Since about age 2, Atlantic editor Scott Stossel has been "a twitchy bundle of phobias, fears and neuroses." Today, his phobias include asthenophobia, a fear of fainting; aerophobia, a fear of flying; and turophobia, a fear of cheese. He wrote his latest book to help him understand and find relief from his anxious suffering.
The book, written in the 1970s, was made into a miniseries and never saw the light of day — until now. Actually, everything about The Spoils of Babylon is pure fiction. It's a parody of the big, bloated miniseries of the 1970s and '80s, complete with forbidden love between a sister and her adopted brother.
On the twelfth day of Xmas, Ask Me Another gave to me: A bunch of pop culture math questions that weren't on your SATs. For example, what do you get when you add Jay-Z's "Problems" to Three Dog Night's "Loneliest Number"? You'll find calculus is a lot less scary when it involves your favorite band in the game "Replacement Math."
Ever dream of moving to a foreign country and becoming a journalist? Anjan Sundaram did just that. He left a life as a mathematician in America, bought a one-way ticket to the Congo, and started writing. NPR's Rachel Martin talks with Sundaram about his book Stringer: A Reporter's Journey in the Congo, which chronicles what he saw there.
Author Kim Stanley Robinson knows that most science fiction fans think the best books were written in their youth — whenever that was. But in his case, he says, it's more than nostalgia: the late '60s and early '70s were a spectacular time for science fiction. He recommends three classics from that fruitful era.
In 1968, the Museum of Modern Art bought his painting LOVE and made him a star. It became a sculpture, a stamp, greeting cards — and it obscured the rest of his career. Now the first major retrospective of Indiana's work has begun a national tour at the Whitney Museum of American Art.
There's a lot to look forward to in the upcoming year, including collections about religious faith, books that push the boundaries of what we can call poetry and some poems that are too hot for your average English class. Critic Craig Morgan Teicher walks us through the highlights of the year ahead.