Daniel Menaker knows writing. He also knows writers. He' was the fiction editor at The New Yorker for 20 years and later editor-in-chief at Random House. He's worked with an astonishing group of writers over the years: Alice Munro, Elizabeth Strout, David Foster Wallace, Billy Collins. This list could go on and on. And, of course, he is a writer himself, the author of six books.
His latest, a memoir is called "My Mistake." It's arranged chronological starting at the very beginning of his obsession with words.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin.
In a diplomatic breakthrough, Iran has agreed to temporary limits on its nuclear program. In exchange, the U.S. and its allies have agreed to relax some of their crippling economic sanctions on Iran. The six-month agreement is designed to buy time to negotiate a more lasting deal that would prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. It's already drawn a skeptical response in Israel and from some lawmakers here at home.
Iranians are used to bad news, so word of an international deal to halt the nation's nuclear program and the lifting of some sanctions was something extraordinary. Host Rachel Martin speaks with New York Times Tehran Bureau Chief Thomas Erdbrink.
Israel has already criticized this deal. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected the agreement as a historic mistake. As NPR's Emily Harris reports from Jerusalem, Israel will keep a military option on the table.
EMILY HARRIS, BYLINE: Prime Minister Netanyahu not only called this deal a historical mistake, he said the world is in more danger now than before the agreement was signed.
Now to the war in Syria, where the regime of President Bashar al-Assad has gained ground against rebel fighters in recent weeks, shifting the outlook on the battlefield. According to activists, government warplanes struck rebel positions in northern Syria this weekend. At least 40 people were killed. These military advances, along with cooperation in dismantling its chemical weapons arsenal, make it harder to imagine that the regime will fall.
Originally published on Sun November 24, 2013 9:48 am
The city of Tacloban in the Philippines was essentially leveled by Typhoon Haiyan. Over the past few weeks, residents of the city have been attending burials and picking up the pieces. But this afternoon, thousands gathered to watch the country's favorite son, Manny Pacquiao, box 12 rounds against Brandon Rios.
As NPR's Jonathan Blakely describes the scene, fans gathered at a plaza near city hall in the soaring heat and they watched the fight on a large screen powered by a generator.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius react during a statement early Sunday in Geneva.
On-air challenge: Every answer is the name of a tree. Identify the tree name from its anagram. For example, given "has," the answer would be "ash."
Last week's challengefrom listener Steve Baggish of Arlington, Mass.: Think of a word meaning "quarrel" in which several of the letters appear more than once. Remove exactly two occurrences of every repeated letter, and the remaining letters can be rearranged to spell a new word meaning "quarrel." What are the two words?
Voters go to the polls in Honduras to elect a new president on Sunday. It's the first open election with all parties participating since a coup overthrew the left-leaning government in 2009.
The elections come at a difficult time for the longtime U.S. ally. Two-thirds of its people live in poverty, unemployment is soaring and the murder rate is one of the highest in the world due to drug traffickers and gang violence.
A grand assembly of Afghan tribal elders and civil society leaders — the Loya Jirga — resoundingly approved an agreement to allow 3,000-9,000 U.S. troops to stay in the country after the NATO mission ends next year.
However, it remains unclear when — or if — President Hamid Karzai will sign the agreement.
Outside the giant river otter exhibit at the Los Angeles Zoo, 5-year-old Emily checks out the sights while her baby sister lounges in a canopy-covered wagon.
The girls' aunt, Maggie Hathaway, is among a growing number of parents and caregivers who are rolling their kids around in wagons instead of strollers. "Sea World, or the fair — anywhere where ... the little one wants to lay down," she says.
Bob Schneider finished writing "The Effect," a song from his latest album, Burden of Proof, in just a few days. That's how he does it: For 12 years, the Texas musician has beaten back the urge to procrastinate by writing a song once a week, every week. It began casually, just him and a friend sharing their songs with one another.
"I'll go home, write a song, you'll write a song, and then we'll come back here in two days and play 'em for each other," Schneider says. "That's basically how it started."
Consider how many synonyms there are for tedium: boredom, monotony, uniformity, dreariness, ennui, listlessness, each with its own subtle nuances. Perhaps it says something about our society that we must differentiate between the boredom of the office cubicle and of the traffic jam.
None of the authors below set out to write a book about tedium, but hovering always just behind the scenes is that debilitating affliction, sluggish and repetitious, playing a central role in their lives.
Patricia Wells was a restaurant critic at the <em>International Herald Tribune</em> for 27 years. Her other works include <em>The Food Lover's Guide to Paris</em>, <em>Patricia Wells at Home in Provence</em> and <em>Simply French</em>.
As you're thinking about this year's Thanksgiving menu, you might be feeling a bit bored. Green bean casserole? Been there. Turkey and stuffing? Meh. Pumpkin pie? Cliché.
We were looking for a little Thanksgiving inspiration, so we reached out to culinary legend Patricia Wells. The veteran restaurant critic and cookbook author has been teaching French cooking for nearly two decades in Paris and Provence.
IanMcKellen and Patrick Stewart have known each other for years — they were both actors at the Royal Shakespeare Company in the '60s and '70s, and both achieved broader fame through movies and television. Both were knighted by Queen Elizabeth II for their work onstage and off. And then, of course, they were cast as mortal enemies in the first X-Men film 14 years ago, and have come back to the roles of Magneto and Professor X several times since.
"We became good friends as a result of shooting multimillion-dollar adventure movies," Stewart says.
German Chancellor Adolf Hitler, talks with Spain's Generalissimo Francisco Franco, in Hendaye, France, October 23, 1940, in Hitler's railway carriage. Later, Franco moved Spain's clocks ahead an hour to be aligned with Nazi Germany.
The Telefonica building at sunset on Aug. 26 in Madrid. Spain's clocks have been set to Central European time since World War II, which means the sun rises and sets later compared to countries in its region.
This week, JPMorgan Chase agreed to a $13 billion settlement with the Justice Department over the sale of faulty mortgage securities that led to the financial crisis. It's the largest settlement with a single company in U.S. history.
From that settlement, $4 billion must go to help the millions of families who saw the values of their homes plummet and who still struggle to keep up with mortgage payments.
Nicholas Dawidoff's Collision Low Crossers: A Year Inside the Turbulent World of NFL Football may be the best book I've ever read about football. It is certainly the most detailed account of the players inside the helmets and the coaches obscured from an enthralled public by large, laminated playsheets.
After a fierce bidding war, FX spinoff cable network FXX won the rights to make all seasons of TV's longest-running scripted show, The Simpsons, available for online streaming. It may be the largest TV syndication deal ever. Anthony Breznican, a senior writer at Entertainment Weekly, says the deal shows how networks are trying to capitalize on the "binge watching" trend. The deal gives FXX the right to air more than 500 episodes of The Simpsons, now in its 25th season on Fox.
It's a fact of Hollywood life that the movie industry is dominated by men. Male stars make more money. Male executives make more decisions. And the vast majority of films are about what men do, or think, or blow up. But this weekend, two heroines are the backbone — the impressively sturdy backbone — of two very different pictures.
In Afghanistan, a grand assembly of some 2,500 tribal elders, politicians and civil society elites are meeting to decide whether to approve a security agreement with the United States. Approval by the grand assembly, called a loya jirga, would be in addition to the OK of the Afghan government. But as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has noted, the agreement can't go forward without the backing of the Afghan people. The security agreement would allow as many as 9,000 U.S. troops to remain in Afghanistan after the current NATO mission ends next year.
Mirta Ojito has worked as a reporter for <em>The New York Times</em> and the <em>Miami Herald. </em>In her first book, <em>Finding Mañana</em><em>, </em>she chronicles her family's fraught relationship with Cuba.
On a chilly night in November 2008, an Ecuadorean immigrant named Marcelo Lucero was attacked and murdered in the Long Island town of Patchogue, N.Y., where he lived and worked. His attackers, a group of local teenagers, were out "hunting for beaners" — an activity that had become part of their weekly routine.
Lucero, then 37, and his childhood friend, Angel Loja, were out for a late-night stroll when they saw a group of seven young people approaching them.
Public transit vehicles may be the key to China's success in the U.S. auto market. Chinese company BYD, based in Shenzhen, is manufacturing electric buses. It's an appealing option for a place like California, where emission standards are strict.
At BYD's North American headquarters in Los Angeles, one of the 40-foot electric K9 buses sits on display. BYD Fleet Sales Manager James Holtz sits in the driver's seat and pushes the power button on the dashboard.
Former chemist Annie Dookhan began serving a 3-to-5 year sentence in a Massachusetts prison on Friday after pleading guilty to falsifying tests of drug evidence and helping to create one of the nation's largest drug lab scandals.
Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley says the state is taking steps to improve forensic testing:
"It is certainly lessons learned," she says. "We hope that we've made changes in the system that will mean this unique case will not happen again in Massachusetts."