On today’s show: Laura Newland describes the intense competition to get admitted to the country’s top colleges and the pressures she faced on campus. Adrian Nicole LeBlanc talks about Random Family for this month’s Leonard Lopate Show Book Club. E. L. Doctorow discusses his latest novel, Andrew’s Brain. Find out how the microbeads that are found in many of our soaps, shampoos, and other household products stay in our water long after they’ve been washed down the drain. And we’ll talk to a man who swam in the Gowanus Canal last weekend.