Goli Taraghi writes about life in Iran — about love, loss, alienation and exile. She is particularly equipped to the task, as her own exile from the country began in 1980 at the outset of the Iranian Revolution. She discusses her latest collection of short stories, The Pomegranate Lady and Her Sons.
The novel published in 1948, months before apartheid was made law in South Africa, gives a haunting image of a truly divided society. Writer Kevin Roose says Cry, The Beloved Country, by white South African writer Alan Paton, paints a picture of the world Nelson Mandela grew up in.
When writers finish a book, they may think they've had the last word — but sometimes another writer will decide there's more to the story, or more to a background character. NPR's Lynn Neary explores the fine old literary tradition of writing new stories based on existing books.
Theodore Roosevelt is known as many things: a naturalist, hunter, rough rider and, of course, president. A new book argues it was his time in Manhattan, not the West, that forged him into the politician and man we now read about in history books. Host Scott Simon talks with author Edward Kohn about his new book, Heir to the Empire City: New York and the Making of Theodore Roosevelt.
Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power, at No. 12, is Jon Meacham's portrait of the third president.
At No. 12, M.L. Stedman confronts miscarriages and a failing marriage in The Light Between Oceans.
Malcolm Gladwell's David and Goliath, a study of upsets in balances of power, returns to No. 1.
National Book Award winner James McBride tells a slave's story in The Good Lord Bird, at No. 14.
The lists are compiled from weekly surveys of close to 500 independent bookstores nationwide.
For 25 seasons, The Simpsons writers have been smuggling math onto Americans' TV screens. Author Simon Singh helps Ira decode the show's numberplay, while former Simpsons writer David X. Cohen remembers how he helped Homer solve Fermat's Last Theorem (sort of).
Also: Ursula K. Le Guin on being called a "sci-fi writer"; new poems from John Ashbery; Richard Brody on Eichmann in Jerusalem.
This week — inspired by our brand new book app — we're sharing some of our hosts' and journalists' favorite books of the entire year. Audie Cornish, David Greene, Michel Martin and Deb Amos are just a few of the app's staff contributors.
Also: Queer theorist José Esteban Muñoz has died; Norway is digitizing books written in Norwegian; Gary Shteyngart spices up 19th century British literature.