Historian Jill Lepore on the life of Jane Franklin, Ben Franklin's beloved sister. She was a passionate reader, a gifted writer and a shrewd observer of politics. But she was also a mother of 12 who lived in poverty and, like most women of her era, in near total obscurity.
The Chinese town of Shijiao is known for recycling discarded Christmas tree lights for their copper and wire insulation, which are then used to support growing economies and make slipper soles, respectively. In Junkyard Planet, Adam Minter explores the business of recycling what developed nations throw away.
The London-based duo have achieved international fame with their wildly popular restaurants and best-selling cookbooks rooted in Middle Eastern traditions. Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi dropped by NPR to talk food philosophy and kitchen must-haves.
On her Hyperbole and a Half blog, Allie Brosh writes stories about her life illustrated with a "very precise crudeness." Most are lighthearted — about her dog or her favorite grammatical pet peeve ("a lot" vs. "alot) — but her most popular posts have also been the most upsetting, about her crippling depression.
Roy Scranton and Jacob Siegel edited and contributed to the collection of short stories by veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. They tell Fresh Air about how soldiers cope with the fear of death, and why many soldiers feel conflicted about sharing their experience with a larger audience.
Joe Sacco has made a career of tackling difficult subjects through imagery. He's a journalist and cartoonist who has reported on the Middle East and Bosnia — in both written and comic form. In his latest book, The Great War, Sacco turns to history, producing a 24-foot-long depiction of the horrifying first day of the Battle of the Somme.
Award-winning author Cynthia Rylant's pictures books revolve around children relying on their families for love and support. To write a good children's book, she says, "you have to be a good poet." Her latest book, God Got A Dog, is a collection of poems that only took her a day to write.
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