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.
John Sandford has written his own five-foot shelf of novels and thrillers, most of them as part of the "Prey" series. Almost all of the books are set in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area.
His cast of characters has changed and shifted somewhat over time, but largely features Minnesota cops. The plots are centered around Lucas Davenport, a kind of superstar investigator who ages a little from book to book and has a checkered career with a bit of a bad boy reputation – one that has not prevented him from becoming a high ranking official in state law enforcement.
Just as you're trying to figure out what to watch during the new television season, they come at you with the Emmy Awards, ready to bestow the big prizes from the last television season. There are some big questions about this year's slate: What happens to Downton Abbey, the swooning British import whose distaste for antiheroes and gore sets it apart from its Outstanding Drama Series rivals? How big a splash will the thriller Homeland make in its first year of eligibility?
On-air challenge: Every answer is the name of a TV show, past or present. Each can be found in consecutive letters in the sentences read. Name the TV shows. For example, in the sentence, "We watched the acrobat many times," the hidden TV show is BATMAN. Hint: Each answer has at least six letters.
A reminder from weekends on All Things Considered guest host Jacki Lyden that Round 9 of Three-Minute Fiction is still open for submissions. Our judge, Brad Meltzer, is looking for an original short story that revolves around a U.S. president — fictional or real — in under 600 words. Listeners can submit their story online at www.npr.org/threeminutefiction. The deadline for submissions is Sunday, September 23, at 11:59 p.m. ET.
If you traveled by way of Florida's Route 1 in the '60s and '70s, you might have encountered young African-American landscape artists selling oil paintings of an idealized, candy-colored, Kennedy-era Florida. They painted palms, beaches, poinciana trees and sleepy inlets on drywall canvases — and they came to be known as the Highwaymen. The group made thousands of pictures, until the market was saturated, tastes changed, and the whole genre dwindled.
At the age of 18, Shani Boianjiu, like most Israelis, began her mandatory two-year service in the Israeli Defense Forces.
Now at the ripe age of 25, she's drawn from those experiences in her first novel.
The People of Forever Are Not Afraid actually began in creative writing class when Boianjiu was studying English at Harvard University.
It turned into a novel that follows three friends: Yael, Avishag and Lea. They struggle to reconcile the rigors of army service with typical teenage angst. What results is a maelstrom of boys, body armor and bad behavior.
Theweekends on All Things Considered series Movies I've Seen A Million Times features filmmakers, actors, writers and directors talking about the movies that they never get tired of watching.
For actor Michael Peña, whose credits include Crash, World Trade Center, and End of Watch, which opened in theaters this weekend, the movie he could watch a million times is Woody Allen's Broadway Danny Rose.