Arts & Life


As a child, Dr. William Pollard’s parents taught him to always be appreciative of those who help him throughout his life’s journey. As a result, he credits his many academic achievements to those who have assisted him along his professional path.

When Dr. Pollard sat down at StoryCorps, he went into detail about some of those people – from a minister in Raleigh, North Carolina to those closest to him, like his wife – highlighting their roles in his path to success in the world of higher education...

Edited by Corey Carpenter

For December, 3 Romantic Holiday Escapes

21 hours ago

'Tis the season when an escape from holiday madness may be necessary --and these three romance novels will whisk you away to fictional worlds where all the high stakes drama is resolved with true love and happily ever after.

Many of the best of this year's books were graced with humor and distinguished by deep dives into American identity. It was also a very good year for deceased authors whose posthumously published books were so much more than mere postscripts to their careers. Rebecca Makkai's The Great Believers -- a sweeping story about the AIDS epidemic of the 1980s and its long aftermath — is my pick for novel of the year.

Imagine driving alone in your car, but instead of sitting behind the wheel, you're dozing in the backseat as a computer navigates on your behalf. It sounds wild, but former New York City Traffic Commissioner Sam Schwartz says that scenario isn't so far off the mark.

"I was a New York City cab driver back in 1968, and I watched transportation evolve over time. I have never seen anything as rapid as what has happened this decade," Schwartz says. "Autonomous vehicles are coming."

My guess is that you've never read a book quite like Heather Rose's The Museum of Modern Love. I know I haven't. This is the Australian author's seventh novel, though it's her first published in the United States, and it's a real find.

"I'm fascinated by the necessity of quick decisions," Inge Morath told me more than 30 years ago, when she came to NPR for an interview. Morath was in the business of quick decisions — as a photographer and photojournalist she was the first woman to be accepted as a full member of the Magnum photo agency.

Now, her life is the subject of a new biography by Linda Gordon. It recounts Morath's escape from Nazi Germany, her boundary-breaking career, and her marriage to playwright Arthur Miller.

At the movies, 2018 was the year of Black Panther, the year of more Incredibles and Avengers, more Star Wars and Mission: Impossible. But it was also the year of intimate stories of youth and love. It was the year of period pieces and fantasies, crushing tragedies and raucous comedies. Bob Mondello, Linda Holmes and Glen Weldon would never agree on a single list of best movies of the year. But here are 15 of the movies we admired and will remember.

Black Panther

Are you hosting for New Year's Eve? There's always a lot to juggle — food, decorations, friends, family and so much more. For Weekend Edition's holiday advice series, "Help, I'm Hosting," we want to hear your New Year's Eve hosting dilemmas and challenges. Or maybe you need a little encouragement? We may put your question to the queen of hosting, Martha Stewart, for an upcoming on-air segment.

Share your thoughts with us below or here. A producer may contact you to follow up. Thank you.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit


Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit


Trevor Paglen writes the kinds of books that get you into weird conversations with strangers. He takes the kinds of pictures that are slightly unnerving until you read the title card, and then it becomes a regular amount of unnerving.

He also just sent a giant inflatable mirror up into space.

That last one is just the latest art piece in a career all about being watched by things you can't see.

Thirty years after it first debuted in 1988, the sit-com Murphy Brown is back — and Candice Bergen is still in the title role. Bergen played Murphy Brown for a decade in the 1980s and '90s ... but how much does she know about Murphy's law? Three questions about the universal rule that anything can go wrong will go wrong.

Click the audio link above to hear how she does.

Stressed Out Pets

Dec 8, 2018
toritoons (Tori Behr) [Flickr]

During the holidays, a pet owner may forget that changes in routine and activities can make your furry companion anxious and uneasy, which could leave both of you feeling, well, less than festive.   Giving your pet a little extra time and attention may help ease the stress for you and your best friend.


Anna and the Apocalypse is a [checks notes] Scottish zombie Christmas high school musical.

It drew raves in Great Britain, and has now been released in the United States. It's based on a short film by the writer-director Ryan McHenry, who died of bone cancer at age 27, and did not get to complete this feature-length production.

The Ferryman starts in a graffiti-covered back alley in Derry, Northern Ireland. A parish priest is questioned by an IRA captain — the body of a man who disappeared 10 years ago has been found in a bog.

The scene then shifts to the dead man's family and their farm. It's harvest time, 1981, and despite the joy and warmth abundantly on display, the first scene looms in the background.

Science fiction always perches on a tightrope of believability, and that tightrope is no fun place to stand. It's ill-defined (what makes something believable, anyway?), badly designed (it changes according to the perceptions of each individual reader, notoriously flaky though such perceptions may be) and invisible to the walker (who must intuit its arc from clues). And yet the penalty for a single stumble is horrifying: Beneath that wavering rope lies the quicksand of readerly scorn. It's a miracle, really, that any would-be worldbuilder ever places a trembling foot on the line.

As a teacher, father and children's book author, Jon Scieszka avoids books full of lessons. "Since the beginning of kids' books ... it was like: learn your alphabet, learn the colors, or learn morals, learn proper behavior," he says. But the author of the kids' classic The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales says books for small readers don't need big lessons.

Copyright 2018 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.


This is FRESH AIR. I'm David Bianculli sitting in for Terry Gross.


Copyright 2018 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.


Posters for the film Mary Queen of Scots label Mary Stuart "Born to Fight," and Elizabeth I "Born to Power." But this rivalry is so famous we already know those taglines are applied to the wrong queens.

“The Incredible True Story of the Making of the Eve of Destruction”

Author: Amy Brashear 

Publisher: Soho Teen, Soho Books

Pages: 312

Price $21.99 (Hardcover)

“Another Slice of Life”

Author: Thom Gossom, Jr.  

Publisher: Aquarius Press

Pages: 98

Price: $14.35

Thom Gossom is a name familiar to many Alabamans. In 1975, He was the first black athlete to graduate from Auburn University, having played on the championship team quarterbacked by Pat Sullivan.

Gossom went on to have a career in film and TV acting with a recurring role in “In the Heat of the Night” and guest star appearances on “NYPD Blue,” “ER,” and many others.

“The Allies: Roosevelt, Churchill, Stalin, and the Unlikely Alliance That Won World War II”

Author: Winston Groom 

Publisher: National Geographic

Pages: 463

Price: $30.00 (Hardcover)

“The Allies” is Winston Groom’s twentieth book, his twelfth book of nonfiction. Not surprisingly, he has become a smooth storyteller, usually writing about America’s wars—Civil, 1812, or the Western Front in WWI, reading and synthesizing huge quantities of material and presenting it in narrative form for the common reader.

“Blue Green: A Novel”

Author: Gregory N. Whitis  

Publisher: Page Publishing Inc.

Pages: 308

Price: $15.95

Gregory Whitis grew up in Iowa, graduated from Iowa State University, earned a Master’s at Auburn “studying fish” and for a time he worked as manager of Alabama’s largest catfish farm.

After a second career as a deputy sheriff in Hale County, Whitis has begun his third career—as a novelist.

“Alabama Founders: Fourteen Political and Military Leaders Who Shaped the State”

Author: Herbert James Lewis  

Publisher: University of Alabama Press

Pages: 232

Price: $39.95 (Cloth)

“A Hard Rain: America in the 1960’s, Our Decade of Hope, Possibility, and Innocence Lost”

Author: Frye Gaillard  

Publisher: NewSouth Books, 2018


Pages: 700

Price: $35.00 (Hardcover)

Frye Gaillard of Mobile is one of Alabama’s most important and prolific writers.

The author of a shelf of books, he has written about religion, politics, music and recently the civil rights movement in Alabama.

“A Hard Rain” is, without a doubt, his biggest, most ambitious and finest work to date.

“A Gift of Bones: A Sarah Booth Delaney Mystery”

Author: Carolyn Haines  

Publisher: Minotaur Books

Pages: 261

Price: $24.99 (Hardcover)

Every year for 19 years, Carolyn Haines of Semmes, Alabama has published a “Bones” book one might give as a Christmas present. This year the novel, “A Gift of Bones,” is, in fact, a Christmas book.

With only a few days until December 25th, Sarah Booth is decorating her home, Dahlia House, in Sunflower County in the Mississippi Delta and expecting a visit from her beau, Sheriff Coleman Peters.

“American War: A Novel”

Author: Omar El Akkad  

Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf

Pages: 333

Price: $ 26.95 (Hardcover)

International journalist Omar El Akkad was born in Egypt, raised from age 6-16 in Qatar, then moved to Canada where he worked for “The Globe and Mail” for ten years. He covered the Arab Spring in Egypt and reported from Afghanistan, Guantanamo Bay and Ferguson, Missouri. Now El Akkad lives in Oregon.

He has had a vision of our future and it is not pretty.

“Becoming Mrs. Lewis”

Author: Patti Callahan 

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Pages: 432

Price: $25.99 (Hardcover)

Patti Callahan, the author of this volume is, in fact, Patti Callahan Henry, bestselling and prize-winning Alabama author of 13 volumes of fiction, most recently “The Bookshop at Water’s End,” one of a series of books in which a female protagonist has her life disrupted, by illness, accident or most commonly, a rotten husband, and has to regroup. She does this with the aid of supportive friends and there is usually a happy ending.

“Boundary Hunter”

Author: A. R. Moore  

Publisher: Mindbridge Press

Pages: 295

Price: $15.00 (Paper)

The process is a familiar one.

A person retires from a profession many find intriguing. In conversation, others tell him he should write about his life, in a memoir or perhaps a novel.

Usually it stops there, but not always.

A.R. Moore went ahead and wrote his novel, “Boundary Hunter,” and found a publisher, Mindbridge, in Florence, Alabama.