The first grand slam tournament of the tennis year is into its second week in Melbourne, Australia, and world No. 1 Rafael Nadal is hurtling toward what would be his fourth major title in a row.
The Spaniard won the French Open, Wimbledon and the U.S. Open in 2010. If he wins the Australian Open this coming weekend, he will hold all four major tennis titles at the same time. No one has done that since Rod Laver won all four during the calendar year of 1969.
Elizabeth Blair has a piece on All Things Considered today that's kicking off an NPR series that will look at elements of our "fractured culture" — the fact that everything belongs to a niche, and we don't have, for instance, "water cooler" television shows anymore, because too many people watch too many different things.
A new novel coming out gets an early start to forecasting the 2012 presidential election, but it won't be possible to check in with the author and see how his or her predictions are playing out. The book causing all the buzz, O: A Presidential Novel, will be published anonymously by Simon & Schuster — raising questions about the motivations for leaving the author's name off the cover.
The State of the Union address is a solemn affair. The president lays out his goals and accomplishments before a gathering of the powerful from across the government: Supreme Court justices, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and, of course, Congress.
It's serious business. But this year it's earned a new nickname from pundits and lawmakers alike: Date night!
To show their commitment to bipartisanship, some senators and representatives have pledged to sit with a member of the other party while listening to the president's speech.
The title of Kenneth Slawenski's biography, the first major work on the author since his death one year ago, is J.D. Salinger: A Life, but there is no easy way to approach the subject. The most famously reclusive of all American writers, Salinger's "life" is hardly as available to us as the myth, the one we've all been familiar with since adolescence: He lived in the woods; he drank bottles of his own urine; he was really Thomas Pynchon. The biographer has his work cut out for him.