Author Anya Von Bremzen's new memoir, Mastering The Art of Soviet Cooking, is a tragic-comic history of a family and a nation as seen through the kitchen window. Everything we ate in the Soviet Union was grown ... by the party state," she says. "So, with the food, inevitably, you ingested the ideology."
Many think of the feminist movement as a thing of the past, but Debora Spar says the battle isn't won yet. She tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross about the misinterpretation that got us where we are, and the need to improve support and pay for working women.
Author Jesmyn Ward lost her brother in a car wreck — and several friends in quick succession after that — all young black men, all dead before the age of 30. She tells their stories, and her own, in a wrenching new memoir, Men We Reaped.
The universe is shaped like a vuvuzela. Humans and elephants are the only animals with chins. These, and a trove of other factoids have been compiled in 1,227 Quite Interesting Facts to Blow Your Socks Off — a book by the creators of the hit British television show QI.
Art Spiegelman's new book, Co-Mix: A Retrospective of Comics, Graphics, and Scraps, collects comics from a six-decade career, from his early, self-published works to his famous New Yorker covers. Spiegelman tells NPR's Scott Simon he knew in third grade that he wanted to be a cartoonist.
Terry McMillan, the best-selling author of How Stella Got Her Groove Back, tells NPR's Scott Simon that she writes because she wishes she were a magician. She shows off her tricks in Who Asked You?, a novel with many narrators — including a woman named BJ and her husband, children and grandkids.
A chance encounter with a little girl in an ice cream store inspired R.J. Palacio to write a novel about a boy born with distorted facial features. She says it got her thinking about what it's like to "have to face a world every day that doesn't know how to face you back."
In his new book, Average Is Over, Tyler Cowen predicts that America will become a new, more creative meritocracy. Though he believes a rise in income inequality is inevitable, he hopes that "happiness inequality isn't going up in the same way."
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