Stella Rimingtonwrites spy fiction and is the former director general of MI5. Her most recent book is The Geneva Trap.
I first discovered Ian Fleming's From Russia With Love in the early '60s, before I knew that I would join MI5 and become part of that mysterious world myself, and before James Bond had become a worldwide phenomenon through the films.
Chef and culinary historian Maricel Presilla owns two restaurants and has written many cookbooks. But her newest book, Gran Cocina Latina: The Food of Latin America, is her attempt to give fans a heaping helping of the many cultures she blends into her world.
"It's my whole life," she tells Morning Edition host David Greene. "There are recipes there of my childhood, things that I remember my family, my aunts doing. But also things that I learned as I started to travel Latin America."
Emily Dickinson's poem that begins with the line "I died for beauty" inspires the title of a new biography of Dorothy Wrinch, the path-breaking mathematician who faced the kind of tumult that scientific inquiry can inspire.
Few people outside the sciences have heard of Wrinch. In 1929, she became the first woman to receive a doctorate of science from Oxford University. But that only begins her largely unknown story.
Gen. Stanley McChrystal says he's moved on with his life. The four-star general was forced to resign from the military after his aides were quoted in a Rolling Stone article making disparaging remarks about members of the Obama administration.
Originally published on Sun January 13, 2013 4:24 pm
The Golden Globes have a well-deserved reputation for being both goofy and pretty much meaningless. They've made it into the news the last few years largely by convincing people that Ricky Gervais' Hugh Hefner jokes were dangerous and daring. (They weren't.)
This year, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association has actually done something very promising by lining up Tina Fey and Amy Poehler to host together. Now that — that -- seems like it might be good.
Roya Hakakian's most recent book is Assassins of the Turquoise Palace.
Adolescence is a universally grave hour. Mine was made graver by a revolution in 1979 in my beloved birth country of Iran. The mutiny I felt within had an echo in the world without. On the streets, martial law was in effect. Tehran was burning, bleeding.
A popular American belief holds that the act of writing can somehow save the writer. But having written a couple of books and countless essays, I disagree. What saved me was not writing, but reading.
What is the best way for a writer to reflect life? For most of us, it's probably the traditional novel that has sat on our nightstands the most: the sprawling, linear tale, told from birth to death. For Will Self, the most lifelike story is told inside out, from the minds of the characters, without a narrator, a filter or any explanations along the way.
Scientist and writer Bill Streever is fascinated by the extremes at both ends of the thermometer. In his 2009 book, Cold, he visited some of the chilliest places on Earth. And in his latest book, he treks through Death Valley, investigates fire-based weaponry and walks on coals — all to gain insight into what it means to be hot. Really hot.
On-air challenge: Given three three-letter words, give a three-letter word that can follow each to complete a familiar six-letter word. None of the words in a set will be related in meaning. For example, given "dam," "man" and "sew," the answer would be "age," which results in "damage," "manage" and "sewage."
Actress Ann Dowd won huge praise from critics for her role in the indie movie Compliance. But when it came time to start campaigning for nominations ahead of awards season, Magnolia Pictures — the studio that produced the film — told her they didn't have the budget to lobby the Academy for a best supporting actress award for her.
So Dowd did something exceedingly rare in Hollywood: She started her own campaign.
In 2007, David Goldhill's father, in good overall health, checked into the hospital with a minor case of pneumonia. Within a few days, he developed sepsis, then a wave of secondary infections. A few weeks after entering the hospital and the day after his 83rd birthday, he died.
Evan S. Connell, whose literary explorations ranged from Depression-era Kansas City in the twin novels Mrs. Bridge and Mr. Bridge to Custer's last stand in Son of the Morning Star, died Thursday in Santa Fe, N.M.
Mrs. Bridge and Gen. Custer: one an invented character, the other a historical figure. You know their names, you can see their faces, even hear their voices as they move across the landscapes in your mind. One in a dining room, in a house in a Kansas City neighborhood, the other riding across the rolling plains of Montana. Mrs. India Bridge and Gen. Custer are some of the most memorable creations of Evan S. Connell, who died this week at the age of 88.
Originally published on Mon January 14, 2013 2:35 pm
Over the course of time, Supreme Court justices have written 225 books. Few reveal much about the justices themselves, but Justice Sonia Sotomayor's autobiography, My Beloved World, is a searingly candid memoir about her life growing up in the tenements of the Bronx, going to Princeton and Yale Law School, becoming a prosecutor and a private corporate lawyer and, at age 38, becoming a federal judge.
In addition to being the captain of the New York Knicks, a six-time NBA all-star, and a father of three, Amar'e Stoudemire is also an author. STAT #3: Slam Dunk is the latest in his series for middle-school-aged readers.
For many, the stakes and the scale of World War II are hard to fathom. It was a war fought around the world, against powerful, determined regimes in Europe and the Pacific; some 65 million people died. And as the number of people who have actual memories of the war dwindle — as of next year, there will be fewer than 1 million living veterans — the mission of the National World War II Museum in New Orleans becomes all the more urgent.
For years, I've taken issue with depictions of mentally ill characters in books and movies. Irrational behavior is easily explained away: They're crazy! No need to elaborate further.
So when I picked up Too Bright to Hear Too Loud to See, I was apprehensive that the main character, an untreated bipolar Hollywood studio executive who leaves his wife and child for an international adventure, might be a kooky manic cliche.
Barbara shows a quiet, restrained normalcy in the former East Germany.
Credit Adopt Films
In a move for historical accuracy, recent German films like Christian Petzold's Barbara show a colorful, living version of communist East Germany. (Pictured: Nina Hoss as Barbara and Ronald Zehrfeld as Andre).
The historical drama is a staple of the film awards season, and the tortured history of modern Germany — with its echoes of the brutal Third Reich and war — has played a central role in many an award-winning film. But the new film Barbara, which was Germany's official entry to this year's Oscars, is a nuanced portrait of the more recent history of a newly reunited East and West.
Jeff Bridges made his film debut when he was 4 months old and has been acting ever since — he has appeared in dozens of films and won an Oscar along the way, yet will always be known for his defining performance as The Dude in 1998's The Big Lebowski. He has now co-written a book drawing life lessons from the character called The Dude and the Zen Master.
It's taken over 100 episodes, but we're finally digging deeply into Downton Abbey this week, and because Stephen isn't big into the genre of ladies in hats, we called in someone who is: our friend and yours, Barrie Hardymon. (Yes, you Barrie people can jump around with excitement now. We'll only cry a little with jealousy.) We'll talk about the first episode of the new season, what does and doesn't work about the show overall, and Maggie Smith (and yes, this causes Glen to break out his Maggie Smith impression, and what's better than that?).
This interview was originally broadcast on May 7, 2012.
Lena Dunham was just 23 years old when her second feature film, Tiny Furniture, won the best narrative feature prize at the South by Southwest Film Festival. The movie's success led to Dunham striking a deal with HBO for a comedy series about a group of 20-something girls navigating New York City.
Finally, what we've been waiting for. Let's bring back our winners to play the Ask Me One More final round. From Name that Candy Bar, Sarah Sheppard.
EISENBERG: It's All Squeak to Me, Stephen Kendall. Time to Turn off the TV, Dan Moren. Street Music, Steve Spinoglio. Celebrity Secret Words, Margaret Maloney. All right, Noah, how are we going to wrap this show up?
Of all the cable comedies returning with new episodes Sunday, Girls is the most ambitious — as well as the most unpredictable, and occasionally unsettling.
When thirtysomething premiered on ABC more than 25 years ago — yes, it's been that long — that drama series was both embraced and attacked for focusing so intently on the problems of self-obsessed people in their 30s. What that drama did for that generation, Girls does for a new one — and for an even younger demographic, by presenting a quartet of young women in their mid-20s.
The second season of HBO's critically acclaimed series Girls begins Sunday night, but the show about 20-something girls navigating their social and work lives in New York has itself been criticized for not being diverse enough.
By now, most of you have heard the buzz about Girls: It's written by 26-year-old Lena Dunham, and stars a quartet of young women whose plans sometimes crash face-first into life's nasty realities.
The show's smart dialogue attracted writer Allison Samuels, a cultural critic for Newsweek/The Daily Beast.
The creators of The Thrilling Adventure Hour proudly call it "fake radio." It's less an homage to old-time radio and more of a clever update. A live monthly performance at Largo, a 200-seat, scruffy-chic Hollywood nightclub is also available as a popular podcast through Nerdist.