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Patchett: In Bad Relationships, 'There Comes A Day When You Gotta Go'

Ann Patchett got married and divorced young. When she met the man who would eventually become her second husband she said: "I'll be true; I'll be faithful; I'll see you every day ... but I don't want to get married and I don't want to live together.'" Her new book is This Is The Story of a Happy Marriage.
NPR

Why Kenya's Best-Known Writer Decided To Come Out

Binyavanga Wainaina made the announcement in an online essay on his 43rd birthday. He says the recent anti-gay legislation in Uganda and Nigeria influenced his decision to speak out now.
NPR

Skeptic Takes A Tour Of Self-Help's 'Promise Land'

Despite being the daughter of a child psychologist and self-help author, Jessica Lamb-Shapiro has spent most of her life recoiling from the self-help industry. But eventually, her curiosity got the best of her. She tells Fresh Air about self-help's high- and low-brow iterations and the ways the industry helped her address her fears.
NPR

For World Superpowers, The Negotiating Table Often Had A Net

Melissa Block talks with Nicholas Griffin about his book, Ping-Pong Diplomacy, which explores the importance of the tabletop game in Chinese political history and foreign policy.
NPR

Life's Minutiae Gain New Magnitude In Dunn's 'Lines' Of Poetry

Stephen Dunn's 17th collection of poetry, Lines of Defense, includes several works meditating on the death of his brother. Dunn, a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, often features everyday details in his work — because, as he tells NPR's Rachel Martin, "we live with the little things much more than the large things."
NPR

'Death Class' Taught Students A Lot About Life

After covering the shootings at Virginia Tech, journalist Erika Hayasaki became interested in how people respond to death. Her new book is about a nurse and professor named Norma Bowe who taught an entire class to help students confront death head-on.
NPR

'I'll Take You There': The Staple Singers' Rise From Church To Fame

The group's sound broke down musical walls and inspired civil rights leaders. NPR's Arun Rath speaks with biographer Greg Kot about his new book, I'll Take You There: Mavis Staples, the Staple Singers, and the March Up Freedom's Highway.
NPR

Living, And 'Forgiving,' In A Brilliant Writer's Orbit

Jay Cantor is a hard author to nail down. He's written about topics as wide-ranging as Che Guevara and Krazy Kat. His latest work expands his range even more, fictionalizing the lives of four of Franz Kafka's friends and lovers. It's called Forgiving the Angel, and Cantor tells NPR's Lynn Neary it's a book born out of gratitude.
NPR

One Last Tale Of The City In 'Anna Madrigal'

Armistead Maupin's famous series Tales of the City winds down with one last story about Anna Madrigal, the transgender landlady of 28 Barbary Lane. Maupin tells NPR the series originally grew out of his attempts to write a nonfiction piece about the heterosexual pickup scene at his local Safeway.
NPR

A Strange Composition: Classical Music Meets Bioterror In 'Orfeo'

Richard Powers' new novel tells the story of an avant-garde classical composer who finds himself dabbling in DNA. He "gets obsessed with finding music inside of living things," Powers explains, and, as a fugitive, ends up leading officials on a low-speed chase.

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