If every era gets the historical fiction it deserves, we have been good indeed. From the transcendent psychological rummagings of Hilary Mantel to the gooey pleasures of Philippa Gregory, we can set aside flowery bodice-rippers (not that there's anything wrong with those) and view the dusty figures through lenses literary, pop culture-y, or near-pornographic.
At the center of David Gilbert's new novel & Sons is a famous and famously reclusive writer in the J.D. Salinger model. It's a book about the writer as author of books, and as the father of sons — sons who don't feel nearly as warmly toward him as readers do. When & Sons begins, the writer, Andrew Newbold Dyer — or A.N. Dyer as he's known to his readers — is nearing 80.
Pioneering musician Carline Ray died July 18 at age 88. In the 1940s, when it was difficult for women to be accepted as jazz musicians, Ray found a home in the all-female band The International Sweethearts of Rhythm as the guitarist and a featured vocalist. She was also a bass player who performed with Sy Oliver, Mercer Ellington and Mary Lou Williams.
Ray was born in Harlem in 1925 during the Harlem Renaissance. She graduated from Juilliard and the Manhattan School of Music. Her husband, Luis Russell, led his own band and worked as Louis Armstrong's music director.
It's no secret that the middle school experience can be not so fabulous, and that's particularly true for the teen at the center of Dork Diaries: Tales From a Not-So-Fabulous Life. The book, the first in the Dork Diaries series by Rachel Renee Russell, is the July pick for NPR's Backseat Book Club.
Originally published on Tue July 23, 2013 12:54 pm
By Mary Pols
When someone uses the term "instant classic," I typically want to grab him and ask, "So this is, what, like the new Great Expectations? You sure about that?" But David Gilbert's novel & Sons, seductive and ripe with both comedy and heartbreak, made me reconsider my stance on such a label. & Sons feels deeply familiar, as though it existed for decades and I was just slow to find it. Revolving around a New York writer of J. D.
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. You know how in America we say we don't like dynasties, but then again, we actually kind of do. And we're certainly fascinated by them, and if you follow sports, in particular football, then you're probably fascinated by the Gronkowskis.
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Coming up, you might dream of just one of your kids making it as a pro athlete. Well, Gordie Gronkowski is batting four for four with another in the wings. We'll hear from Gordie and two of his sons in just a few minutes. First, though, we want to talk about an issue that's been in the headlines in this country. The issue of gay rights was front and center at the Supreme Court term that just ended. Legal advances were celebrated by LGBT activists everywhere.
Monkey See contributor/longtime nerd Glen Weldon recently attended San Diego Comic-Con. He kept a diary during one of the largest media events in the world.
9:30 a.m.: I file the Day 1 diary with Linda and send out a tweet asking Pop Culture Happy Hour listeners who are attending Comic-Con to come to the Marriott bar at 5:30 today to get a PCHH pin. It's something on the order of a "meetup," as the kids say.