Lourdes Garcia-Navarro

Right after the U.S. election last year, Mike Tippett saw an opportunity.

He'd been talking to his friends in Silicon Valley and they were nervous about the newly elected president's attitude toward immigration.

"Many of the start-ups and technology companies in the States and across the globe are made up of people who are not necessarily from that country," Tippett says.

Almost half of all American start-ups were actually founded by immigrants.

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It's raining — of course — when we meet novelist Jen Sookfong Lee outside the Ten Ren Tea shop in Vancouver's Chinatown. About 49% of the population here is ethnic Asian — and over half of that is Chinese. Lee's novels explore Chinese-Canadian identity, and the repercussions of immigration in the city of Vancouver.

Note: This piece is better heard than read. To hear this review and the specific musical moments it references, listen at the audio link.

Mark Korven specializes in making scary sounds.

Two witchy sisters, a family curse on love and lots of potions and hexes: author Alice Hoffman is returning to the story of the Owens family.

She introduced the fictional family in the 1995 novel Practical Magic, which was turned into a film starring Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman. Now, in The Rules Of Magic, we go backward in time to learn the histories of the aunts in that saga.

Lincoln is just 40 miles into Nebraska and yet there's almost no one between that city and the state's far western border.

That's how journalist and author Ted Genoways sees it. He spent a year studying a family farm in sparsely-populated York County, an hour outside Lincoln, and writes about it in his new book, This Blessed Earth.

Like many Americans, Chris Michel woke up Monday morning to the horrific news of the massacre in Las Vegas, which left 58 people dead as well as the shooter Stephen Paddock and nearly 500 injured.

Fifty years ago, Jane Fonda and Robert Redford played newlyweds in the classic comedy Barefoot In The Park. In the new film Our Souls At Night, they reunite as a different pair of bedfellows.

Fonda's Addie Moore is a widow who works up the courage to ask her neighbor, the widower Louis Waters (played by Redford), to sleep with her. Her request isn't for sex, but for platonic company. Of course, their small town begins to gossip, and their relationship becomes romantic over time.

Jeffrey Eugenides is well known for novels like The Virgin Suicides and the Pulitzer Prize-winning Middlesex. But his latest work, a collection of short stories, marks a departure. "Short stories are difficult, maddening little puzzles," he says, "and I've been trying to learn how to write them since I first started to write."

Eugenides' new book, Fresh Complaint, is made up of 10 short stories that he wrote over a span of many years.

The 1782 French novel Les Liaisons Dangereuses — a steamy story of aristocrats behaving badly — has been told many times over the centuries in adaptations for the stage and screen. A new retelling, Unforgivable Love, has just as much betrayal and bed-hopping as the original, but in a new setting: glamourous, 1940s Harlem.

Author Sophfronia Scott says she was inspired to set the story in high society Harlem by the story of Madam C.J. Walker — a wealthy, African-American entrepreneur who made her fortune in beauty and hair products.

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In his debut novel, The World of Tomorrow, Brendan Mathews portrays America as a land of possibility and redemption. "I wanted to write a book that was full of immigrants and dreamers and strivers," he says. "People who come to America or to New York specifically in pursuit of something — they all want something better, something different.

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Have you seen these classics?

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "CASABLANCA")

HUMPHREY BOGART: (As Rick Blaine) Here's looking at you, kid.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "GONE WITH THE WIND")

CLARK GABLE: (As Rhett Butler) Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn.

The film The Glass Castle is based on Jeannette Walls' best-selling memoir of the same name. It's the story of her family's tortured upbringing moving around the country and living in poverty with parents who were obsessed with being free of convention. The film stars Brie Larson as Jeannette, Naomi Watts as her mother and Woody Harrelson as her dad, Rex, an alcoholic whose rages and redemptions loomed large over his family.

The Santa Monica Symphony Orchestra will have a guest conductor this week: Dennis Prager. He'll conduct Haydn's Symphony No. 51 at an orchestra fundraiser.

Sometimes, all you have to hear is a few notes, and you know that a voice has been lived in; you can hear a long life of ups and downs, a rich and weathered sound.

In 1958, the guitar riff known as "Rumble" shocked audiences. Its use of distortion and bass made it sound dangerous and transgressive to audiences at the time — and its influence is still heard today. Behind that song was a Native American musician named Link Wray, who went on to inspire legions of rock 'n' roll greats.

In the new film Atomic Blonde, British agent Lorraine Broughton (Charlize Theron) shows up in 1989 Berlin and gets a very violent reception. The film shows Lorraine punching, stabbing and shooting her way through the murky world of Cold War espionage — not exactly surprising considering Atomic Blonde was directed by former stuntman David Leitch.

When Carolyn Murnick met her childhood best friend Ashley, it was like love at first sight. They were in elementary school — Ashley had just moved into the area and they became inseparable, sharing all their secrets and dreams. As often happens, as they got older they drifted apart. Ashley would move to Los Angeles, start dating young celebrities and making money dancing at clubs. Carolyn lived in New York and worked in the literary world.

There are some themes in Alisyn Camerota's new novel that may sound familiar: A young upstart reporter is trying to make it at a national news network run by a ratings-obsessed media mogul. And then there's a female senator, firmly rooted in the establishment, going up against a political newcomer, fresh from Hollywood. Camerota started writing this book many years ago, but the events of 2016 make Amanda Wakes Up feel particularly prescient.

You probably have a mental image of what NASA's space missions look like — rockets blasting off into the sky, fiery clouds of exhaust after liftoff — but what do they sound like?

Who do we become when we lose a parent? That transformation and the loss of identity and the security that surrounds it is at the heart of Zinzi Clemmons' novel What We Lose. The main character Thandi struggles with the illness and death of her mother and her place in the world as the daughter of an African-American father and a mixed-race South African mother.

As a new parent, Jack Gilbert got a lot of different advice on how to properly look after his child: when to give him antibiotics or how often he should sterilize his pacifier, for example.

After the birth of his second child, Gilbert, a scientist who studies microbial ecosystems at the University of Chicago, decided to find out what's actually known about the risks involved when modern-day children come in contact with germs.

In the novel The Windfall, a newly minted tech millionaire buys a big fancy house, a flashy car and leaves his middle-class life behind to rub elbows with the superrich. What follows is a delightful comedy of errors where he and his family navigate the unexpected pressures and pleasures of newfound wealth in modern India.

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