The Week's Best Stories From NPR BooksThis week: Meg Wolitzer's latest, Charles Frazier returns to the Civil War, the pressures of being the only black person in the room, a new Macbeth, and marriage-saving tips from a divorce lawyer.
Soldiers fill a hole left by an explosion on a road outside Beiji, Iraq, in 2005. In his debut novel, Michael Pitre follows a group of Marines doing similar work on Iraq's highways.
The Hagia Sophia is one of the city's most well-known Byzantine monuments, but it's also home to a lesser-known memorial: a plaque for the man who encouraged the Fourth Crusade's plundering of the city.
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The Dey House, a 140-year-old mansion, is home to the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop, one of the oldest MFA writing programs in the country. Director Lan Samantha Chang — who attended the workshop as a student — has made it a priority to attract students and faculty from diverse backgrounds to the program.
Mary Lou Longworth has set most of her mysteries in Aix-en-Provence, a small city in Southern France. "I liked the idea of this beautiful, beautiful place having a dark side," she says.
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