The first and most important thing you need to know about Jonathan Evison's heartbreaking, maddening novel The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving is that one of its two main characters is a paralyzed teenage boy, named Trevor. The other is a grown man, Ben, who frequently acts like a teenage boy. Your enjoyment of the book — the follow-up to Evison's well-regarded West of Here — will be largely predicated on how much you like listening in on can-you-top-this, gross-out sex talk, and ruefully self-demeaning descriptions of the female of the species.
The Madden NFL video game franchise has sold close to 100 million copies, a number that will only go up on Tuesday when Madden NFL 13 hits shelves. Madden is the biggest franchise of its kind in North America, and big business for an enormous, tangled web of interested parties. Just ask Tommy Mullings — he craves football.
"After the football's done, like, I can't get enough football," he says. "So I'll go watch football all day and then end my Sunday with a couple of games of Madden."
Nick Dybek is the author of When Captain Flint Was Still a Good Man.
The sinister face sneering from the coveris reason enough to keep John Fowles' TheMagus tucked discreetly away. Then there's the 600 or so pages inside, which are filled with pretentious riffs on psychoanalysis, metaphysics, fascism and the occult.
The word "haunting" could be used to describe many of the short stories in Gold Boy, Emerald Girl. The collection is by Yiyun Li, who emigrated from Beijing to the United States in the 1990s, and received the prestigious MacArthur "genius" grant in 2010.
With the backdrop of a nation moving from isolation to openness, Li's characters deal with universal struggles such as loneliness, regret, love and loss. And often, they're not who they may appear to be.
Originally published on Tue September 11, 2012 10:45 am
Some people suffer from recurring nightmares about being naked on stage, or not having revised for their exams. My bedtime terror is different — I'm gripped with fear that I haven't fed or watered my childhood budgie, with potentially devastating consequences. I loved that bird, Joey, so much, despite the fact that she unmasked herself as female after I'd named her, I still have a tiny box filled with her discarded green feathers. I've never owned a pet as an adult. I prefer animals in novels to avoid the horror of finding two cold, clutched feet in the air.
Ask Harry Dolan to take you for lunch at a restaurant he's written about, and he won't disappoint. In downtown Ann Arbor, Mich., on Liberty Street, the vegetarian restaurant Seva serves mushroom sliders and yam fries that both the crime writer and his characters are quite fond of. With any luck, you'll also catch the perfect song playing in the background — "Psycho Killer" by the Talking Heads.
Next time you're admiring a 19th century American master painting at a museum or auction house, take a closer look. What looks like an authentic creation complete with cracks and yellowing varnish could actually be the work of forger Ken Perenyi.
Perenyi made millions of dollars over 30 years with more than 1,000 forgeries, allowing him to jet set around the world. His highest earning work was a Martin Johnson Heade forgery that sold for more than $700,000.
If there's one thing that HBO's The Newsroom is especially good at, it's portraying journalists who aren't especially good at journalism.
Well, maybe that's not fair. The fact is, they haven't had much opportunity to engage in journalism, since every major story that's come their way has been cracked not through know-how, persistence and telephonic grunt work but through the fortuitous involvement of people with whom the fictional News Night staffers happen to already be good buddies.
Hanna Pylvainen's debut novel, We Sinners, is about a large — very large — family that belongs to a small religious sect in Finland originating in the dim distant past. The sect, Laestadianism, calls for very strictly regulated behavior — think Amish, with possible overtones of Lutheran, purified by a schism or two. The novel is told from the point of view of family members, each of whom get a chapter, and the story goes forward in time with each person.
After 12 years writing a column on ethics, Randy Cohen is convinced ethics is not a moving target, unique to time or place.
"I believe there are a set of principles that are so profound and so essentially moral that if I were just slightly smarter and slightly more eloquent, I could travel everywhere and persuade everyone that they should apply," he tells Weekend Edition guest host Linda Wertheimer.
On-air challenge: Every answer is a two-word phrase in which one of the words starts with W and the other word is the same with the W removed. For example, if you were given the clue "desires scurrying insects," the answer would be "wants ants."
Nothing panics the fans of a show quite like the departure of the creator. That's just what's happening at True Blood, where creator Alan Ball is leaving after five seasons, but the show goes on. As he tells Laura Sullivan on weekends on All Things Considered, he feels some nostalgia, but he's ready.
Park Slope has become the "it" neighborhood to raise a family in Brooklyn. The new novel Motherland gives a tour of the neighborhood's brownstones, European coffee shops and personalities — in particular, the mothers of Park Slope, who definitely have a certain look.
Dionne Mack, Director of Libraries for the City of El Paso; Dan Olivas, President of the civic group CommUNITY en Accion; and John Byrd, Managing Editor of Cinco Puntos Press invite the El Paso community to enjoy reading, Rudolfo Anaya’s Chicano literary classic Bless Me, Ultima over the course of one month prior to the world premiere release of the film adaptation in El Paso.
Originally published on Mon October 15, 2012 8:39 am
Washington, D.C. blogger Sam Hiersteiner is a hot sauce fan turned maker. He's already harvested two pounds of chiles — serranos, jalapenos, and habaneros — from his 30-plant pepper garden this month, and he's ready to mash them into hot sauce as soon as more ripen. Last year, he mashed fifty pounds total.While he loved the results, he thought it would be even better with a whisper of the flavor imparted by a barrel used for aging bourbon.
Police procedurals are the spaghetti and meatballs of television programming. With so many permutations of Laws and Order, CSI and wisecracking cops, you can practically see yellow crime-scene tape stretched around the prime-time schedule.
Sgt. Derek Pacifico spent more than two decades with the San Bernardino County (Calif.) Sherriff's Department, responding to emergency calls and walking a beat. He has investigated close to 200 murders, shootings and other crime cases.
Longtime late night producer Peter Lassally tells Scott Simon that being interviewed for NPR is a "big, frightening experience." "I'm not a performer," he says. "I'm a quiet person who doesn't like to blow his own horn."
Peter Lassally is known as "the host whisperer." If you've ever watched a late night show with an opening monologue, a couch and guests bouncing off each other, then you've seen his work — he practically invented the form.
We do what damage we can on this show, but it's not often we get the chance to cause a real international incident. So we're very excited that Sir Peter Westmacott, Great Britain's ambassador to the U.S., has agreed to play our game called "No homework, extended naps and eight hours of recess!"
A lot of big-time politicians got their start as little politicians, running for the student council. We'll ask Westmacott three questions about strange doings in the school halls of power.
Between mass tourism and the Internet, it's never been easier to learn about other cultures. Yet we often stay on the surface. Watching the Olympics opening ceremony a few weeks ago, I was struck by how much of what was presented as quintessential Britishness came from pop culture — James Bond and Mary Poppins and the chorus to "Hey Jude." Although Britain had a global empire not that long ago, the show's director, Danny Boyle, grasped that the world's image of his green and pleasant land now largely derives from movies and songs.
On this week's show, it's time to talk about the supporting characters who are getting their own stories — just like Judd Apatow is doing for Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann's characters in This Is 40. If you can't get behind Glen's spin-off idea from the world's most studly franchise, then I just don't know what to say to you, because frankly, it's brilliant.
This interview was originally broadcast on May 31, 2011. David Eagleman's Incognito is now out in paperback.
Your brain doesn't like to keep secrets. Studies at the University of Texas, Austin, have shown that writing down secrets in a journal or telling a doctor your secrets actually decreases the level of stress hormones in your body. Keeping a secret, meanwhile, does the opposite.
The narrator of Maria Semple's newest book, Where'd You Go, Bernadette, is 15-year-old Bee Fox. She's a nice kid, a good musician and a great student. In fact, she's such a great student that her parents have promised her anything she wants — and she chooses a family trip to Antarctica.
Originally published on Thu August 23, 2012 6:32 pm
It's summer in France, time for stressed urbanites to head to the beach and forget their problems. For the circle of friends featured in Little White Lies, however, this year's problems are a little more memorable than most.