Fresh Air with Terry Gross

Weekdays at 9am & 6pm

Interviews & reviews from contemporary culture and newsmakers. Plus, Garrison Keillor's "Writer's Almanac" at the top of the hour. Find more at the Fresh Air website.

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

Novelists have always put their heroines through awful ordeals. But over time, these tribulations change. Where the 19th Century was filled with fictional women trapped in punishing marriages — think of Middlemarch or The Portrait of a Lady — today's heroines face trials that are bigger, more political, and more physically demanding. They fight in hunger games.

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

Actor Michael K. Williams is known for playing morally ambiguous, sometimes violent characters. As Omar Little on The Wire, Williams was a fearless stick-up man who stole money from drug dealers. In Boardwalk Empire, he played Chalky White, a bootlegger in Prohibition-era Atlantic City. Now, in the new HBO series The Night Of, he's a powerful inmate in New York's notorious Rikers Island Prison.

Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

I write novels for a living, and novels are about how characters deal with the intrinsic conflicts that make them who they are — and their efforts to overcome them. Sometimes characters are able to overcome their conflicts and sometimes, in tragedies, they succumb to them, which results in ruin. This is why it troubled me so much to witness recent events unfold like something out of a book.

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

Comic Mike Birbiglia's new film, Don't Think Twice, was inspired by an observation his wife made when she came to one of his improv shows.

"She goes, 'It's amazing that everyone is equally talented in this show, and yet this one person is on Saturday Night Live and this one person is a movie star and this one person lives on an air mattress in Queens,' " Birbiglia tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "And I thought: Not only is that true and a great observation, but it's also a movie."

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

When most of us think about computer hacking, we picture Julian Assange leaking government secrets or a shadowy, bad-shave crook in some former Soviet republic hoovering up credit card info from a chain store. But while folks like these do stir up all manner of trouble, a much deeper danger lies elsewhere.

Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

The first time he encountered a tiger shark in the water, marine ecologist Neil Hammerschlag was in the Bahamas conducting research. His team was on a boat and hadn't seen many sharks, so when someone yelled, "Tiger shark!" he grabbed his snorkel gear and camera and jumped into the water.

"One [tiger shark] moved right in toward me and came close," Hammerschlag tells Fresh Air's Dave Davies. "It opened its mouth, and I was looking through its mouth down its gut and seeing its gills from the inside."

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

The middle of summer is when the surprises in publishing turn up. I'm talking about those quietly commanding books that publishers tend to put out now, because fall and winter are focused on big books by established authors. Which brings us to The Dream Life of Astronauts, by Patrick Ryan, a very funny and touching collection of nine short stories that take place in the 1960s and '70s around Cape Canaveral, Fla.

In 2015, after winning an Emmy for her work on Inside Amy Schumer, comedy writer Jessi Klein made one important stop before heading to the award show after-party — to pump breast milk in a backstage dressing room. Klein's son was 3 months old at the time, and she says that while winning the Emmy was "genuinely awesome and exciting," she also knew it wasn't going to change her life.

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

To judge from our media coverage, you'd think that Mexico isn't so much a country as a problem. But if you look beyond the endless talk of drug wars and The Wall, you discover that Mexico has a booming culture.

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