I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. They say it takes a village to raise a child, but maybe you just need a few moms in your corner. Every week, we check in with a diverse group of parents for their comments and some savvy advice.
When's the last time you read a comic book? Oh, right, the term now is "graphic novel" — as if calling them "comics" was somehow undignified or not sufficiently intellectual. But the problem with "graphic novel" is that it's far too limiting — because, sure, while all comics are graphic, many of the smartest and most exciting examples don't even remotely resemble novels. In fact, I'm about to recommend five books that — each for its own reason — can only be called comics, representing a wide range of literature being produced in what is truly a golden age.
Mary Louise Kelly used to cover the national security beat for NPR, but lately she's turned her attention to teaching and writing fiction. Her new novel, Anonymous Sources, followsrookie journalist Alexandra James as she investigates a shady banana shipment and a clandestine nuclear plot. The tale is fiction, but it draws on Kelly's own experiences reporting on the spy beat, including things she couldn't say when she was a journalist.
Once upon a time, it was MySpace. (Huh. Turns out you can still link to it.) Then Facebook happened. And Twitter. And beyond those two dominant social-media platforms, there are a host of other, newer options for staying in touch and letting the digital universe get a look at your life. And for certain kinds of sharing, some of those other options make more sense to tech-savvy teens than the Big Two do.
With The Ocean at the End of the Lane, best-selling fantasy author Neil Gaiman has written his first adult novel in almost a decade. It's a deceptively simple tale that feels like escapism — until you realize that it isn't.
Ocean is told from the point of view of a melancholy but successful artist returning to his childhood home in Sussex, England. On a lark, he visits an old farm where he played as a boy, and is suddenly overwhelmed by memories of being entangled in a magical conflict with roots stretching back before the Big Bang.
Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today not to mourn the nine-patty T-Rex Burger, but to celebrate its life. It was pulled this week, far too young, from the menu of a rogue Manitoba Wendy's that served it to two or three people a day. It is survived by the few people who ate it and survived.
Said a Wendy's spokesperson: "For obvious reasons, Wendy's ... neither condones nor promotes the idea of anyone consuming a nine-patty hamburger in one sitting."
Here we go into the wild blue yonder again with Colum McCann. In his 2009 novel, Let the Great World Spin, McCann swooped readers up into the air with the French aerialist Philippe Petit, who staged an illegal high-wire stunt walk between the twin towers of the World Trade Center in 1974. Strictly speaking, Let the Great World Spin was not a Sept. 11 novel, and yet almost everyone rightly read it as one, since McCann's tale commemorated the towers at the literal zenith of their history.
Few citizens are more honored than military veterans, and there's particular reverence for those who defeated the Nazis in World War II. Like any war, however, World War II was complicated and traumatic for those on the ground, and not a few deserted from the front lines.
Does cast-iron skillet cornbread, hot and crispy from the oven, transport you back to your grandma's kitchen? Do you cook with certain ingredients as a link to your roots in the South? If so, "A Spoken Dish" wants to hear your story.
The Southern Foodways Alliance is teaming up with Whole Foods Market and Georgia Organics in this video storytelling project as a way to celebrate and document food memories and rituals of the American South.
At 41, with long black hair, Stuart Neville looks more like the rock guitarist he used to be than the author he is now. He lives in a small town with his family — not in Belfast, Northern Ireland, the city that plays a central role in his thrillers, but just outside it.
Today is Blumesday. Not the Bloomsday where readers celebrate James Joyce's novel Ulysses — that was Sunday. Today's Blumesday is also a holiday for literature lovers, but of a different sort.
Blumesday creators Joanna Miller and Heather Larimer are writers, and they're pretty well-read. But they were never huge fans of Ulysses. "We sort of self-deprecatingly said, 'Well, the only way we could participate in Bloomsday was if it were Judy Blumesday.' And then the joke turned into, 'Wait, why aren't we doing this?' " Miller explains.
Count plenty of grown-ups among the millions of fans of Adventure Time, a kids' show on Cartoon Network. Some are surely Emmy voters. (It's won three.) Others are very possibly stoners. Still others are intellectuals. Lev Grossman falls in the last category. He wrote two best-selling novels, The Magicians and The Magician King, and he's Time's senior book critic.
In 1904, on June 16, writer James Joyce took one of the long walks of history. He invited a maid from Finn's Hotel, Nora Barnacle, out for a walk. And later, he'd say it was that walk that made a man of him.
For the better part of the past century, Dr. T. Berry Brazelton has studied babies, helping change the way we think about and care for them — right from the time they take their first breaths.
The renowned pediatrician hosted the long-running TV show What Every Baby Knows, and has written more than 30 books about child development. Hospitals worldwide rely on his newborn assessment known as the Brazelton scale.
There are a lot of things that get a bad rap and then will never shake said bad rap no matter what: canned beanie-weanies come to mind, for example. They're never going to be thought of as high cuisine, let's face it. The song "Escape" by Rupert Holmes - though it has a kicking chorus - probably will not become a better song with time.
In the late 1970s, activists in Iran had a brief moment of hope. The revolution had succeeded; the shah's repressive regime had been overthrown. But things quickly turned for the worse. The newly formed Islamic Republic threw vocal dissenters in prison, and in 1988, it quietly executed thousands of them.
On-air challenge: Every answer is a familiar two-word phrase or name in which the first word starts SI and the second word starts with T. For example, given "unadorned set of facts," you would say, "simple truth."
Last week's challenge: Name a movie in two words — five letters in each word. Both words start with vowels. Take one letter in the first word, move it two spaces later in the alphabet, and rearrange the result. You'll get the second word in the movie's title. What movie is it?
Rebecca Solnit begins her new memoir, The Faraway Nearby, with a question: "What's your story?"
"It's all in the telling," she says. "Stories are compasses and architecture; we navigate by them, we build our sanctuaries and prisons out of them, and to be without a story is to be lost in the vastness of the world that spreads in all directions like arctic tundra or sea ice."
David Berg is a big-name Texas lawyer who founded his own firm and has won cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. He's also been a civil rights activist and a Clarence Darrow-style defender of the damned: disgraced politicians, grungy protesters and celebrities.