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Dara Horn: "A Guide For The Perplexed"

A brilliant software developer, Josie, creates a program to record and archive everything we do and say. A 19th-century scholar discovers a treasure trove of ancient documents in a Cairo "genizah," or synagogue's repository for holy items that cannot be discarded. The narratives in Dara Horn's new novel intersect when Josie is kidnapped in Egypt, raising questions about what it means to remember the past.

NPR

Years After Historic Ruling, Execution Still A 'Random' Justice

Evan Mandery's A Wild Justice is an account of the legal battles that led to the U.S. Supreme Court striking down capital punishment, then reversing course four years later. He says that today, prisoners who are sentenced to death have a 10 percent chance of actually being executed.
NPR

Bio Credits Manson's Terrible Rise To Right Place And Time

California parolee Charles Manson arrived in San Francisco in 1967, when the city was full of young waifs looking for a guru. In Manson, Jeff Guinn argues that if the cult leader had instead been paroled in a place like Nebraska, he likely would not have been so successful.
NPR

'Don't Know'? Just Admit It

Author Leah Hager Cohen says it's time to stop faking your way through conversations. "Once you finally own up to what you don't know, then you can begin to have honest interactions with the people around you," she explains.
NPR

How Slavery Shaped America's Oldest And Most Elite Colleges

In Ebony & Ivy, an MIT historian details how the nation's colleges helped justify and benefited from the slave trade.
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In Memoir, Linda Ronstadt Describes Her 'Simple Dreams'

Last month, Ronstadt revealed that she has Parkinson's disease and can no longer sing. Her new memoir, Simple Dreams, reflects on a long career. In this conversation with Fresh Air's Terry Gross, she offers frank insights on sex, drugs, and why "competition was for horse races."
NPR

Kitchen Time Machine: A Culinary Romp Through Soviet History

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."
NPR

Barnard President: Today's 'Wonder Women' Must Reframe Feminism

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.
NPR

New Memoir Recounts Black Lives 'Reaped' Too Young

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.
NPR

Read The Rainbow: 'Roy G. Biv' Puts New Spin On Color Wheel

Pink isn't just for girls — it's also for battleships. In a new book, design writer and synesthete Jude Stewart looks at color from linguistic, scientific and historical perspectives.

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