November 13, 2013 The Chinese town of Shijiao is known for recycling discarded Christmas tree lights for their copper and wire insulation, which are then used to support growing economies and make slipper soles, respectively. In Junkyard Planet, Adam Minter explores the business of recycling what developed nations throw away.
November 12, 2013 The flap over the Kentucky senator's articles and speeches is just the latest in a series of cases of plagiarism by high-profile journalists and politicians. Linguist Geoff Nunberg looks at the way the word plagiarism has been used since it was invented by the Romans and wonders if it's always immoral or just bad form.
November 12, 2013 On her Hyperbole and a Half blog, Allie Brosh writes stories about her life illustrated with a "very precise crudeness." Most are lighthearted — about her dog or her favorite grammatical mistake ("a lot" vs. "alot) — but her most popular posts have also been the most upsetting, about her crippling depression.
November 11, 2013 Roy Scranton and Jacob Siegel edited and contributed to the collection of short stories by veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. They tell Fresh Air about how soldiers cope with the fear of death, and why many soldiers feel conflicted about sharing their experience with a larger audience.
November 8, 2013 Margaret Talbot tells the story of her father, actor Lyle Talbot, in her memoir The Entertainer. He began his career as an assistant to a traveling hypnotist, and went on to star in movies with Shirley Temple and Humphrey Bogart — and played next-door neighbor Joe Randolph on Ozzie and Harriet.
November 7, 2013 In the many decades since the publication of How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie's self-help classic has been both celebrated and mocked, but it's still selling plenty of copies. Steven Watts' new biography of the man may feel overstuffed, but, as Maureen Corrigan notes, Carnegie's relentless positivity always shines through.
November 5, 2013 Industrial musicals were like Broadway shows, only written and performed for corporate sales meetings or conventions. And as ridiculous as the songs were — "My bathroom, my bathroom is a private kind of place" — they were often delivered by very talented people.
November 4, 2013 Bound by the confines of gender and finances, two young women take divergent paths in Elena Ferrante's The Story of a New Name, the second book in her "Neapolitan Novels" trilogy. Critic John Powers believes the bold, expansive series to be semi-autobiographical, a revelation from a secretive author who won't reveal her true name.
November 4, 2013 Journalist Hooman Majd's new book, The Ministry of Guidance Invites You to Not Stay, was inspired by the year he and his young American family spent in Tehran, where Majd was born. He tells Fresh Air about the country's long-standing tradition of sulking, and what sets Tehran apart from most other Islamic metropolises.