Junot Diaz and 'The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao' While most authors strive for clarity, Junot Diaz says he wanted to create a story that would be difficult to grasp.
The New York Times described his new novel as "Mario Vargas Llosa meets "Star Trek" meets David Foster Wallace meets Kanye West."3:00 p.m.
St. Paul officials: What does Pawlenty have against us? Gov. Tim Pawlenty signed a bonding bill Monday afternoon, but not before cutting $208 million worth of projects from the bill. The governor used his line-item veto authority to take down more than 50 projects, many of them in St. Paul.5:20 p.m.
Foreclosure counselors in high demand The number of foreclosure counselors working on the front lines of the mortgage crisis is about to expand. Here's a glimpse of what they do.5:24 p.m.
Clinton's Controversial Top Strategist Quits
Mark Penn steps down as chief campaign strategist for Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) over conflicts between his PR business and his candidate's interests. But many within the Clinton camp blamed Penn for Clinton's precarious position in the Democratic primary contest. Mara Liasson discusses the story with Michele Norris.
The Obama Franchise: Harnessing Activists' Energy
If Sen. Barack Obama's presidential campaign were a business, it would be a franchise: It has grown fast, harnessing the energy of independent operators — activists around the country — allowing good ideas to come from grassroots places.
In Paris, Olympic Torch Inflames Protesters
Crowds of anti-China protesters — many chanting "free Tibet" — blocked the Olympic torch relay through the streets of Paris. Eventually, the torch was extinguished and transported by bus, which may hold implications for the torch's arrival in San Francisco Wednesday.
'Portnoy's Complaint'? Self-Love and Self-Loathing
Nearly 40 years ago, funny, smart, neurotic Alexander Portnoy burst onto the public stage. Philip Roth's fictional hero was racked by guilt — promoted by an over-protective, self-sacrificing mother and by an obsession with, er, loving himself too much.
A Ukrainian Pop Star's Would-Be Revolution
Ruslana, Ukraine's biggest pop star, switches between two roles on stage: a limp, pale, synthetic woman chained to a machine for energy and a vibrant warrior whose energy comes from clean, renewable resources. But in post-Soviet Ukraine, her fans are more interested in capitalist consumption than conservation.
Manufacturers Push Biodegradable Plastic Bags
In response to a grassroots legislative movement to phase out non-biodegradable plastic shopping bags, manufacturers are developing bags that will break down from prolonged exposure to oxygen or water. But environmental groups are unsatisfied, saying it still takes months for the bags to deteriorate.
A Memorable 'Story of Forgetting'
Alan Cheuse reviews Stefan Merrill Block's debut novel The Story of Forgetting, which intertwines three narratives — of memory, loss and fantasy — in a family coping with early-onset Alzheimer's disease.
Letters: King's Humanity; Iraq War Awareness
The 40th anniversary coverage of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination and a veteran's commentary urging Americans to stay focused on the war in Iraq stirred strong feelings among listeners.
Sadr Considering Breakup of Mahdi Army Militia
Radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr announced Monday that he is asking advisers whether to disband the Mahdi Army. Iraq's prime minister has said Sadr's supporters will be blocked from participating in upcoming elections if it isn't.
Petraeus Expected to Urge Troop Strength Freeze
The situation in Iraq will be front and center on Capitol Hill Tuesday as Gen. David Petraeus, the top military commander in Iraq, and Ryan Crocker, the U.S. ambassador in Baghdad, begin two days of testimony. Petraeus is widely expected to recommend a temporary freeze in U.S. troop reductions.