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Episode 1532

Off the Turnip Truck

It’s hard to imagine now, but there was a time when people disagreed over the best word to use when answering the phone. Alexander Graham Bell suggested answering with ahoy! but Thomas Edison was partial to hello! A fascinating new book about...

Episode 1528

Gift Horse

The edge of the Grand Canyon. A remote mountaintop. A medieval cathedral. Some places are so mystical you feel like you’re close to another dimension of space and time. There’s a term for such locales: thin places. And: did you ever go...

Episode 1616

Folding Money

Barbara Kingsolver’s book Demon Copperhead is a retelling of Charles Dickens’ David Copperfield set in today’s Appalachia. Martha shares memories of a long-ago visit to Kingsolver’s family farm in Virginia, where they...

Military Charrette

An Army veteran in Madison, Alabama, wonders about the use of the charrette (sometimes spelled with one R, charette) in the military to mean a gathering to workshop ideas and work through all potential solutions to a problem. The term seems to have...

Episode 1612

Fair Dinkum

A magnificent new book celebrates the richness and diversity of 450 years of written and spoken English in what is now the United States. It’s called The People’s Tongue, and it’s a sumptuous collection of essays, letters, poems...