The Boston Citgo sign, all 3,600 square LED feet of which has served as the backdrop to Red Sox games since 1965, is now officially a "pending landmark."

Spanish Surrealist Salvador Dalí spent much of the 1940s in the U.S., avoiding World War II and its aftermath. He was a well-known fixture on the art scene in Monterey, Calif. — and that's where the largest collection of Dalí's work on the West Coast is now open to the public.

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The middle of summer is when the surprises in publishing turn up. I'm talking about those quietly commanding books that publishers tend to put out now, because fall and winter are focused on big books by established authors. Which brings us to The Dream Life of Astronauts, by Patrick Ryan, a very funny and touching collection of nine short stories that take place in the 1960s and '70s around Cape Canaveral, Fla.

When the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union last month, the seaside town of Port Talbot in Wales eagerly went along with the move. Brexit was approved by some 57 percent of the town's residents.

Now some of them are wondering if they made the wrong decision.

The June 23 Brexit vote has raised questions about the fate of the troubled Port Talbot Works, Britain's largest surviving steel plant — a huge, steam-belching facility that has long been the town's biggest employer.

Solar Impulse 2 has landed in Cairo, completing the penultimate leg of its attempt to circumnavigate the globe using only the power of the sun.

The trip over the Mediterranean included a breathtaking flyover of the Pyramids. Check it out:

President Obama is challenging Americans to have an honest and open-hearted conversation about race and law enforcement. But even as he sits down at the White House with police and civil rights activists, Obama is mindful of the limits of that approach.

"I've seen how inadequate words can be in bringing about lasting change," the president said Tuesday at a memorial service for five law officers killed last week in Dallas. "I've seen how inadequate my own words have been."

Mice watching Orson Welles movies may help scientists explain human consciousness.

At least that's one premise of the Allen Brain Observatory, which launched Wednesday and lets anyone with an Internet connection study a mouse brain as it responds to visual information.

The FBI says it is giving up on the D.B. Cooper investigation, 45 years after the mysterious hijacker parachuted into the night with $200,000 in a briefcase, becoming an instant folk figure.

"Following one of the longest and most exhaustive investigations in our history," the FBI's Ayn Dietrich-Williams said in a statement, "the FBI redirected resources allocated to the D.B. Cooper case in order to focus on other investigative priorities."

This is the first in a series of essays concerning our collective future. The goal is to bring forth some of the main issues humanity faces today, as we move forward to uncertain times. In an effort to be as thorough as possible, we will consider two kinds of threats: those due to natural disasters and those that are man-made. The idea is to expose some of the dangers and possible mechanisms that have been proposed to deal with these issues. My intention is not to offer a detailed analysis for each threat — but to invite reflection and, hopefully, action.


'Emmanuelle' And The Seductive Power Of Words

Jan 27, 2013

Teddy Wayne is the author of the novel The Love Song of Jonny Valentine.

One afternoon when I was 13, I discovered, in our house's airless attic, an aged paperback copy of the French novel Emmanuelle. The cover featured a woman's lips opened provocatively over a black background and this text: "The great French erotic novel now a sensational film. With 25 photographs from the film."

I was 13 years old, and this was the pre-Internet age: I flipped straight to the photos.

After plundering their visual delights, I turned to the first page. Emmanuelle, a 19-year-old from Paris, is on a plane to Bangkok to join her husband. She quickly has intercontinental intercourse with not one but two men. This is followed by lyrical and graphic depictions of her compulsive onanism and bisexual adventures. The temperature in the attic was about 90 degrees. I stayed there.

But it's not all salacious play-by-play. The sex scenes are interspersed with abstract musings about the nature of sex. One of the central ideas, which I will now clinically paraphrase to conform to standards of decency, is this: The definition of the erotic is arousal, not climax.

If ever there were a mismatch in sexual comprehension, it would be between an older Frenchwoman and a 13-year-old American boy with limited exposure even to French kissing. At that age, all you want is to get formative experiences under your belt so you can brag to your friends and feel accepted. The notion of savoring something like that hasn't even occurred to you until you've already cultivated your palate.

I finished the slender book in the attic and smuggled it down to my room. To avoid detection, I stashed it on a lower bookshelf, spine facing in, among more wholesome fare like Matt Christopher's The Kid Who Only Hit Homers and compendia of Garfield cartoons. I didn't know that the author, Emmanuelle Arsan, was supposedly a nom de plume for Marayat Rollet-Andriane, a Thai woman. It was later revealed to be an additional cover for her husband, French diplomat Louis-Jacques Rollet-Andriane. (The two may have collaborated.)

Regardless, the novel reads as complete male fantasy and, in retrospect, almost certainly warped my expectations of what adulthood might someday bring: My intercontinental flights tend to include someone kicking my seat.

Although I didn't understand it then, my own reading experience ended up affirming Emmanuelle's thesis that the buildup can be better than the finale. By the time I'd completed the book, the visual culmination of those 25 explicit photos of Emmanuelle proved less titillating than the subtler foreplay of the text.

And only now, in rereading it, do I recognize how far the book's argument reverberates beyond the erotic. The writing I most enjoy now delights in the moment's contours and textures, not surprising plot twists. The best work seduces the reader through nuanced details and observations, and does away with italics and exclamation points. It takes pleasure in the ambiguous interstices of life while dismissing its flagrant resolutions. In short, it arouses.

Twenty years later, Emmanuelle is back on my shelf, but this time, the spine faces out.

PG-13 is produced and edited by the team at NPR Books.

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