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This Author: Terry Gross
This Publisher: National Public Radio

NPR: Fresh Air Podcast by Terry Gross

NPR: Fresh Air Podcast

by Terry Gross

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Fresh Air from WHYY, the Peabody Award-winning weekday magazine of contemporary arts and issues, is one of public radio's most popular programs. Hosted by Terry Gross, the show features intimate conversations with today's biggest luminaries.


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Showrunners Of 'The Good Wife' & 'The Walking Dead'

Author: NPR
Wed, May 06, 2015


'The Good Wife' writers and creators Michelle and Robert King talk about why they chose law as the backdrop to their show and the benefits of being on network TV versus cable. Kevin Whitehead reviews Cuban drummer Dafnis Prieto's new album 'Triangles and Circles.' Then 'Walking Dead' showrunner Scott M. Gimple tells us how the gory zombie sound effects are made and and why he thinks the show is so successful.

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'Pig Tales' & Factory Farming

Author: NPR
Tue, May 05, 2015


Barry Estabrook wanted to know more about pigs and their journey from the farm to his plate. In a new book 'Pig Tales,' he explores the dichotomies of the industry that's raising our pork. Maureen Corrigan reviews journalist Asne Seierstad's chronicles of the 2011 shooting massacre in Norway. Her book is called 'One of Us.'

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St. Louis Cardinals Manager Talks Big and Little League Baseball

Author: NPR
Mon, May 04, 2015


Baseball's Mike Matheny speaks with Fresh Air's Dave Davies about his playing career, managing in the big leagues and the pressures of youth sports. Matheny is the author of 'The Matheny Manifesto.' David Letterman retires this month after 33 years hosting late-night television. TV critic David Bianculli says that Letterman's humor "provided a new blueprint for the TV talk show."

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Best Of: Louis CK & Pokey LaFarge

Author: NPR
Fri, May 01, 2015


Comic Louis CK talks about his first open mic night, how parenting changed his comedy, and tripping on acid in 8th grade. John Powers reviews Karl Ove Knausgaard's autobiographical novel, 'My Struggle.' And, to mark the release of Pokey LaFarge's seventh album, the singer-songwriter brings his acoustic guitar to the Fresh Air studio to sing some new songs as well as some of his favorites from the 1920s and '30s.

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Timothy Spall On 'Mr. Turner'

Author: NPR
Fri, May 01, 2015


Actor Timothy Spall takes on 19th century painter J.M.W. Turner, a "master of the sublime" in 'Mr. Turner.' Spall won best actor awards from the New York Film Critics Circle and the Cannes Film Festival for the roll. David Edelstein reviews 'Avengers: Age of Ultron.'

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California's Drought And Water Wars

Author: NPR
Thu, Apr 30, 2015


Journalist Mark Arax discusses the battle for water involving corporate agriculture, suburbs, cities and small farming communities. "It used to be the farmers against the delta smelt fish, and now it's the urbanite against the almond," he says. In honor of Billie Holiday's 100th birthday this month, several artists are releasing out Holiday tribute albums. Jazz critic Kevin Whitehead looks at a couple of these by other singers. One he rather likes; the other, not so much.

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Cleveland Women On Surviving A Decade In Captivity

Author: NPR
Wed, Apr 29, 2015


Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus recount being kidnapped by infamous Cleveland school-bus driver Ariel Castro who held them captive for a decade before their dramatic escape. Their new book, written with journalists Mary Jordan and Kevin Sullivan, is called 'Hope: A Memoir of Survival in Cleveland.' Classical music critic Lloyd Schwartz reviews a new album from string quartet Brooklyn Rider, and John Powers reviews Karl Ove Knausgaard's autobiographical novel, 'My Struggle.'

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Louis CK

Author: NPR
Tue, Apr 28, 2015


Comic Louis CK talks about his first open mic night, how parenting changed his comedy, and tripping on acid in 8th grade.

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Pokey LaFarge

Author: NPR
Mon, Apr 27, 2015


To mark the release of Pokey LaFarge's seventh album, the singer-songwriter brings his acoustic guitar to the Fresh Air studio to sing some new songs as well as some of his favorites from the 1920s and '30s. Ken Tucker reviews 'Sound & Color' by Alabama Shakes and linguist Geoff Nunberg discusses the buzzword 'disrupt.'

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Best Of: Toni Morrison & Will Forte

Author: NPR
Fri, Apr 24, 2015


Nobel Prize-winning writer Toni Morrison discusses her latest book, 'God Help the Child,' about distinguishing color from race. Book critic Maureen Corrigan reviews Ross Macdonald's crime fiction. Actor Will Forte talks about landing a job on 'Saturday Night Live' and learning from Bruce Dern on the set of 'Nebraska' that acting is "all about commitment."

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The 'Secret History' Of Fascism And The Catholic Church

Author: NPR
Fri, Apr 24, 2015


It's commonly thought that the Catholic Church fought heroically against the fascists in Italy. But historian David Kertzer says the church actually lent organizational strength and moral legitimacy to Mussolini's regime. Kertzer recently won a Pulitzer Prize for his book 'The Pope and Mussolini: The Secret History of Pius XI and the Rise of Fascism in Europe.' Film critic David Edelstein reviews the Iranian mystery film 'About Elly.'

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The Humanitarian Crisis in Yemen

Author: NPR
Thu, Apr 23, 2015


Reporter Gregory Johnsen talks about the humanitarian crisis in Yemen and how the chaos is impacting the U.S. fight against al-Qaida. Johnsen describes a country torn apart. "I don't even think it's accurate to speak of Yemen as one country anymore," he says. "I think the country has been definitively and decisively broken in the way that no one will ever be able to put it back together again." Ken Tucker reviews Dwight Yoakam's new album 'Second Hand Heart.'

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Met Opera Chorus Master & Will Forte

Author: NPR
Wed, Apr 22, 2015


Metropolitan Opera Chorus Master Donald Palumbo talks about what it takes to make 150 voices sound like one. Actor Will Forte talks about his new show 'Last Man On Earth,' and what he learned from Bruce Dern on the set of 'Nebraska.'

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Former NYC Cop On 'The Job'

Author: NPR
Tue, Apr 21, 2015


Retired New York City police officer Steve Osborne shares stories including chasing a robber into a train tunnel and breaking up a knife fight. "Your heart is pounding; your adrenaline is shooting out of your ears," he says. "And you got one second to get it right." Over his 20 years of duty he never fired his gun. His new memoir is called 'The Job.' Also book critic Maureen Corrigan reviews four crime fiction stories by Ross MacDonald.

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Toni Morrison

Author: NPR
Mon, Apr 20, 2015


Nobel Prize-winning writer Toni Morrison discusses her new novel, 'God Help the Child.' At 84, she looks back on her life and says she regrets everything. "It's not profound regret," she says. "It's just a wiping up of tiny little messes that you didn't recognize as mess when they were going on."

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Best Of: Mark Ronson's 'Uptown Funk' & 'House of Cards'

Author: NPR
Fri, Apr 17, 2015


Terry Gross interviews DJ, musician and record producer Mark Ronson. Ronson's hit song 'Uptown Funk' features vocals by Bruno Mars and spent 14 weeks as Billboard's #1 single. Also Beau Willimon, the creator of the Netflix series 'House of Cards.' And Ken Tucker reviews the new album from the band The Mountain Goats.

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'Community's' Joel McHale

Author: NPR
Fri, Apr 17, 2015


Actor Joel McHale, star of the comedy series 'Community.' Last year, NBC cancelled the series after five seasons, but now 'Community' is back, streaming new episodes on Yahoo. Also, film critic David Edelstein reviews 'True Story,' starring James Franco and Jonah Hill.

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DJ / Producer Mark Ronson & YouTube's First Decade

Author: NPR
Thu, Apr 16, 2015


DJ, musician and record producer Mark Ronson talks about his life in music. Ronson's hit song 'Uptown Funk' featuring Bruno Mars spent 14 weeks at #1 on Billboard's 'Hot 100' chart. Ronson had his first big success producing Amy Winehouse and has produced recordings by Paul McCartney, Adele, Christina Aguilera, Nas, and Lily Allen. Also, tech contributor Alexis Madrigal reflects on YouTube's first decade.

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Billy Crystal & Josh Gad

Author: NPR
Wed, Apr 15, 2015


In the new FX series 'The Comedians,' Billy Crystal and Josh Gad star as satirical versions of themselves. The show is about how the two comedians are hesitant to work together and share the spotlight, but they do, and they begin a strained relationship, in which they're separated from each other by a generational comedy gap. They discuss their new show, their respective work on Broadway and voicing animation. Also David Bianculli shares his thoughts on the series finale of 'Justified.'

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'House Of Cards' Showrunner Beau Willimon

Author: NPR
Tue, Apr 14, 2015


'House of Cards' showrunner Beau Willimon talks about his work as a campaign advance man, using soliloquies in the show, and the "litmus test" in the pilot episode. Ken Tucker reviews The Mountain Goats' new album, 'Beat The Champ' and book critic Maureen Corrigan reviews 'The Children's Crusade.'

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'70s Radicals And The 'Days Of Rage'

Author: NPR
Mon, Apr 13, 2015


Bryan Burrough's new book 'Days of Rage' describes the Weather Underground and other militant groups' tactics to protest the government in the 1970s. He interviews former radicals who had never gone on the record before. We also remember historian Stanley Kutler who helped uncover over 200 hours of Watergate tapes.

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Best Of: Adam Driver & Philip Glass

Author: NPR
Fri, Apr 10, 2015


Before pursuing acting, Adam Driver was in the Marines. He says acting and being in the military aren't so different, "You have a group of people trying to accomplish a mission that's greater than themselves. It's not about one person." Driver stars in the new film comedy 'While We're Young.' Ken Tucker reviews Kendrick Lamar's 'To Pimp a Butterfly.' Composer Phillip Glass' new memoir, 'Words Without Music,' looks back on his childhood, travels through Asia and when his music provoked violence.

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Extreme Medicine

Author: NPR
Fri, Apr 10, 2015


Dr. Kevin Fong explores how humans survive extremes of heat, cold, outer space and deep sea. He compares the exploration of medicine with the "explorers of the 20th century and every age before them. His book is called 'Extreme Medicine.' David Edelstein reviews 'Clouds of Sils Maria.'

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Adam Driver

Author: NPR
Thu, Apr 09, 2015


Actor Adam Driver of 'Girls' now stars in Noah Baumbach's new film, 'While We're Young.' He talks about leaving the Marines for Juilliard, doing sex scenes in 'Girls,' and why he'll never watch his own performances. Ken Tucker reviews Kendrick Lamar's newest album, 'To Pimp a Butterfly.'

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Bed Bugs & Cartoonist Lucy Knisley

Author: NPR
Wed, Apr 08, 2015


Brooke Borel tells us about the creepy, crawly world of bed bugs and how they have infiltrated our homes. Her new book is called 'Infested.' Also cartoonist Lucy Knisley discusses her new travelogue 'Displacement.' David Bianculli reviews 'The Comedians' and the new season of 'Louie.'

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The Tsarnaev Brothers' Story & A Tribute To Billie Holiday

Author: NPR
Tue, Apr 07, 2015


Journalist Masha Gessen's new book 'The Brothers' is about Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the brothers behind the Boston Marathon bombing. She shares her reportage from Dzhokhar's trial as well as her travels to Dagestan, where she learned more about the Tsarnaevs' background. Also, April 7 marks the hundredth birthday of singer Billie Holiday, born in Philadelphia. Our jazz critic Kevin Whitehead has some thoughts on Holiday's changing style, her influences, and singers she influenced.

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Composer Philip Glass

Author: NPR
Mon, Apr 06, 2015


For the composer, life is how the past and the future connect. Philip Glass' new memoir, 'Words Without Music,' looks back on his childhood, travels through Asia and when his music provoked violence.

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Best Of: 'Cucumber' Creator & Cartoonist 'BEK'

Author: NPR
Fri, Apr 03, 2015


Russell T. Davies, creator of the BBC series 'Queer As Folk,' talks about his new series 'Cucumber' and 'Banana.' Rock historian Ed Ward tells the story of Captain Beefheart and New Yorker cartoonist and 'Girls' producer Bruce Eric Kaplan (aka BEK) discusses his new illustrated memoir 'I Was A Child.'

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Hilary Mantel On 'Wolf Hall'

Author: NPR
Fri, Apr 03, 2015


Hilary Mantel is the first woman to win the Man Booker Prize twice, first for her 2009 novel, 'Wolf Hall,' and also for its 2012 sequel, 'Bring Up the Bodies.' She spoke to Terry Gross in 2012. 'Wolf Hall' is now a PBS Masterpiece costume drama airing Sunday April 5th. John Powers, our critic at large, reviews the new TV production.

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New Yorker Cartoonist 'BEK' & Cynthia Lennon

Author: NPR
Thu, Apr 02, 2015


Bruce Eric Kaplan (aka BEK) has a new illustrated memoir called 'I Was A Child.' It describes his life in Maplewood, N.J., in the '60s and '70s. He says it's a way of keeping his parents alive, "not just for me, but for the world." He's also a producer on the HBO series 'Girls.' Then we remember Cynthia Lennon, Beatle John Lennon's first wife. She died yesterday at 75.

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'Cucumber' & 'Banana' Creator Russell T. Davies

Author: NPR
Wed, Apr 01, 2015


'Cucumber' tells the adventures of a middle-aged gay man; 'Banana' is a series of short stories. Russell T. Davies, who made 'Queer As Folk,' says the titles came from a scientific institute in Switzerland. TV critic David Bianculli reviews the HBO documentary on Frank Sinatra and Milo Miles reviews a latin groove anthology.

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Judge Says Raising Money To Be Elected Is 'Tawdry'

Author: NPR
Tue, Mar 31, 2015


Mixing judges with campaign contributions can lead to conflicts of interest. Fresh Air talks to retired Judge Sue Bell Cobb and the Center for American Progress' Billy Corriher. Rock historian Ed Ward tells the story of Captain Beefheart.

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How We Became 'One Nation Under God'

Author: NPR
Mon, Mar 30, 2015


Kevin Kruse discusses his book, 'One Nation Under God: How Corporate American Invented Christian America.' Maureen Corrigan reviews 'Poetry Notebook,' a book of criticism by Clive James. Jazz critic Kevin Whitehead reviews saxophonist Art Pepper's live recordings.

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Best Of: Creators of 'Justified' & 'American Crime'

Author: NPR
Fri, Mar 27, 2015


'Justified' creator Graham Yost talks about finishing up the sixth and final season and staying true to writer Elmore Leonard's vision. Ken Tucker reviews Courtney Barnett's album 'Sometimes I Sit and Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit.' 'American Crime' revolves round a murder case and is an examination of race, ethnicity and the criminal justice system. Nearly all the characters are part victim and part aggressor. Creator John Ridley (Screenwriter, 12 Years a Slave) and actor Benito Martinez (The Shield) explain.

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Oncologist On The 'Biography Of Cancer'

Author: NPR
Fri, Mar 27, 2015


In 'The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer,' Siddhartha Mukherjee chronicled how our understanding of cancer has evolved. Starting Monday, Ken Burns' three-part documentary will air on PBS. Terry Gross talked with Mukherjee in 2010. Film critic David Edelstein reviews Noah Baumbach's new film, 'While We're Young.'

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'Justified' Creator Graham Yost

Author: NPR
Thu, Mar 26, 2015


Graham Yost, creator and showrunner of the FX series 'Justified,' talks about staying true to Elmore Leonard's vision. Ken Tucker reviews Courtney Barnett's album 'Sometimes I Sit and Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit.'

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Jeffrey Toobin On Ted Cruz

Author: NPR
Wed, Mar 25, 2015


When Ted Cruz announced his presidency, he said: "It's time to reclaim the constitution." The New Yorker's Jeffrey Toobin discusses the strict legal philosophy that has shaped Cruz's political agenda. Book critic Maureen Corrigan reviews 'American Ghost.'

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'American Crime' Creator John Ridley & Actor Benito Martinez

Author: NPR
Tue, Mar 24, 2015


The show, revolving around a murder case, is an examination of race, ethnicity and the criminal justice system. Nearly all the characters are part victim and part aggressor. Creator John Ridley (Screenwriter, 12 Years a Slave) and actor Benito Martinez (The Shield) explain. David Bianculli gives us his first impressions of late night's James Corden.

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The Debate Over Killer Whales In Marine Parks

Author: NPR
Mon, Mar 23, 2015


Former killer whale trainer, John Hargrove, explains why he left the business in his new book, 'Beneath The Surface.' Two SeaWorld executives defend their practices.

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Best Of: A Writer Reflects On Prison Time & Music From Norman Blake

Author: NPR
Fri, Mar 20, 2015


Daniel Genis, son of Soviet emigre writer Alexander Genis, served 10 years for armed robbery. The crimes fueled his heroin addiction. He shares stories from life in prison. John Powers reviews 'Seymour: An Introduction' about Seymour Bernstein, who quit a successful concert career at the age of 50 to become a piano teacher. Bluegrass musician Norman Blake has performed for more than 60 years. He was in Johnny Cash's band and played on Bob Dylan's 'Nashville Skyline' album. Now 77, his new album is called 'Wood, Wire and Words.'

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Blues And Jazz Historian Samuel Charters & 'Redeployment'

Author: NPR
Fri, Mar 20, 2015


Samuel Charters helped ignite the blues revival of the '50s and '60s. He made field recordings of forgotten and previously undiscovered performers. He also wrote two books. He died Wednesday; he was 85. Phil Klay served in Iraq from January 2007 to February 2008. He recently won a National Book Critics Circle award for his collection of short stories, 'Redeployment.' John Powers reviews 'Seymour: An Introduction,' an inspiring new documentary by the actor Ethan Hawke.

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Bluegrass Musician Norman Blake

Author: NPR
Thu, Mar 19, 2015


Blake has performed for more than 60 years. He was in Johnny Cash's band and played on Bob Dylan's 'Nashville Skyline' album. Now 77, his new album is called 'Wood, Wire and Words.' John Powers reviews 'A Little Life,' a novel by Hanya Yanagihara.

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After Prison, 'Apologetic Bandit' Writes About Life Inside

Author: NPR
Wed, Mar 18, 2015


Daniel Genis, son of Soviet emigre writer Alexander Genis, served 10 years for armed robbery. The crimes fueled his heroin addiction. "It was so obvious I didn't fit in," he says. Kevin Whitehead says saxophonist Tony Malaby's new quartet brings out his rowdy side.

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Writer Explores The Blurry Line Between Fact And Fiction

Author: NPR
Tue, Mar 17, 2015


In Dan Torday's 'The Last Flight of Poxl West,' a Jewish refugee tells his heroic World War II story in a best-selling — and partly fabricated — memoir. Classical music critic Lloyd Schwartz says one company in France is remastering old records in a revolutionary way. TV critic David Bianculli addresses the downside of binge watching.

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Former MA Congressman Barney Frank

Author: NPR
Mon, Mar 16, 2015


In his new memoir, Frank describes how early in politics he feared people would "draw inferences" that he was gay if he supported gay rights. But his drive to fight discrimination was stronger. Ken Tucker reviews Brandi Carlile's album 'The Firewatcher's Daughter.'

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Best Of: 'Better Call Saul' & Test Kitchen

Author: NPR
Fri, Mar 13, 2015


Actor Jonathan Banks and writer/co-creator Peter Gould discuss 'Better Call Saul,' the prequel spin-off of 'Breaking Bad.' Ken Tucker reviews James McMurtry's album 'Complicated Game,' and America's Test Kitchen shares their tricks for more flavorful vegetarian dishes.

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Songwriting Duo Barry Mann & Cynthia Weil

Author: NPR
Fri, Mar 13, 2015


Songwriters Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil have been a team (and husband and wife) for more than 50 years. Terry spoke to them in 2000 when they were portrayed in the Broadway musical 'Beautiful.' Drummer Hal Blaine of 'The Wrecking Crew' was featured on thousands of records and over 40 number one hits. A new documentary tells the story of the Crew's success. David Edelstein reviews the independent horror film 'It Follows.'

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Solitude & 'Dirty Old London'

Author: NPR
Thu, Mar 12, 2015


Fenton Johnson says that while alone, people can "find the richest possible ways of being in the world." He's lived alone for more than 20 years. His Harper's article describes his pursuit in solitude. Maureen Corrigan reviews two memoirs. Historian Lee Jackson talks about the filth of Victorian-era London. Linguist Geoff Nunberg tells us about one Wikipedia editor who has decided to eliminate the phrase "comprised of" from thousands of entries.

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'Bettyville' Author & History Of The Hollies

Author: NPR
Wed, Mar 11, 2015


Author George Hodgman talks about leaving his home in Manhattan to take care of his 91 year old mother in his hometown, Paris, Missouri. His new memoir is called 'Bettyville.' Also rock historian Ed Ward tells us the story of The Hollies.

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America's Test Kitchen On Cooking Vegetarian

Author: NPR
Tue, Mar 10, 2015


Jack Bishop and Bridget Lancaster of America's Test Kitchen share their favorite vegetarian recipes. Also we remember documentary filmmaker Albert Maysles.

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