Carissa Phelps on running away from hopelessness

All odds were against her. At the age of 12, after years of chaotic home life, she was abandoned by her mother to Fresno’s Juvenile Hall.

Writer Dan Bucatinsky on his new book, 'Does This Baby Make Me Look Straight?'

Writer and producer Dan Bucatinsky joins the show to talk about his new book, the funny and heartfelt, “Does this baby make me look straight? Confessions of a Gay Dad.” In it, Bucatinsky describes his adventures in parenting his two adopted children with his partner, screenwriter Don Roos.

See the USA, stadium by stadium

Summer is baseball season – and road trip season.

A trip through Southern California's drug trade

Author Don Winslow is back with a new novel, “The Kings of Cool,” a prequel to “Savages,” which has been made into a movie by Oliver Stone and comes out today.

Is America being torn apart by ‘hyper-individualism’?

Are Americans more frustrated with politics and with each other than we need to be? They are, according to Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne Jr. In his new book, “Our Divided Political Heart,” Dionne states that “Americans disagree about who we are because we can’t agree about who we’ve been.

'As Texas Goes' analyzes the Lone Star State's political influence on America

In her latest book, “As Texas Goes: How the Lone Star State Hijacked the American Agenda,” author Gail Collins looks at the political influence the state has had on American politics, Enron, No Child Left Behind, the S&L crisis and textbooks that question evolution.

Uncovering the myths of eating locally

If you went to a farmers market this weekend looking for the most local groceries, thinking you’re helping the environment and the local economy – think again.

Author John Irving discusses his new novel 'In One Person'

Renowned author John Irving’s credits roll long. He won an Academy Award for “The Cider House Rules” screenplay. He wrote the American classic, “A Prayer for Owen Meany.” Irving also has nine international bestsellers.

Is the American dream being roped off for VIPs only?

America is ideally supposed to be a meritocracy – where those who are the most capable are at the top – but there is an evident lack of diversity among those who occupy positions of power.

Are we a nation of philosophers?

In recent years, the United States has been taken to task by scholars who claim that we live in an age of unreason, misinformation and blind acceptance.

The tyranny of clichés

“Diversity is strength.” “Violence never solved anything.” “We are only as free as the least free among us.” We’ve all heard these feel-good, liberal-minded clichés – maybe even spouted them ourselves during a Thanksgiving dinner argument.

In a wireless world, the Internet’s pipes and tubes rule

Need the answer to a question? Google it. Need to remember a friend's birthday? Look it up on Facebook.

Odd couple comedy duo preview new book

Comedian Michael Ian Black and political writer Meghan McCain join the show to discuss their new book about road-tripping across the states.

Life before birth and after death: 'The Mansion of Happiness' explores all

Benjamin Franklin once famously wrote, "nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes." But in historian, Harvard professor and New Yorker columnist Jill Lepore's new book, Lepore explores our purpose on the planet beyond payments to Uncle Sam and our descent to the grave.

Amateurs are the essence of America, says author Jack Hitt

The love of doing something even if it means no financial reward or recognition is the hallmark of an amateur, says Jack Hitt, author of new book called "Bunch of Amateurs." For his new book, Hitt traveled around the country meeting amateurs and distilling their experiences into a vision of America's essence.

Does your kid need a summer reading list?

Summer is here, and for kids all around the city, that means summer vacation. And summer vacation means no school, which all too often leads to learning loss.