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'Freeman': A Liberated Slave In Search Of Family

The end of the Civil War marked a pivotal moment for slaves in America, but newfound freedom arrived as a bittersweet victory. Longing to find their displaced families, freed slaves placed classified ads in newspapers. In his new novel, Leonard Pitts Jr. explores the chaos of the era through a love story.
NPR

Thomas Jefferson's Vegetable Garden: A Thing Of Beauty And Science

Thomas Jefferson's garden was a vast, beautiful science experiment involving over 300 varieties of 90 different plants. And no gardening detail was too small for Jefferson to note in the gardening journal he kept for nearly 60 years.
WAMU 88.5

Northern Virginia Father Writes His Way To Hope

We meet two Virginia kids coping with a rare genetic condition, and hear how their dad is honoring them, and coping with his grief over their diagnosis with a new young adult novel.

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Vanessa Williams On Scandals, TV And Her Mom

Award-winning actress and singer Vanessa Williams stars on ABC's Desperate Housewives. She's come a long way since a 1983 Miss America scandal forced her to give up her crown. Host Michel Martin talks with Williams about co-writing the memoir You Have No Idea with her mother, who she says inspired her. Please be warned this conversation may not be comfortable for some listeners.
NPR

Beyond The 'Blonde': A Look At Marilyn's Inner Life

Flamboyant and confident, Marilyn Monroe oozed sex appeal. But in Joyce Carol Oates' Blonde, we see a woman overshadowed by her onscreen persona. Author Manuel Munoz says the novel gives a glimpse into the star's interior life. Have a favorite book about a celebrity? Tell us in the comments.
NPR

Stand Up, Walk Around, Even Just For '20 Minutes'

New York Times "Phys Ed" columnist Gretchen Reynolds has some simple advice for staying healthy: Stand up. Move around. In her new book, The First 20 Minutes, she explains the hazards of a sedentary lifestyle, and details some of the surprisingly simple ways to stay fit.
NPR

Creating A New Vision Of Islam In America

Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf was once the lead cleric associated with the proposed Islamic community center some critics called the "ground zero mosque." In his new book, Moving the Mountain, Rauf calls for moderate Muslims to step up and marginalize the voices of extremists.
NPR

Tina Brown's Must Reads: Resistance

Daily Beast and Newsweek editor Tina Brown explores the character and experiences of political resistors in modern Russia and in World War II-era Czechoslovakia.
NPR

An Inside Look At Sendak's 'Wonderful Magic'

Wicked author Gregory Maguire considered Maurice Sendak, who died Tuesday at age 83, a personal mentor. He says Sendak's books were magical — "the more you look at them, the less you understand how they do what they do." Maguire talks about his memories of the Where the Wild Things Are author.

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