This month, NPR's Backseat Book Club hits the high seas for an adventurous novel called Heart of a Samurai by Margi Preus. The book begins in 1841, and is based on the sprawling true-life tale of Manjiro, whose destiny was almost determined before birth as a son in a long line of fishermen. But a storm blew his life on a new course, and he became one of the first Japanese to set foot in America.
What is it about Brandi Carlile's voice that gets right inside you? The power? Her range? It may be the way she can crack open a note, as she does in her best-known song, "The Story," which was prominently featured on Grey's Anatomy.
Spain's borrowing costs hit record highs this week and European stock markets have slumped over fears Madrid can't afford the price tag required to prop up its ailing banks. It's looking ever more likely the country will need some kind of bailout.
After watching Greece from afar for years, many Spaniards now believe Spain's number is up.
A tourist in Madrid might wonder where the crisis is. Traffic is heavy and the tapas bars are packed.
But listen in on some of the conversations, and it's clear that Spaniards are scared.
If nothing else, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has apparently done President Obama a favor.
His Honor's proposed ban on the sale of supersized sugary fountain drinks in his city made the mayor, at least for some, the epitome of Big Government excess, a place many critics, particularly conservatives, typically reserve for the Obama.
The school year's winding down, meaning teenagers around the country will soon be trying to pull in some extra cash scooping ice cream or manning those kiosks at the mall.
But with the job market still weak, teens are facing stiff competition landing summer jobs. And while the downturn has hit young job seekers particularly hard, it's not just the lingering effects of the Great Recession working against them: the drop-off in teen summer hiring actually began long before 2007.
Wal-Mart has joined the list of major corporations withdrawing their support from a conservative political group that advocates the "Stand Your Ground" laws that came under intense focus after the Trayvon Martin killing became a national story.
In a rare moment of harmony in Washington, President Obama hosted former President George W. Bush and former first lady Laura Bush for the unveiling of the couple's official portraits.
It's a tradition that dates back to 1800, when the White House acquired its first work of art: a full-length portrait of George Washington by Gilbert Stuart.
During a ceremony in East Room of the White House, President Obama noted that fact saying that while Washington is constantly engulfed in partisan bickering, the "Presidency transcends those differences."