Stephen Dunn's 17th collection of poetry, Lines of Defense, includes several works meditating on the death of his brother. Dunn, a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, often features everyday details in his work — because, as he tells NPR's Rachel Martin, "we live with the little things much more than the large things."
If you liked the movie No Way Out, writer and editor Adam Sternbergh has one message for you: The book was so much better. Kenneth Fearing's 1946 noir novel The Big Clock, which inspired the Kevin Costner thriller, is just as tightly plotted and suspenseful — but it's also a moving meditation on mortality and time.
In the Oscar-nominated film The Wolf Of Wall Street, just about everything is over the top – including the side dishes. But it turns out, a memorable scene involving extravagantly priced sides isn't so far from the truth. These days, chefs are making these former afterthoughts starring roles of their own – and they come with big price tags to match.
Jay Cantor is a hard author to nail down. He's written about topics as wide-ranging as Che Guevara and Krazy Kat. His latest work expands his range even more, fictionalizing the lives of four of Franz Kafka's friends and lovers. It's called Forgiving the Angel, and Cantor tells NPR's Lynn Neary it's a book born out of gratitude.
India's Film Federation chose a movie called The Good Road as the country's best foreign language film submission to this year's Oscars — but it didn't make the Academy's short list, and many say another film, festival favorite The Lunchbox, should have been chosen. Film critic Aseem Chhabra tells Lynn Neary that the federation is quite secretive, and no one really understands its process.
Armistead Maupin's famous series Tales of the City winds down with one last story about Anna Madrigal, the transgender landlady of 28 Barbary Lane. Maupin tells NPR the series originally grew out of his attempts to write a nonfiction piece about the heterosexual pickup scene at his local Safeway.
On Tuesday, France's president held an uncomfortable news conference, beginning with a question about his personal life. Rumor has it he's been cheating on the French first lady with a younger actress. In light of this affair, author Sarah Wendell recommends revisiting an old classic: The First Wives Club.
Rachel Joyce's new novel offers two parallel narratives: the 1972 story of Byron, an anxious schoolboy, and the present-day account of Jim, a supermarket worker who has spent most of his life in institutional care. But critic Ellah Allfrey says that the novel is made up of two distinct and unequal parts.
Author Amiri Baraka sparked a lot of controversy with his writings — and those controversies were reignited with his recent passing. Host Michel Martin speaks with author and professor Mark Anthony Neal about Baraka's divisive career, and where he belongs in the larger context of American literature.