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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...

“Every Bird That Cuts the Airy Way”

The new book An Immense World: How Animal Senses Reveal the Hidden Realms Around Us (Bookshop|Amazon) delightfully combines scientific writing with a literary sensibility and a gift for vivid similes. It’s by Ed Yong, who won a Pulitzer for...

Mr. Darcy, What an Irresistible Scent!

A pheromone in the urine of male mice is called darcin, named for Mr. Darcy, the man Elizabeth Bennet finds irresistible in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice (Bookshop|Amazon). Manatees use their sensitive lips to oripulate their environment...

Episode 1557

Sock it to Me

In the 15th century, the word respair meant “to have hope again.” Although this word fell out of use, it’s among dozens collected in a new book of soothing vocabulary for troubled times. Plus, baseball slang: If a batter...