Two women attempt very different transformations. One wants to become a mother.
Ira talks to Australian novelist Gerald Murnane. He’s never left Australia.
Actor Alex Karpovsky reads a short story by Etgar Keret, from his book, "The Bus Driver Who Wanted To Be God." (4 1/2 minutes)
A story about God and extraterrestrials, told by Elna Baker.
My Own Private U.F.O.
Richard Klein of Cornell University explains that the way we view love really began with love poems in the 13th century—an illusion.
A Christmas poem from David Rakoff, about holidays in The Big City. Rakoff's the author of, most recently, Half Empty.
Julia Sweeney, a Catholic, tells the story of how her faith began to crack after reading a most alarming book...called the Bible. Her story is excerpted from her play, "Letting Go of God," which ran in Los Angeles.
A story from David Sedaris about how the movie The End of the Affair almost ended his relationship. He argues that being in love sometimes means not saying what's going through your head.
David Sedaris outlines an experiment he conducted with fluids and a tube and a bag. The result: The Stadium Pal.
We hear excerpts from two autobiographies which each describe the same moment, but in very different ways. Elia Kazan and Arthur Miller agree that they met with each other in 1952, around the time Kazan named the names of his old friends to the House Committee on Un-American Activities.
A story of faith lost, thanks to a book about extraterrestrials and a Rabbi.
Host Ira Glass talks with Francine Pascal, who's written or invented the plot lines for over 700 books for teenagers in the various Sweet Valley High series....Sweet Valley Kids, Sweet Valley Twins, Sweet Valley University, Sweet Valley Senior Year. She explains why a prom story is a must for teen movies and TV shows.
Ira talks with Jonathan Morris, the amazingly funny and charming editor of the website Gone and Forgotten, an Internet archive of failed comic book characters. Jonathan explains what makes a new superhero succeed, and what makes him tank.
Sarah Vowell visits four Presidential libraries on a fact-finding tour for...President Clinton. Not that he asked her.
Host Ira Glass describes a children's book from the 1970s called Nobody's Family Is Going to Change by Louise Fitzhugh, the author of Harriet the Spy. On the surface, it sounds like a rather menacing title for a kids' book. But in fact, the story is about how kids can finally find peace if they stop hoping that their parents will ever be any different.
A truly remarkable children's book just came back in print: The Lonely Doll, by Dare Wright. Jean Nathan tells the story of the book and its author, and how the author's life came to resemble something from her book.
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.