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Death and "Life on Earth"

Writer Sheila Ballantyne's newest collection of short stories explores mortality. She says her musings on death help her better appreciate the time she has right now.


Author John Gregory Dunne Writes his Memoirs.

Journalist, screenwriter and novelist John Gregory Dunne. In his new book, Harp, Dunne explores what it means to be Irish Catholic in America. Dunne explores his own history - "from steerage to suburbia in three generations" - his college days longing to be a WASP, his family's scarred history (suicides, murders), and what he calls his "insane desire to be assimilated." Dunne's earlier novels include The Red White and Blue, True Confessions, Vegas and Dutch Shea, Jr.


Negotiating the Ethics of Terminal Care

Journalist Andrew H. Malcolm's new book, "Someday," is his first-person account of his decision to take his terminally ill mother off life support, a decision made ironic by the fact that Malcom often covers issues of medical ethics and the right to die for the New York Times.


Filmmaker Ross McElwee on Marriage, Birth, and Death

McElwee's new documentary is "Time Indefinite", an autobiographical film about his family. McElwee's earlier movie, "Sherman's March" started out as a documentary about Civil War General William Sherman's march to the sea and ended up a examination of personal identity and the mysteries of love.


It's Time to Talk Frankly About Death.

Medical ethicist Daniel Callahan. His new book is "The Troubled Dream of Life: Living with Mortality." (Simon & Schuster). In it he looks at how our society views death: If death is a "part of life," why do we have such trouble accepting it? And how do our attitudes about death affect medical and social policy?


Children and Death.

Commentator Anne Lamott reflects on life on the first anniversary of her best friend's death.


How to Die in Prison

Fresh Air prison correspondent Wilbert Rideau is editor emeritus of the Angolite, the news magazine of the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola where he is serving a life sentence. He talks about dying in prison. With longer sentences and less parole, prisoners are beginning to die in prison. Rideau recently spoke with a dying inmate, a prison nurse and a warden who handles funeral arrangements.

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