The pop star has a flair for the extravagant, to say the least, but his new album is stripped down. He tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross about the "Elton John excess," his fear of sex as a young man, and how Liberace's example encouraged John to make the piano a star instrument.
Evan Mandery's A Wild Justice is an account of the legal battles that led to the U.S. Supreme Court striking down capital punishment, then reversing course four years later. He says today, prisoners who are sentenced to death have a 10 percent chance of actually being executed.
California parolee Charles Manson arrived in San Francisco in 1967, when the city was full of young waifs looking for a guru. In Manson, Jeff Guinn argues that if the cult leader had instead been paroled in a place like Nebraska, he likely would not have been so successful.
Last month, Ronstadt revealed that she has Parkinson's disease and can no longer sing. Her new memoir, Simple Dreams, reflects on a long career. In this conversation with Fresh Air's Terry Gross, she offers frank insights on sex, drugs, and why "competition was for horse races."
That's the collective nickname Harlem-ites used for them: white women who risked family exile and social ostracism to be part of the movement. They were philanthropists and thrill seekers; educators and artists; hostesses and lovers. Carla Kaplan tells their stories in Miss Anne In Harlem.
Journalist Barton Gellman recounts how he began corresponding with whistle-blower Edward Snowden, a new documentary looks at King's legacy as both a tennis champion and the leader of a female player uprising, and Lethem's new novel was inspired by his own family story.
The actress played Kelly Kapoor on The Office, a role she also wrote and produced. Now she runs a new Fox comedy, The Mindy Project, in which she stars as an obstetrician whose personal life is a mess. Kaling tells Fresh Air that her late mother inspired her character's career.
When dictionaries add trendy words like "twerk," they're prioritizing the fleeting language habits of the young, says Geoff Nunberg. And our fascination with novel words tends to eclipse subtle changes in the meanings of old ones — "which are often more consequential," he says.
A new PBS documentary looks at King's legacy as a both a tennis champion – she has a record 20 Wimbledon titles – and the leader of a female player uprising that demanded fairer treatment and pay. She tells Fresh Air about the challenges of being a female player before there was a women's league.