Writer and scholar Reza Aslan was 15 years old when he found Jesus. His secular Muslim family had fled to the U.S. from Iran, and Aslan's conversion was, in a sense, an adolescent's attempt to fit into American life and culture. "My parents were certainly surprised," Aslan tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross.

Split by the Missouri-Kansas state line, the Kansas City metro area has been home to political bosses, jazz clubs, barbecue joints and tough characters, all of which find their way into author Joel Goldman crime thrillers.

Nine years ago, when Goldman was working as an attorney, he was diagnosed with a movement disorder that makes him shake and stutter at times. So he quit his practice and eventually gave his medical condition to one of his main characters, Kansas City FBI agent Jack Davis.

'Brought To His Knees' In A Hardscrabble Neighborhood

Amazon describes Robert Galbraith's best-selling novel, The Cuckoo's Calling, as "a brilliant debut mystery in a classic vein." But as brilliant and classically inclined as it might be, the real mystery until now has been all about the author.

It turns out that Robert Galbraith is the nom de plume of none other than J.K. Rowling, the famous creator of the phenomenally successful Harry Potter books.

During the mid-19th century, an unexpected craze swept America: butterfly collecting. Eager to move on from the Civil War and driven by Europe's long-standing fascination with the insect, the movement captured the interest of Americans from all ages and walks of life.

In an extensive book, Butterfly People: An American Encounter with the Beauty of the World, William Leach documents this butterfly phenomenon — from its founders and followers, to its eventual fall.

Near the beginning of the Road Warrior there is a scene in which Mel Gibson's character eats dog food.

It is a perfect moment, a beautiful moment, a completely defining moment — a pause in the post-apocalyptic action where the writers gave us everything we needed to know about Gibson's Max Rockatansky in one, long, wordless scene. And it was a moment that — watching the movie at likely far too young an age on some long-gone Saturday night at the drive-in — messed me up for life.

The latest addition to a body of work that includes six novels, a short story collection, and editorship of several folk tale anthologies, I Hate to Leave This Beautiful Place is just the right sort of read for those who usually take in non-fiction with a grim reluctance, as if it were cod liver oil. I was drawn by its promise of a memoir structured around five "incidents of arresting strangeness" in the author's life. I was not disappointed.

As is a pretty common happening on the internet now, there's a new BuzzFeed article going around. The headline is a random and arbitrary number followed by some nouns, and the article itself is a numbered list of pictures, animated GIFs, and perhaps as many as 100 words or so.

This week's entry: Joseph Bernstein's July 9 screed, 28 'Favorite' Books That Are Huge Red Flags.

Can a rhythm and blues song change the world? That's the question at the heart of veteran author Mark Kurlansky's new book, Ready for a Brand New Beat, a chronicle of the spectacular success of Motown hit "Dancing in the Street."

In July, NPR's Backseat Book Club traveled to Hanging Moss, Miss., where Gloriana June Hemphill, better known as Glory, is just an ordinary little girl. But this is no ordinary summer — it's 1964 and the town has shut down the so-called "community" swimming pool to avoid integration.

Paula Deen, the celebrity cook who has seen her TV shows and corporate sponsorships disappear in recent weeks because of reports about her past use of the N-word, is going to be the star of a comic book this fall, a publisher says.