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Tift Merritt: A Singer With An Outsider's Heart

Singer-songwriter Tift Merritt has been compared to Joni Mitchell and Emmylou Harris. She's also received a Grammy nomination for Best Country Album. The kind of music she makes doesn't attract much commercial attention — and that seems to suit her just fine.

Merritt's latest album is called Traveling Alone. The title, she tells NPR's David Greene, speaks to the value of being self-sustaining.

"I think, at the end of the day, I have an outsider's heart," Merritt says. "You always hope that you're going to find that place where you belong — you know, you follow the map or the playbook that everyone in the world seems to have, or understand, and you will arrive at the place where things make sense. And I think ... that's a little naive, and that you have to build that place yourself. And that's a lonely thing to realize, but also an exciting one."

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An Exuberantly Dark First Novel Explores The Chaos Of Central Africa

Fiston Mwanza Mujila's novel, Tram 83, is a freewheeling tale about life in an imaginary place inspired by the author's home country, the Democratic Republic of Congo. Critic John Powers has a review.
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Marion Nestle: "Soda Politics: Taking On Big Soda (And Winning)"

Changing public attitudes have led to a decline in U.S. soda sales. But health expert Marion Nestle believes many people still consume unhealthy amounts of sugary drinks. She argues beverage companies are spending millions on research that misleads consumers.


Sen. Harry Reid Sues Makers Of Exercise Band Over His Injuries

The Senate minority leader and his wife are seeking more than $50,000 in damages over what they say is a defective resistance band that caused him to lose sight in his right eye, among other injuries.

How Skyscraper Construction Ties Into Tech Bubbles

There's a lot of talk in Silicon Valley about a tech bubble.Our Planet Money podcast team examines one possible indicator of a bubble: architecture. Very, very tall architecture.

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