Athanasius Kircher, a 17th-century Jesuit priest, was a renaissance man in name and deed. He strove to learn about almost everything. Unfortunately, many of his inventions and theories were pure nonsense. John Glassie writes about Kircher in his new book, A Man of Misconceptions.
Insert $2 into the Biblio-Mat, and customers get a mystery, a biography, historical fiction — or a dud. The owner of a bookstore in Toronto came up with the machine as a way to clear his shelves of more ill-favored reads.
Host Rachel Martin speaks with British writer Tessa Hadley about her new collection of short stories, Married Love and Other Stories. Hadley teaches creative writing at the University of Bath in the United Kingdom, and her stories regularly appear in The New Yorker magazine.
The 79-year-old country singer has done a lot of living, and he's written about it more than once. His latest memoir takes a different tack, collecting his thoughts from long stretches on his tour bus.
Americans own an estimated 300 million guns, and the debate surrounding that ownership has long been a charged one. In Living With Guns, Craig Whitney explores areas where opposing sides might find common ground, and even compromise.
Valerie Eliot, author T.S. Eliot's second wife, has died at the age of 86. Host Scott Simon remembers Valerie Eliot, who became the guardian of the Eliot legacy. She published an acclaimed edition of The Waste Land, complete with notes from Ezra Pound, and became a generous patron of poetry.
At the age of 97, bestselling author Herman Wouk has written a novel that's told by the most contemporary storytelling technology, including emails and transcripts of Skype conversations. Host Scott Simon talks with Wouk about The Lawgiver.
City planner Jeff Speck says walking will remain a choice in most American cities for years to come, but that it's important to incentivize pedestrians. In his book, Walkable City, Speck says urban walks have to be useful, safe, comfortable and interesting.
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Katherine Boo spent more than three years in Mumbai's Annawadi slum. In her book Behind the Beautiful Forevers,she profiles people living in extreme poverty — right in the shadow of luxury hotels. On Wednesday, the book won the National Book Award for nonfiction.
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