Best-selling e-author Amanda Hocking grew up in the small town of Austin, Minn., which, she says, is known for Spam. Spam as in the food, not the e-mail spam.
"We invented Spam," the 27-year-old novelist tells weekends on All Things Considered host Guy Raz.
Hocking's dad was a truck driver. Her mom was a waitress. Even as a very young child, she had always been a kind of natural storyteller — especially when it came to fantasy stories. Stories about dragons, unicorns, pirates and more.
When it comes to last words, there's a kind of poetry in even the oddest ones. Oscar Wilde hated the wallpaper in the room where he died: "One of us has to go," he muttered. Salvador Dali: "Where is my clock?" Steve Jobs: "Oh wow, oh wow, oh wow," according to his sister, who was in the room.
Timothy Goeglein (left) spent nearly eight years in the White House as President George W. Bush's key point of contact to American conservatives and the faith-based world and was often profiled in the national news media.
Tim Goeglein worked in the George W. Bush White House for eight years, and it was in the Oval Office that the president forgave him.
While working as an aide to Bush, Goeglein repeatedly plagiarized columns he sent to his hometown newspaper under his byline. When his actions were discovered, he went to Bush to apologize, fully expecting to be fired.
"Before I could get barely a few words out," he says, "he looked at me, and he said, 'Tim, grace and mercy are real. I have known grace and mercy in my life, and I'm extending it to you. You're forgiven.' "
Now, a story with this you-can't-make-it-up headline: Americans Rescue Iranian's From Pirates. According to the U.S. Navy, yesterday in the North Arabian Sea, a Navy battle group came across a fishing vessel in distress. The crew was Iranian and they'd been held hostage for weeks by pirates. And here's the irony: The American battle group included the same aircraft carrier that Iran's government threatened earlier this week.
This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.
ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
And I'm Robert Siegel.
Today, new evidence that the pace of job growth is picking up. The government's employment report for December showed 200,000 jobs added to payrolls. The unemployment rate continued its downward trend falling to 8.5 percent.
And while that may be welcome news, as NPR's John Ydstie explains, the December report could be overstating job growth.
Robert Siegel talks to authors Dave Barry and Alan Zweibel about their comic novel Lunatics. It tells the story through the voices of the two main characters: Philip Horkman is a happy man — the owner of a pet store called The Wine Shop, and on Sundays, he's a referee for kids' soccer. Jeffrey Peckerman is the sole sane person in a world filled with jerks and morons, and he's having a really bad day.
Melissa Block speaks with our regular political commentators, E.J. Dionne, of the Washington Post and Brookings Institution, and David Brooks, of the New York Times. They discuss the jobs numbers, Obama's recess appointments and presidential campaign developments.
Four years ago, Melissa Block traveled several times to Milford, N.H., to talk with voters. Friday, she talks to two of the people she met there: Noreen O'Connell and Steve O'Keefe. They discuss the current GOP presidential field.