I've loved Patricia Volk's writing ever since I read her evocative 2002 memoir, Stuffed, which told the story of her grandfather — who introduced pastrami to America — as well as the rest of her family, who fed New Yorkers for more than 100 years in their various restaurants. Stuffed, like the best food memoirs, served up so much more on its plate than just a bagel and a schmear. So when I picked up Volk's new memoir, Shocked, my appetite was already whetted for the humor of her writing, its emotional complexity and smarts.
Laurie Edwards has a chronic respiratory disease so rare that she's met only one other person who has it — and that was through the Internet. In and out of hospitals her entire life, Edwards, now 32, wasn't accurately diagnosed until she was 23. Before they correctly identified her condition — primary ciliary dyskinesia (PCD), which is similar in some ways to cystic fibrosis — doctors thought she might be an atypical asthma patient, that she wasn't taking her medications correctly, or that her symptoms were perhaps brought on by stress.
In his new one-man show, American Utopias, award-winning monologist Mike Daisey ties together three unlikely places: Disney World, Zuccotti Park — the home base of the Occupy Wall Street movement — and the annual arts event Burning Man.
"I love how each of these communities are these temporary things, but in that world, the people are creating a dreamscape for themselves," he tells NPR's Neal Conan. "And I thought it was a really a valuable way of looking at that phenomenon."
The show runs through April 21, at the Woolly Mammoth Theatre in Washington, D.C.
Matilda is a well-loved book by Roald Dahl, who's been called the greatest children's storyteller of the 20th century. It's about a much-put-upon little girl with tremendous gifts. Now, Matilda has been turned into a Broadway musical.
The British import, which won last year's prestigious Olivier Award and features a revolving cast of four little girls in the lead role, opens in New York tonight.
And we have the latest in our series, Muses and Metaphor. We're celebrating National Poetry Month by hearing your poetic tweets. Poems at 140 characters or less that you send us on Twitter.
Today's poem comes from Chris Johnston of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He writes and tweets under the name Boinkaz. Our series curator Holly Bass says she likes this one because it reminds her of her first trip to Istanbul, Turkey earlier this year. Here's the tweet.
The Mountaintop is an award-winning play about the night Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. died. But some critics don't love playwright Katori Hall's portrayal of the civil rights icon as a regular guy. Hall tells host Michel Martin why she found it important to focus on the man, not the myth.
In the 1920s, a man passing through Washington, D.C., noticed something about the city in September: It was sweltering, and there were few places to seek relief. He figured you could make a lot of money selling ice-cold drinks.
That first business venture set J.W. "Bill" Marriott Jr. on a road to riches.