February 19, 2013 Also: What the royal family and panda bears have in common; Ben Percy dons a pregnancy suit; and classicist Mary Beard wards off online attackers.
February 18, 2013 Blanco, who read his poem "One Today" at Obama's second inauguration, is the first immigrant, Latino and openly gay poet chosen to read at an inauguration. He tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross that while he was on the podium, "I really embraced America up there like I never had before."
February 18, 2013 Dan Buettner visited some of the happiest populations on Earth to figure out what makes them tick. After five years of study, he argues the real keys to happiness lie not in wealth or beauty, but in fundamental changes to the way we live. Buettner lays out his findings in his book Thrive.
February 18, 2013 It was one of the most revolutionary tools of biomedical research: the immortal HeLa cell line. But few people know the cells belonged to a poor Southern tobacco farmer named Henrietta Lacks. Rebecca Skloot spent years researching Lacks and tells her story in The Immortal Life Of Henrietta Lacks.
February 18, 2013 Also: the best books coming out this week; the return of Haruki Murakami; and Ian McEwan's crisis of faith.
February 25, 2013 Fiction is reality and reality fiction in Revenge, Yoko Ogawa's absorbing cycle of interlinked, eerie tales. Readers may detect the shadows of Murakami, Borges and Poe, but, says critic Alan Cheuse, Ogawa's delicious tales cast their own singular spell.
February 18, 2013 Herman Koch's new novel The Dinner asks the uncomfortable question: How far will you go to protect your family? Two couples gather for dinner to discuss their teenaged sons, who've most likely committed a terrible crime. Will they report it? Or will they cover it up to keep their sons safe?
February 17, 2013 Oh, um, hey Sarah, this is Brad Davis from Slingshot and, um, I'm pleased — Hold on: your greeting there on your voice mail kind of threw me off. Did it seriously say "you have reached Sarah Wellman. Please leave a message"? It did, didn't it? Wow.
February 17, 2013 Hi Mom, it's me, I guess you're out. I'm trying to follow this recipe and I was hoping you would know what I could substitute for a half cup of butter. I figure probably oil or something but it would be nice to know from someone who has first hand experience.
February 17, 2013 Rock writer Jonathan Cott met John Lennon in 1968 and formed a working relationship with him, as well as with Yoko Ono, that would span more than two decades. Cott was the last journalist to interview Lennon, just three days before the singer was killed.
February 17, 2013 The money and mansions of the turn of the century provide rich fodder for some fabulous reads. Author Janet Wallach recommends three books that give a glimpse of Gilded Age houses. Do you have a favorite book that highlights architecture? Let us know in the comments.
February 17, 2013 In honor of Presidents Day, NPR Books dove into the archives for some lesser-known stories about America's commanders in chief, including the tale of Teddy Roosevelt's perilous journey down the Amazon and Grover Cleveland's top-secret, mustache-preserving cancer surgery.
February 16, 2013 Hey Jimmy, it's Kevin. Pick up if you're there. We just pulled up to your cabin. What? Oh. Ellen says hi. Annie too, but she's sleeping in her car seat. Anyway, it's pitch black. No lights on in the cabin. You said you'd leave the porch light on.