The former congresswoman became Louisiana's first woman member of Congress in 1972. She was elected after her husband, then House majority leader Hale Boggs, died in a plane crash. Boggs was an advocate for civil rights and women's issues before her retirement in 1990. She is the mother of NPR and ABC-TV's Cokie Roberts, Washington lobbyist Thomas Hale Boggs, and the late Barbara Sigmund, who was mayor of Princeton, New Jersey. Boggs has new autobiography is called "Washington Through a Purple Veil: Memoirs of a Southern Woman."
John Irving began his career writing short books that were critically-acclaimed but commercially unsuccessful. His more sprawling novels, beginning with The World According to Garp, proved to be more popular. Book critic John Leonard reviews Irving's latest, A Prayer for Owen Meany, which he says is fatalistic, religious, and unexpectedly funny.