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.
Kitty Shortt spells a word correctly during the third round of the 2012 Scripps National Spelling Bee yesterday.
Credit Mark Wilson / Getty Images
The Scripps National Spelling Bee is down to the 50 semifinalists. Today at 10:00 Eastern, they'll compete in the semifinals (broadcast on ESPN2), and then tonight at 8:00, they'll hold the finals (broadcast on ESPN). You can also follow an online streaming version at ESPN online, but to be honest, it's an extremely cumbersome process that I haven't yet gotten to work for me.
This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne.
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And I'm David Greene. Many families who lost artwork during the Holocaust have spent decades trying to reclaim their treasures. Now they could face a new obstacle: proposed legislation that would protect American museums from these families' claims. David Maxon of member station WNYC has more.
Corn-based-sweetener manufacturers may be singing a sour tune today. The Food and Drug Administration just ruled that the ubiquitous high fructose corn syrup that sweetens many of our candies, sodas and snacks cannot be called "corn sugar." But much like Arnold Schwarzenegger's Terminator character, they'll probably be baaack.
Franz Kafka (shown here circa 1905) is considered one of the 20th century's most influential writers. Before his death in 1924, he had published only short stories and a single novella, <em>The Metamorphosis</em>.