NPR Staff

Adam Johnson won the 2013 Pultizer Prize for his bestselling novel, The Orphan Master's Son, set in the nightmare state of North Korea. This summer, he has come out with a collection of short stories, set in locales that range from California to East Germany to a techno-dreamlike South Korea.

Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin have enjoyed lengthy careers — especially for men in a business as dangerous as spying.

The American and Soviet CIA agents had a wildly popular run on TV in The Man From U.N.C.L.E. in the '60s. But long after the show came off the air, Solo and Kuryakin bantered on — in a handful of movies, dozens of books, a few comics, countless reruns and the popular imagination.

In this season of anger in many black communities that are reacting to police brutality, we're remembering the largest urban riot of the civil rights era.

Fifty years ago this week in Los Angeles, the African-American neighborhood of Watts exploded after a young black man was arrested for drunken driving. His mother scuffled with officers and was also arrested, all of which drew an increasingly hostile crowd.

One of the key questions surrounding the Iranian nuclear deal is what it means for the country's so-called "breakout time." That's the length of time Iran would need to produce enough highly enriched uranium to make one nuclear weapon.

The deal would limit Iran's nuclear activity in ways that stretches the breakout time. There's a general consensus that the current breakout time is around two to three months, and that would be extended to around a year under the agreement.

President Obama's perhaps most notable statement on race came recently in Charleston, S.C. That's where he gave the eulogy for nine African-Americans killed by a white man in a church.

The president has also continued to address the killings of black men at the hands of the police, and he's pushing to reduce the number of prison inmates, who are disproportionately black.

You may know the acclaimed poet Elizabeth Alexander from her reading at President Obama's 2009 swearing-in ceremony.

Alexander, who teaches at Yale, published a new book earlier this year — but it's not poetry. The Light of the World is a memoir of the 16 years she shared with her husband Ficre, until his sudden death a few years ago.

Migrants are arriving in record numbers in Greece, and two boatloads of men, women and children landed Monday on the Greek island of Chios in the Aegean Sea.

All Things Considered host Melissa Block has relatives in her extended family on the island. Her husband's cousins have been assisting the migrants, who are arriving via Turkey from Afghanistan and Syria, as they reach the rocky shores.

As events marking the anniversary of the shooting death of Michael Brown were winding down Sunday night, gunfire erupted in Ferguson, Mo., leaving a gunman in the hospital. Police say the suspect was not part of the weekend's rallies, which have been peaceful.

The shooting, in which dozens of rounds were reportedly fired, began near the intersection of Ferguson Avenue and West Florissant Avenue, the epicenter of last summer's standoffs between protesters and police.

Ten years after floodwaters from Hurricane Katrina breached the levees, inundating and devastating the city, many residents feel the city is making significant headway, according to a new poll by NPR and the Kaiser Family Foundation, which nonetheless reveals deep racial disparities in the recovery.

NPR's David Greene speaks with Liz Hamel, director of public opinion and survey research at the Kaiser Family Foundation about the survey findings.

It has been exactly one year since police officer Darren Wilson shot and killed 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. Mourners there marked the anniversary Sunday with a moment of silence, gathering in remembrance and protest of the shooting.

Michael Brown's father spoke before a crowd of hundreds, according to St. Louis Public Radio's Camille Phillips. Around noon, Phillips reports that the crowd was called upon for 4 1/2 minutes of silence.

Heavy metal is one music culture whose concerts can get pretty aggressive. Stage divers often try to climb up with the band then launch themselves into the awaiting arms of the audience — or that's the idea. In the city of Prague in 2010, one fan wasn't so lucky: At a particularly unruly show by the band Lamb of God, Daniel Nosek fell off the stage, hit his head and died weeks later.

In her new film, Ricki and the Flash, Meryl Streep plays a musician who used to dream about making it big; now, she's content to play in a cover band, in a bar. Her boyfriend and bandmate is named Greg, and he's played by real-life rock star Rick Springfield.

The film was written by Diablo Cody, who says her inspiration for the character Ricki came from her own life.

Jennine Capó Crucet was the first person in her family to be born in the United States. Her parents came to Florida from Cuba, and she grew up in Hialeah, a suburb of Miami that is 95 percent Hispanic.

For Crucet, going to Cornell was a bit of a shock — she was the first person in her family to attend college at all, let alone at a prestigious school in upstate New York.

In tiny Tupper Lake, N.Y., a tourist destination in the Adirondacks, the Donut Shop serves up more than just donuts.

The Donut Shop also a laundromat, with a store selling knick knacks and souvenirs on the side. Co-owner Tina Merrihew says it's a winning combination.

"About 25 years ago, we bought it, and after cleaning out, we realized we had a lot of space in here, so we added the store," Merrihew says.

Locals and out-of-towners can come in with their dirty clothes and sit for a while with a coffee and watch it spin.

Think back to the 1990s — to movies like Boyz n the Hood or Menace II Society.

Now, imagine one of those movies shot in black and white, with prayer beads and scenes from a mosque. And imagine it all in French.

Author Rebecca Stead collects ideas before she sits down to write, even from the smallest encounters — like this one:

"The idea came from a girl — she was wearing cat ears, and I said 'nice ears,'" she tells NPR's Melissa Block. "And she said, 'Thanks! I've been wearing them for a year! I don't know why!' And then she ran away."

Louis Sachar knows a few things about writing for kids. His first book, Sideways Stories From Wayside School, came out in 1978 — and the wacky collection is still in print.

His 1999 Newbery Medal winner, Holes, centers on a boy wrongly confined to a juvenile detention facility. It's mysterious and creepy, and it's still flying off the shelves.

So if he says kids will love a scary eco-bioterror-mystery-thriller-comedy, you just might trust him.

Greg Louganis is the best diver of his generation — perhaps the best the world has ever seen. The four-time gold medalist is the only man to ever sweep the diving events in consecutive Olympics.

The new documentary Back on Board, by director Cheryl Furjanic and producer Will Sweeney, contrasts that success with the inner turmoil Louganis experienced rising to stardom at such a young age.

The vote by the Boy Scouts of America to lift its ban on openly gay troop leaders last week was a blow to some religious conservative organizations that have long been connected to scouting, especially the Mormon church, which has deep roots in the Boy Scouts.

The church, also known as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, has used the Boy Scouts as its official program for young men for more than 100 years, according to Quin Monson, a political science professor at Brigham Young University.

If anything was going to make the case for putting warning labels on music, it was 2 Live Crew at the turn of the 1990s. The hip-hop group's output was so sexually explicit that it eventually became the subject of an obscenity case that made its way through some of the highest courts in this country. The man at the center of it all was Luther Campbell, a.k.a Luke Skywalker, the alter-ego that helped make 2 Live Crew one of the most legendary and notorious rap acts ever.

Beryl Markham was the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic from East to West. The British-born Kenyan woman was also a racehorse trainer, a writer and a fearless adventurer.

Once famous as an aviation pioneer, she's largely dropped out of the public consciousness. But novelist Paula McLain has put her back in the spotlight — as the protagonist of her new novel, Circling the Sun.

It's been nearly a year since a police officer shot and killed Michael Brown, an unarmed African-American 18-year-old, in Ferguson, Mo. Since then, more deadly police encounters across the country have prompted anger, activism and reform.

Many of those incidents began with traffic stops — routine events that quickly turned deadly. And attorney Eric Broyles says that the risks for citizens are not distributed evenly.

It's almost impossible to think of a toy that's more ubiquitous than Lego bricks. The popular interlocking building blocks are everywhere — from the big screen to kids' rooms around the country.

So it may be hard to believe that in 2003, the Lego Group almost went bankrupt.

The company's near fall and meteoric rise is chronicled in the new film A LEGO Brickumentary.

Andrew Gulli has an unusual passion: finding unpublished short stories by famous American authors. He searches through libraries and archives, finds works, researches to confirm they've never been published — then publishes them in the literary magazine he edits, The Strand.

What does a couple do for its 40th anniversary?

If you're Penn and Teller, you play Broadway. Thirty years after they first played New York, the duo are back with a new show. And it's no quiet celebration, either. In the course of a single performance, they make a cellphone ring inside a dead fish, swallow both needles and fire — and make a rare African spotted pygmy elephant disappear.

As we approach the one-year anniversary of unarmed black youth Michael Brown's death at the hands of Ferguson, Mo., police officer Darren Wilson, the National Museum of African American History and Culture, which is set to open next fall in Washington, D.C., has already started collecting banners and posters from the Ferguson protests, as well as gas masks donned by protesters and cell phone videos taken at the various demonstrations.

NPR is snacking its way around the country this summer, sampling a few delicacies that locals swear by and visitors want to find.

Today, pie is on the menu.

Bobkat's Purple Pie Place is a fixture in Custer, S.D. From chicken pot pie to strawberry rhubarb jalepeno, Trevor Yehlie and his family have been baking pies since 2009.

Customers hear that bumbleberry pie is the best on the menu — not from a bumbleberry bush but mixture of all the berries they use.

Yehlie's stepmother and a few helpers make 60-120 pies a day, he says.

Architect Renzo Piano has designed the 87-floor Shard skyscraper in London, the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris and the new home for the Whitney Museum in New York.

Donnie Dunagan is a hard-nosed Marine, a highly decorated veteran of the Vietnam War who served for a quarter-century. First drafted in the '50s and subsequently promoted 13 times in 21 years — a Corps record at the time, he recalls — Dunagan found the Marines a perfect fit. That is, so long as he could keep a secret.

A dark reminder of the past Dunagan left behind still lurked unspoken: He was Bambi.

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