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.
"Ugh," my sister exclaimed one evening as we were making dinner. It was supposed to be an easy poached chicken with a ginger-scallion sauce, eaten with cold cucumber wedges, and we had just discovered that what we had bought at the store was not cucumber, but zucchini. It was an easy mistake to make — they were the precise same shade of green. But where the zucchini's skin was mostly smooth, the cucumber's was lumpy. We were not happy.
Too much is made of literature's ennobling qualities. There are those of us who come to books for the debasement and danger, for Hannibal and Humbert. For Faulkner's Popeye and Hedda Gabler. We want to meet the monsters.
The title of Zadie Smith's newest novel might be enigmatic for Americans.NWis short for northwest London — an area of particular racial and class diversity. It's the birthplace of the novel's two main characters, Leah Hanwell and Keisha Blake.
Credit Richard Foreman Jr., SMPSP / The Weinstein Co.
John Hillcoat's Lawless opens with a scene in which two farm boys urge their younger brother to pull the trigger on a pig that's ready to be transformed into bacon. The boy, whose name is Jack, hesitates and then misfires; one of the older boys finishes the job, neatly and dispassionately.