The story of a book that changed a family's life, but only temporarily and not for the better. David Sedaris describes what happens when he finds a dirty book in the woods and shares it with his sisters.
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Students in a French language class in Paris try to explain holiday customs to a woman from Morocco, and somehow everything they describe sounds utterly improbable. A true story from writer David Sedaris, recorded before a live audience at a reading for City Arts and Lectures in San Francisco.
One of the most powerful forces in a room can be the thing that is unspoken between people. Five writers—Scott Carrier, David Sedaris, Sarah Vowell, Brady Udall and Lan Samantha Chang—give us case examples: stories when they felt the presence of something unspoken.
It can be frightening to get lost, but what if you could adapt the thrill of being lost, the pleasure of being lost, to safe parameters? Just get a little lost. Is it even possible? Or is that playing with fire, where you're sure to get burned? Writer David Sedaris has these thoughts.
David Rakoff takes us inside the world of a Greek family-owned ice cream parlour, and what he learned about the husband and wife and son who owned it...and what he didn't figure out until later.
Because of a shortage of math and science teachers, New York City decided to import instructors from Austria. Then the Austrians started to see things about this country that few Americans ever get to see.
Building everything that comprises modern life—constructing cities and suburbs both—means trampling nature. And that bothers some people.
There are thousands of voices passing through your body right now on radio waves—signals from cellular phones and cordless phones, military transmissions and baby monitors. You're not supposed to listen in on these.
When Alexa was seven, she started going through her grandfather's books. Her grandfather was a playwright and teacher, and through the books—and especially through his notes in the margins—she entered the world of 1930's American theater.
Amy McGuiness flies tourists to the North Pole who pay thousands of dollars for the privilege. When you get to the Pole, it looks exactly like all the other ice you've been staring at for hours.
Host Ira Glass talks with Stephen Nissenbaum, author of a history called The Battle for Christmas, which explains when people started believing in a Santa who arrives Christmas Eve carrying presents. It was in 1822, and incredibly, the poem that created our modern idea of Santa is still around, known by heart by tens of millions.
Unlike Reykjavik, some cities don't coddle citizens in their idiosyncratic beliefs about nature. We hear New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani react (with vehemence) to a man who believes New Yorkers should have the right to keep ferrets in their homes.
John Bowe decided to visit a friend of his who was in the peace corp in Mali, in West Africa. But he chose the most difficult possible route to get there.
The story of how an understanding of Bible prophecy by the FBI could have prevented the tragedy at Waco at the Branch Davidians compound.
A campaign diary from writer Michael Lewis from four years ago, about a politician you've heard a lot about: John McCain...and the story of a moment when the opposite of normal politics became normal politics.
Host Ira Glass with Rory Evans, who describes the day her father fired his own mother from their family business, a machine shop called Evans Industries.
When Anne Staggs started to fall for an inmate named Charles in the Texas prison system, she was up against odds as daunting as they ever get for two people. It was against the rules, possibly dangerous, and could have gotten her fired.
Over two decades ago, not long after he got out of Texas prison for robbery, Ray Hill got a job at his local public radio station, KPFT in Houston. He started a weekly program about Texas prisons that's now the leading muckraking voice in the state when it comes to exposing graft and corruption in prison facilities there.
What happens when you go into a place—in this case a prison—where there are all sorts of codes about what you're never supposed to say...and you say every one of them. Rick Reynolds tells a story from his one-man show (and CD) All Grown Up and No Place to Go, about performing stand-up comedy at a maximum security prison just before Christmas a few years ago.
We begin our show with the most idealistic notion of Santa. Mike Paterniti heads on a quest across the country, looking for something we've lost, when it comes to Santa.
A Walter Mondale-voting, gay-rights-supporting unrepentant liberal signs up as a Republican party member—and ends up a party functionary—a delegate to the state Republican convention...where he wreaks havoc. Dan Savage tells the story.
What happens to you if you stay in sales all your life? 76-year-old salesman "Diamond" Jimmy Roy has sold everything from used cars to antiques to jewelery. Independent producer Dan Collison shadowed Jimmy Roy in his native Braddock, Pennsylvania, to talk to him about the philosophy that's kept him going as a salesman for over fifty years.
Photographer Joel Meyerowitz decided to go on a last big trip with his father Hy, who has Alzheimer's. Joel also brought his own son.
Jackie and Kenny Wharton were kids in the tiny town of Canalou, Missouri, off of old Highway 61. They moved away for 40 years but always dreamed of moving back.