Near the end of last year, a big finance company in Charlotte, N.C., was doing what a lot of other businesses have been doing recently: switching up their health care offerings.
"Everything was changing, and we would only be offered two choices and each were a high-deductible plan," says Marty Metzl, whose husband works for the company.
High-deductible plans are the increasingly common kind of health insurance that have cheaper premiums than traditional plans, but they put you on the hook for thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket costs before the insurance kicks in.
The first thing you should know: This is not a book about cheese. I mean, it is — and a famous, award-winning cheese at that, a Spanish sheep's milk cheese called the Páramo de Guzmán that cost $22 per pound in 1991. A cheese so good, the king of Spain himself couldn't get enough of it.
But this book is far more about its makers — the cheesemaker himself, an enormous and enormously charming Castilian named Ambrosio, and the book's maker, journalist and author Michael Paterniti, who basically falls in love with Ambrosio at first sight.
Actress Najla Said is a Palestinian-Lebanese-American Christian, but growing up in New York City, her identity was anything but clearly defined.
The daughter of prominent literary critic Edward Said, she spent her childhood in one of the most influential intellectual households in America. Edward Said, who died in 2003, was a renowned professor at Columbia University and was critical to defining Palestinian independence.
It's been too long since we simply sat up and pointed out a few of the many new releases worth a set of ears. Luckily, the staff on weekends at All Things Considered thought the same. They invited me to sit down with host Jacki Lyden and play a few cuts for them.
Here's music from an elder statesman of piano, a trumpeter who understands creole music personally, a drummer who writes tunes with a payoff, and a singer in her early 20s with maturity and kick.
During the 19th century, a panopticon was a prison or asylum with an all-seeing eye. Some of the C-shaped prisons with central watchtowers still stand in the U.S. and Europe.
Jenni Fagan's new book borrows the panopticon idea as the setting for a gritty, often poetic, novel. The story is based loosely on Fagan's own experience growing up in the Scottish foster care system for 16 years.
And as we mentioned earlier in the show, singer-songwriter J.J. Cale has died. If you're not familiar with his name, you've probably heard some of his music. He penned hits from the 1970s and '80s that were recorded by Eric Clapton, Lynyrd Skynyrd and many others. The success of those songs gave him the freedom to release his own albums for more than four decades. NPR's Dan Bobkoff has this remembrance.