Arts and Culture

Alice Walker

Alice Walker recommends Richard Yates' novel following an advertising executive whose seemingly successful life quietly fractures under the pressure of mundanity, alcoholism, anger, and recklessness. She says she was drawn to the book because Yates' world was so different from hers.More

Antigone

Writer, classicist, and stand-up comic Natalie Haynes makes a strong case for reading ancient Greek and Roman literature in the modern age.More

Circe

Circe, the all-powerful goddess from Homer’s “The Odyssey,” is known for turning men into swine, and for her mastery of potions. The artwork “Circe,” imagined by Romare Bearden, is a black woman surrounded by mystical animals and a skull, wearing West African garb with a calm but defiant look on her face.More

Tree

Richard Powers’ “The Overstory” is overturning a lot of conventional thinking. It’s been called “visionary” and “monumental” — and it earned him the 2019 Pulitzer Prize in fiction. Though human characters shape the plot of this 500-page epic, the real heroes are trees.More

Phillip Pullman

Philip Pullman, the celebrated English writer has just written a 630-page sequel brimming with contentious ideas about religious tyranny, the loss of imagination and the nature of consciousness — all in a book that’s marketed to children.More

Tommy Orange

Tommy Orange — author of 2019 PEN/Hemingway Award winner “There, There” — says he wasn't much of a reader in his early years. But a chance encounter with an absurd, experimental novel by John Kennedy Toole showed him a path to writing a novel that was truly his own.More

Covalanas panel in the Bernifal Cave.

There's no better way to get a feel for the origins of the human mind than to go and see ancient cave art. Anthropologist Christine Desdemaines-Hugon took Steve and Anne to two French caves with paintings dating back more than 10,000 years.More

Horror

Writer Gemma Files' Dangerous Idea? There are upsides to embracing horror — spending time playing out negative scenarios in fiction can lead to a more positive life.More

haunted burger

Listener Jonathan Blyth sent us a ghost story that might make you think twice about what — or whom — is on your plate.More

president ghost

A ghost story for the election season from listener Eric Van Vleet.More

demon lake

Listener Sophia Derbes sent us this ghost story about a boy, a girl and the divide between them.More

texting people in the dark

Could being digitized be a way for all of us to become immortal? Maybe, but not in a way we would particularly enjoy, as this story from listener Mark Pantoja illustrates.More

haunted grocery store

Dan Chaon’s collection of short stories, "Stay Awake," is horror. But horror in a way that many of us can relate to. It’s stories of people who are alive but feel like ghosts.More

cave paintings

Renowned filmmaker Werner Herzog was awe-struck when he saw the Chauvet cave paintings dating back 32,000 years. "You can see clearly that this is the beginning of modern man," he says.More

Monster Dogs

Kirsten Bakis first wrote her story of biomechanically-enhanced, hyper-intelligent dogs 20 years ago, and it’s been a cult favorite ever since. So why create a post-modern Frankenstein story with dogs at the heart of the tale?More

Carolyn Smith

Could you trade the convenience of instant-purchase online clothing stores for a wardrobe you made yourself? Carolyn Smith went for an even bigger challenge: only wearing clothing she made by hand for a full year.More

Avery Trufelman

Avery Trufelman hosts "Articles of Interest," a six-part podcast from "99 Percent Invisible" about some iconic items of clothing — from blue jeans to Hawaiian shirts to pockets. Anne wanted to know how that work connects to what she wears every day.More

The many Angelo styles

Choosing what to put on your body is more than just taking something off a hanger and praying it fits. When you get dressed in the morning, you’re constructing an identity. That’s complicated, as producer Angelo Bautista discovered.More

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