I found The Twin, by Gerbrand Bakker, sitting on a coffee table at a writers' colony in 2009. It carried praise from J.M. Coetzee for its "restrained tenderness and laconic humor," which seemed ample justification for using it to avoid my own writing.
I finished it, weeping, a day later, and have been puzzling over its powerful hold on me ever since. I've recommended it again and again, and while I can't say it's entirely undiscovered — it won the 2010 IMPAC Dublin Award — no one I know ever seems to have heard of it.
Martin Lindstrom got into the advertising business early on.
"I started up my own ad agency when I was 12 years old," he tells Guy Raz, host of weekend on All Things Considered. "I was a huge fan of Lego, so I built up my own Legoland in the backyard of my mom and dad's garden."
No one showed up on the first day, but Lindstrom persuaded a local ad agency to sponsor him. On the third day, he had 131 visitors.
The only problem? "Visitor number 130 and visitor 131 were the lawyers from Lego suing me."
Tunisians voted Sunday in their country's first free elections — the culmination of a popular uprising that ousted President Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali and touched off the wave of Arab Spring uprisings. Washington Post reporter Leila Fadel offers her insight from the Tunisian capital, Tunis.
Barry Duncan has an obsession that follows him everywhere he goes. "I see street signs, restaurant menus, objects while I'm walking along, and I'm just reversing them all the time," he tells Guy Raz, host of weekends on All Things Considered.
Duncan is a master palindromist. He creates phrases, sentences, even passages that read the same forward and backward. He's been at it since 1981, when he was working at a bookstore in Philadelphia and stumbled onto a book of wordplay.
Jane's Addiction defined the Los Angeles rock scene of the late 1980s, and by the beginning of the next decade, the band had become famous worldwide. But almost as soon as they'd gained the world's attention, Jane's Addiction split up.
Modest reunions have taken place since then. This month, three of the four original members are back with a new album, The Great Escape Artist. Weekends on All Things Considered host Guy Raz, who grew up listening to Jane's Addiction, spoke to the group's leader, Perry Farrell.
GUY RAZ, host: It's WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Guy Raz.
(SOUNDBITE OF CLOCK TICKING)
RAZ: All right. We're getting closer to finding the winning story in round seven of Three-Minute Fiction. That's our writing contest where we ask you to create an original short story that can be read in about three minutes.
On Friday, News Corp. held its first shareholder meeting since a phone-hacking scandal in the U.K. led the company to close a major tabloid. Outside the meeting at Fox Studios in Los Angeles, about 100 demonstrators assembled to condemn the Murdochs and News Corp.'s leadership.
But the complaints that followed inside were far more specific. There was a vote to approve the board of directors, but it was largely a formality because the Murdoch family and its allies control so many voting shares.
Rupert Murdoch wasted little time in reminding investors of his track record.
Astronomers have come across the youngest planet ever observed, at just 2 million years old. It's called LkCa 15 b, and it's still in the early stages of forming. Melissa Block talks to Adam Kraus of the University of Hawaii's Institute for Astronomy about the discovery.
Injury and ineptitude forced several NFL teams to make a change of quarterback this week. Minnesota, Oakland and Washington all have new starters at the position. But the change that has most football fans talking is in Denver. Robert Siegel and sportswriter Stefan Fatsis talk about the NFL and the Rugby World Cup.