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Episode 1608

In the Ballpark

Novelist Charles Dickens and the musician Prince were very different types of artists, but they also had a lot in common. A new book chronicling their extraordinary careers becomes a larger meditation on perfectionism and creativity itself. Plus...

Groundhogs Making Coffee

Jacob in Frankfort, Kentucky, remembers that on foggy mornings in Appalachia, he’d hear grownups say that the groundhogs are making coffee. Writer Jesse Stuart, who served as Kentucky’s Poet Laureate in the mid-1950s, wrote evocatively...

Episode 1606

Stub Your Toe

Advice about college essays from the winner of a top prize for children’s literature: Kelly Barnhill encourages teens to write about experiences that are uniquely their own, from a point of view that is theirs and no one else’s. Plus...

Water in a Dunce Cap

Following up on conversation about words for weak coffee, Carol in Wilmington, North Carolina reports that her mother-in-law’s term for strong, boiling-hot coffee is punished water. This is part of a complete episode.

Episode 1605

Big Bang

A savory Sicilian sausage roll is always a hit for the holidays. This dish goes by a long list of names that are equally delicious to say. Plus, why are those promotional quotes you see on the back of a book called blurbs? The guy who coined the...

Like Salts Through a Widow-Woman

Marissa in Tallahassee, Florida, is puzzled when a friend observes that coffee goes through her like salts through a widow-woman, meaning that the beverage makes its way swiftly through her digestive system. The expression, which has been around...