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A Novice Reporter Begins His Journey In The Congo

Ever dream of moving to a foreign country and becoming a journalist? Anjan Sundaram did just that. He left a life as a mathematician in America, bought a one-way ticket to the Congo, and started writing. NPR's Rachel Martin talks with Sundaram about his book, Stringer: A Reporter's Journey in the Congo, which chronicles what he saw there.
NPR

Jimmy Santiago Baca, From Prison To Poetry

Jimmy Santiago Baca began writing poetry while he was serving a five-year sentence in prison. His new anthology tells the story of his journey to becoming a celebrated Chicano poet.
NPR

Comic Artist Yumi Sakugawa On Friend-Love, Identity And Art

How should you tell your friends that you're in friend-love with them? Sakugawa, the artist and author of I Think I Am In Friend-Love With You shares what inspires her work.
NPR

Lovebirds + String + Watering Can + Dog = Rube Goldberg Magic

The term "Rube Goldberg machine" has become shorthand for a convoluted contraption made up of a series of chain reactions. But Goldberg was also a real person, whose ideas for whimsical devices have captivated imaginations for decades.
NPR

Tough Commute This Morning? Your 'Journey' Could Have Been Worse

Just as the passengers aboard the MV Akademik Shokalskiy thought they had escaped the Antarctic ice, word came that the Chinese ship that rescued them might be stuck as well. Poet Jynne Martin recommends a book to put the situation in perspective, one that tells the story of an expedition that was doomed from the start.
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."

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