Books

John Updike -- The Cartoonist?

Friday, March 16, 2012
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March 16, 2012




On March 18, author John Updike would have turned 80. Most famous for his Harry "Rabbit" Angstron series of novels, Updike died in 2009. In this 1978 interview clip from WGBH's Open Vault, Updike tells reporter China Altman he secretly wished to be a cartoonist.

See the full 30-minute conversation on WGBH Open Vault, where Upike reads from his work and tells stories about growing up in Pennsylvania, life at Harvard, working at the New Yorker and how he developed the writing habits which enabled him to produce a book a year.

Updike lived his final years in Massachusetts. Read more of his biography.

There Is Always Room at the Top

By Danielle Dreilinger   |   Thursday, March 8, 2012
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Mar. 8, 2012
 
BOSTON — Charlotte Beers has been the CEO/chairwoman of two ad agencies and Undersecretary of State to Colin Powell. She’s known for her trailblazing climb to the top in the 1960s ad world made famous by the hit show "Mad Men." Believe it or not, she thinks it’s actually harder for women to get those leadership roles today. In Beers' new book "I’d Rather Be in Charge," she shares her philosophy and tactics for creating your best and most effective work self.
 
"We spend incredible hours at work. We have to find a way to make it all more fruitful," she said.

 

The challenges women face advancing in business are subtler now than in the bra-strap-snapping old days, but Beers believes it's still difficult for women to present themselves effectively.
 
Today, she thinks women tend to fall into one of two extremes when creating a work persona: too soft or too hard. On the one hand, "'Mother hens' don't run companies," Beers said. On the other hand, she had to learn to soften up. In her early days climbing the ladder, "I behaved like my boss who was extremely tough and I thought that's how I showed I meant business."
 
One key to the puzzle: Realizing that you can be different selves at home and at the office. "You get to practice different parts of you at work — and that's why we like work," she said.
 
And if a boss tries to tell you to choose between your different selves, as one did to Beers when she decided not to travel when her daughter was young, she suggested taking the long view: "It's a long life. You get to make some choices."


Essayist/Comedian Michael Ian Black

Wednesday, February 29, 2012
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A Kennedy Life 'Interrupted'

By Toni Waterman   |   Thursday, February 2, 2012
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Feb. 2, 2012

jfk jr book

RoseMarie Terenzio was JFK Jr.'s personal assistant until his death in 1999.


BOSTON — RoseMarie Terenzio was a wisecracking girl from the Bronx, more crazy about Howard Stern than John F. Kennedy Jr. But the latter had a job open and Terenzio landed it, becoming what any young woman would envy: the personal assistant to the Kennedy heir.
 
In her new book, "Fairy Tale Interrupted," Terenzio shares her memories of Kennedy and his wife Carolyn Bessette Kennedy from the early days at "George" magazine to the night of the fatal plane crash.

She reflects on a fight they had before taking that fateful flight in 1999, and its significance — or, she says, its lack thereof.
 
"It was a spat like any other," she says. "Unfortunately, their spats were played out publically. The fact that she wasn’t going to go was just like any other wife or husband saying, 'You know what? You can go by yourself. I’m not going to go.' But because of what happened, it was played up so much."

However, Terenzio emphasizes, "The book is not just about how they died. It’s about my experience, my fairy tale interrupted in their circle and then out of it. I was sort of a fish out of water and they took me in their circle."


Harvard's Vampires 101

By Will Roseliep   |   Wednesday, December 14, 2011
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Dec. 14, 2011

Before Team Edward and Team Jacob, there was Team Bela.


BOSTON — Our fascination with vampires has been deep and enduring. From the poems of Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Lord Byron to “Twilight” and “True Blood,” the vampire has been a popular muse for generations. 
 
According to Harvard Extension lecturer Sue Weaver Schopf, over 1500 novels, 500 movies and hundreds more short stories and poems have featured vampires. 
 
"It's the biggest cultural phenomenon of our time," Schopf said on “The Callie Crossley Show” on Dec. 14.
 
Schopf, who usually studies the 19th century, saw the trend and decided to design a course to encompass the breadth of vampire film and literature. She debuted the course, called "The Vampire in Literature and Film," last fall.

"One of the most remarkable things that we saw was that about 75 percent of the class was female," she said. "I think there's something there that really resonates with women." 
 
Vampires also historically been stand-ins for difficult political and cultural issues, according to Schopf.
 
"They've become a kind of metaphor for immigration in a way, for any sort of disenfranchised group, who want to come into a normal group and assimilate, to be part of that group,” she said. Many authors draw on the idea of the vampire as outsider, “the person who is different, whom you fear, who you don't want to come into the community… that's become a very powerful way of talking about our current anxieties about things like immigration, or sexual difference, or racial difference, or racial hybridity. That's what really got me interested in these books."
 
Students have gotten interested, too. Hundreds have enrolled in Schopf's vampire course, which is taught simultaneously in the classroom and online at the Harvard Extension School website.

Sue Weaver Schopf discusses her course on the vampire in art.

Where You Live: 'Always Christmas' In Georgetown

By Terry and Rick Palardy   |   Wednesday, November 16, 2011
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Nov. 16, 2011

wooden toys and gifts

Terry and Rick Palardy sell homemade gifts out of the former barn next to their house in Georgetown. (Courtesy of Terry and Rick Palardy)


GEORGETOWN, Mass. — We are living our retirement dream. Rick started making wooden ornaments for gifts back in the mid-‘70s in Georgetown. Both sets of parents were living in town also. We bought a small cottage-turned-home, and he began digging, with pick and shovel as his dad had done before him, to create a work space underneath the house. He set up a few tools, and continued making ornaments. Many years later, we sold that first home and moved to where we are now, on North Street.
 
It is always Christmas here. Rick makes more than just ornaments now... wooden trucks, spinning gravity-powered carousels of all sorts, tops, puzzles, doll furniture to fit the popular 18" dolls, a rocking baby cradle, a rocking motorcycle and scroll-cut plaques for the US military branches.
 
I have always painted the ornaments and now make coverlets and quilts for the doll furniture. I play Christmas music out in the shop all year long, and during the school year spent many hours sitting in that happy setting to correct student essays.
 
I continued teaching until this past June, 2011, when I had to retire due to limitations caused by multiple sclerosis. I began self-publishing the writings I'd been doing for years... some on teaching, some poetry, and some on living in the small town of Georgetown after growing up in the City of Boston. I continue to quilt, continue to donate infant quilts to the neonatal unit of Lawrence General Hospital (something I'd started anonymously with a group of students who met after school to stitch with me) and now I am making one for the Linus Project and for the ALS patients project.
 
Our parents are gone now, and our children grown. But we are living our happily-ever-after years, right here near the center of town, where we can walk to everything basic when we, too, reach the age when we can no longer drive. I just published a book, through Amazon, and on sale at our shop and at Little's Block of Shoppes in Georgetown Square. The title of the book is "Georgetown at the Turn of the Millennium." In it I share stories of our town.

Terry and Rick Palardy are the proprietors of Wooden Toys and Gifts in Georgetown, Mass. You can read Terry's writing at Beyond Old Windows.

About the Authors
Danielle Dreilinger Danielle Dreilinger
Danielle Dreilinger is an author and news producer for WGBH.org.



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