In his debut novel, A Constellation of Vital Phenomena, Anthony Marra transports readers to Chechnya, a war-torn Russian republic that has long sought independence.
The lyrical and heart-breaking novel begins in 2004 when a doctor watches as Russian soldiers abduct his neighbor, who has been accused of aiding Chechen rebels. He later rescues the neighbor's 8-year-old daughter, then colludes with another doctor to form an unlikely family amid the daily violence.
Pearl S. Buck emerged into literary stardom in 1931 when she published a book called The Good Earth. That story of family life in a Chinese village won the novelist international acclaim, the Pulitzer and, eventually, a Nobel Prize. Her upbringing in China as the American daughter of missionaries served as inspiration for that novel and many others; by her death in 1973, Buck had written more than 100 books, including 43 novels.
In the classic American story, opportunity is always in front of you. You finish school, find a job, buy a home and start a family; it's a rosy dreamscape.
But that world is one-dimensional. Income inequality is just about as American as baseball and apple pie. And though the economy has improved in the past few years, the unemployment rate for black Americans, now 13.2 percent, is about double that for white Americans.
A massive storm system has dumped more than 10 inches of rain over San Antonio, leaving the Texas city flooded and at a standstill.
Texas Public Radio's Ryan Loyd reports the area is still under a flash flood emergency. Ryan filed this report for our Newscast unit:
"Some people didn't have time to make it to safety in rain-drenched San Antonio. A woman died when raging flood waters swept her away in her car. So much rain fell that it floated a city bus. Major highways are completely submerged.
Weekends on All Things Considered host Jacki Lyden speaks with Benjamin Wittes of the Brookings Institution about the Espionage Act. This Word War I-era legislation has been used more frequently in recent times to prosecute government employees who leak information to the press, but the limits set by the act are poorly defined for our modern age.
It was cold and rainy today in Boston. Still, thousands of runners laced up their shoes and headed to Kenmore Square.
That's the site of the final mile marker for the Boston Marathon. On April 15, when two bombs exploded near the finish line, thousands of runners could not finish the most illustrious road race in the world.
President Obama speaks at the commencement ceremony for the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., on Friday. The president urged new graduates to exhibit honor and courage in tackling incidents of sexual assault as they assume leadership positions in the military.
Sam Bompas (left) and Harry Parr made names for themselves with spectacular gelatin creations.
Credit Courtesy of Sam Bompas
Boaters on the Palm House pond at London's Kew Gardens. Bompas and Parr's pineapple island is visible in the background.
Credit Andrew McRobb / Kew
London's famed St. Paul's Cathedral, re-created in Jell-O.
Credit Greta Ilieva / Courtesy of Sam Bompas
The dynamic food art duo surrounded the SS Great Britain, a British naval ship built in the 1800s, with 55 tons of gelatin â the lime green color was inspired by the limes that sailors ate to combat scurvy. The installation is seen here illuminated from below at night.
These may sound like the makings of a Roald Dahl children's book (he of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory fame). But at London's Kew Gardens, visitors can now immerse themselves in such fantastic-sounding experiences like rowing down a blue-dyed boating lake to the aforementioned island, which features a 15-foot replica pineapple towering over a banana grotto.