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.


From Dream Bride To Doll For Boys: The Evolution Of The Barbie Ad

Barbie commercials have come a long way since the 1950s, when one ad encouraged girls to want to get married. Today's commercials market the doll to boys and show girls dreaming about their careers.

How Long Can Florida's Citrus Industry Survive?

The USDA recently stunned growers when it projected the smallest orange harvest for Florida in more than 50 years. The culprit: A tiny insect that's killing off the state's trees — and industry.

Snapshots 2016: Trump's Message Resonates With A Master Cabinet Maker

From time to time during this election season we'll be introducing you to ordinary people that our reporters meet out on the campaign trail. Today: a snapshot from a Donald Trump rally in New Hampshire.

Someday A Helicopter Drone May Fly Over Mars And Help A Rover

NASA is building a 2-pound helicopter drone that would help guide the vehicle on the Red Planet's surface. That way, the rover wouldn't need to wander as much to find its way around.

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