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Searching For Clues In A Dangerous Nairobi

A dead body and a hotel bombing trigger the plot of Black Star Nairobi, the latest crime novel from Kenyan-American author Mukoma Wa Ngugi. Detectives Ishmael Fofona and David Odhiambo search for the perps during the upheaval around the Kenyan elections in December 2007.

Lessons In Bigotry And Bravery: A Girl Grows Up In 'Glory Be'

It's the summer of 1964, and everything's changing for 11-year-old Glory. She was looking forward to celebrating her 12th birthday at the local pool, but the town has shut it down to avoid integration. Members of NPR's Backseat Book Club share their questions with author Augusta Scattergood.

Tech-Savvy Cities May Be 'Smart,' But Are They Wise?

Around the world, cities like Rio de Janeiro are using new technologies to solve their problems. And while there's great promise in many of these "smart" city programs, urban planner Anthony Townsend is wary of putting so much power in the hands of tech companies.

The Science Of Twinkies: How Do They Last So Darned Long?

When Twinkies hit the stores again on July 15, their shelf life will be nearly twice as long as it used to be: 45 days. (We were surprised it wasn't longer.) There's a whole lot of food science employed to help the creme-filled cake defy the laws of baked-good longevity.

Chuck Klosterman On Batman, Bad Guys And Wearing 'The Black Hat'

From Darth Vader's grown-up fan base to why people like mysterious vigilantes, Klosterman's I Wear The Black Hat is a meditation on villainy, both real and imagined.

Comedian Aisha Tyler Writes About Being That Weird Kid

Actor and comedian, Aisha Tyler's new book Self-Inflicted Wounds: Heartwarming Tales of Epic Humiliation is out. In it, Tyler writes about her dalliances with failure and humiliation on the long road to success. She says it wasn't easy being the geeky, tall, black girl who loves science fiction and video games but it was worth it.

Drugs, Chaos And Violence Darken Mexico's 'Midnight'

Journalist Alfredo Corchado covers Mexico for the Dallas Morning News. His new book, Midnight In Mexico, is part memoir and part recent history of the upheaval in the country. He talks to Fresh Air about the power of the cartels, the rampant corruption and the hopes for the future of Mexico.

'Loteria': A Fortune Told By Mexican Bingo

Loteria is the story of 11-year-old Luz Castillo, in state custody after her father is arrested and her mother disappears. Luz tells her tale piece by piece, using cards from loteria, a Latin American game of chance. Guest host Linda Wertheimer talks with author Mario Alberto Zambrano about his first novel.
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Orville Schell and John Delury: "Wealth And Power: China's Long March To The Twenty-First Century"

China scholar Orville Schell explains the history of Chinese nationalism and how it paved the way for the world's most populist country to become the global economic powerhouse it is today.


Celebrating The U.S., In Verse

Audie Cornish talks to poet Tess Taylor about patriotic poetry.