NPR Politics presents the Lunchbox List: our favorite campaign news and stories curated from NPR and around the Web in digestible bites (100 words or less!). Look for it every weekday afternoon from now until the conventions.

Convention Countdown

The Republican National Convention is in 4 days in Cleveland.

The Democratic National Convention is in 11 days in Philadelphia.

NASA has released the first picture of Jupiter taken since the Juno spacecraft went into orbit around the planet on July 4.

The picture was taken on July 10. Juno was 2.7 million miles from Jupiter at the time. The color image shows some of the atmospheric features of the planet, including the giant red spot. You can also see three of Jupiter's moons in the picture: Io, Europa and Ganymede.

The Senate is set to approve a bill intended to change the way police and health care workers treat people struggling with opioid addictions.

My husband and I once took great pleasure in preparing meals from scratch. We made pizza dough and sauce. We baked bread. We churned ice cream.

Then we became parents.

Now there are some weeks when pre-chopped veggies and a rotisserie chicken are the only things between us and five nights of Chipotle.

Parents are busy. For some of us, figuring out how to get dinner on the table is a daily struggle. So I reached out to food experts, parents and nutritionists for help. Here is some of their (and my) best advice for making weeknight meals happen.

"O Canada," the national anthem of our neighbors up north, comes in two official versions — English and French. They share a melody, but differ in meaning.

Let the record show: neither version of those lyrics contains the phrase "all lives matter."

But at the 2016 All-Star Game, the song got an unexpected edit.

At Petco Park in San Diego, one member of the Canadian singing group The Tenors — by himself, according to the other members of the group — revised the anthem.

School's out, and a lot of parents are getting through the long summer days with extra helpings of digital devices.

How should we feel about that?

Police in Baton Rouge say they have arrested three people who stole guns with the goal of killing police officers. They are still looking for a fourth suspect in the alleged plot, NPR's Greg Allen reports.

"Police say the thefts were at a Baton Rouge pawn shop early Saturday morning," Greg says. "One person was arrested at the scene. Since then, two others have been arrested and six of the eight stolen handguns have been recovered. Police are still looking for one other man."

A 13-year-old boy is among those arrested, Greg says.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit

After an international tribunal invalidated Beijing's claims to the South China Sea, Chinese authorities have declared in no uncertain terms that they will be ignoring the ruling.

The Philippines brought the case to the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, objecting to China's claims to maritime rights in the disputed waters. The tribunal agreed that China had no legal authority to claim the waters and was infringing on the sovereign rights of the Philippines.

Donald Trump is firing back at Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg after she disparaged him in several media interviews. He tweeted late Tuesday that she "has embarrassed all" with her "very dumb political statements" about the candidate. Trump ended his tweet with "Her mind is shot - resign!":


This Week's 5 Must-Read Stories From NPR Books

Sep 14, 2012

Once A Cheater...

One of the most interesting books I've read so far this year has been This Is How You Lose Her, by Junot Diaz. And there's a reason it's such a well constructed read — as NPR's Steve Inskeep pointed out — it took Diaz 16 years to write.

The book is made up of interconnected short stories, and the protagonist of most of them is Yunior — a young man who Diaz describes as "longing for love." But his tendency to cheat on girlfriends is making lasting relationships impossible. Each breakup is excruciating, and we ache with Yunior. It's Diaz's way of representing heartbreak, he tells Inskeep.

And Yunior can't stop. Over the course of the book, he's unfaithful multiple times, once with as many as 50 other women. It's a strange exercise in feminism, but as Diaz puts it, for men, "part of our journey, is... growing in a way that allows us not only to imagine women as fully human, but to imagine the things that we do to women, that we often do blithely, without thinking... as actually deeply troubling and as hurting another human being."

Girl Power

Junot Diaz's characters struggle with the minutiae of relationships — they have problems on a personal scale. Author Hanna Rosin is also focused on men and women, but her argument is much wider in scope.

"Men are at their lowest labor force participation rate since 1948," Rosin says, and those jobs that were lost have been added in the health care and service industries. That means that it's increasingly women supporting their families.

It's a "tragedy" for men, she says. What will they do now that it's so much harder to make a living doing "brawn jobs?" While she was researching the book she recognized how hard the changes were going to be — she said she wished the factories could just come back.

To survive in the changing economic climate Rosin explains that men will have to answer "the million dollar question:" "why women have heard the call of the changing economy? Why it is that they've been more flexible than men have been?"

If any men can figure that one out — let the rest of us know. We'll be waiting.

Revisiting Iraq

There is a group of men — three at least — who have found a way to deal with a difficult situation. In this piece NPR correspondent Quil Lawrence profiles three soldiers who have written about their experiences in Iraq.

Brian Castner was part of a bomb-diffusing squad, and the title of his book, The Long Walk, references the moment "when you put on the bomb suit, and a single person has to walk up to the IED alone," he says. It's an impossibly tough job, but he found that coming home wasn't much easier. Paranoia overwhelmed him. Eventually he started writing down his experiences. "I just knew I had a story that needed to come out," he explains.

Castner wasn't the only soldier who felt troubled when he came home. In Kevin Powers' book, The Yellow Birds, he "stitches together scenes from the war and an uneasy homecoming." This book is fiction, but that allows Powers to "[make] the story more intense than anything he experienced in Iraq."

It's possible to feel a whole range of emotions coming home from a war — but one of the strangest that I've ever heard of is "fobbit guilt." That's what David Abrams had after a relatively cushy tour at a Forward Operating Base, or FOB. Abrams "was on the Liberty-Victory complex" in Baghdad, where he often thought to himself, "well, I'm sitting here at the desk, I'm comfortable, I'm in air conditioning, and they're out there in those conditions." Abrams adds, "it really creates some conflict inside you."

Finding Franz

Let's get away from the real world for a minute. We can let Tom Coraghessan Boyle, better known as T.C., be our guide.

For our series, PG-13, we've been asking authors to tell us about that moment when they made the jump from kid stories to adult literature, and about the novels that pushed them there.

For Boyle, who says his reading had been "largely confined to liner notes," the magical moment was when he found Kafka. Those stories with their "hint of sadomasochistic titillation," were revelatory for him. They were "so far out there they seemed to speak directly to my teen impulse to shatter every window and crash through every wall."

It's a lesson that many kids learn at this age – that books can be rebellious, sexy, and even "subversive."

Magic And Wizards And Dragons, Oh My

From the "far out" we move on to the just plain wacky. In this exclusive excerpt from Jasper Fforde's new novel, The Last Dragonslayer, we are introduced to 15-year-old Jennifer Strange and her world of wizards, beasts and rapidly-fading magic.

Jennifer is a competent teenager, and since the disappearance of her boss, she's been running Kazam Mystical Arts Management, and managing the outsized personalities of the witches and wizards who work there. That includes Lady Mawgon, who used to be a Master Sorceress, "once-venerable Dennis Price" and Wizard Moobin — all of whom have reduced to making ends meet with odd jobs since magical power is draining away from their world.

Read the excerpt, not only for its sense of imagination, but for the inventive way it portrays the magical economy on the brink of collapse. After a while it starts to feel like a scenario we're familiar with.

Rosie Friedman is a member of the NPR Books team.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit