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Going Under The 'Boardwalk' With Michael Shannon

The actor plays a righteous federal agent who succumbs to all sorts of temptations on the HBO drama Boardwalk Empire. To build the character of Nelson Van Alden, he says, he worked out an elaborate back story about the agent's childhood.
NPR

Jimmy Fallon's Giant List Of 'Thank You Notes'

Fallon is thankful for slow walkers, people named Lloyd and the word "moist." The comedian and host of Late Night collects more than 100 nuggets of gratitude in his book Thank You Notes. He talks with Terry Gross about giving thanks and doing impressions.
NPR

Life As A 'Symbol Of Integration' In College

In 1953, A.P. Tureaud Jr. enrolled as a freshman at Louisiana State University, becoming the school's first and only black undergraduate that year. Tureaud's family had filed a lawsuit on his behalf. And as he recalls it, life on campus was anything but easy.
NPR

Poet Marie Howe On 'What The Living Do' After Loss

"Poetry holds the knowledge that we are alive and that we know we're going to die," poet Marie Howe tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. One of Howe's most famous poems, "What the Living Do," was recently included in The Penguin Anthology of 20th-Century American Poetry.
NPR

A 'Zone' Full Of Zombies In Lower Manhattan

Colson Whitehead's new novel Zone One is a post-apocalyptic tale of a Manhattan crippled by a plague and overrun with zombies. He explains that he created the novel, in part, to pay homage to the grimy 1970s New York of his childhood.
NPR

Justice Stevens Reflects On The Court And Its Chiefs

After 35 years as a Supreme Court justice, John Paul Stevens retired last year. His newly released memoir is about his time on the bench and the five Supreme Court chief justices he personally knew. He details his views of those justices and how his viewpoints on various issues evolved over the years.
NPR

The Man Who Tracks Viruses Before They Spread

Nathan Wolfe travels to the viral hot spots of the world, where viruses first jump from animals to humans. The scientist spends his days tracking emerging infectious diseases before they turn into global pandemics.
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Income Disparity And The 'Price Of Civilization'

The Occupy Wall Street movement has been criticized for lacking focus — but its main slogan seems to be resonating. That slogan, "We are the 99 percent," highlights the issue of income disparity. It's something economist Jeffrey Sachs has been tracking for a long time.
NPR

Seth MacFarlane: TV's 'Family Guy' Makes Music, Too

MacFarlane is best known for creating the animated TV shows Family Guy, American Dad! and The Cleveland Show. But he's also a singer whose new album features songs from the Great American Songbook.
NPR

For A Bilingual Writer, 'No One True Language'

Gustavo Perez Firmat is a Cuban-American who writes novels, memoirs, poetry, and academic works in both Spanish and English. "But I have the feeling that I'm not fluent in either one," he says. "Words fail me in both of them."

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