Arts and Culture

Konya, Turkey.

Orhan Pamuk is Turkey’s most famous writer and a cultural ambassador for Turkey around the world.  He talks with Steve Paulson about his novel “Snow,” in which a secular poet is confronted by Islamic fundamentalists in a provincial town.More

Junot Diaz recommends Samuel R. Delany's reverse-chronology novel that captures the tragic story of a closeted poet who struggles to reckon with his desires.More

David Foster Wallace’s masterpiece — Infinite Jest — is famously difficult to read. Colleen Leahy and Makini Allwood are climbing the literary mountain of a book, and sharing their experience on a podcast called "And But So."More

woman on beach

It's summertime and the living is easy — but the reading shouldn't be. "To The Best Of Our Knowledge" producers compile a reading list for those seeking a challenge as their beach read. More

Syna So Pro

Musical guest Syna So Pro explains how her classical music training informs her electronic loops.More

Sam Coster

How a brush with cancer inspired three brothers — Sam, Seth and Adam Coster — to build a bigger game.More

How painting radium on watches and instrument dials killed more than 50 young women working in Ottawa, Illinois.More

Moby Dick

Ricardo Pitts-Wiley is the director and writer of the theatrical production of “Moby Dick: Then and Now,” which re-imagines Melville's tale in a context relevant to its cast — inmates at Rhode Island’s state juvenile correctional facility.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

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

Borges

When Steve was handed the assignment of interviewing Jorge Luis Borges — but with less than 24 hours to prepare — the opportunity felt like more of a curse than a blessing.More

Marina Lutz grew up with a father who was obsessed with watching her. She discovered the full extent of his obsession as an adult, and made an award-winning short documentary about it called “The Marina Experiment.”
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How does it work out over time for people who have made the transition to a new gender? Steve Paulson reached out to a transgender man — Benn Marine — to hear his experience.More

Wendy Kline says the history of birth in America is the story of the medical establishment’s deliberate suppression of midwives. For her as for most mothers, it’s a story that’s political and personal.  More

Mushroom music

Mushrooms have inspired scientists, chefs and even musicians. Mycologist Lawrence Millman says they’ve also inspired a few composers, including Vaclav Halek and John Cage.More

A drawing of a carving by Charles Edenshaw in the late 1800s depicting the Haida myth of the origin of women. Fungus Man is paddling the canoe with Raven in the bow in search of female genitalia. (Courtesy of the Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago)

The Haida First Nation people in British Columbia have a myth about the origin of humanity coming from "Fungus Man." And that myth contains plenty of truth.More

Nikka and Strings

When Nikka Costa was ten, she was a pop sensation in Europe. In her 20s, she was Britney Spear’s opening act. But she’s left pop music behind and now she’s performing songs by some of the musicians she’s known, including Prince and Frank Sinatra.More

Philip Glass

Philip Glass the avant-garde composer has composed operas, symphonies, film scores. He also wrote a memoir called “Words Without Music.”More

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