Award-winning author Zadie Smith returns to the northwest area of London where she grew up in a housing project. Her new novel explores the different pathways of four people in their 30s who were all born in the same part of the city.
Ben Mattlin was born with a condition called spinal muscular atrophy. Many infants with the disease don't live past age 2, but Mattlin went on to attend Harvard, get married and have kids. "I had this dumb idea from childhood that I could do anything anybody else could do," he says.
In his new book Ascent of the A-Word, linguist Geoffrey Nunberg looks at how the term took root among griping World War II GIs — and how its meaning evolved in the '60s and '70s. He tells Fresh Air that crude words are "wonderfully revealing."
In the author's latest novel, The Devil in Silver, a man is mistakenly committed to a mental hospital where a buffalo-headed monster stalks patients at night. LaValle tells Fresh Air why he picked monsters, about his family history of mental illness and how he had his own brush with psychological problems.
Michael Kranish's and Scott Helman's biography on Mitt Romney — The Real Romney — is now out in paperback with a new afterword. The authors discuss Romney's shift to the right, his faith and his recent comment "no one's ever asked to see my birth certificate."
Join Diane and her guests for our October Readers’ Review of Geraldine Brooks' novel, "Year of Wonders." It's based on the true story of measures taken by the residents of a small 17th-century English town to protect themselves and others from the plague.
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