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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Veteran reporter Pamela Constable explains why Pakistan continues to struggle with its identity, 60 years after it was founded. Then, French actress Marie Riviere discusses collaborating with with director Eric Rohmer, including on one of his most loved films, "Le Rayon Vert." Esmeralda Santiago talks about her new novel, Conquistadora. Plus, our word maven Patricia T. O’Conner takes your calls on the complexities of the English language.

Pakistan: Playing with Fire

Pamela Constable, foreign correspondent and former deputy editor at The Washington Post, discusses Pakistan, a volatile nation at the heart of major cultural, political, and religious conflicts in the world today, and one that continues to struggle over its identity, alliances, and direction. Playing with Fire: Pakistan at War with Itself is based on Constable’s many years of reporting in the region. It explores Pakistan's contradictions, confusion, struggles with inequality and corruption, and how competing versions of Islam divide the country. She also discusses U.S.-Pakistan relations, the ISI, and why the country is so strategically and politically important.

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Marie Riviere on Working with Eric Rohmer

Actress Marie Riviere discusses working with Eric Rohmer in his films “Le Rayon Vert” (celebrating its 25th anniversary) and its long-overlooked companion piece, “Four Adventures of Reinette and Mirabelle.” She’ll also talk about her brand new video portrait of Eric Rohmer, “In the Company of Eric Rohmer,” which she made shortly before his death. “Four Adventures of Reinette and Mirabelle” is showing at BAM Cinematek July 20-26.

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Esmeralda Santiago's Conquistadora

Esmeralda Santiago talks about her epic novel, Conquistadora, about a Spanish woman, Ana Larragoity Cubillas, who moves to Puerto Rico with her new husband in 1844 to run a remote sugar plantation on the island. There she faces unrelenting heat, disease and isolation, and the dangers of the untamed countryside.

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Word Maven Patricia T. O'Conner on the News

Our word maven Patricia T. O'Conner talks about how certain words, such as "news," are pronounced on the radio. She’ll also tackle your questions about the English language and grammar. An updated and expanded third edition of her book, Woe is I: The Grammarphobe's Guide to Better English in Plain English, is now out in paperback, along with Origins of the Specious, written with Stewart Kellerman.

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Who or Whom?

Today Patricia T. O'Conner was on the Lopate Show to talk about language and grammar and to answer listener questions on the topic, and Natalie from Westchester called to shared a trick she uses to figure out when to use "who" and when to use "whom" in a sentence.

She explained: If you would answer the question with "he" or "she," you should ask the question with "who." And if you would answer with "him" or "her," you should ask the question with "whom."

Which means "Whom does this shirt belong to?" is correct because the answer would be "It belongs to him (or her)." You would ask "Who is going uptown on the A train?" because the answer is "She (or he) is going uptown on the A train."

Knowing the difference between who and whom confuses many people, and this is the simplest trick for figuring it out that I've ever come across. Thanks, Natalie from Westchester!

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Guest Picks: Marie Riviere

Read more to find out some of Marie Riviere's favorite picks!

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