Fresh Air with Terry Gross is weekday magazine of contemporary arts and issues with intimate conversations and unusual insights.
Fresh Air Weekend:Benedict Cumberbatch gained critical acclaim — and a big following — for his role in Sherlock. Now he's up for an Oscar for his portrayal of eccentric mathematician Alan Turing in The Imitation Game. 'American Sniper' is about a Navy SEAL whose service in Iraq made him a mythic figure has become a cultural lightning rod. But the squabbles are too simple for a low-key movie striking in its lack of stridency. Critic at large John Powers comments. New research shows that teenagers' brains aren't fully insulated, so the signals travel slowly when they need to make decisions. Neuroscientist Frances Jensen, who wrote The Teenage Brain, explains.
Jennifer Senior writes about how about children change the lives of their parents—for better, and sometimes for worse. She’s the author of All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenthood. Senior considers the impact of children on marriage, sex, work, friendships, and one’s sense of self. Her book draws on a wide variety of studies, surveys, social histories and interviews with parents. Then David Edelstein reviews Timbuktu, one of the five nominees in this year's Academy Award race for Best Foreign Language Film. It centers on the radical Islamist occupation of Mali.
Religion scholar Jack Miles edited the first ever Norton Anthology of World Religions. The anthology includes ancient and contemporary interpretations of Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and Daoism. Miles discusses primary texts, extremism and death. Also, book critic Maureen Corrigan reviews Outline by Rachel Cusk, a novel about divorce that pushes back against convention — not so much in its sentiment but in its form.
Why do teenagers behave like — teenagers? We get an explanation from neuroscientist Dr. Frances Jensen, who says our brains are still maturing through our 20s and that the front part of the brain is the last to develop. "And what's in the front? Your frontal cortex and prefrontal cortex; these are the areas where we have insight, empathy, impulse control," she says. "Risk-taking behavior is suppressed by activity in your frontal lobes." Her new book is called The Teenage Brain. Also critic at large John Powers comments on the controversy surrounding American Sniper. He says the film isn't as simple as some people seem to think.
We talk to Kevin Howlett, the executive producer of The Beatles: On Air Live at the BBC Volume 2. The album is a collection of recordings of the Beatles performing originals, covers, and chatting with BBC hosts in the early '60s.
Veteran crime reporter Jill Leovy talks about the epidemic of unsolved murder cases in African American communities. Leovy, with a unit of LAPD homicide detectives, got to know the families of victims and saw the impact on a community besieged by crime, violence and witness intimidation. Her new book is called Ghettoside.Also book critic Maureen Corrigan reviews Almost Famous Women, a collection of short stories about historical women with unruly lives.