If there's one thing that teenagers of all stripes spend most of their energy on, it's friendship. Clinging to people who have become closer than family, navigating the breakups that are somehow more devastating than getting dumped by a boyfriend, and spending time that your parents and teachers would rather you spend on homework just talking. It's no wonder that friendship is such a rich vein for young adult authors to mine, and that YA literature is better at exploring it than any other genre.
Claude Monet's garden in Giverny, France, draws half a million visitors a year, but for the next several months, you won't have to travel farther than the Bronx to get a taste of the artist's green thumb. The New York Botanical Garden has recreated Monet's horticultural work for an exhibit that includes photographs, videos, rare documents and two of the impressionist's paintings.
The writer, poet and critic Dorothy Parker was technically not a native New Yorker; she was born at her family's beach cottage in New Jersey. But she always considered New York City to be her beloved hometown. It's where she grew up, where she struggled during her early days as a writer, where she became famous, and where she died of a heart attack at the age of 73.
Heinlein, Asimov and Bradbury; they were the tripod (invasive, moving, with lasers) on which my science fiction education was built in the 1970s. This was somewhat self-selected, because once you — or I — grew out of Danny Dunn and Journey to the Mushroom Planet and Tom Swift, Jr., they were the inevitable destinations, the planets with the heaviest gravity wells in the sci-fi solar system.
Some sad news this morning: The world has lost a literary giant. Author Ray Bradbury died last night after a long illness. He was 91 years old. He wrote such classics as "The Martian Chronicles" and "Fahrenheit 451" - futuristic tales from a man who never used a computer, or even drove a car. NPR's Arnie Seipel has more on Bradbury and his curious life.