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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...

Alligator Arms

Our conversation about slang terms in various countries to denote someone who’s a tightwad prompts a Minnesota listener to leave a message with his favorite term along these lines. He likes to say that stingy people have alligator arms that...

Episode 1607

Old College Try

In just seconds, online text generators and chatbots can produce whole paragraphs of sophisticated prose. But what do advances in artificial intelligence mean for writers? What is lost and what’s gained when machine-writing replaces the work...

Episode 1589

Deep-Fried Air

Eels, orts, and Wordle! Sweden awarded its most prestigious literary award to a book about…eels. The Book of Eels reveals the mysterious life cycle of this sea creature and its significance for famous figures from Aristotle to Sigmund Freud. Plus...

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...