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Death & Dying

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41 Segments




John Mellencamp, The Modern Mortal

Long a standout purveyor of rootsy, direct "heartland" rock, Mellencamp is in the midst of a folksy, pessimistic streak on his new album. He speaks to host Terry Gross about the spare sound and dark themes of Life, Death, Love and Freedom.


Martha Weinman Lear, Plumbing the Forgetful Mind

For all of us who have ever wandered into a room only to freeze, wondering blankly, "Why did I come in here, again?," Martha Weinman Lear has an answer. Lear, the author of Where Did I Leave My Glasses?, discusses the twin issues of memory loss and aging — what degree of forgetfulness is normal, and what can be done about it?


A Russia-N.Y. Mystery in 'Thirty-Three Swoons'

The new novel Thirty-Three Swoons by Martha Cooley is a detailed intrigue set in Manhattan, interweaving the worlds of theatre and the perfume industry. Cooley's previous work includes The Archivist. Book critic Maureen Corrigan has a review.


Writer and Patient Advocate Musa Mayer

Musa Mayer is a breast cancer survivor and is the author of several books about breast cancer, including Advanced Breast Cancer: A Guide to Living with Metastatic Disease and After Breast Cancer: Answers to the Questions You're Afraid to Ask. She has also written Examining Myself: One Woman's Story of Breast Cancer Treatment and Recovery.


Surviving the Middle Ages

Writer James Atlas' new book is a collection of essays called My Life in the Middle Ages: A Survivor's Tale. James Atlas is the founding editor of the Lipper/Viking Penguin Lives Series. He writes for The New Yorker. He was also an editor at The New York Times Magazine. His work has appeared in many publications, including The New York Review of Books, The London Review of Books, and Vanity Fair. He is the author of Delmore Schwartz: The Life of an American Poet, which was nominated for the National Book Award.


The Lengths Parents Will Go to Save the "Heart of A Child"

Ingrid Labarbiera is the mother of Amy Barbiera, the subject of the HBO documentary "Heart of a Child." The film documents a year in the life of four year old Amy, who at such a young age had a heart/double lung transplant, and then seven months later another double lung transplant. Amy later died. The film's producers are Karen Goodman and Kirk Simon. "Heart of a Child" airs Thursday, June 12 at 8 PM on HBO.


Dr. Ira Byock on "Dying Well"

Byock talks about his new book "Dying Well: The Prospect of Growth at the End of Life." He is President of the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine and a prominent spokesman for the hospice industry. His book explores how the end of life, whether a person is suffering pain or not, can be an opportunity for deepened spiritual growth and reconciliation with others.


The Families of Murder Victims.

Rev. Wanda Jenkins. She is the founder and director of the grief assistance program headquartered at the Philadelphia Medical Examiner's office. Jenkins became an authority on the bereavement process for family of murder victims. Her program helps families cope with the aftermath of homicide. (Interview with Marty Moss-Coane)


Novelist Isabel Allende on Losing Her Daughter

Allende has published her first work of non-fiction, Paula. It's about her 28 year old daughter, who fell into an irreversible coma. Paula began as a letter to her dying daughter and turned into an autobiographical work about Allende's childhood in Chile, her exile in Venezuela and her move to San Francisco.


Jane Hamilton Draws "A Map of the World"

Hamilton's new novel is about a Midwestern farm family whose lives are changed irrevocably by one terrible incident. Her first book, "The Book of Ruth," won the 1989 PEN/Hemingway Foundation Award for best first novel.


The Myth of Death with Dignity.

Dr. Sherwin Nuland is a surgeon, and he teaches surgery and the history of medicine at Yale. In his new book, "How We Die: Reflections on Life's Final Chapter," (Knopf), he writes that few of us have an understanding of the way people die because 80 percent of Americans die in the hospital, and, for the most part their deaths are concealed. Nuland's new book is an attempt to "demythologize" the process of dying and he presents death in its biological and clinical reality.


Remembering the Dead in Photography.

Surgeon and photographic historian Stanley Burns. Burns has just compiled a book called "Sleeping Beauty: Memorial Photography In America." It chronicles what was a common occurrence in the late 1800s and early 1900s... taking one last photograph of a dead relative. (The book's published by Twelvetrees Press).


Living After AIDS.

Author Paul Monette. His memoir, "Borrowed Time," (Avon books) told his story of living with death and aids. His latest book is a novel, "Afterlife," (Crown books) about how three different men deal with the grief of losing a lover from aids. (Interview by Marty Moss-Coane)


Novelist Scott Spencer

Spencer joins Fresh Air to talk about how became a writer and what life is like now that he's established himself. His newest book, Waking the Dead, grapples with ideas of loss -- a theme prominent in his breakout novel, Endless Love.


Novelist Scott Spencer

Spencer joins Fresh Air to talk about how became a writer and what life is like now that he's established himself. His newest book, Waking the Dead, grapples with ideas of loss -- a theme prominent in his breakout novel, Endless Love.


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