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Fact and Fiction

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Monday, May 30, 2011

We’re replaying some favorite interviews for today’s Memorial Day show: Tina Fey talks about her memoir Bossypants, her hit TV show “30 Rock,” and why she was reluctant at first to play Sarah Palin on “Saturday Night Live” during the 2008 campaign. Slate’s former culture editor Meghan O’Rourke discusses coming to terms with the death of her mother. Erin Brockovich discusses her first novel, Rock Bottom. And: New Yorker contributor James Stewart talks about the impact of what he calls “the perjury epidemic” that is sweeping through the country’s courts.

Tina Fey's Bossypants

Tina Fey talks about her career in comedy and her life before Liz Lemon, "Weekend Update," and Sarah Palin. Her book Bossypants is an account of her journey from nerd to "Saturday Night Live" and "30 Rock," and includes stories about her father, her halfhearted pursuit of physical beauty, motherhood, and her nearly fatal honeymoon.

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The Long Goodbye

Meghan O’Rourke discusses how unprepared she was for the intensity of sorrow she felt after her mother’s death, and looks at what it means to mourn today, in a culture that rarely acknowledges grief. The Long Goodbye is a record of her interior life as a mourner, an attempt to capture the monumental agony and microscopic intimacies of grief. It looks at how caring for her mother during her illness changed and strengthened their bond, and show how her family persevered even in the face of immeasurable loss.

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Erin Brockovich

Environmental and consumer advocate Erin Brockovich talks about her debut novel, Rock Bottom, the first in a series of thrillers. It tells the story of Angela Joy Palladino, who became pregnant at 17 and fled her hometown in West Virginia as a pariah. Years later, she takes a job with a lawyer crusading against mountaintop removal mining, and has to return to that town.

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Perjury and the Ethics of American Life

James Stewart discusses what he sees as an epidemic of perjury sweeping our country, undermining the foundation of our courts, and explains why he thinks it’s symptomatic of a broader breakdown of ethics in American life. Tangled Webs: How False Statements are Undermining America: From Martha Stewart to Bernie Madoff goes behind the scenes of the trials of Martha Stewart, Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Barry Bonds, and Bernard Madoff, and includes interviews with prosecutors, investigators, and participants speaking for the first time. The book looks at age-old tensions between greed and justice, self-interest and public interest, loyalty and duty.

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