When writer Lynn Darling found herself at a turning point in her life, she sought solitude and enlightenment in the woods of Vermont. Her new memoir, Out Of The Woods, describes that midlife experience. Fresh Air book critic Maureen Corrigan calls it "a compelling story of internal exploration, as well as outward-bound adventure."
According to Russian journalist Masha Gessen, the 2012 arrests were the start of a campaign by Vladimir Putin and his supporters against government critics. Gessen, who is also an LGBT rights advocate, recently moved to New York with her partner and their children in response to the anti-gay laws Russia passed in June.
In Little Failure, the novelist recounts his emigration from the USSR to the U.S. when he was 7. For the first few years, he says, he would sit alone in the school cafeteria, talking to himself in Russian "in this gigantic fur hat and fur coat." It wasn't long before a teacher advised, "Children won't play with you if you have that much fur on."
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 songwriter behind the much-beloved "Hey Sandy" returns after eight years with Dear Mark J. Mulcahy, I Love You; Fresh Air tech contributor Alexis Madrigal reflects on the online streaming and DVD rental service's bizarrely personalized microgenres; and a new HBO comedy takes place in the geriatric extended-care wing of a California hospital.
World War II is often thought of as a good and just war — a war the U.S. had to fight. But it wasn't that simple. Public debate was heated between interventionism, which President Roosevelt supported, and isolationism, which aviator Charles Lindbergh became an unofficial spokesman for.
A new book by critic Olivia Laing explores the link between alcohol and writing through the commentaries of famous writers who were themselves alcoholics. Fresh Air's Maureen Corrigan calls Laing's readings "exquisite," and says she wisely avoids "any one-size-fits-all conclusions about the bond between the pen and the bottle."
Author Lucy Lethbridge explores the history of British servants through their diaries, letters and memoirs. She says, "What I found particularly fascinating was how ... butlers were so butler-y;" the old caricature of the clever manservant and the silly master is one "butlers have appeared to play to the hilt."
Fresh Air tech contributor Alexis Madrigal counted 76,897 microgenres on the online streaming and DVD rental service, many of which are bizarrely personalized (Violent Action Thrillers Starring Bruce Willis, Tearjerkers From The 1970s). He says the company "knows you."
The pop star has a flair for the extravagant, to say the least, but his album The Diving Board 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.
As the brains behind the hip-hop parody group responsible for digital shorts like "D--- in a Box," Andy Samberg, Jorma Taccone and Akiva Schaffer have produced some of the funniest Saturday Night Live material in recent memory. Here, they talk about comedy, Yo! MTV Raps and adolescence.