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WAMU 88.5

History Of The Folger Shakespeare Library

This year, Shakespeare fans the world over will be marking 450 years since the birth of the "Bard of Avon." We talk to the director of the Folger Shakespeare Library about the history of the institution, how they're marking this banner year and why the work of England's preeminent poet and playwright continues to resonate with modern American readers.

NPR

A Critic Tours 'Echo Spring,' Home Of Beloved Boozy Writers

A new book by critic Olivia Laing explores the link between alcohol and writing through the commentaries of famous writers who were themselves alcoholics. Fresh Air's Maureen Corrigan calls Laing's readings "exquisite," and says she wisely avoids "any one-size-fits-all conclusions about the bond between the pen and the bottle."
WAMU 88.5

Gary Shteyngart: "Little Failure"

Best known for his knife-sharp satire in novels like "A Super Sad True Love Story" and "Absurdistan," Gary Shteyngart's latest is a memoir of his life in the U.S. as the child of immigrants from the Soviet Union.

NPR

'Before I Burn' Uses Autobiography To Tell A Crime Story

Scandinavian crime novels have become so popular that some publishers even have a name for the genre — "Scandi-crime." Many of these books keep readers right on the edge of their seats. But reviewer Rosecrans Baldwin says that Before I Burn by Gaute Heivoll takes a more subtle approach.
NPR

Visible And Invisible: 'Servants' Looks At Life Downstairs

Author Lucy Lethbridge explores the history of British servants through their diaries, letters and memoirs. She says, "What I found particularly fascinating was how ... butlers were so butlery"; the old caricature of the clever manservant and the silly master is one "butlers have appeared to play to the hilt."
WAMU 88.5

The History Of Black Barber Shops

Modern black barber shops are civic, cultural and business institutions in many major cities. Their history, however, is complicated, shifting from places where only white men were served to the democratic social spaces of today in just over a century. We consider the political and social movements brought that change about and the role these shops play in communities now.

NPR

Gary Shteyngart's 'Little Failure' Is An Unambivalent Success

In 1979, Gary Shteyngart's family moved from Leningrad to Queens. Three decades later, he wrote a memoir about growing up in a Russian immigrant family in New York. Reviewer Meg Wolitzer says the book is full of rich, gratifying writing as well as pride, exuberance and sophisticated humor.
NPR

In Troubled Magazine World, 'La Hulotte' Is One Rare Bird

Former science teacher Pierre Deom started writing, illustrating and publishing the French nature journal to educate kids about the environment. Forty years later, the magazine is so popular it sometimes receives 1,300 letters a day.
NPR

Elizabeth Smart Shares About Her Faith And Kidnapping

Elizabeth Smart was just 14-years-old when she was kidnapped at knife point from her bedroom. She was held for nine months before finally being rescued. Host Michel Martin talks with Smart about her memoir, My Story and her Mormon faith - which made her both a target, and a survivor. This segment originally aired Oct. 11, 2013 on Tell Me More.
NPR

Nikki Giovanni Chases Beer And Family

Nikki Giovanni is one of the most celebrated living poets. She's well known for beautiful descriptions of family, friends, politics and even food. Host Michel Martin talks with Giovanni about some of the surprises in her latest collection, Chasing Utopia. This segment originally aired Oct. 29, 2013 on Tell Me More.

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