The midlife crisis book inhabits a behemoth literary genre. It spans the feel-good fantasy of Eat, Pray, Love; the survival of "ordinary disasters" and meditation on mortality that is Martin Amis' Experience; and the chintz-patterned glasses through which Anna Quindlen envisions the padded retreat into her prime real estate-ensconced years.
When Mad Men first premiered on AMC in 2007, Xavier Ruffin — a young, African-American graphic designer from Milwaukee, Wisc. — really wanted to like it.
"I wanted to be a fan of it when it first came out," Ruffin tells NPR's Arun Rath. "I just had my own personal differences. Not liking the way blacks were represented in their universe. I just couldn't get over it."
Hundreds of visual-effects artists are planning to picket the Academy Awards on Sunday for the second year in a row. They're hoping to bring attention to what's been happening in their industry.
The field is losing jobs and relocating to countries with bigger subsidies for employers. It's the result of a technical revolution that's changed the profession since it kicked off in the 70s with Star Wars creator George Lucas' visual-effects company, Industrial Light and Magic.
"Submissions Only" is a backstage comedy - in fact, it goes so far backstage, it goes into the auditions. It's the story of eager, hopeful actors, hectored and hectoring agents, and demanding casting directors who work just around the corner from Broadway.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: (as character) Hey, Pen, I went on theater burn and wrote I don't care who's directing "Jeremy's Fort," as long as Penny Riley is still in it. She's going to be fierce.
KATE WETHERHEAD: (as Penny) Aw. And then did everybody write Penny who?
Blake Bailey is best known for his prize-winning biographies of great writers who were also destructive — and not just self-destructive — people. His books on John Cheever, Richard Yates, and Charles Jackson have been sympathetic, but unsparing.
Dan Jenkins has covered sporting events around the world, from golf to football to skiing, from Pebble Beach to Green Bay to Gstaad, in pungent prose with a Texas kick — and in the process, he's become more famous than a lot of the athletes he was writing about.
Elaine Stritch is the lioness in winter. She's 89 and still performs ocassionally, after eight decades on Broadway and the West End. Sir Noel Coward reworked his musical, Sail Away, to give her all the best songs. She stopped Stephen Sondheim's Company in the middle of the show when she sang "The Ladies Who Lunch," which has become her signature song.
You know, as I host this program, I'm on a social media platform - Twitter, as a matter of fact. There is no group that takes that new social media platform more than teenagers, and that's exactly what worries a lot of parents. Danah Boyd is a respected researcher in the world of social media. She spent years studying teenagers and how they interact online. Her findings are in a new book called "It's Complicated." In this encore broadcast, NPR's Elizabeth Blair reports.