Laurie Halse Anderson's latest young adult novel, The Impossible Knife of Memory, follows 15-year-old Hayley and her dad, who suffers from PTSD after serving in Iraq. Anderson says the book draws on her own experience of growing up with a World War II veteran father who still struggles with his war memories.
Sue Monk Kidd's new novel, The Invention of Wings, is a fictionalized account of the abolitionist sisters Sarah and Angelina Grimké, and the slave Hetty, given to Sarah on her 11th birthday. Reviewer Bobbi Dumas says Wings is a "textured masterpiece, quietly yet powerfully poking our consciences and our consciousness."
E.L. Doctorow's new novel goes inside the brain of a neuroscientist trying to outrun his memories of disaster and the daughter he gave up. He tells NPR's Scott Simon that Andrew's Brain was inspired by his own memories, and by a recurring idea of a little girl hiding her colored pencil drawings from adult eyes.
Saturday Night Live recently announced that they were hiring Sasheer Zamata, the first black woman to join the cast in six years. For our series This Week's Must Read, author Danielle Evans recommends a book that can give readers an idea of how Zamata might feel: Get Down, a short story collection by Asali Solomon.
After devoting the past several years to theater acting, Cate Blanchett starred this past summer in Woody Allen's Blue Jasmine, for which she's been nominated for a Golden Globe. She spoke with NPR's Robert Siegel about the similarities between theater and film — and the need for lightness in even the darkest drama.
Baraka was one of the key black literary voices of the 1960s. The political and social views that inspired his writing changed over the years, from his bohemian days as a young man in Greenwich Village to his later years as a Marxist. He spoke to Fresh Air's Terry Gross in 1986.
If you're confused by the fight over genetically modified food — and even more if your mind is already made up — you might want to turn to an investigation of the topic carried out by the environmental website Grist. Instead of preaching to the deep-green choir, Grist's in-depth series questioned its faith.
Last year, illustrator Maria Fabrizio was having a slow day at work and so she drew a picture of the pope "hanging up his hat." The idea caught on and now she creates a news-inspired image every day on her Wordless News blog. Next week, all of her pictures will be inspired by Morning Edition.
In the past few years, major food manufacturers have introduced more healthful versions of their products, such as low-fat ice cream and "light" soups. These efforts have slashed 6.4 trillion calories from packaged foods sold in 2012, a study finds. But does that calorie drop help shrink Americans' growing waistlines?