This interview was originally broadcast on August 25, 2011. The Leftovers is now available in paperback.
Last year, California-based preacher Harold Camping announced that the beginning of the end of the world would take place on May 21, 2011. The date passed by with no apparent rapture, and Camping became the butt of many late-night talk show jokes.
After hearing a lot about barefoot running, New York Times Phys Ed columnist Gretchen Reynolds decided to try it out for herself. An amateur runner for several decades, Reynolds says she thought the transition would be easy. But almost immediately, she got injured.
Jeremy Denk has recently written for <a href="http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2012/02/06/120206fa_fact_denk"><em>The New Yorker</em></a> and <em><a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/15/books/review/the-great-animal-orchestra-by-bernie-krause.html?_r=2&adxnnl=1&pagewanted=all&adxnnlx=1337778055-USiY+mXCAcDwaHTUn+NOVA">The New York Times</a> Book Review.</em>
Whenever I think about Christopher Tilghman's writing — and I have many times since his atmospheric novel, Mason's Retreat, came out more than 15 years ago — I think of critic John Leonard. John, among many other distinctions, was my predecessor as book critic for Fresh Air and, every once in a while before his death in 2008, we'd have occasion to talk or exchange e-mails about books. I remember John sending me a note in 1996, in which he mentioned Mason's Retreat and said of Tilghman, "He's the real deal."
In 1935, George Gershwin brought the script for his folk opera Porgy and Bess to the opera's original cast, which was entirely made up of African-American actors. "[In the original], every other word was N-word this, N-word that," says actor David Alan Grier. "[And] there's a very famous story: Al Jolson really wanted to play Porgy, in blackface."
John Fullbright's voice rises up and around the guitar chords in "Me Wanting You," his tone intended to haunt the person he's addressing. His desire, his "me wanting you," is as direct as he can possibly make it — it's not a cry of despair or hope or lust. It's the sound of someone intent on making as strong a connection with the listener as he possibly can.
Actor and writer Sacha Baron Cohen is famous for taking his characters — Ali G., Borat, Bruno — into the real world, interacting with people who have no idea that they're dealing with a fictional character. But his new movie, The Dictator, is a scripted comedy about a tyrant on the loose in New York.