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Kevin Young On Blues, Poetry And 'Laughing To Keep From Crying'

The poet describes his new book — about the death of his father and the birth of his son — as having a blues sensibility. "There are moments of humor even in the sorrow," he says.

Fresh Air Remembers Literary Biographer Justin Kaplan

Kaplan died Sunday at 88. His biography of Mark Twain won a National Book Award and a Pulitzer Prize. He also edited two editions of Bartlett's Familiar Quotations. Kaplan spoke to Fresh Air in 1992.

When War-Torn Rubble Met Royal Imagination, 'Paris Became Paris'

The French capital wasn't always beautiful. Author Joan DeJean details the city's transformation in the 17th century, as new bridges and boulevards turned desolate terrain into the City of Light.

What Really Happened The Night Kitty Genovese Was Murdered?

Thirty-eight people witnessed Genovese's murder and didn't do a thing about it, according to news reports from 1964. Fifty years later, a new book tells a different story.

During World War II, Even Filmmakers Reported For Duty

A new book looks at how the military and Hollywood directors teamed up during the war. The films they made helped show Americans what was at stake, and served as evidence during the Nuremberg Trials.

Roving Literary Death Match Aims To Breathe Life Into Literature

Imagine writers on stage, squared off in a fight to the death. That's the idea behind Literary Death Match –- kind of. It's a performance series that pits authors against each other in live readings.

If Anyone Can Make Golf Exciting, It'd Be Dan Jenkins

The legendary sportswriter's new memoir, His Ownself, takes readers from his idyllic childhood in Fort Worth to his years as a globetrotting golf fan and founder of Sports Illustrated.

Cheever Biographer Turns His Eye On His Own Troubled Family

Blake Bailey has written about John Cheever and Richard Yates — now, he's describing real-life suburban alcoholic despair in a memoir of his troubled brother, The Splendid Things We Planned.

With Teens And Social Media, Lack Of Context Is Everything

Social media star Danah Boyd's new book on teens, It's Complicated, argues that most adults misread and overreact to the online lives of young people. (This story originally aired on Feb. 25, 2014.)

Power And Violence In Ukraine And Mexico

While writer Anthony Marra sees literary links between Ukraine's past and present turmoil, conflict in Kiev and the arrest of the infamous "El Chapo" remind novelist Zachary Lazar of a Mexican author.