I found The Twin, by Gerbrand Bakker, sitting on a coffee table at a writers' colony in 2009. It carried praise from J.M. Coetzee for its "restrained tenderness and laconic humor," which seemed ample justification for using it to avoid my own writing.
I finished it, weeping, a day later, and have been puzzling over its powerful hold on me ever since. I've recommended it again and again, and while I can't say it's entirely undiscovered — it won the 2010 IMPAC Dublin Award — no one I know ever seems to have heard of it.
<p><strong>Four's The Score:</strong> One of a handful of performers to score an EGOT — an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony — Rita Moreno is revisiting the highlights and lowlights of her life and career in a new solo show.</p>
Credit Michael LaMonica / Berkeley Repertory Theatre
<p>Moreno won her Oscar for the part of Anita, the firebrand girlfriend of the heroine's brother, in the film <em>West Side Story</em>, which recently had its 50th anniversary. </p>
<p>John Leguizamo's fifth solo show, <em>Ghetto Klown</em>, tracks the arc of his show-business career.</p>
Rita Moreno — the only Latino performer to win an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony — is reprising some of her most memorable characters in a solo show at the Berkeley Repertory Theater. Up the coast in Los Angeles, John Leguizamo, who co-starred opposite Al Pacino in Carlito's Way and voiced Sid the sloth in the animated Ice Age films, is performing another of his acclaimed solo shows. And while their Hollywood success came 40 years apart, the two say they encountered many of the same hurdles.
If you're a senior on Medicare — or an adult child responsible for a senior on Medicare — here's something you should know: The annual "open enrollment" period for joining or changing prescription drug or private health plans is already under way.
"It's much earlier this year. It started on Oct. 15, and it's going to stop on Dec. 7," says Nancy Metcalf, a senior editor and health expert at Consumer Reports. "So you have your window right now."
<p>Farmer Scott Allgood, front, of Allgood, Ala., listens during a meeting of farmers and state officials to discuss the impact of the Alabama Immigration law on their livelihoods in Oneonta, Ala.</p>
Credit Dave Martin / AP
<p>Farmer Guiseppe Peturis says he's tried to hire workers through the state unemployment office before, but the workers didn't stay for more than a day.</p>
Credit Debbie Elliot / NPR
<p>Migrant worker Felipe Chacoa of Mexico talks about his desire to continue to harvest produce during a meeting of farmers and state officials to discuss the impact of the Alabama Immigration law on their livelihoods in Oneonta, Ala.</p>
Alabama farmers are facing a labor crisis because of the state's new immigration law as both legal and undocumented migrant workers have fled the state since the strict new rules went into effect last month.
So far, piecemeal efforts to match the unemployed or work release inmates to farm jobs are not panning out, and farmers are asking state lawmakers to do something before the spring planting season.
<p>President Obama, seen here in North Chesterfield, Va., last week, is on a campaign swing through the West this week, making stops in California, Nevada and Colorado — states with significant Hispanic populations. </p>
<p>Former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, businessman Herman Cain, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann participate in a Republican presidential debate last week in Las Vegas.</p>
Home prices across the U.S. have dropped 30 percent from their peaks, a downturn that has sapped trillions of dollars in wealth from Americans. Not surprisingly, it's a hot topic for presidential candidates this campaign season. But so far, new ideas about how to fix the crisis have been scarce.
On Monday, President Obama is visiting Nevada, where he's expected to announce his administration's latest proposals on housing. The state is at the epicenter of the downturn, with the latest reports showing home prices and sales numbers continuing to slip.
<p>Lance Cpl. Dakota Hicks, from Laharpe, Ill., connects a radio battery to a portable solar panel system in Sangin District, Afghanistan.</p>
Credit William Price Small / AP
<p>A tanker bringing fuel to U.S. and NATO forces burns after being attacked by militants in Afghanistan's Logar province in August. Military officials say fuel convoys are a significant vulnerability for U.S. forces.</p>
With a bill of about $15 billion a year the U.S. military is the largest energy user in the country by far, so the Defense Department has been finding alternative ways to meet its energy needs with help from Silicon Valley.
But this partnership between the military and clean tech companies is taking some heat in the midst of discussions about Solyndra, the failed solar panel manufacturer, and the riskiness of green startups.