Arts and Culture

A building at the Zoma Museum

In Addis Ababa, curator Meskerem Assegued and artist Elias Sime have created Zoma Museum as a visionary model of an urban future, using ancient Ethiopian building techniques. They say modern development can be much more than concrete high-rises.More

A moment on the street in Addis Ababa.

Ghanaian post-colonial theorist Ato Quayson thinks a lot about globalization, diaspora and transnationalism. Because he’s a literary scholar, he decided to "read" a single street — Oxford Street in Accra — as a study of contemporary urban Africa.More

"The most important colour in alchemy was red. It was a symbol of life, blood and the Sun."

Alchemy left its mark on Prague — and on our producer, Charles Monroe-Kane, who lived there as a young man. He says the Czechs are still uncovering alchemical secrets.More

Jericho Brown

As a black, gay poet, Jericho Brown considers it “hilarious” that he discovered sex through one of the whitest writers in American history — John Updike. More

Tommy Orange

Tommy Orange says he wasn't much of a reader in his early years. But a chance encounter with an absurd, experimental novel by John Kennedy Toole showed him a path to writing a novel that was truly his own.More

Author Susan Orlean on how the worst library fire in American history brought an entire city together to save 700,000 books.More

girl reading

New York Times Book Review Editor Pamela Paul on why reading — and more importantly, a deep connection to when, why, where and how of what we read — is so important at every age. More

Piles of books

Who says reading has to be a solitary experience? Producer Shannon Henry Kleiber brings us along to her yearly reading ritual: a gathering of super smart, funny women who make an entire reading plan for the next 12 months — together.More

Anne Lamott

Writer Anne Lamott says that the children’s classic made her feel like there was room in the world for imaginative, adventurous girls who just might wear mismatched knee socks. More

The Museum of Everyday Life is in Clare Dolan’s barn.

"Museum of Everyday Life" founder and curator Clare Dolan calls it "an ongoing, revolutionary experiment" — a celebration of "the mysterious delight embedded in the banal but beloved objects we touch everyday.More

whale at House on the Rock

When Angelo visited the House on the Rock for the firs time, at first he saw a testament to one man's obsession and demented imagination. But then he started to think — does he have his own bizarre collection of stuff in his home?More

washing machine in a house.

In her new book, author Eula Biss reckons with a new phase in her life, moving from an apartment in Chicago to the first house her family owns. While that dream is about as American as the proverbial apple pie, Biss ruminates on the reality that it’s an impossible dream for many people.More

lightbulb in dark

There is nothing fun about lying awake at 3 a.m. But in her book "Insomnia," writer Marina Benjamin argues for embracing it.More

cooked greens

John Givens invites us into his kitchen where he cooks his family's traditional greens.More

Lithium

Poet Shira Erlichman say overcoming the shame of your diagnosis goes a long way toward treating it. Naming the illness — even naming the meds used to treat it — can make all the difference.More

From the Codex Seraphinianus

The "Codex Seraphinianus" has a magical air to it, full of bizarre illustrations and beautiful calligraphy in a made-up language. Publisher Charles Miers told Charles why he published the book, and why trying to understand it isn't really the point.More

ipad reading

Are we losing the ability to read difficult books? Cognitive scientist Maryanne Wolf says we need to develop a "bi-literate reading brain" so that we can switch back and forth between the deep reading of print and the skimming of electronic texts.More

Ross Gay

In a dark world, poet Ross Gay recommends "stacking delights." Share what you love, he says — not what you hate.More

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