy, but the Big Easy also has neighborhoods without access to fresh, healthy food. Now actor Wendell Pierce is bringing grocery stores to some neglected parts of his home town. Host Michel Martin speaks with Pierce about his new grocery chain, Sterling Farms.
Over the weekend, ABC posted a trailer for Marvel's Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D., its fall show (time slot and premiere date to come) that jumps off from Marvel's Avengers universe, as seen in all kinds of movies that have made all kinds of money.
If you said the "s" word in the ninth century, you probably wouldn't have shocked or offended anyone. Back then, the "s" word was just the everyday word that was used to refer to excrement. That's one of many surprising, foul-mouthed facts Melissa Mohr reveals in her new book, Holy S- - -: A Brief History of Swearing.
As a Republican senator from Maine, Olympia Snowe was known for her willingness to stand alone. A moderate with independent views, she had substantial influence in the health care debate as both sides vied for her vote. Earlier this year she left the Senate, out of frustration, she says, with the inability to get anything done.