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.
Essay collections are underrated and often ignored in favor of short stories or novels. But in the hands of a writer as practiced as Ann Patchett, critic Maureen Corrigan says the essay becomes an expansive storytelling vessel. Patchett's new book is This Is The Story Of A Happy Marriage.
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.
As an aid worker, Jessica Alexander worked in Rwanda, Sudan, Sierra Leone, and Haiti, but don't call her a hero or a saint. Alexander tells Michel Martin about why she wanted to challenge perceptions of aid workers in her new book, Chasing Chaos: My Decade In and Out of Humanitarian Aid.
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.
For women in the military, serving can present its own set of challenges, especially when they have to balance duty to their county and duties at home. Guest host Celeste Headlee speaks with two women veterans, Graciela Tiscareño-Sato and Miyoko Hikiji, about their devotion to helping other military women and veterans navigate those challenges.
The Africana Book Awards are supposed to encourage the publication of accurate, balanced children's literature about Africa. Guest host Celeste Headleee speaks to award winners Karen Leggett Abouraya and Ifeoma Onyefulu.
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.
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