Samuel Clemens, who is said to have taken his pen name Mark Twain from the cries of riverboat crewmen, found the inspiration for his classic works while growing up in the river town of Hannibal, Mo. Today, more than 125 years after the first pressing of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, there's a new set of artistic characters in Twain's boyhood home.
Linguist Geoffrey Nunberg wants people to take his new book, Ascent of the A-Word, seriously.
"I'd meet people when I was working on the book, and even academics — they'd say, 'What are you working on?' and they'd giggle. Or they'd say, 'You must have a lot of time on your hands,' " Nunberg tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross.
Brooklyn Mack used to dream of becoming a football player. He took up ballet, at age 12, to beef up his athleticism — and he never turned back. Earlier this summer, Mack became the first African-American man to win gold at the International Ballet Competition in Varna, Bulgaria. Mack speaks with host Michel Martin about his life and his career.
Originally published on Wed August 29, 2012 5:00 pm
Credit Frazer Harrison / Getty Images for AFI
When I was a kid, I awaited the annual publication of Leonard Maltin's Movie Guide with the awe and dread of a Parent/Teacher interview. Sure, film criticism is a subjective thing, but to my young eyes, the 16,000+ capsule reviews in Maltin's yearly reference book carried the weight of absolute truth. Each year, with the austerity of a poet and the precision of a diamond-cutter, Maltin and his army of cowriters pass swift, one-to-ten-paragraph judgment on hundreds of new films, and a small part of me will always believe the Guide is blessed with objectivity.