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'Pope And Mussolini' Tells The 'Secret History' Of Fascism And The Church

It's commonly thought that the Catholic Church fought heroically against the fascists in Italy. But in The Pope and Mussolini, historian David Kertzer says the church actually lent organizational strength and moral legitimacy to Mussolini's regime.
WAMU 88.5

Rebroadcast: "The Good Lord Bird" By James McBride

A surprise winner at this year's National Book Award, James McBride's latest novel takes on the story of abolitionist John Brown's doomed raid on the arsenal at Harper's Ferry. We speak with McBride about the novel, as well as the band he formed to play music that inspired Brown.

NPR

In Fragments Of A Marriage, Familiar Themes Get Experimental

Jenny Offill's new book, Dept. of Speculation, uses anecdotes and bits of poetry to tell a nonlinear story of love, parenthood and infidelity. Offill tells NPR's Rachel Martin that her experiences as a mother inspired the book — but that her own marriage is far less dramatic than the one in her novel.
NPR

The Mystery Of Isabel Allende: Author Explores New Genre

"I'm not a fan of mysteries," says Isabel Allende. Strange words indeed from a woman whose mystery novel Ripper hits bookshelves this month. The renowned Chilean author talks about taking on a new genre and making it her own.
NPR

'Le Divorce' Author Finds Stories Closer To Home In 'Flyover'

Diane Johnson has spent much of her adult life living in France, writing novels like Le Divorce. But it was not until a visit home, to the Midwestern town of Moline, IL, that the Johnson discovered that her pioneer ancestors had lives worthy of writing about. Her new book, Flyover Lives reconstructs their stories.
NPR

An Admitted 'Ham' Shares Slices Of Show-Biz Life

Sixteen short stories of a triumphant, tragic, and most of all, hilarious life in show business make up Sam Harris' new memoir, Ham: Slices of a Life. NPR's Jacki Lyden speaks to Harris about his rise to fame after winning the first season of the 1980's hit TV show Star Search.
NPR

A Parenting Paradox: How Kids Manage To Be 'All Joy And No Fun'

We call babies "bundles of joy," but decades of social science research show that kids don't make parents happier. In her new book, Jennifer Senior takes a closer look at how we quantify joy.
WAMU 88.5

Rebroadcast: Gary Shteyngart: "Little Failure"

Gary Shteyngart's latest work is a memoir of life as the child of Russian immigrants struggling to make it in Queens, N.Y. It's a scathingly funny yet loving portrait of parents whose affection is expressed through regular put-downs (his mother's nickname for him inspired the book's title), but also a powerful love.

NPR

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.

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