There's a popular misconception that literary fiction is supposed to be staid, boring, realistic to a fault. Like all stereotypes, it's deeply unfair, but it endures, perhaps because readers keep having traumatic flashbacks to novels, like Sister Carrie, that they were forced to read in high school.
If you can't find pennette, use the small bulging crescents that are chifferi, or regular elbow macaroni, instead.
Credit / Courtesy Random House
Instead of going to the butcher and asking for a huge hunk of steak cut specially, you can make one supermarket strip steak (it still should be good meat, or don't bother) stretch to feed two of you with no suggestion of scrimping.
Credit Courtesy Random House
Serve this handmade coffee ice cream with a chocolate sauce, or squidge it into little brioches, like sweet burger buns, as they do in the south of Italy.
Credit Courtesy Random House
Don't be tempted to let the cheesecake come to room temperature before serving. It slices and eats better with a bit of refrigerator chill on it.
Before the roses and the romance, Valentine's Day commemorated the Roman Saint Valentine — Valentinus, in Latin. And in her new cookbook, Nigellissima: Easy Italian-Inspired Recipes, chef Nigella Lawson offers up simple recipes that celebrate the cuisine of the country Saint Valentine called home.
Lawson joins NPR's Renee Montagne to share some recipes for a romantic dinner for two, and describes the time she spent in Italy.
For some, Detroit may be a symbol of urban decay; but to Charlie LeDuff, it's home. LeDuff, a veteran print and TV journalist who spent 12 years at TheNew York Times, where he shared a Pulitzer Prize in 2001, returned home to the city after the birth of his daughter left him and his wife — also a Detroit native — wanting to be closer to family.
Valentine's Day is a great time for love and romance. But it can also bring up complicated questions about relationships. If you've been texting incessantly, when is the right time for an actual date? And is there such a thing as being too romantic? Host Michel Martin talks to etiquette experts about romance dilemmas.
Craig Morgan Teicher's latest collection of poetry is called To Keep Love Blurry.
Fifty years ago today, Sylvia Plath ended her life as a major poet and an artist of the highest order. But one could hardly have predicted, from her taut yet unfocused first book, The Colossus, her only book of poetry published in her lifetime, that she would, or even could, become the poet we know, revere — and maybe even fear — as Sylvia Plath.
When the Oscars are handed out later this month, the ceremony will most likely be punctuated by music that has pretty much come to stand for movies and Movieland. Ironically, the composer grew up in Detroit, and the lyricist came from Savannah, Ga. — yet together they wrote the quintessential Tinseltown anthem.
"Hooray for Hollywood" was written for the Warner Brothers film Hollywood Hotel. It was a corny little "let's-go-to-Hollywood-and become-stars" movie from 1937, with some cute dialogue.
You have until 11:59 p.m. ET Sunday to send in your original short fiction. The challenge this round is to write a story in the form of a voice mail message. Submit your story here: https://npr3mf.submittable.com/submit
Flotsam and Jetsam: of such things are stories made. Writers use objects to give their stories weight, attachment and verisimilitude, like Gary Paulsen's The Hatchet; Jean Shepherd's Red Ryder BB Gun inspired A Christmas Story; and how about Dashiell Hammett's The Maltese Falcon?
Originally published on Mon February 11, 2013 6:16 am
Ann Leary's latest book is The Good House.
I tend to read funny books when I'm happy and tragic books when I'm sad, but when I'm truly depressed, when I want to be fully immersed in the horrible splendor of the most desperate human suffering, I always return to Brian Moore's The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne.
On a Virginia plantation in 1852, a young house slave tends to her ailing mistress, creates exquisite paintings and plans her escape. In 2004 New York, an ambitious young lawyer works night and day on the biggest case of her promising career.
Tara Conklin's debut novel, The House Girl, intertwines these women's narratives in a story of art and injustice.
On-air challenge: Every answer is a three-letter word that ends a familiar two-word phrase. You will be given the first word of the phrase. You provide the three-letter word that ends it. And the three letters in your answer will always be found, in some order, inside the first word. For example, given "Arctic," you would say "Air."
In Teddy Wayne's new novel, YouTube sensation Jonny Valentine has the sugar-sweet pipes of a teen heartthrob. But he also has a controlling manager-mom, a missing father, a retinue of people who work for him and a record label that's leaning on him to move the merchandise — fast.
A reminder that our Three-Minute Fiction writing contest ends tomorrow night at 11:59PM EST. The challenge this time around, chosen by novelist and judge Mona Simpson, is to write a story in the form of a voicemail message.
Two feet of snow can be a major inconvenience. We feel for you, friends in the Northeast. To help you work through that serious snow surplus, we shuffled through our virtual recipe box for snow cuisine.
It's like being given lemons and making lemonade, though you definitely don't want to be doing anything with lemon-colored snow you find outside.
This week, Wait Wait comes to you from the AT&T Performing Arts Center in the Dallas Arts District. Turns out, singer Erykah Badu was a student at the high school for the performing arts directly across the street. We're guessing she used to gaze across the street and say to herself: "Someday I'm going to be in a theater that's not yet built, performing on a public radio news quiz." And today, that dream comes true.
Over the years, I've come to the conclusion that what's generally referred to — often disdainfully — as "women's fiction" (not quite literature, not quite romance, definitely not Fifty Shades of Grey) is really a catch-all category into which almost any literary genre will fit.
Laurence Olivier, whose interpretations of Shakespeare's signature roles were often considered definitive, adapted several of those roles for film. He wrote and directed widely praised versions of Hamlet, Henry V and Richard III.
Karen Russell has a new short-story collection out, her first book since 2011's best-selling Swamplandia! The stories range from senior citizen vampires sucking lemons and wondering about their future, to a war veteran whose wounds are both locked up inside, and bright and bold across his body.
When Sampson Davis was in high school, he and two of his friends made a pact that they would someday become doctors. All three of them did. Along with those friends — and now fellow doctors — George Jenkins and Rameck Hunt, Davis co-authored a 2003 book called The Pact, about that promise and the way it shaped their lives.
Cristobal Balenciaga was known as a perfectionist, especially when it came to sleeves. Blume says, "It was perhaps a sign of real personal attention if you were one of the rare clients that he had lunch with, and at the end of the lunch he ripped out [your] sleeve and reset it."
Credit Courtesy Balenciaga Archives
Balenciaga debuted his baby doll dress in 1958. Blume writes, "all women benefited — and benefit still — from the principal achievement of [Balenciaga's] 1950s lines: the elimination of a tight nipped-in waist and the smoother, more yielding silhouette."
Credit Richard Drew / AP
Balenciaga hired Alexander Wang as its new creative director in December 2012. While the fashion house's namesake was known for staying out of the public eye, Wang's public image is very much a part of his designs.
In the early '80s, Italy's Taviani brothers, Paolo and Vittorio, made one of the true modern masterpieces, TheNight of the Shooting Stars. Set in the last days of World War II, when Germans laid mines all over Tuscan villages and Fascists loyal to Mussolini killed their own countrymen, it was a very cruel film.