As a journalist and essayist, Bob Shacochis has covered conflict in the Balkans and Haiti, the abuse of American power overseas, spycraft, and the sexual politics that divide men and women. He is also a novelist and the winner of a National Book Award. His new novel, The Woman Who Lost Her Soul, was a long time coming, but critics are saying it was well worth the wait.
The Woman Who Lost Her Soul is a 700-page work that spans continents and generations. It's been compared to the work of Joseph Conrad, Graham Greene and Norman Mailer.
Jeffrey Cranor and Joseph Fink have the news of the weird covered: they're the creative masterminds behind the popular sci-fi podcast Welcome to Night Vale. Though only a year old, the spooky Night Vale — which channels David Lynch, Orson Welles and H.P. Lovecraft in its descriptions of a small, weird desert town — has rocketed up the iTunes ratings list to claim the number one most downloaded spot.
Just as good writing demands brevity, so, too, does spoken language. Sentences and phrases get whittled down over time. One result: single words that are packed with meaning, words that are so succinct and detailed in what they connote in one language that they may have no corresponding word in another language.
Such words aroused the curiosity of the folks at a website called Maptia, which aims to encourage people to tell stories about places.
Patent trolls — a term known more among geeks than the general public — are about to be the target of a national ad campaign. Beginning Friday, a group of retail trade organizations is launching a radio and print campaign in 17 states.
They want to raise awareness of a problem they say is draining resources from business and raising prices for consumers.
Few have used the English language to greater effect than Irish poet Seamus Heaney, who died today in Dublin. He was 74. Heaney was a Nobel laureate and the son of a farmer, a poet reluctantly drawn into the troubled politics of his homeland who attracted long lines of fans to his readings. NPR's Lynn Neary has this remembrance.
LYNN NEARY, BYLINE: Born in Ireland's County Derry, Heaney left home at the age of 12 to go to boarding school. Heaney said the place where he grew up was still a source of energy and image bank for him.
The college football season kicked off with several games last night, and Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Johnny Manziel will be back in action tomorrow, but not until the second half of Texas A&M's game against Rice. Sportswriter Stefan Fatsis joins us now to discuss the week in higher education. Hi, Stefan.
STEFAN FATSIS, BYLINE: Hey, Robert.
SIEGEL: Johnny Manziel was suspended by the NCAA this week for half a game. What did he do, and why half a game of all things?
Labor Day is right around the corner, so before we mark the unofficial end of summer, here is the final installment in our series, Summer Nights. And for this last evening adventure, we head to Phoenix, where urban hikers strap on headlamps to ascend Piestewa Peak. This time of year, the desert heat can be deadly, so hikers wait until dark to climb to the summit, about 1,200 feet above the city.
Peter O'Dowd of member station KJZZ sends this postcard of one family that's been making the night trek for years.