When Joel Goldman was diagnosed with a medical condition that makes him shake and stutter, he quit his law practice and started writing novels inspired by true crime in the Kansas City area. Eventually, he gave his disorder to FBI Agent Jack Davis, one of his main characters.
After the Civil War, pursuing butterflies was more than a pastime for many Americans — it was a passion. In his book, Butterfly People, William Leach chronicles the infatuation, from its European roots and natural-history tradition to its eventual fall.
New York Times Magazine reporter Mark Leibovich's new book This Town is a lively look at media, politics and money in Washington. Leibovich tells NPR that most people outside don't understand what a carnival of money and celebrity the city has become.
Religious scholar Reza Aslan found that he was much more interested in studying Jesus as a human being than as the figure he learned about in church. His new book, Zealot, chronicles Jesus' life and times and explains how the historical context shaped Jesus and the perception of him.
The Voynich Manuscript, a mysterious late-medieval document filled with illustrations and strange text, has befuddled countless would-be translators. Is it a book of natural science? Alchemy? Herbology? Astronomy? No one knows, because no one's been able to decipher it.
A dead body and a hotel bombing trigger the plot of Black Star Nairobi, the latest crime novel from Kenyan-American author Mukoma Wa Ngugi. Detectives Ishmael Fofona and David Odhiambo search for the perps during the upheaval around the Kenyan elections in December 2007.
It's the summer of 1964, and everything's changing for 11-year-old Glory. She was looking forward to celebrating her 12th birthday at the local pool, but the town has shut it down to avoid integration. Members of NPR's Backseat Book Club share their questions with author Augusta Scattergood.
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