Alex Blumberg takes us to an American classroom where students are reading a classic, The Education of Little Tree, by Forrest Carter. The book is marketed as a simple homespun autobiography of a Cherokee orphan.
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Ira plays tape from an interview that he did more than 20 years ago, with the author Doris Lessing, about her novel The Fifth Child, which tells the story of a woman who gives birth to a goblin-like baby. The archival audio appears courtesy of National Public Radio, Inc.Then Ira's conversation with Cheryl, from the top of the show, continues.
A teenager runs away from home to move in with someone he's never met, his idol, the person he respects most of all — a fantasy writer named Piers Anthony. Logan Hill reports.
There is a four mile long bridge in Naan-jing China, famous for how many people jump off to commit suicide. In 2003, a man named Chen Sah began spending all of his weekends on the bridge, trying to single handedly stop the jumpers.
Ira talks with lexicographer Erin McKean about the origin of the word frenemy.
Producer Sarah Koenig tells the story of her father, Julian Koenig, the legendary advertising copywriter whose work includes the slogan "Timex takes a licking and keeps on ticking" and Volkswagen's "Think Small" ads. For years Sarah has heard her dad accuse a former partner of stealing some of his best ideas, but until recently she never paid much attention.
Peter Sagal, host of NPR's Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me, tells Ira the origin story of one of the worst movie sequels ever made.
While riding in a patrol car to research a novel, crime writer Richard Price witnessed a misunderstanding that for many people is pretty much accepted as an upsetting fact of life. Richard Price told this story—which he describes as a tale taken from real life and dramatized—onstage at the Moth in New York.
When writer Chuck Klosterman got back from a trip to Germany, friends asked him what Germans were like. Did nine days as an American tourist make him qualified to answer? In this excerpt of an essay he wrote for Esquire magazine, Chuck explains why not.
Gregory Deloatch and Daniel Canada dreamed of being writers, but normal life—marriage, jobs, paying the rent—always got in the way. To pursue their dream, the two friends embarked on an unusual experiment.
Host Ira Glass spends time in perhaps the toughest room on earth, the editorial meeting at the satirical newspaper, The Onion, where there's one laugh for every 100 jokes.
Host Ira Glass talks to Rachel Howard, whose father, Stan, was murdered when she was 10 years old. His case was never solved.
Host Ira Glass talks with Jane Espenson—who's written for the TV shows Battlestar Galactica and Gilmore Girls—and with J.J. Abrams—one of the creators of the hit shows Lost, Alias, and Felicity—about how we might be in the midst of another Golden Age of television.
The super in Josh Bearman's Los Angeles building was kind of a needy character. He would sometimes ask Josh to come into his apartment and help him out -- check whether his garbage was being moved by a ghost, for example.
Television comedy writer Tami Sagher describes what can happen when you sit on a joke for years, as she did, before the perfect opportunity to tell it comes along.
Will Seymour reads letters he and his grandmother exchanged when he was in high school. He was miserable at the time—his parents had just gotten divorced and he had no friends—and so was his grandma.
Ira and playwright David Hauptschein took out advertisements in Chicago inviting people to come to a small theater with letters they've received, sent or found. People came for two nights, and read their letters onstage.
Davy Rothbart was on a 136-city tour appearing on morning TV talk shows to promote his book Found: The Best Lost, Tossed, and Forgotten Items from Around the World. Just before one appearance he had what seemed like a great idea at the time.
Host Ira Glass hauls out Ye Olde Book of Christmas Stories, only to realize that everyone's favorite stories are—gasp—missing. Sounding the alarm, he sets off to save Christmas, the only way he knows how.
Lots of soldiers in Iraq are writing about their experiences online. Producer Amy O'Leary has read through dozens of them and talks about what the soldiers are writing.
Writer Alexa Junge tells about the time when she was thirteen and she decided to have a "grown-up" conversation with her beloved grandmother.
Host Ira Glass talks to film critic Jonathan Rosenbaum of the Chicago Reader about an anonymous love letter that turned out to be very different than it seemed.
Host Ira Glass interviews Lori Gottlieb about the time she sent a letter to a writer in a magazine, a letter packed with white lies. One complication led to another and before long, the writer seemed to be lying to her.
One day Virginia Holman's mother announced she was taking Virginia and her little sister to their cottage at the beach. At the time, Virginia didn't realize they were being kidnapped—that they'd be held for months, hostage to her mother's mental illness.