This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin.
In the late 1980s and early '90s, success in the competitive world of late-night television sounded like this.
(SOUNDBITE OF CHEERING AND DOG POUND NOISE)
MARTIN: That, of course, was the signature shout out from "The Arsenio Hall Show." Arsenio interviewed everyone from Muhammad Ali to Madonna and, of course, there was that seminal pop culture moment when then-presidential candidate Bill Clinton played the sax on the Arsenio stage.
On the surface, Norman Rush's new novel is about a middle-aged man, Ned, who reunites with a group of college friends after one member of the group dies unexpectedly. But what transpires over the next few days ahead of the memorial service is less about Ned's relationship with these men and the heady, self-absorbed days of yore, and more about how Ned sees himself.
On-air challenge:Each of the following answers is a made-up, two-word phrase in which the two words are homophones, and both words start with the letter C.
Last week's challengefrom listener Henry Hook of Brooklyn: Think of a well-known celebrity who goes by a single name — the last two letters of which are alphabetically separated by only one letter (like A and C, or B and D). Replace this pair of letters with the one that separates them, and you'll have a common, everyday word. What is it?
Back in 1995, Cheryl Strayed hiked 1,100 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail along the West Coast of the United States. After the three-month journey, she came out on the other side stronger in every way: better able to cope with her divorce, her past drug abuse and her mother's death.
Strayed described the life-changing trek in her 2012 bestselling memoir Wild, and received countless emails from readers describing how connected they felt to her story. But there was one message that stood out in particular:
How far would you go for love? In Sara Farizan's debut novel, a studious 17-year-old girl named Sahar finds herself deeply, head-over-heels in love with her childhood best friend and neighbor — another teenage girl named Nasrin.
Their story takes place in Iran, where homosexuality is illegal, making their love that much more forbidden. When Nasrin is engaged to be married to a man, Sahar is crushed. In order to openly be with Nasrin, Sahar considers gender-reassignment surgery, which is more accepted in Iran than homosexuality.