WAMU 88.5 : The Diane Rehm Show

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Readers' Review: "Train Dreams" by Denis Johnson

For the May Readers Review, we chose a work that was shortlisted for this year's Pulitzer Prize for fiction. It's a novella by Denis Johnson titled "Train Dreams." It begins in 1917 in the Idaho panhandle. The central character works the railroads and virgin forests that fueled America's push for economic progress. He experiences tragedy and wonder, and his life echoes the hardship and beauty of a nation on the cusp of radical change. He's quietly heroic, simply by surviving. Diane and her guests discuss this portrait of a man and a place, by the author of "Tree of Smoke," winner of the 2007 National Book Award.

Read An Excerpt

Excerpted from TRAIN DREAMS by DENIS JOHNSON. Published in 2011 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, LLC. Copyright © 2002 by DENIS JOHNSON. All rights reserved.

WAMU 88.5

Anne Tyler: "A Spool Of Blue Thread" (Rebroadcast)

In her first live radio interview ever, Pulitzer Prize winning author Anne Tyler joins Diane to talk about her 20th novel, "A Spool of Blue Thread."


Fine Brine From Appalachia: The Fancy Mountain Salt That Chefs Prize

An artisanal salt producer is processing brine from ancient ocean deposits below West Virgina's mountains. The company, J.Q. Dickinson Salt-Works, ships to top chefs who value the salt's minerality.

Downed Russian Warplane Highlights Regional Divide On Syria

Hugh Pope, director of communications and outreach at the International Crisis Group in Brussels, explains the growing divide between Turkey and Russia on their priorities inside Syria.

From Takeout To Breakups: Apps Can Deliver Anything, For A Price

Convenience is at an all-time premium — and a lot of smartphone apps promise to make many of the things we do every day easier. In a time-crunch or sheer laziness, how far will the apps take us?

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