Talking to Girls About Duran Duran

In Talking to Girls About Duran Duran, Prince's "Purple Rain" gets no more ink than Haysi Fantayzee's "Shiny Shiny," and that is part of the book's charm. Rob Sheffield's coming-of-age memoir, his follow-up to Love Is a Mix Tape, ponders the good, the bad, and the ugly of '80s music, as experienced by one sheltered altar boy in the Boston suburbs who used pop culture to figure out his way in the world. Sheffield is full of fond nostalgia for the geek he was, admitting that even at 16, he was shocked to read an interview with Hall and Oates, at the peak of their "Maneater" fame, implying that the singers were not virgins.


While he writes tenderly about family and friends, particularly his three sisters, the musicians he's never met are credited with as prominent a role in raising him. He is indebted to A Flock of Seagulls, at his first rock concert, for giving him "the sensation of dissolving into a crowd" and blames the Smiths' Morrissey for providing him "with excellent reasons to keep hiding in my room where I belonged."  But, as the title suggests, Duran Duran were Sheffield's spiritual guides throughout the decade, mostly because females adored them. "I loved how fiercely girls loved DD, and how fearless DD were in the face of so much girl worship," he muses. "I was pretty sure I had a lot to learn from these guys." As the '80s came to a close, the Fab Five were teasing Sheffield with "All She Wants Is," a song that, sadly, didn't reveal the secrets promised in its title.

July 22: On this day in 1941, on his twelfth wedding anniversary, Eugene O'Neill presented the just-finished manuscript of Long Day's Journey into Night to his wife, Carlotta.

Crime fiction legends Dennis Lehane and Michael Connelly discuss the new book that unites their beloved sleuths Patrick Kenzie and Harry Bosch.

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The Hundred-Year House

When a poetry scholar goes digging through the decrepit estate of his wife's family to uncover a bygone arts colony's strange mysteries, he awakens a tenacious monster: his mother-in-law. A wickedly funny take on aging aristocracies from author Rebecca Makkai (The Borrower).

Watching Them Be

What makes a film actor into a larger-than-life movie star? James Harvey's passionate, freewheeling essays explain why there are some faces (from Greta Garbo's to Samuel L. Jackson's) from which we cannot look away.


What if you called up the spouse on the verge of leaving you -- and instead found yourself magically talking to his younger self, the one you first fell for?  Rainbow Rowell, author of the YA smash Eleanor & Park, delivers a sly, enchanting take on 21st-century love.