2011 was a terrific year for fiction — both from first-time novelists and much-decorated veterans. Maureen Corrigan's recommendations range from Karen Russell's dazzling debut, to David Foster Wallace's posthumously published novel, to what may be the Sept. 11 novel.
Impostors can be scheming, even villainous, but their stories tempt us with an attractive possibility — the chance to wear a mask. Writer David Anthony suggests three tales about nefarious characters that let us indulge in our fascination with the art of manipulating outward appearances.
Homage to the Iliad lingers in literature even today, but most retellings do not live up to the grandeur of their ancient ancestor. Author Dawn Tripp recommends a rare find that does measure up — the haunting Homeric novel Ransom, by David Malouf.
NPR's Neal Conan reads from listener comments on previous show topics including advising your child's career path, reasons why the U.S. Postal Service is still useful, and what happens when you gossip.
The mass protests in Russia have been compared to the Arab Spring, and some predict the mobilization can lead to lasting political change. Not likely, says Kathryn Stoner-Weiss from the Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law.
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