Chang-Rae Lee is an award-winning author best known for his novels Native Speaker and The Surrendered. NPR's Rachel Martin speaks with Lee about his latest book On Such a Full Sea, a futuristic dystopian novel set in a declining America that's been repopulated by Chinese immigrant workers.
A new book by critic Olivia Laing explores the link between alcohol and writing through the commentaries of famous writers who were themselves alcoholics. Fresh Air's Maureen Corrigan calls Laing's readings "exquisite," and says she wisely avoids "any one-size-fits-all conclusions about the bond between the pen and the bottle."
Just as the passengers aboard the MV Akademik Shokalskiy thought they had escaped the Antarctic ice, word came that the Chinese ship that rescued them may be stuck as well. Poet Jynne Martin recommends a book to put the situation in perspective, one that tells the story of an expedition that was doomed from the start.
Malcolm-Jamal Warner famously played Theo Huxtable on The Cosby Show. Now he's starring in a new stage production of Guess Who's Coming To Dinner. Warner talks to NPR's David Greene about his audition for the part of Theo, what he learned from Bill Cosby and how his new play differs from the 1967 movie that inspired it.
Scandinavian crime novels have become so popular that some publishers even have a name for the genre — "Scandi-crime." Many of these books keep readers right on the edge of their seats. But reviewer Rosecrans Baldwin says that Before I Burn by Gaute Heivoll takes a more subtle approach.
Remember screw caps on jugs of wine? These days, many winemakers have wholeheartedly embraced the screw tops — not just for their ease of use, but for the way they seal the wine's taste. Now many consumers are learning to look past the caps' former downmarket reputation.
Author Lucy Lethbridge explores the history of British servants through their diaries, letters and memoirs. She says, "What I found particularly fascinating was how ... butlers were so butler-y;" the old caricature of the clever manservant and the silly master is one "butlers have appeared to play to the hilt."
Fresh Air tech contributor Alexis Madrigal counted 76,897 microgenres on the online streaming and DVD rental service, many of which are bizarrely personalized (Violent Action Thrillers Starring Bruce Willis, Tearjerkers From The 1970s). He says the company "knows you."
Critics are slamming Beyonce for using an audio clip from the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster in her new song "XO." Was she being insensitive, or artistic? Host Michel Martin hears from the beauty shop ladies: journalists Bridget Johnson and Keli Goff, and Maria Teresa Kumar of Voto Latino.