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From Kolbasa To Borscht, 'Soviet Cooking' Tells A Personal History

Anya von Bremzen's new memoir is a delicious narrative of memory and cuisine in 20th century Soviet Union. She writes about her family's own history and contemplates the nation's "complicated, even tortured, relationship with food."
NPR

On Eliot's 125th, His 'Waste Land' Hasn't Lost Its Glamour

This year marks the 125th birthday of Nobel Prize-winning poet T.S. Eliot. To celebrate, a re-issue of the first edition of his seminal poem has just been published, with an introduction by New Yorker poetry editor Paul Muldoon. NPR's Scott Simon speaks with Muldoon about the poem's lasting influence.
NPR

News From Lake Wobegon: Garrison Keillor Has A New Book Of Poetry

The host of A Prairie Home Companion and The Writer's Almanac has published his first poetry collection called O, What a Luxury: Verses Lyrical, Vulgar, Pathetic and Profound. "I love rhymes," Keillor says. "I love to write a poem about New York and rhyme 'oysters' with 'The Cloisters.'"
NPR

'If It Swings': An Asian-American Jazzman's Pioneering Career

Saxophonist Gabe Baltazar is one of the last living links to an era when Asian-Americans began to make a name for themselves in jazz. Now, at the age of 83, he's sharing his story in an autobiography.
NPR

I, Spy: Valerie Plame Makes Her Fiction Debut In CIA Thriller

In Blowback, Plame channels her expertise in nuclear counterproliferation into a "realistic portrait" of a female covert agent. Plame confesses that there's a lot of downtime in the life of a spy, but still, the CIA is "the world's biggest dating agency."
NPR

A 'Return' To A Mexico More Dangerous Than Before

Alan Cheuse reviews a crime novel set in Mexico, The Return by Michael Gruber.
NPR

The Competing Interests Behind Smokey Bear And The Crying Indian

The company behind iconic public service campaigns like Smokey Bear and McGruff the Crime Dog has been around since the 1940s. But how much is really known about the Ad Council? Guest host Celeste Headlee speaks to author Wendy Melillo about her book How McGruff and the Crying Indian Changed America.
NPR

Diane Ravitch Rebukes Education Activists' 'Reign Of Error'

Former Assistant Secretary of Education Diane Ravitch spent years advocating for an overhaul of the American education system. Now she criticizes changes that she used to support, like charter schools and school choice. She explains her reasoning in Reign of Error, her new book on the pitfalls of privatizing education.
WAMU 88.5

Bill Bryson: "One Summer: America, 1927"

Bestselling author Bill Bryson joins us to talk about his newest book, "One Summer: America, 1927." He details the events that transfixed the nation in that year including Charles Lindbergh's transatlantic flight, Babe Ruth in the batter's box and epic floods in the Mississippi basin. Join us to talk about America in 1927 and how many of the key news stories of that year resonate today.

WAMU 88.5

Bookend: Poet Dan Vera Blends Spanish, English Influences In Latest Work

In this month's look at D.C.'s literary scene, we'll talk with writer Dan Vera about how how his Cuban- and Mexican-American roots influence his work.

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