"You've got spunk," Lou Grant says to Mary Richards on the very first episode of The Mary Tyler Moore Show. And then he adds, famously, "I hate spunk." The year is 1970, the same year in which Jeannette Walls set her new novel, The Silver Star. In the book, someone tells the 12-year-old narrator, Bean Holladay, that she's got spunk too. Maybe it's no coincidence. 1970, after all, was situated squarely in the middle of second-wave feminism. It was an era when women and girls were asserting themselves and finding their voices, which weren't always met with approval.
Originally published on Tue June 11, 2013 10:28 am
My summer reading preferences are so particular they have, at times, stopped me from reading at all. I need a romance for a train trip — for obvious reasons. When it's hot, I prefer something with no climate congruence at all; I've never enjoyed Anna Karenina so much as I did on the beach (that romance is a train exception — er ... for obvious reasons). When I'm on a plane trip, I like a passel of good young-adult novels, filled with cliffhangers, reversals and quick emotion. It's a mood makeover in flight.
You've heard the expression Bright Lights, Big City. For many people, city living can mean long hours at work and play and never enough sleep. Now a new study suggests that cities can have a very similar effect on another group of residents: birds. NPR's Rhitu Chatterjee reports.
RHITU CHATTERJEE, BYLINE: Since the 1930s, scientists have noticed that birds in cities, like robins and starlings, can keep different hours than their relatives in forests. Barbara Helm is a biologist at the University of Glasgow.
In Sanford, Florida, jury selection begins today in the murder trial of George Zimmerman. The neighborhood watch volunteer is charged with the shooting death of a 17-year-old, Trayvon Martin, last year. Police, at first, declined to charge Zimmerman because of Florida's Stand-Your-Ground law. It gives immunity to people who use deadly force in self defense.
The Guardian has identified its source for a series of reports it published in recent days on secret U.S. surveillance activity. The paper says the source is Edward Snowden, a former technical assistant for the CIA who now works for a private-sector defense and technology consulting firm.
The Guardian newspaper says the insider who blew the whistle on the NSA's probing of major U.S. Internet and telecom companies is a 29-year-old analyst who's been working for the agency under a government contract. His name is Edward Snowden.
The last remaining villages of the embattled Syrian region, Qusair fell to government forces and fighters from the Lebanese-Shiite militia, Hezbollah, over the weekend. The main concern now is what's happening to the civilians there. The Syrian government has severely limited humanitarian groups, like the Red Cross, from getting in and aiding the people of Qusair.
NPR's Kelly McEvers is monitoring the story from nearby Beirut. She joins us. And, Kelly, what is the situation for civilians in Qusair?