July 14, 2013 After the Civil War, pursuing butterflies was more than a pastime for many Americans — it was a passion. In his book, Butterfly People, William Leach chronicles the infatuation, from its European roots and natural-history tradition to its eventual fall.
July 14, 2013 New York Times Magazine reporter Mark Leibovich's new book This Town is a lively look at media, politics and money in Washington. Leibovich tells NPR that most people outside don't understand what a carnival of money and celebrity the city has become.
July 14, 2013 Religious scholar Reza Aslan found that he was much more interested in studying Jesus as a human being than as the figure he learned about in church. His new book, Zealot, chronicles Jesus' life and times and explains how the historical context shaped Jesus and the perception of him.
July 14, 2013 The Voynich Manuscript, a mysterious late-medieval document filled with illustrations and strange text, has befuddled countless would-be translators. Is it a book of natural science? Alchemy? Herbology? Astronomy? No one knows, because no one's been able to decipher it.
July 14, 2013 KPBSEvery piece of plastic on their battle armor must be perfect for the Stormtroopers of the 501st Legion, especially if they are going to defend the honor of the Galactic Empire — or maybe just the honor of a fan costuming group — at Comic Con San Diego next week.
July 14, 2013 When crime writer Karin Slaughter was struggling to find a good literary relationship, she turned to the Marcus Didius Falco series by Lindsey Davis. She learned about togas and scrolls and came away with a new template for a happy marriage.
July 13, 2013 Waters created Drunk History after hearing a friend sloshily recount the story of Otis Redding's death. Now, the popular series has been picked up by Comedy Central, where viewers can see famous actors lip-sync drunken narrators' laughably wrong versions of historical events.
July 13, 2013 A dead body and a hotel bombing trigger the plot of Black Star Nairobi, the latest crime novel from Kenyan-American author Mukoma Wa Ngugi. Detectives Ishmael Fofona and David Odhiambo search for the perps during the upheaval around the Kenyan elections in December 2007.