The Mountaintop is an award-winning play about the night Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. died. But some critics don't love playwright Katori Hall's portrayal of the civil rights icon as a regular guy. Hall tells host Michel Martin why she found it important to focus on the man, not the myth.
In the 1920s, a man passing through Washington, D.C., noticed something about the city in September: It was sweltering, and there were few places to seek relief. He figured you could make a lot of money selling ice-cold drinks.
That first business venture set J.W. "Bill" Marriott Jr. on a road to riches.
In a scene from Friends' eighth season, Joey (Matt LeBlanc) and Rachel (Jennifer Aniston) react to Rachel's pending pregnancy. The birth of the baby was a major plot point of the Emmy-winning season of the series.
I remember riding the bus to school in the early 2000s, listening as the older kids argued passionately about was going to happen on that night's episode of Friends. In the background, radio ads on the local Top 40 pop station dramatically intoned that maybe Rachel was finally going to admit she really loved Joey and not Ross, but you wouldn't know unless you tuned in to NBC at 8:00 on the dot.
Venezuelan author Romulo Gallegos (1884-1969), circa 1950.
Credit Pedro Valdes
Marcela Valdes was a founder of Críticas, the English-language magazine devoted to Spanish-language books. She is now serving her second term on the board of directors of the National Book Critics Circle.
Marcela Valdes is the books editor of The Washington Examiner and a specialist in Latin American literature and culture.
For more than 40 years, the most important book prize in South America has been bankrolled by the region's most famous petro-nation: Venezuela. Yet Venezuelan novelists themselves rank among the least read and translated writers in the entire continent. Over and over again as I worked on this article, I stumped editors and translators with a simple question: Who are Venezuela's best novelists?