When humor writer Tom Ruprecht decided in high school to read Ian Frazier's Dating Your Mom, he faced a conundrum that most teens would find terrifying: How do you ask your mom to buy you a book with a title like that? And — again, like most teenagers — his solution wasn't exactly graceful. But at least the book of essays was worth it.
From the Salem witch trials to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, we consider the history and current state of conspiracies, and ask what the anxieties they reflect tell us about ourselves.
Typhoon Haiyan swept through the Philippines late last week, leaving behind devastation and plenty of questions yet to be answered. Authors Kevin Roose and Allan Gurganus suggest books that might provide readers with a glimpse past the week's ubiquitous headlines, to the human cost often left hidden.
Google has prevailed in a long-running lawsuit over the millions of books the company has digitally scanned without permission from authors and publishers. A U.S. Circuit Court judge has ruled that it's "fair use" when Google scans portions of books for public to use.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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