William S. Burroughs was a counterculture icon: In more than two dozen books, including the landmark novel Naked Lunch, helaid down an original vision that influenced everyone from political activists to punk rockers, filmmakers to sci-fi writers.
In 1962, writer Norman Mailer described himas "the only American novelist living today who may conceivably be possessed by genius."
Originally published on Fri February 7, 2014 11:49 am
Ladies, if that Super Bowl Sunday pitch from '90s heartthrob John Stamos didn't leave you craving more yogurt, here's some science that might do the trick: There's tantalizing new research suggesting that some friendly bacteria commonly found in yogurts may help women shed more weight while on a diet and keep it off.
"Make it work," fashion guru Tim Gunn tells young designers on Project Runway. But life hasn't always "worked" for Gunn. "I can't even recite the number of schools I went to as a kid because I was constantly running away from them," he tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "It's so ironic that I would become a career educator because I hated school so profoundly. It wasn't the learning experience that I hated. I hated the social aspects."
In the opening paragraph of Moby-Dick, Ishmael tells us he takes to sea whenever he feels the onset of "a damp, drizzly November in [his] soul." I know how he feels. Whenever the frigid funk of February settles in, I, too, yearn to get out of town. This year I have, thanks to two exquisite vehicles of escape fiction. Both Rachel Pastan's Alena and Katherine Pancol's The Yellow Eyes of Crocodiles are smart entertainments perfect for curling up with on a winter's night.
Martha Woodroof has been writing about the First Novel Experience. For this post, she reports on her travels to the American Booksellers Association's Winter Institute in January.
The American Booksellers Association Winter Institute was billed as providing independent booksellers with a chance to get together "...in vibrant Seattle for three-plus days of networking, special events, and professional development."
Originally published on Wed February 5, 2014 9:45 am
It is fitting that the Winter Olympics, one of the world's fiercest competitions, is taking place amid the breathtaking beauty of the Caucasus.
For centuries, Russia's greatest writers have been inspired by this volatile region full of not only immense natural beauty but also human misery. No matter how or why these writers came to the area, they found a land full of possibility and pain, rich in beauty, yet rife with violence: in short, a concentrated microcosm of the contradictions of life itself.
William S. Burroughs was born 100 years ago today. His books included "Naked Lunch." He was a member of the Beat Generation, writers who rose to prominence in the 1950s for the most part and had a huge influence questioning society's standards and traditions. Burroughs was openly gay and wrestled with heroin addiction much of his life.
He lived all over the world, but spent his last years in Lawrence, Kansas where we go next. Frank Morris of member station KCUR reports on his odd but enduring place in a Midwestern city.
On a cool Cairo evening, the cast and crew of The Square put on an informal screening of the film for their friends. Many of them are in the documentary, which chronicles three years of political unrest and revolution centered on this city's now-iconic Tahrir Square; all of them experienced some part of the events that unfolded there.
Originally published on Wed February 5, 2014 9:24 am
The earliest African-American cookbook authors brought me back to a food career I thought I had left behind. Years ago, I was a pastry chef, but I changed course and went to graduate school for a doctorate in American history. Lately, I've been drawn back into the food world thanks to these authors and their determined pursuit of independence and equality through their cooking and writing.
As of last week, what I knew about Beirut could fit in a sandwich bag. What I knew about being a blue-haired, 72-year-old woman, never mind a widow and a shut-in, was a whole lot less. Now, one week later, I'm much more informed, and I'm happy to encourage you to become so, too.
The Danish television series Borgen about a female party leader who unexpectedly becomes Denmark's prime minister was a hit in its home country and in the U.K. It won numerous international prizes, and a cult following in the U.S. after its sporadic TV broadcasts — Stephen King named it his favorite piece of pop culture of 2012. The third and final season has just been released on DVD by MHz Networks, which also brought out seasons one and two.
When you're a parent — even when you're a miserably sleep-deprived parent — sometimes magical things happen in the dead of night. Jennifer Senior's son was 1 month old when, during a late-night feeding, he looked directly at her and cooed. "It was this recognition, like 'Oh, you're my mom,' " she tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "I'd like to think that when I'm dying I'll remember that. ... Even in my depressive, sleep-deprived, hysterical, Looney Tunes state, I remember thinking that was just the bomb — that was magic."
A great truth is this: Some discoveries, like the sting of a painful memory, do a number on your psyche. Definitely Maybe accomplishes just that. It's one for those with a penchant for the strange, those drawn to the grim and the darkly funny — those, like myself, interested in the beautifully rendered pessimism of manic scientists. Never mind, just for a moment, the current state of science fiction. Arkady and Boris Strugatsky, brothers, celebrated Russian geniuses, give it all in this dystopian gem. All and then some.
Well, if you were to try to watch all of NBC's coverage of the Sochi games, it would be a lot of TV: 1,539 hours of programming. The network is serving up more coverage of the Winter Olympics than ever. NPR's TV critic Eric Deggans has some advice for those sorting through it.
ERIC DEGGANS, BYLINE: Watching the Olympics is like a Rorschach test. Years ago, you just turned on the TV and gobbled down whatever they dished up.
Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 5:39 pm
For years, makers of kids' cereals have been upping the ante to get kids interested: hiding a toy surprise inside, adding multicolored marshmallows, setting bear traps in the cereal aisle. Now Post, maker of the classic Flintstones-themed Fruity Pebbles, has created "Poppin' Pebbles," an explosive Pop Rocks-cereal mashup.
Miles: This is the only cereal on the market that fizzes and foams in your mouth. Well, this and Cinnamon Rabies Crunch.
It's easy to lose yourself in Philip Seymour Hoffman masterful portrayals, but those performances were anything but effortless.
"Like any job," he told Fresh Air's Terry Gross in 2008, it could be exhausting. In our day to day lives, "we're not too introspective," he said. "We don't walk around our lives just constantly trying to delve into the understanding of ourselves unless you're in therapy or something. But that's what actors do, you know? We really explore ourselves and other people."
Hoffman was found dead on Sunday in his Manhattan apartment. He was 46.
Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 10:34 am
I remember laughing occasionally at Seinfeld. I'm pretty sure there's tape of me somewhere, probably on a podcast, acknowledging that it's good. Because of peer pressure.
I don't like Seinfeld, I don't miss it, and every time I'm asked to participate in some sort of acknowledgment of its greatness, or its place in the pantheon, I feel myself cringe and lie and say I understand, but I am here to tell you, and then never to be so cowardly again: I don't understand.