Over the past 30 years, prolific American author Don DeLillo has written more than a dozen novels, including White Noise, Falling Man, Libra and Underworld. But his latest, The Angel Esmeralda, is a departure from his expansive novels. It is a collection of short stories — nine brief flashes, which, like DeLillo's longer works, center on characters who feel out of sync with the worlds around them.
Have you ever read a novel that is so propulsive you don't want to put it down (not even to play with your new kitten), and so well-plotted that it doesn't reveal itself to you until its 288th page — which just happens to be the book's final page as well? Marabou Stork Nightmares by Irvine Welsh is that kind of a novel.
On first glance, if you simply picked it up and shuffled its pages, it might not look appealing to some readers.
A good friend of mine is a Marcel Proust scholar and former milliner. She had just been to see fashion icon and brewery fortune heiress Daphne Guinness's exhibition at the Fashion Institute of Technology's Museum at FIT in New York when she sent me this email:
A Labor of Love: For his "I Hate Perfume" collection, Christopher Brosius blends and bottles all of his scents by hand in his workshops. The process may be labor-intensive, but it allows him to create singular scents that can't be mass-produced.
Would you wear a perfume that made you smell like "A Day at the Beach?" How about "Baby's Butt?" If so, scent inventor Christopher Brosius can help. His Brooklyn boutique is at the vanguard of the anti-perfume movement, as you might suspect by its name: I Hate Perfume.
"I'm not out to sell millions of bottles," Brosius tells weekends on All Things Considered guest host Jacki Lyden. "My work is really about things that really do smell wonderful, but don't have a lot of the properties that commercial perfumes do."
"I don't feel like I need to tell any lies," Betty Wright says. "You get to an age where you get tired of hiding behind whatever people think is correct. You just say what you have to say, and if they don't like it, it's OK."
Wright found fame in the 1970s as the voice behind the R&B hits "Clean Up Woman" and "Dance With Me." Today, Wright is much in demand as a vocalist, coach, writer, arranger and producer. Her first album out in 10 years is out this week; it's called Betty Wright: The Movie.
Round 7 of our Three-Minute Fiction contest attracted more than 3,000 story submissions. Tasked with writing an original short story that can be read in about three minutes, contestants had to include one character arriving to town and one character leaving town.
The judge for this round, writer Danielle Evans, has picked her favorite.
This week D.C. Court of Appeals agreed with the White House that the health care law does not violate the Constitution. The court's senior judge, a respected conservative voice, wrote the majority opinion. Weekends on All Things Considered guest host Jacki Lyden speaks with James Fallows of The Atlantic about this story and others from the past week.
There's no mistaking the protagonist of "Be Brave," a song from the new My Brightest Diamond album, All Things Will Unwind. Shara Worden, the group's classically trained singer, songwriter, and main creative force, makes it clear in the refrain: "Shara, now get to work/Shara, this is going to hurt."
Hugh Jackman has had one of the most bifurcated showbiz careers imaginable. He leapt to superstardom as the mutton-chopped mutant Wolverine in the X-Men movies and won a Tony Award as the gay Australian entertainer Peter Allen in The Boy from Oz. These days, he's starring in the robot-boxing film Real Steel and appearing on Broadway in a one-man show.
And for more on Newt Gingrich, the Republican field and the rest of the week in news and politics, we're joined by our regular Friday observers, David Brooks of The New York Times and E.J. Dionne of the Washington Post and the Brookings Institution. Welcome to you both.
Robert Siegel and Guy Raz revisit arguably one of the program's most memorable phrases this week: ninja librarians. Also, they address one listener's email about the degree of Master of Library Science.
The art of the piano is a study in evolution — of both an instrument and of human talent. Among us there have been a rare few whose gifts included the physical dexterity, the innate musicality and the creativity to make the instrument sound brilliant.
Veterans Day is the day when Americans remember and thank members of the armed forces who fought in foreign wars. Nearly 1.4 million men and women have left the service since serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. A group of musicians in San Marcos, Texas, just down the highway from Austin, has started a songwriting workshop especially for returning veterans, believing that composing music can help a person heal from the wounds of war.
Almost 500 people have gone missing in Tijuana and the wider Baja California region in the last 5 years. Some of these disappearances are kidnappings by local criminals for ransom. Others are believed to be carried out by the drug cartels.
How do you get your resume moved to the top of the pile in this job-challenged economy? By knowing someone inside the company, of course. But that's really a challenge if you've just moved to the US from a war-torn country more than seven thousand miles away.
Karl Marlantes is the author of What It Is Like To Go To War.
I returned to America in October of 1969 after 13 months as a Marine in Vietnam. While I was there, I would comfort myself by imagining all the girls I ever knew hugging me in a huge warm group embrace. Somehow, I thought something similar would be waiting for me when I came home.
Guy Raz speaks with Portland, Ore., Mayor Sam Adams who today ordered the Occupy protesters in his city out of their encampments by 12:01 a.m. Sunday. The move comes after he wrote an open letter to the protesters, saying their living conditions were unsustainable.
Defensive coordinator Tom Bradley held his first press conference Thursday as interim coach of Penn State's football team. Bradley was appointed after the board of trustees abruptly fired coach Joe Paterno on Wednesday night amid a child sex abuse scandal involving one of his former assistant coaches.
A steady drip of revelations in the News Corp. phone-hacking scandal has called into question James Murdoch's testimony before a parliamentary committee in July. Murdoch has been asked back to clarify the discrepancies.
The State Department is delaying a decision for at least a year on whether to approve the Keystone pipeline. The $7 billion pipeline would carry oil from the tar sands of Alberta, Canada, through the U.S. to Gulf of Mexico refineries. Nebraska's state government and environmental groups have put intense pressure on the State Department and White House to reject the pipeline's proposed route. NPR's Richard Harris talks with Robert Siegel about the project.
It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Guy Raz.
ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
And I'm Robert Siegel.
Maybe it's not so bad. That seemed to be the read of investors when they saw today's economic numbers. Better than expected news about unemployment stoked some optimism that the U. S. will avoid a double-dip recession. And stock market recovered a bit from yesterday's drop.
But the news is not as good in Europe, as NPR's Chris Arnold reports
Alan Cheuse reviews a new book from Ann Beattie. Mrs. Nixon tells the story of an author as she tackles the challenge of writing a biography of former first lady Pat Nixon. Cheuse teaches writing at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va.
ROBERT SIEGEL, host: Fifteen years ago, Congress overwhelmingly approved the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA. It said, while each state could decide how to define marriage, the federal government would only recognize the legal union of a man and a woman.
Since then, more than 130,000 same-sex couples have legally married in the U.S. and today, a congressional committee passed the very first measure to repeal DOMA. NPR's David Welna reports.
Lawmakers in Jefferson County, Ala., voted Wednesday to file for bankruptcy. It will be the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history. For more, Guy Raz talks with Tanya Ott of member station WBHM in Birmingham.
Sixty thousand Iraqi refugees have come to the United States since 2007. Texas, Arizona and California are among the top destinations and the federal government has made resettling these refugees a priority. But some local schools and hospitals are overwhelmed.
Ken Parks, head of Spotify's New York office: "With a streaming service like Spotify that gives you access to everything in the world instantaneously, those distinctions between ownership and access tend to disappear."
If you've ever tried listening to music on a web site, you've probably had the experience of waiting ... and waiting ... for a song to start. The cloud music service Spotify thinks it's found a way around to get music to your computer faster; employing some of the same technology the music industry has been fighting against for years.
One of the first things you notice about Spotify is how quickly it starts playing the song you want to hear — even if it's not already stored on your computer. There's no wait for buffering or downloading. Spotify feels, in a word, instant.