Love, parenthood, infidelity, a crumbling marriage ... these are pretty traditional themes for fiction. It's not the kind of stuff that normally makes for an experimental novel.
But in Jenny Offill's new book, Dept. of Speculation, those familiar subjects take on an unusual form. The book is short, just 46 brief chapters, and instead of forming a narrative, they're disconnected snippets of prose, poetry and anecdotes. The story centers on two characters, "the wife" and "the husband," who are never named.
Originally published on Mon January 27, 2014 12:03 pm
Icy vortices, trains of snowstorms, treacherous temperatures — many people are having to learn some harsh lessons about harsh weather.
"When the weather is bitter cold," says Dr. Campbell McLaren, "we have to be vigilant — not just to protect ourselves, but those around us."
And we have to watch out for the "umbles."
As an emergency room doctor in northern New Hampshire, McLaren has specialized in hypothermia and other deleterious effects of extreme cold. He speaks in a Scottish brogue — and by telephone and email, he warns against the umbles.
Originally published on Sun January 26, 2014 9:09 am
Arizona Sen. John McCain has gone soft when it comes to conservative principles. That's according to his state's Republican Party, who sent the former presidential candidate a message on Saturday by voting to censure him for his 'liberal' voting record.
They've got a zillion categories showcasing all kinds of great and interesting music (really!) in all kinds of genres (really!). But when it comes to awards night, you see a tiny selection of awards (eight or nine, maybe, in three hours), together with a bunch of performances ranging from the flawless to the weird thing that happened last year involving Frank Ocean's video legs.
Originally published on Mon January 27, 2014 7:45 am
Police have identified the gunman who killed two people at a Maryland shopping mall before taking his own life, but officials say they still don't know why he did it or whether the assailant had any relationship with the victims.
As we reported, the shooting occurred at about 11 a.m. Saturday at the Mall in Columbia in the Baltimore suburb of Columbia, Md.
There is a vibrancy and spirit this year that's different than other shows. There's also been a lot more money spent. The tenor of the show is very different than when the federal government had an ownership stake in Chrysler and General Motors.
Restless and determined young Dubliner Jimmy Rabbitte put together a neighborhood soul band in 1987. Jimmy rounded up his pal Outspan and Declan and some other folks, including soul veteran Joey The Lips on trumpet, pretty Imelda and Natalie — the Commitment-ettes — as backup, and the rest was history. That's the gospel according to Dubliner Roddy Doyle's first novel, The Commitments.
To California now where a polarizing lawsuit goes to trial tomorrow. At issue, whether job protections for public school teachers undermines students' constitutional rights to an adequate education. The students and parents who filed the lawsuit say it could provide a model for challenging teacher protection laws in other states. But to unions and state officials, all the lawsuit does is demonize teachers.
Ten years ago, NASA's rover, optimistically named Opportunity, landed on Mars on what was to be a three-month mission. But Opportunity is still going strong today, still searching the Red Planet, sending data and images back to NASA. To celebrate Opportunity's decade of life, we called Jim Bell. He's an astronomer at Arizona State University. Welcome to the program.
JIM BELL: Great to be here.
MARTIN: So, take us back, Jim. What was Opportunity originally designed to do?
The Yankees signed the Japanese superstar pitcher this week for a whopping $155 million. NPR's Rachel Martin talks sports with sports correspondent Mike Pesca about what that means for the Bronx Bombers' bottom line.