Set during Prohibition, Live by Night is Dennis Lehane's fast-paced chronicle of Joe Coughlin, son of a corrupt Boston police superintendent and self-described outlaw. The book follows Joe from his days as a small-time gangster in Boston through a hitch in prison, where he earns the friendship of an Italian mobster.
The best memoirs transcend the strictly personal. New York Times columnist Alex Witchel's book All Gone, about one of the hottest topics among baby boomers — caring for our aging parents — comes across as boomerish in a bad way: self-absorbed and immature, as if she's the first to suffer this sort of stress and loss.
The print newspaper industry may be struggling, but newsprint is alive and well on the walls of a new exhibition at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. The show is called "Shock of the News" — and it examines a century's worth of interaction between artists and the journals of their day.
We've all encountered loose change, loose teeth, and certainly loose-fitting pants, but only a lucky few of us have encountered the Loose Meat Sandwich. It's an Iowa classic that's basically like a hamburger, except the patty doesn't hold together at all. We picked up a couple from Maid-Rite here in Chicago.
Mike: The meat pebbles make it so much easier to fatten up those hard to reach parts of the body.
Leah: I think you have to have baleen to eat this properly.
Journalist Robert Draper says the 27th Congressional District in South Texas looks like a Glock pistol. It's just one of several "funny shapes" you will see in states across the U.S. as a result of the redrawing of congressional boundaries — otherwise known as redistricting.
"These maps can be very, very fanciful — they're these kinds of impressionistic representations of the yearnings and deviousness of politics today," Draper tells Fresh Air's Dave Davies.
Yale law professor and author, Amy Chua, scored a best seller last year with her memoir, "The Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother." In it, she describes herself and other so-called Tiger Mothers who go to almost any length to push their kids toward perfection, holding back dinner until she nails that violin cadenza, threatening to put him out for being disobedient or demanding that she get straight As and become a doctor or a lawyer or maybe both.
Let us say this first: As an actual determination of the utmost merit in television, the Emmy Awards are ridiculous and have been ridiculous for quite some time. Naming shows that the Emmys failed to take seriously is easy: The Wire, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, most of the run of Friday Night Lights and so forth. If you look to the Emmys to actually anoint the best show or the best performance, you will bawl your eyes out over and over, and also, anyone who watches very much television will make fun of you as a rube and a dupe. Is that blunt enough?
Elissa Schappell is the author of Blueprints for Building Better Girls.
I was never more confident in my knowledge of the world of men and women than the summer I was 13. I'd become an expert, certainly not through any hands-on experience with boys, but by reading the trashy romance novels my best friend, Michele, had pinched from her mother.
That summer I read books whose covers featured beautiful wild-haired maidens, heaving bosoms barely contained in torn blouses, on stallions, heads thrown back, submitting to or resisting the advances of some rogue.
It's a small town girl's dream: One day, you're strutting the floorboards of a summer stage; the next, the silver screen. Thus is the arc of Elsa Emerson, a Door County, Wis., girl whose life at the Cheery County playhouse never quite goes away when she becomes the Oscar-winning Laura Lamont.