In 1840, a group of about 80 African-Americans set sail for the west coast of Africa to establish a new nation based on ideals gleaned from the American experiment. We explore Liberia's unique history.
Think of everything your brain processes in a single day: your breakfast, a stain on a book cover, a meeting at work. If you remembered all those things, your brain would reach capacity. Author and neuroscientist Penelope Lewis says sleep helps sort through the memories that are worth keeping.
Andrea Stuart found that one of her ancestors owned some of her other relatives. She tells their unheard story in the book Sugar in the Blood. Guest host Celeste Headlee talks with Stuart about her family history, the moral complexity of slavery and finding roots in the past.
Private investigator Kinsey Millhone is one of the most well-known characters in modern crime fiction, but there's another star in Sue Grafton's thrillers: the fictional city of Santa Teresa, based on Santa Barbara, Calif.
Rose George spent several weeks aboard a container ship to research Ninety Percent of Everything, her book about the shipping industry. She writes, "There are more than one hundred thousand ships at sea carrying all the solids, liquids and gases that we need to live."
Writer Kiese Laymon has had the kind of year every first-time author dreams. He's had two books published to critical acclaim. But to get where he is now, he experienced a rough patch. In an essay,"The Worst of White Folks," he recalls why he and his mother were at loggerheads.
When she was 24, Piper Kerman dated a woman who was part of a drug smuggling ring. Years later, after being named as part of that ring, Kerman served time in a federal prison and at one point shared a cell with her former girlfriend. Her memoir of that experience inspired the Netflix series.
Daniel Tammet is a savant who experiences his world through equations and calculations. His new book, a collection of essays called Thinking In Numbers, explores language, history and even love through numbers.
The Storied South is a new book by folklorist William Ferris, collecting forty years worth of oral histories from Southern writers and artists. Ferris tells NPR's Celeste Headlee that the book was a way of getting everyone from Eudora Welty to Bobby Rush to a "common table of conversation."
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