NPR's Backseat Book Club is taking a break for the summer months, but we're already making a list of books to read in the fall. Do you have suggestions? Share Your Recommendations!
Credit Jeff Kinney / Abrams
"Let me just say for the record that I think middle school is the dumbest idea ever invented," laments Wimpy Kid protagonist Greg Heffley. "You got kids like me who haven't hit their growth spurt yet mixed in with gorillas who need to shave twice a day." Click Here To Read An Excerpt From Diary Of A Wimpy Kid
Jeff Kinney is an author, cartoonist and game designer. He lives in southern Massachusetts and has two sons.
We've chosen some popular books for our monthly Backseat Book Club selections, but nothing quite like the boffo best-sellers in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series.
How popular are these books? Consider the numbers: There are six books, and a seventh is on the way. They've been translated into 40 languages and there are 75 million copies in print worldwide. And it was our 2009 interview with author Jeff Kinney that originally inspired us to start a book club just for kids.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
And I'm Melissa Block. For once, we have what looks like good news from the eurozone. At least that's how the financial markets view it. Markets shot upwards today after European leaders reached a deal to help Spain and Italy survive the region's financial crisis.
The agreement came at a summit in Brussels. NPR's Philip Reeves was there.
We're going to try to break down now just what those penalties will be for those who don't buy health insurance. The Congressional Budget Office projects in the year 2016 four million people will pay the penalty. I'm joined now by Timothy Jost. He's law professor at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia, and he's been looking into these numbers. We should say, Professor Jost, first off, you are also a supporter of the Affordable Care Act, right?
We're joined now by our regular political commentators, columnist E.J. Dionne of the Washington Post and the Brookings Institution, and David Brooks of the New York Times. Both of you in Aspen, Colorado today for the Aspen Ideas Festival. Gentlemen, welcome.
Buddhists donate food and other necessities to monks as a way of earning merit for future lives. Monks have refused donations of alms from the military as a political protest in 1990 and 2007, a boycott that some monks insist is still in effect.
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Nay Myo Zin is a former captain in the Myanmar army who now runs a charity and is a political activist. He says he quit the army because soldiers were "always made to do bad things," and thus preventing him from properly practicing his Buddhist religion.
Credit Reuters /Landov
A monk waves his alms bowl upside down in defiance of a threat to send troops to end anti-junta protests in Yangon on Sept. 25, 2007, during the country's monk-led Saffron Revolution.
In response to political reforms in Myanmar — also known as Burma — the U.S. and other Western countries have eased some sanctions targeting the country's former military rulers.
But so far, one of the most powerful institutions inside the country has kept its sanctions in place. For some time, Myanmar's Buddhist clergy have effectively been on a spiritual strike by refusing to take donations from the military — a serious blow to the former regime's legitimacy.
Ted (voiced by writer-director Seth MacFarlane) and Johnny (Mark Wahlberg) share a laugh in Ted. The talking teddy bear got his powers when 8-year-old Johnny wished upon a falling star for Ted to speak.
Credit Universal Pictures
When Johnny's girlfriend, Lori (Mila Kunis), tires of Ted's constant presence around the house, Ted gets a job — which is when the comedy catches fire.
Seth MacFarlane is known mostly for creating, writing and directing the animated TV show Family Guy. In the show, he also voices Peter and Stewie Griffin, and their dog, Brian.
With his new movie, Ted, he has moved to the big screen for the first time, again creating, writing and directing. And though it's a live-action picture, he has again voiced one of the characters — the titular teddy bear, whom I tried to resist but couldn't.