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'The Lacuna,' Kingsolver's Vacant Return

It's been nine years since Barbara Kingsolver, author of The Poisonwood Bible, has released a new novel -- but is The Lacuna worth the wait? Critic Maureen Corrigan says this personalized perspective on the Red Scare in Mexico reflects the hidden meaning of the book's title: vacancy.


Screen Writer and Director Christopher Nolan

His new film Memento, is about a man who is unable to make new memories since the violent murder of his wife. Now without a short term memory, he seeks to avenge her death. The movie stars Guy Pearce, with Carrie-Anne Moss and Joe Pantoliano. The script for Memento was based on a short story written by Johnathan Nolan, Christopher Nolan's brother. Memento is Christopher Nolan's second feature film; his first was the critically acclaimed 1998 film Following.


Psychiatrist and Neurologist Todd Feinberg

His new book is called Altered Egos: How the Brain Creates the Self. What is the self? and what is the relationship between the brain and selfhood? Feinberg uses the stories and interesting cases of his patients to try and answer these questions from a neurological and psychological standpoint. Feinberg claims that the way patients with brain damage or disorders like alien hand syndrome talk about themselves can tell us a lot about how the brain creates itself.


What Does It Mean to Change Your Name?

Stories of people changing their name, an excerpt from This American Life by Ira Glass, produced at WBEZ. Glass tells the story of his grandmother: when she was in her 30's, she was very ill and everyone thought she was going to die. So they changed her name. It was an old Jewish custom, to confuse the Angel of Death. And Margy Rochlin on the place you go to in Los Angeles if you want to change your name. It turns out to be surprisingly easy to change


A Married Couple on the Politics of Names

Justin Kaplan and Anne Bernays are the authors of the new book, "The Language of Names: What We Call Ourselves and Why It Matters." Both have written previous books: Ms. Bernays is the author of eight novels, including the award-winning "Growing Up Rich" and "Professor Romeo," as well as numerous short stories. Mr. Kaplan won a Pulitzer Prize for his biography, "Mr. Clemens and Mark Twain." He's also the General Editor of Barlett's Familiar Quotations.


Novelist Jay McInerney on Self-Reinvention

McInerney talks about his latest novel, "The Last of the Savages." He has also written "Brightness Falls," "Story of My Life," "Ransom," and "Bright Lights, Big City," which was made into a movie starring Michael J. Fox.


New Terminology for Minority Groups

Linguist Geoff Nunberg considers how the ways communities describe themselves is changing. The emergence of the term "African American" is of particular interest; Nunberg thinks it suggests a shift away from appearance toward place of origin.

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