Kindergarten teacher and "Genius Grant" recipient Vivian Paley is the author of many books about the stories children invent and the way they play, and what it's about. At a time when schools are cutting back on having a doll corner, she tells the story of a child in her class who was sort of saved by a doll, and the story he told about the doll.
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.
More of Alexa Junge and how Moss Hart's autobiography changed her life. She followed his path, learned specific lessons, and had a vision of him that was absolutely clear—until she met his widow.
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.
Reporter Jeremy Goldstein tells the story of a man who had many books change his life, even though he'd never read them.
Writer Meghan Daum goes to DeSmet, South Dakota, where Laura Ingalls Wilder lived and where many of the books she wrote in the Little House on the Prairie series are set. It turns out to be remarkably similar to what Meghan had pictured before she went: The people seem like they are genuinely trying to hold on to the values Laura Ingalls Wilder writes about in her books.
Nicole Graev, an assistant to the editor at a publishing house, needs to know if her job as an assistant is actually an educational career step or a waste of time. The things she's been doing as an assistant—answering phones, faxing—is entirely different than the skills she needs for the job she really wants: her boss's.
This story is part memoir, part philosophical inquiry into the nature of not doing things. Writer Geoff Dyer had always wanted to write a biography about D.H.
What happens when a dad tries too hard to protect his child from disappointment and instead enthrall the child. With the best of intentions, New Yorker writer Lawrence Weschler did all that, and in the process accidentally broke his daughter's heart.
The story of The Arabian Nights is actually 350 or 400 stories, depending on how you count them. Many of the stories are stories of impossible love, including the very last story in the whole epic tale—the story of Jasmine and Almond.
Host Ira Glass with Cornell University Professor Richard Klein, on how seeing isn't just seeing. Seeing implies a kind of power over someone else.
This is a story about an odd breach of trust between father and child, done unintentionally, and what happens next. Lawrence Weschler is an author and journalist. He and his 11-year-old daughter Sara tell the tale.
David Sedaris tells true stories of photographers who try to take pictures of him which will make him seem more "wacky" than in fact he is, interlaced with a fictional depiction of what one of these photographers is like.
A Hollywood TV producer tries to convince a church of evangelical Christians to sell out a member of their own congregation. Matt Malloy reads. He was one of the stars of the acclaimed independent film In the Company of Men.Also in this act: Dickens vs.
Richard Lyons, from the band Negativland, tells the story of a Xeroxed book he put together for a few friends. It's photos of smashed-up cars in a junkyard.
Beau O'Reilly tells the story of a man who tried to run for President as a utopian nudist.
A 17 year old tricks an entire resort town into believing he is someone he is not. By Jack Hitt and Christopher Cerf.
Dishwasher Pete on Letterman.
Michael Ventura, who grew up Sicilian in New York, says that as a kid he thought Sinatra was in his family. His book The Death of Frank Sinatra is not really about Sinatra.
This American Life producer Nancy Updike on a family where the father was one kind of sissy and the son was another kind, and how the family was destroyed despite the fact that no one wanted it to be.
Alix Spiegel tells the story of her friend Jayna, who made a Faustian bargain at 11 years old.
Daniel Pinkwater reads his children's picture book Devil in the Drain. (4 minutes)
A first-grader explains to host Ira Glass how bullies become bullies. His explanation: They read a book on how to be a bully.