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Roald Dahl Wanted His Magical 'Matilda' To Keep Books Alive

For many young readers, Dahl is a beloved author. But to Lucy Dahl, he's also Dad. "Matilda was one of the most difficult books for him to write," she says. "I think that there was a deep genuine fear within his heart that books were going to go away and he wanted to write about it."
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Jill Lepore: "Book Of Ages: The Life And Opinions Of Jane Franklin"

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.


A 'Marriage', A Divorce, A Dying Dog And Essays Done Right

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.

Christmas Lights Make Slippers In Global 'Junkyard' Economy

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.

Aid Worker: Hard To Put Experience Into Words

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.

Even When It Hurts 'ALOT,' Brosh Faces Life With Plenty Of 'Hyperbole'

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.

Agatha Christie's Lost 1954 Work Sold As eBook

Agatha Christie wrote Hercule Poirot and the Greenshore Folly, to help her church raise funds for stained glass windows. It's about a parlor game of murder.

In 'Fire And Forget,' Vets-Turned-Writers Tell Their War Stories

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.

Military Women Combat Challenges in Service

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.

Africana Book Awards: There's More To Africa Than Animals

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.