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.
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."
After years trying to conceive, novelist Jennifer Gilmore and her husband decided to adopt. What they thought would be a relatively simple process was instead a long and painful one. In her latest novel, Gilmore channels these autobiographical experiences into fiction.
Actor Giancarlo Esposito talks about coming back to play Gus Fring in Better Call Saul, after originating the role in Breaking Bad. . . and how being bi-racial has affected his life and career. He's the son of an white Italian father, and an African-american mother, who was an opera singer.
On his first day in the seventh grade, Sherman Alexie opened up his school-assigned math book and found his mother's maiden name written in it. "I was looking at a 30-year-old math book," he says — and that was the moment he knew that he needed to leave his home.
As a black gay kid growing up in Texas in the 1990s, poet Saeed Jones remembers getting negative messages about his identity from every aspect of his life. It was around the time of Matthew Shepard's murder in Wyoming, and Jones felt alone and unsafe.