Jeffrey Eugenides' third novel, The Marriage Plot, charts the lives of three young adults as they finish college, fall in love and navigate the real world after graduating from Brown University in 1982. Eugenides, also a Brown alum, based some of the novel on his own experiences directly after college.
Laura Dern is Amy Jellicoe, a health and beauty executive who returns from a post-meltdown retreat to pick up the pieces of her broken life in the new HBO series Enlightened. Dern and series creator Mike White talk about the tone of the show, and whether it's possible for people to really change.
Thad Holmes, a conservation enforcement officer in Alabama, and his buddy Clem Parnell, came up with an unusual way to honor the dead. Their company, Holy Smoke, takes your loved one's ashes and turns them into ammunition.
James Boyle, of North Port, Fla., has an unusual family heirloom: a pickle, grown and bottled by his great-great-grandmother in 1876. Just for reference, that's also the year of Custer's defeat at Little Bighorn and the first telephone call made by Alexander Graham Bell.
Writer David Rakoff's received the 2011 Thurber Prize for American Humor for his essay collection Half Empty. In the book, Rakoff explains the powers of pessimistic thought as he analyzes topics such as a pornography trade fair, his neurotic childhood and his recent cancer diagnosis.
Businessman Art Pope poured millions of dollars into state legislative campaigns during the 2010 campaign. Republicans went on to win 18 of the 22 campaign seats Pope and his organizations targeted. New Yorker writer Jane Mayer talks about Pope's growing power — and how his money may influence the 2012 presidential election.
The singer and actress began performing at age six and was soon doing dozens of shows each week at the famed Apollo Theater. Now, nearly six decades later, Uggams has won numerous awards, and she's planning to release a new album. She talks to Michel Martin about her forthcoming album and her life in the spotlight.
Heroic POW or al-Qaida double agent? Howard Gordon, creator and producer of the new Showtime thriller, Homeland, talks about the twists and turns of the series, and explains why it's very different from his previous show, 24.
What motivates someone to become a terrorist? That's the question former prosecutor Ken Ballen set out to tackle when he traveled to Saudi Arabia and Indonesia to interview more than 100 Islamist extremists. "We've never sat back and said, 'Let's really understand our adversaries,' " he says.
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