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.
On the list of great postwar American male novelists — along with Philip Roth, Norman Mailer and John Updike — is James Salter.
With the publication of his first book in 1957, he won the admiration of writers and critics alike. But after 1979, his production slowed. Salter still wrote — essays, short stories, poetry — but nothing on a grander scale.
Now, that long-awaited novel has been published. All That Is sets out to give a sweeping portrait of human experience.
A man inspects a plastic cover placed over Slave Labour, an artwork attributed to Banksy, in London. This piece of art was put up for sale in Miami last February, but the ensuing outrage led to the auction's cancellation. The mural is now part of an exhibition in London, and is is expected to move to the U.S. afterward.
You might remember the story of the uproar earlier this year over a piece of art by the mysterious graffiti artist Banksy that disappeared from its home on a wall in north London and ended up on the auction block in Miami.
On-air challenge: You are given two words starting with M-A. The answer is a third word that can follow the first one and precede the second one, in each case to complete a compound word or a familiar two-word phrase.
Last week's challenge: Name a famous performer whose last name has six letters. Move the first three letters to the end — without otherwise changing the order of the letters — and add one more letter at the end. The result, in seven letters, will name a place where this person famously performed. Who is it, and what's the place?
Anchee Min's best-selling memoir Red Azalea told the story of her youth in China during the Cultural Revolution. Her followup, The Cooked Seed, picks up nearly 20 years later as she arrives in America with $500 in her pocket, no English and a plan to study art in Chicago.
Min tells NPR's Rachel Martin that her life in China ended because of her relationship with Madame Mao, a former actress and the wife of Chairman Mao Zedong.
This Mother's Day, think about the relationship you have with your mother. Now consider: Could you tell that story in just six words?
The newspaper The Forward recently put out a call for six-word memoirs about mothers — specifically, Jewish mothers. The submissions they received show that you can pack a lot of emotion into a half-dozen words, like in Jennifer Glick's memoir: "Mother, our lady of perpetual dissatisfaction."
Christopher Guest has made so many people laugh since he started making mock documentaries with This Is Spinal Tap in1984 that his fans might be surprised to hear his response to Scott Simon's question on Saturday's Weekend Edition about whether he ever thinks about making a serious movie.
Referencing Family Tree, his new show for HBO starring Chris O'Dowd as a man discovering his roots, Guest says that even with comedy, the emotional content can still be critical.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a Nigerian-born author and MacArthur fellow. Her earlier works include the novels Purple Hibiscus and Half of a Yellow Sun and the short story collection The Thing Around Your Neck.
School romances face a lot of obstacles: the big decision at graduation, the competing demands of two burgeoning careers, perhaps a period spent in a long-distance relationship. But the young lovers in Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's latest novel, Americanah, must overcome even more challenges than usual: military rule, immigration restrictions and, during their years apart, other relationships.
Yngwie Malmsteen is the king of the neoclassical shred guitar. Since 1984's Rising Force, the Swedish musician and composer has somehow bridged centuries, from Paganini to his own arpeggiated acrobatics.
We use Google to search for just about everything, so we've invited Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt to play a game called "Try Googling that, Bigshot." We'll ask him three questions about things that cannot be found.
Schmidt, who served as Google CEO for 10 years, is the co-author of the new book The New Digital Age: Reshaping the Future of People, Nations and Business.
Allison Amend is out with her third book. It's a novel called "A Nearly Perfect Copy." It features richly detailed characters, including an art dealer gone bad, and it's set in both Paris and New York. Our review Alan Cheuse found it all quite delectable.
A young Sarah Polley and her actor father, Michael Polley, on a long-ago day; the photo is one of many family memories that surface in Stories We Tell, a superb meditation on dramatizing memory from the director of Away from Her.
Credit Roadside Attractions
Polley in the present day, with her Super-8 camera.
Sarah Polley grew up the fifth of five children in a Canadian theatrical family. Her father, Michael, is a transplanted British actor; her mother, Diane, was an actress and casting director. No wonder Sarah feels her family's narrative has the stuff of drama.
"I'm interested in the way we tell stories about our lives," she says in the film, "about the fact that the truth about the past is often ephemeral and difficult to pin down."
Reading the Bible from cover to cover might seem like a heavy task. But what about writing it? Host Michel Martin speaks with Phillip Patterson, who is just two verses away from writing out the whole King James Bible. He talks about how he kept the faith in spite of loss and illness.
It's been a riveting week as the nation watched the story of three missing women reuniting with family members in Cleveland. The women were kidnapped during separate incidents several years ago and were imprisoned in the same house. Host Michel Martin talks to the barbershop guys about the many threads of this story.
Popular soft drinks, sports cars and other brands appear surreptitiously placed in the worlds of our favorite TV shows and films all the time. Soon enough, we may see them name-dropped in our books, too.
To help imagine some egregious-yet-hilarious examples of this, we invited a prolific writer to Ask Me Another: award-winning young adult author Lois Lowry. Lowry joins forces with a fellow book-loving contestant to play "Product Placement," a game in which they must combine the titles of famous literary works with the names of household products and companies.
New movies — especially sequels — hit theaters so quickly these days, it can be hard to tell what's worth checking out. So we thought it would be fitting to call upon the Boston-based, Pulitzer Prize-winning film critic Wesley Morris for some clarity.
Morris chats with host Ophira Eisenberg about whether it was hometown bias that led him to predict that Argo would take home the Oscar for Best Picture, and exemplifies how difficult it can be for a lifelong film scholar to narrow down an answer to the question, "What is your favorite movie?"
Guatemalan author Eduardo Halfon is this week's Alt.latino guest DJ, and he's a natural choice; his new book, The Polish Boxer, is a series of semi-autobiographical stories woven through with loving references to jazz and classical music.
Alt.latino host Jasmine Garsd had this to say about The Polish Boxer:
[I really hope it goes without saying that this piece about the film adaptation of a decades-old novel gives away the plot of a decades-old novel. But: Be aware.]
The sheer zazz that Baz Luhrmann introduces into The Great Gatsby is so imposing in quantity that it's surprising that it can get out of the way enough not to be the biggest problem in the movie. Luhrmann, after all, loves his swooping cameras and party scenes, and Gatsby gives him the best excuse for excess that there is: a story about excess.
This is the second installment of NPR's Cook Your Cupboard, a food series about improvising with what you have on hand. Got a food that has you stumped? Submit a photo and we'll ask chefs about our favorites!
Laurel Ruma, an NPR listener from Medford, Mass., didn't realize quite how much she had gathered up from her travels until renovating her kitchen last summer. She unearthed things like harissa, chickpea flour and black chia seeds.
Journalists make choices all the time that influence our understanding of the news — the choice of what stories to cover, which people to interview, which words to use. And major news organizations have been reconsidering how best to describe a group of people whose very presence in this country breaks immigration law.
In 1961, Mel Brooks and Carl Reiner came up with some basic theories of caveman linguistics in their 2,000-Year-Old Man skit. Most of them had to do with rocks, as in, "What are you doing with that rock there?"
Now, a professor in England has questioned the validity of the famous caveman's rock-centric theories. And Mark Pagel of the University of Reading is reaching even further back, to the time of the 15,000-year-old man.
Light It Up: Director Baz Luhrmann (right, with stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan on the set of The Great Gatsby) brought a lush visual sensibility to a tale whose tone not everyone thinks of as epic.
Credit Jaimie Trueblood / Paramount Pictures
The Bang-Bang Club:Pain & Gain, with Anthony Mackie, Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne Johnson as three guys on a heist, is a coulda-been-nimble caper that got Michael Bay-ified on the way to the multiplex.
Here's a movie pitch: A celebrated millionaire, known for public extravagance, lives right on the water in a fabulous mansion. He's smooth but reckless, drives like a maniac, has a powerful enemy and — despite a rep as a playboy — has only one girlfriend, who barely registers on-screen.
You're the producer, so whaddya think? Does his story require lavish digital effects, swooping cameras, a rap soundtrack and the full-on 3-D treatment?
If I tell you his name is Tony Stark, otherwise known as Iron Man, probably yes, right?