It's been almost 20 years since Barbara Ehrenreich published Fear of Falling, her brilliant book on the anxious "inner life" of the American middle class. The book's title, "fear of falling," has become a catchphrase to refer to the cosmic jitters that afflict anyone whose lifestyle and sense of identity can be wiped out by the loss of a job or a plunge in the stock market.
Karen Joy Fowler's haunting novel, We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, draws on arguments she used to have with her father, a psychology professor, over how closely connected humans and animals are. Fowler is also the author of the 2004 best-seller The Jane Austen Book Club.
Two new biographical studies that read like novels explore the familial relationships that shaped two of the 19th century's most beloved authors. Critic Maureen Corrigan calls Great Expectations: The Sons And Daughters Of Charles Dickens "a Gothic nightmare" and Marmee & Louisa "a romance."
Greg Berlanoti's new series on the USA Network stars Sigourney Weaver as the secretary of state and former first lady. Critic John Powers says he suspects that "even a Martian" would realize Weaver's character is based on Hillary Clinton -- and that's not a bad thing.
The Iranian film A Separation won the Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film on Sunday. Critic John Powers says the remarkable film takes viewers inside a country that is far more complicated and fascinating than news headlines indicate.