In one of the eight stories in Karen Russell's new collection, a group of dead presidents has been reincarnated as horses. Rutherford B. Hayes, a skewbald pinto, frantically licks the palm of a girl in a secret code that he's worked out, revealing his true identity and asking her to alert the authorities. "Ha-ha!" the girl laughs. "That tickles."
I know, you're probably thinking: "Dead presidents reincarnated as horses? Oh, come on, Meg, that sounds like the plot of so many short stories."
Robert Siegel speaks with political commentators E.J. Dionne of The Washington Post and Brookings Institution, and syndicated columnist Mona Charen. The discuss the State of the Union, and Chuck Hagel's nomination for defense secretary.
The painter Adolph Menzel (1815-1905) is not well-known, even in his native Germany. He was tiny and ugly and never married; he wrote in his will that "there is a lack of any kind of self-made bond between me and the outside world." Perhaps this lack of bond is what made it possible for him to devote himself so totally to the task of making pictures.
Menzel drew constantly. He drew everything. He drew with his left hand and with his right. He drew on napkins and on the backs of menus. No social event was so formal, or so intimate, it seems, as to quiet his active hands.
Richard Kessinger loves to hit the gym. But some days he needs a little something to get him pumped up for his weightlifting routine.
"You might be a little bit sore. You might be tired. You might have had too many beers the day before," says Kessinger, 23, of Arlington, Va. "So you might start putting up a set and you get a few reps in and you're like, 'I'm not feeling this. I can't keep going.' "
The much-anticipated close flyby of a large asteroid was upstaged Friday when a meteor unexpectedly streaked across the sky over Russia. The ensuing explosion sent window shards flying and injured hundreds of people.