Arts & Culture

Interviews and stories about art, culture, music, books, food / dining and sports.

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

'Arab Of The Future 2' Continues Risky Truth-Telling

Sep 20, 2016

Riad Sattouf's memoir of his childhood in the Middle East stirred up a complicated swirl of emotions when the first volume was released in the U.S. last year. Many reviewers seemed fascinated by something beyond Sattouf's perspicacity and artistry. There was a kind of awe at his rash trampling of forbidden zones. His darkly ironic recollections of growing up in 1970s-80s Syria and Libya came with no mitigating calls for understanding (of the customs that prevailed in those countries' hinterlands) or forgiveness (for his narcissistic father).

Algonquin Publishing

Do you ever wonder what would happen if you drove past your exit on the highway, instead of going home to make dinner after work? Or what your destination would be, if you could just drop everything and head out on the road?

That’s the fantasy-turned-reality for the main character in Leave Me, the latest novel from bestselling author Gayle Forman.

From the lingering sins of a nation's snarled roots to the complexities of mental illness and even to the colorful quest for a name of one's own, the books that round out this year's Kirkus Prize shortlists won't let you easily forget history — on whatever scale it's defined.

Two years ago, PawHser Moo's mother started pushing her and her sisters to join a group called Growing Colorado Kids. As Moo recalls, at first, she was far from thrilled by the idea.

"I was like, 'Oh my gosh, no! I have to wake up early!' " says Moo — a pretty typical reaction for a 14 year old. Wake up early on Saturdays just to catch a van up to rural Adams County, about a half-hour drive from Denver, only to spend hours outside gardening? It was hardly her first choice for her weekends.

Harper Collins Publishers

Wisconsin native Danielle Trussoni wrote a memoir ten years ago that focused on her childhood in La Crosse. It explored how she came to terms with her dad, who had suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder from his service as a so-called “tunnel rat” during the Vietnam War. 

That book helped launch Trussoni’s literary career. She turned to fiction and wrote two novels that straddle the line between thriller and supernatural. Those were written while Trussoni was married to a Bulgarian man who was brilliant, but also enigmatic and disturbing.

Ludovic Bertron

If you've been paying attention to current events, it's pretty hard not to notice all the conversations surrounding our national anthem and our flag. In a country born from revolution, many Americans see our national symbols as sacred and take great offense when some speak against them or choose to remain silent. But, people have various perceptions of what it means to fly the flag in this country.

When our collective attention turns to the flood of new shows headed to network television each fall, the same question arises:

Does the fall TV season even matter anymore?

It's true that in the age of #PeakTV new shows drop all the time, so focusing on the fall seems a little old fashioned. But I think this time of year still matters, for a few reasons.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

We all know the photo: It captures the rage, division and the racial tension from 40 years ago, that is still so present now in our country.

Titled "The Soiling of Old Glory," the photo won a Pulitzer Prize for breaking news photography. Stanley Forman took the picture on April 5, 1976, by for what was then the Boston Herald American.

"For the time (it) has everything you want in the picture," says Forman. If you've seen the picture, it's hard to forget. A young, white man lunges at a black man with the sharp point of a flagpole, with the American flag attached.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit NPR.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

For some comics fans, Alan Moore is basically a god.

He's the media-shy and magnificently bearded writer of comics like Watchmen, V for Vendetta and From Hell — though if you've only ever seen the movies, please, I implore you: Read the books.

Recently, Moore said he's stepping back from comics to focus on other projects — like his epic new novel, Jerusalem. It's full of angels, devils, saints and sinners and visionaries, ghost children and wandering writers, all circling his home town of Northampton, England.

Talking about God is pretty standard for American politicians. But a line that has been popping up often in Donald Trump's recent campaign speeches seems to go further.

At a recent gathering of conservative Christians in Washington, D.C., Trump promised that if he is elected president, "we will be one American nation." The Republican nominee quoted the Bible and spelled out his vision for American unity:

You want to win the Emmy pool tonight.

Doesn't matter why: Maybe you want the money, maybe you just want to rub your victory in your friend Trish's face, because she reads Variety and calls TV shows "skeins."

God, Trish, right? Trish is the worst.

Election year or not, nothing says fall like football and basketball — and while politics may dominate the public consciousness, there are a lot of people flipping the channel to sports for a respite from that kind of action.

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