When movie stars become unbankable, they're no longer a slam dunk at the box office. When investments become unbankable, they're relegated to the Wall Street's junk pile. For ordinary Americans deemed unbankable — those who don't have a traditional checking or savings account — it can be hard to simply pay bills.
And that absence of a bank account is about to become a big problem for those who also lack health coverage — and for the health insurance companies trying to sell them coverage. After all, how do you sell a product to a customer who has no easy way to pay you?
Iranians choose a new president next month, and one thing Iran's leaders are intent on avoiding is a repeat of the massive street protests that followed Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's controversial re-election in 2009.
The sponsors of those protests, known as the Green Movement, have been effectively silenced inside Iran, but not online. The heroine of a graphic novel about the violent suppression of dissent in 2009 is now launching a virtual campaign of her own.
Sometimes you need some distance to appreciate a classic.
That was certainly the case for John Williams' novel Stoner. When it was originally published in 1965, the only publication to mention the book at all was The New Yorker, in its "Briefly Noted" column. The novel received admiring reviews over the years, but sold just 2,000 copies and was almost immediately forgotten.
The iconic Industrial Trust Tower, knows as the "Superman building," stands in downtown Providence, R.I. The art deco-style skyscraper, the tallest in the state, lost its last tenant when the bank's lease expired in April.
Rhode Island is home to beautiful beaches, top-notch universities and a thriving arts scene. Beneath the surface, however, the state faces challenges similar to other parts of the country: shrinking revenues, lost jobs and general economic malaise.
The main character of Claire Messud's novel, The Woman Upstairs, is a good woman. Nora is a 37-year-old elementary school teacher — responsible, kind and reliable. She is also very, very angry.
Her dreams of being an artist have been suppressed; she is seething inside with rage and resentment. But she keeps her anger in until she meets another woman who has everything she does not: a husband, a child and a successful art career. And then everything begins to unravel. As Nora's relationship with the woman and her family deepens, her inner life begins to come out.
NPR's Bob Mondello and Susan Stamberg read excerpts of two of the best submissions for Round 11 of our short story contest. They read Ten Ring Fingers by Tamara Breuer of Washington, D.C., and Ghost Words by Matheus Macedo of Winthrop, Mass. You can read their full stories below and find other stories on our Three-Minute Fiction page or on Facebook.