At least since Pygmalion prayed for his beautiful ivory statue to become a real woman, men have struggled to find a mate who is almost literally made for them. Today you can turn to any number of algorithm-based websites to find your romantic ideal; you can even special-order brides from faraway lands. But in Georgian England, one well-heeled young man sought out his perfect love in a rather shocking and unlikely place: an orphanage.
In Jean Thompson's latest novel, The Humanity Project, humanity isn't doing so well and could use some help. Sean is a wayward carpenter whose bad luck with women turns into even worse luck: He's addicted to painkillers, and he and his teenage son Conner are facing eviction. Linnea is the teen survivor of a school shooting who travels west to California to live with a father she barely knows. Mrs. Foster is a wealthy woman who's taken to living with feral cats, and whose "Humanity Project" just might take a chance on people who thought they were out of luck.
Originally published on Tue April 23, 2013 11:43 am
Most people would be hard-pressed to call Wal-Mart a source of artistic inspiration. A place to purchase peanut butter, cereal and other mundane necessities? Yes. But a rendezvous spot with transcendence? Hardly.
Michael Pollan is the author of five books, including <em>The Botany of Desire,</em> <em>The Omnivore's Dilemma</em> and <em>In Defense of Food</em>. A longtime contributing writer to <em>The New York Times Magazine</em>, Pollan is also the Knight Professor of Journalism at the University of California, Berkeley.
In his systematic scrutiny of the modern American food chain, Michael Pollan has explored everything from the evolution of edible plants to the industrial agricultural complex. In his newest book, he charts territory closer to home — or rather, at home, in his kitchen.
Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation surveys how the four classical elements — fire, water, air and earth — transform plants and animals into food. Pollan joins NPR's Rachel Martin to discuss the merits of slow home cooking and his adventures in fermentation.
Bette Midler in <em>I'll Eat You Last: A Chat With Sue Mengers</em>. Midler stars as Mengers, a legendary and larger-than-life Hollywood agent whose sharp wit won her both friends and foes in the film industry.