When writer David Rakoff died Thursday at the age 47, he was barely the age he said he was always "meant" to be. In his 2010 memoir, Half Empty, he wrote, "Everyone has an internal age, a time in life when one is, if not one's best, then at very least one's most authentic self. I always felt that my internal clock was calibrated somewhere between 47 and 53 years old."
Rakoff died in New York City after a long struggle with cancer — an ordeal that he wrote about with sobering honesty and biting wit.
Sheik Ahmad Assir speaks to supporters at a tent encampment set up in protest against Hezbollah in Sidon, Lebanon. He accuses the Islamist militant group of using resistance against Israel as a smokescreen for another aim: advancing Iranian regional hegemony.
Credit Wael Hamzeh / EPA /Landov
Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, seen here delivering a speech via video in Beirut in June, has dismissed Assir's calls for disarmament.
Originally published on Sun August 12, 2012 8:45 am
On a recent day, baffled motorists honked their horns and veered around the blocked entrance to a major street in Sidon. Now Lebanon's third-largest city, Sidon was once a flourishing Phoenician city-state on the Mediterranean.
The street was closed off by Sunni cleric Sheik Ahmad Assir, who erected a small tent encampment in protest against the country's most powerful military and political force, the militant Islamist group Hezbollah.
The Royal Spanish Academy — the official arbiter of the Spanish language — recently announced that it will add the word "Espanglish" to the 2014 edition of its dictionary. This is a big deal for the traditionally conservative academy, and it's a big deal for supporters who feel that mix of Spanish and English has officially been ignored for more than a century.
With the Olympics drawing to a close, NBC is looking especially golden. They have had two weeks of great ratings — including record highs. What better time than on the eve of the network's new fall season to rack up two weeks of record audiences? But what might seem a slam dunk for the network is anything but.
Jennie Fields was well into her new novel about Edith Wharton — and her love affair with a young journalist — when she heard that a new cache of Wharton letters had been discovered. They were written to Anna Bahlmann, who was first Wharton's governess and later her literary secretary. Bahlmann had never been considered a major influence on Wharton, but Fields had decided to make her a central character in her book, The Age of Desire, even before she heard about the letters.
Zoe Chace and Robert Smith are reporting from European borders this week. This story is about the unofficial border within one country — the border that divides northern and southern Italy. This is the fourth story in a four-part series.
A decade ago, the Barilla pasta factory in Foggia, Italy, had a big problem with people skipping work. The absentee rate was around 10 percent.
This week, the presidential campaign has been dominated by debate over the welfare law from the 1990s. It's just the latest example of how both sides are trying to use the Clinton years to their advantage — portraying them as a halcyon golden age.
Writer Roxana Robinson's most recent novel, Cost, is set in Maine.
Mount Desert Island, off the coast of northern Maine, is known for dramatic scenery. Most of the island is Acadia National Park: steep forests, plunging down to a cobalt sea. Cadillac Mountain, the tallest peak, is the first place where light touches the American continent, each morning at dawn. Trails follow the windswept ridges; they wind along the smooth pink granite bluffs, rising from the deep, icy water, along the wild swirl of the great tides.
The Olympics are winding down, and for some nations, they're already over. Among them, the small Pacific island nation of Nauru. With roughly 9,300 people, it is the least populous country competing in these games. NPR's Mike Pesca says for the Nauruvians that's a point of pride.
MIKE PESCA, BYLINE: Nauru is small. How small? Remember this song?
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SMALL TOWN")
JOHN COUGAR MELLENCAMP: (Singing) But I've seen it all in a small town. Had myself a ball in a small town.
When Egypt launched military operations earlier this week against Islamist extremists in the lawless Sinai Peninsula, they were described as the biggest in the area in decades. The move came after 16 Egyptian soldiers were killed in an ambush at their border post. State media outlets speaking for the government reported air strikes that killed more than 20 militants. They also reported ground troops moving into villages long off limits to the country's security forces.