On the twelfth day of Xmas, Ask Me Another gave to me: A bunch of pop culture math questions that weren't on your SATs. For example, what do you get when you add Jay-Z's "Problems" to Three Dog Night's "Loneliest Number"? You'll find calculus is a lot less scary when it involves your favorite band in the game "Replacement Math."
Ever dream of moving to a foreign country and becoming a journalist? Anjan Sundaram did just that. He left a life as a mathematician in America, bought a one-way ticket to the Congo, and started writing. NPR's Rachel Martin talks with Sundaram about his book Stringer: A Reporter's Journey in the Congo, which chronicles what he saw there.
Author Kim Stanley Robinson knows that most science fiction fans think the best books were written in their youth — whenever that was. But in his case, he says, it's more than nostalgia: the late '60s and early '70s were a spectacular time for science fiction. He recommends three classics from that fruitful era.
In 1968, the Museum of Modern Art bought his painting LOVE and made him a star. It became a sculpture, a stamp, greeting cards — and it obscured the rest of his career. Now the first major retrospective of Indiana's work has begun a national tour at the Whitney Museum of American Art.
There's a lot to look forward to in the upcoming year, including collections about religious faith, books that push the boundaries of what we can call poetry and some poems that are too hot for your average English class. Critic Craig Morgan Teicher walks us through the highlights of the year ahead.
Chang-Rae Lee is an award-winning author best known for his novels Native Speaker and The Surrendered. NPR's Rachel Martin speaks with Lee about his latest book On Such a Full Sea, a futuristic dystopian novel set in a declining America that's been repopulated by Chinese immigrant workers.
A new book by critic Olivia Laing explores the link between alcohol and writing through the commentaries of famous writers who were themselves alcoholics. Fresh Air's Maureen Corrigan calls Laing's readings "exquisite," and says she wisely avoids "any one-size-fits-all conclusions about the bond between the pen and the bottle."
Just as the passengers aboard the MV Akademik Shokalskiy thought they had escaped the Antarctic ice, word came that the Chinese ship that rescued them may be stuck as well. Poet Jynne Martin recommends a book to put the situation in perspective, one that tells the story of an expedition that was doomed from the start.