Originally published on Fri August 14, 2015 8:59 am
Listen to the Story
Graphic artist and professor Phoebe Gloeckner had an unconventional upbringing. When she was 15, she lost her virginity to an older man — who also happened to be her mother's boyfriend. Gloeckner chronicled the experience in her teenage diaries, which she put aside and then revisited when she found them decades later.
"I remember I opened the box with the diaries and I was just stunned to start reading," Gloeckner tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "To hear this child's voice, kind of, talking to me as an adult, it felt like it was crying out to be heard."
Originally published on Thu August 13, 2015 6:05 pm
In the realm of office work, there's nothing quite so soul-crushing as data entry, a job that combines the joy of carpal tunnel syndrome with the fun of being in a room that's either air-conditioned to Arctic levels or heated to a degree that is only technically survivable by humans. Add to that the anodyne preachiness of those ubiquitous motivational posters, and you've got, essentially, a fever dream of unpleasantness.
In the sweltering summer of 2003, studious and awkward Ella comes home from college and sneaks back into her own house. She's trying to avoid her adoptive parents — her uncle Anwar and aunt Hashi — and, maybe, to share the secret of her return with her outgoing cousin Charu, for whom she harbors a self-defeating infatuation. She's lived with them since she was a child, but coming back to the house is still a disconnect amid the familiarity.
Originally published on Thu August 13, 2015 6:30 pm
Listen to the Story
In 1906, 16-year-old Yasuo Kuniyoshi came to the U.S. alone from Japan. He made his name as a painter and at 40 he was showing his work at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. But there was one thing Kuniyoshi longed for that he was always denied: American citizenship. In fact, he was classified as an "enemy alien" during World War II.
Originally published on Fri August 14, 2015 10:40 am
Scientists are a driven bunch, dedicated and passionate about understanding the inner workings of the world. You must be focused, willing to work strange hours in every kind of weather. Willing to go beyond the known and be constantly inspired by your curiosity.
It takes guts to be a scientist. And a strong stomach doesn't hurt, either.
Originally published on Thu August 13, 2015 10:23 am
"I cannot feel exiled here; it is a second native country."
Every biography carries dual burdens. One is to represent the life of the subject in the time they lived — how they operated within their own system — as honestly as possible. (That last bit's a real stinger; it's one of the reasons you should never trust a biopic of anyone who's still alive.) The other duty, which often comes in retrospect, is as a point of reference in its subject's legacy, which might be trickier still.
Originally published on Thu August 13, 2015 12:57 pm
Napkins today are mundane and practical, made from paper or cheap factory cloth and folded, if at all, hastily into a rectangle. In the past, napkins weren't just for wiping hands or protecting clothing — they were works of art.
Originally published on Wed August 12, 2015 7:09 pm
Pizza is a lot of things to a lot of people. Mostly, though, it's just food. Colin Atrophy Hagendorf is keenly aware of both sides of this not-quite-burning issue in his debut book, Slice Harvester. Subtitled "A Memoir in Pizza," it chronicles a two-year period in Hagendorf's life, from 2009 to 2011, when the 20-something burrito deliveryman wrote a blog called Slice Harvester, in which he reviewed a plain slice of pizza from every pizzeria in Manhattan. Hundreds of them.
Lots of us are afraid to confront the things lurking in our basements. In mine, it's the spider crickets; in Denise Inge's, it was the bones, piles of human bones that reached almost to the ceiling of the stone cellar beneath her house.