April 19th: What's On Today's Show : Blog Of The Nation In the first hour of Talk of the Nation, the hidden world of immigrant smuggling, and ten modern classics that are most harmful to aspiring writers. In the second hour, former addict Bill Clegg talks about his struggles through recovery and his book, Ninety Days, and blues singer Guy Davis.
NPR logo April 19th: What's On Today's Show

April 19th: What's On Today's Show

In our first hour, writer Crawford Kilian talks about the ten novels he warns "can be more hazard than inspiration." G Travels/Flickr hide caption

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G Travels/Flickr

Long, Risky Road For Smuggled Immigrants
Earlier this month, nine people believed to be illegal immigrants were killed when their van rolled over near the Mexican border. There were a total of 19 people on board when it crashed, and law enforcement officers believe the immigrants were being smuggled across the border illegally. Though specific statistics are hard to confirm, it is believed that a large percentage of immigrants crossing the border into the United States have done so with the help of what's commonly known as a coyote, a smuggler or smuggling group. Guest Host John Donvan speaks with NPR's Ted Robbins and writer Luis Alberto Urrea about this hidden world of immigrant smuggling — the people and money involved — and how it's affecting the lives of Americans and the immigrants themselves.

'The 10 Most Harmful Novels'
Crawford Kilian has a piece of advice for aspiring writers: do not read Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged," Hemingway's "For Whom the Bell Tolls," Jack Kerouac's "On the Road" and seven other well-known novels. In a piece for the British Columbian daily The Tyee, Kilian lists ten modern classics that are most harmful to aspiring writers, not because they're necessarily bad books, but because he writes, "their readable styles look so easy, that they might seduce a young writer into imitating them." Crawford Kilian joins guest host John Donvan to talk about the ten novels that he warns "can be more hazard than inspiration."

'Ninety Days: A Memoir Of Recovery'
In his 2010 book, Portrait Of An Addict As A Young Man, Bill Clegg described his addiction to crack and his dramatic spiral of self-destruction that left him nearly broke, homeless, out of work and suicidal. His latest book picks up where that story left off. Ninety Days focuses on Clegg's struggles through recovery, as he departs a residential treatment facility for his adopted home of New York City. His first goal: stay sober for ninety days. Clegg talks to host John Donvan about his book Ninety Days: A Memoir Of Recovery, his harrowing journey and the friends, family and fellow addicts who gave him a second chance.

Guy Davis: 'Ambassador Of The Blues'
Guy Davis has been dubbed "The Ambassador of the Blues." The son of Ruby Dee and the late Ossie Davis, he initially followed in his famous parents' footsteps. Davis discovered the blues in college and now travels the world performing in places untouched by the blues, from Greenland to the Galapagos Islands. On a new album, Davis tells the story of Fishy Waters: a hobo traveling through the Deep South in the 1930s, singing the blues and sharing stories about the people he meets along the way. Guest host John Donvan talks with Davis about his new album, The Adventures of Guy Davis: In Bed With The Blues, and his mission to spread the word about the blues.