When Michelle Obama's great-great-great grandmother was 8 years old, her life underwent a dramatic change.
Melvinia Shields was a slave who grew up at a South Carolina estate with a relatively large community of slaves she knew well. But then she was moved to a small farm in northern Georgia where she was one of only three slaves; most white people in the area didn't own any.
Peabody-winning filmmaker Ian Cheney tackles a rather intangible subject in his latest film: light pollution. Host David Greene speaks with Cheney about The City Dark and what people lose when they can no longer see the stars.
So much of the news out of Europe these days is about debt and countries struggling to pay their bills. Well, there is a bit of calm in that storm, and, of course, it's in Paris. There's no Greek-style austerity in France. And as Eleanor Beardsley tells us, in the City of Light, people are still enjoying the good life.
Barring a massive shake-up of the Billboard charts — and American tastes — "Little Mistakes" will not be the song of the summer. But that's not for lack of trying.
The song is the lead single off Brick and Mortar, the latest album by Watershed — a band from Columbus, Ohio, that most people have never heard of. But they have been playing dingy bars, tiny clubs and even the occasional arena for 27 years.
That career has inspired a new memoir called Hitless Wonder: A Life in Minor League Rock and Roll, written by one of the band's founders, Joe Oestreich.
From the maple sugar moose heads of New England to the chile brittle of the Southwest, from the Almond Roca of the Pacific Northwest to the key lime coconut patties of Florida, America loves its candy.
On-Air Challenge: Every answer is the name of a Major League Baseball team. You are given anagrams of their names, each with one letter added, and must name the teams. For example, given "dress," the answer would be "Reds."
Last Week's Challenge: Think of a familiar three-word phrase that might be used in poker and add an "E" at the end and you'll get a two-word phrase that's common in football. (The spaces in between the words changes in the two phrases but the letters stay in the same order.)
Billy Lynn is a 19-year-old college dropout living in the small Texas town where he grew up. After he's arrested for trashing the car of his sister's ex, he's given two choices: face jail time or enlist in the Army.
He chooses the Army. And Iraq.
Author Ben Fountain's debut novel, Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk, is the story of what happens to Lynn after he joins Bravo Company in the early years of the Iraq war.
A set of installations by the contemporary British ceramicist Edmund de Waal has gone on exhibit at a stately home deep in the English countryside. If de Waal's name sounds familiar, it might be because of his 2010 book, The Hare with Amber Eyes, which traces the fortunes of the artist's once-wealthy Jewish forebears. The book itself set off a chain of events that led to the exhibition.
Now, to our occasional WEEKEND EDITION series Taste of Summer.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "HOT FUN IN THE SUMMERTIME")
SLY AND THE FAMILY STONE: (Singing) Hot fun in the summertime.
SIMON: A few weeks ago, Alton Brown shared some grilling secrets with us. Today, it'll be ice cream. Whether plain old standard vanilla, or artisanal organic squash blossom rhubarb poblano crunch - a flavor I just made up, by the way - summer is the season of ice cream. And so today, we head to the Pumphouse Creamery in Minneapolis.
More than 10,000 athletes are headed to London this summer to run, swim, cycle, shoot, fence and compete in the events of the Olympic Games. Each of them has a story — what they've won, what they've lost and what they've sacrificed just to get their chance to get there.
Chris Cleave's latest novel, Gold, tells the stories of three world-ranked cyclists — Zoe, Jack and Kate — who are training for their last chance at Olympic gold. Zoe and Kate are friends as well as rivals; Jack and Kate are raising an 8-year-old who suffers from leukemia.