Originally published on Tue August 4, 2015 9:27 pm
Born 223 years ago on Aug. 4, the great Romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley is celebrated for such works as his sublime odes to the skylark and West Wind. But he was also a radical thinker — and his revolutionary politics stormed in his teacup.
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A just-published literary noir called "Dragonfish" puts a new spin on the old formula. Our book critic Maureen Corrigan has fallen hard for this tale of gamblers, dark alleys and dangerous dames. Here's her review.
Originally published on Tue August 4, 2015 2:24 pm
Most of the panel discussions that happen at the Television Critics Association press tour currently underway in Beverly Hills have something critical in common: the panelists are humans. (Please hold your jokes about Hollywood. The critics in attendance have made them all.)
There are two ways to look at the kind of fantasy novels that come with big glossaries at the end. Negatively, they're self-indulgent exercises in building fictional worlds, with the author fixating on the sheer quantity of settings and characters to the exclusion of all else. Positively, fantasy-novel glossaries help the reader keep track of an intricate clockwork of imaginary peoples, places, and things — and that intricacy actually pays off.
Originally published on Tue August 4, 2015 3:52 pm
From childhood, The Daughters' Lulu has been a creature of music, able to discern the notes of her surroundings on whim and command: The B-minor of a knife striking a glass, the pitch of different car horns, the musical composition of a waiter's dropped tray. As an adult, she is an opera singer in high demand, a soprano of rare talent who "[prefers] to sing the songs of witches."
Originally published on Mon August 3, 2015 4:44 pm
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Twenty-seven years ago, journalist Buzz Bissinger decided that he wanted to write about the big-time stakes of small-town high school football — he just needed to find the right town. At the suggestion of a college recruiter, he visited Odessa, a west Texas town with a high school football stadium capable of seating 19,000 — and a population of approximately 90,000.
"Odessa is just kind of a dusty, gritty place," Bissinger tells Fresh Air's Dave Davies. "And I see that stadium ... and it's like a rocket ship on the desert."
Originally published on Mon August 3, 2015 1:41 pm
It's the least surprising thing in the world to discover that historian Alex Kershaw's latest book, Avenue of Spies, has already been optioned for development with Sony Pictures TV. Its circumstances — an American family in Paris aiding the French resistance from an apartment only a few doors down from the Paris headquarters of the SS — are too cinematic to ignore. And if that sounds like a coincidence so precarious only fiction can support it ... it sounded that way to the Jacksons, too.