This month, NPR's Backseat Book Club hits the high seas for an adventurous novel called Heart of a Samurai by Margi Preus. The book begins in 1841, and is based on the sprawling true-life tale of Manjiro, whose destiny was almost determined before birth as a son in a long line of fishermen. But a storm blew his life on a new course, and he became one of the first Japanese to set foot in America.
Love is in the air in the seventh installment of the Wimpy Kid series. <em></em>"There's so much humor to be mined in the world of middle school romance," Kinney says. <em>The Third Wheel</em> will be published on Nov. 13. <a href="http://www.wimpykid.com/">Click here to visit the Wimpy Kid website.</a>
"Let me just say for the record that I think middle school is the dumbest idea ever invented," laments <em>Wimpy Kid </em>protagonist Greg Heffley. "You got kids like me who haven't hit their growth spurt yet mixed in with gorillas who need to shave twice a day." <a href="http://n.pr/LiWSpO">Click here to read an excerpt from Diary of a Wimpy Kid<em>.</em></a>
Credit Jeff Kinney / Abrams
Jeff Kinney is an author, cartoonist and game designer. He lives in southern Massachusetts and has two sons. <a href="http://www.npr.org/contact/backseatbookclubdiary.html">Click here to submit your questions for Kinney</a>.
The next installment in NPR's Backseat Book Club heads back to where this all started: Diary of a Wimpy Kid, by Jeff Kinney. It was our 2009 interview with Kinney that sparked the idea for a special book club dedicated to kids. On the day before Kinney arrived at our studios, we asked our youngest listeners to send us the questions they would put to the author of the blockbuster series. We were floored by the response. An avalanche of emails hit our inbox from kids all over the country.
Poised to triumphantly clinch the Republican nomination for president, Romney instead was upstaged Tuesday by supporter Donald Trump's new birther-on-steroids shtick that stole the headlines and the candidate's big moment.
Then on Thursday, ready to embarrass President Obama by holding a "surprise" press event in front of Solyndra, the Obama-touted California solar energy company that failed after getting a $535 million government loan guarantee, Romney was upstaged yet again.
A student in Pamplona, holding a sign in the Basque language, protests cuts Thursday in education and other public services by the government. Spain's financial position is weakening and there are fears the country will need a bailout.
Spain's borrowing costs hit record highs this week and European stock markets have slumped over fears Madrid can't afford the price tag required to prop up its ailing banks. It's looking ever more likely the country will need some kind of bailout.
After watching Greece from afar for years, many Spaniards now believe Spain's number is up.
A tourist in Madrid might wonder where the crisis is. Traffic is heavy and the tapas bars are packed.
But listen in on some of the conversations, and it's clear that Spaniards are scared.
The school year's winding down, meaning teenagers around the country will soon be trying to pull in some extra cash scooping ice cream or manning those kiosks at the mall.
But with the job market still weak, teens are facing stiff competition landing summer jobs. And while the downturn has hit young job seekers particularly hard, it's not just the lingering effects of the Great Recession working against them: the drop-off in teen summer hiring actually began long before 2007.
Bob Boilen and I are taking our show on the road! It's time we busted out of this two-bit joint and mingled with the world's great unwashed. So here's what we're doing: This summer, we'll visit different cities across the country and bring people together to hear and talk about great music.
Look for guest appearances from public radio's galaxy of stars, as well as surprise performances from our favorite artists. It's our version of a "listening party," and we want to see you there. Here's where we're going and when (more dates to be announced):
Old Faithful geyser, erupting just about every 90 minutes: for many years, this geological icon, and the camera-toting tourists who watch its super-heated water spew skyward, constituted my mental imagery of Yellowstone National Park. Sure, I knew bears and bison wandered this pretty wilderness area, too. All very nice, but I was in no rush to visit.
Sometimes I can get things wrong. Really, really wrong.
Six years ago, I finally went to Yellowstone. I've returned twice and the region's beauty lingers in my dreams.
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The novel "Gone with the Wind" by Margaret Mitchell is an American classic. As with any great book, it inspires wildly different responses from readers. It's also the subject of our latest PG-13, where we hear from authors about the books that introduced them to the world of adult ideas.