Studs Terkel in Springfield

There are certain projects that set a fan's heart afire.  The Simpsons : An Uncensored, Unauthorized History  is one of them.  John Ortved's ambitious undertaking is  to piece together the history of one of the few programs that's been both a global hit and  a monument to how smart and satisfying television can be.


The book's officially out next week, and while we've only just cracked ours open (still warm, like a bag of Lard Lad donuts), we look forward to finding out everything we can about the genesis of Springfield.

July 23: Jessica Mitford died on this day in 1996.

Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
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.