Some postal codes encapsulate a socioeconomic profile in tidy shorthand: 10021 for Manhattan's tony Upper East Side, NW6 and NW10 for London's racially mixed, resolutely ungentrified northwest quadrant. Zadie Smith's London birthplace — a major wellspring of her work — is the setting of NW, her ambitious though somewhat dilatory fourth novel, which tackles issues of fortune and failure, class and ethnicity, and the often guilt-inducing and sometimes blurry lines between them.
Twain's boyhood home in Hannibal, pictured circa 1955, is now a museum.
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Hannibal, Mo., aka "America's Hometown," is known for being the birthplace of Samuel Clemens, aka Mark Twain. The town of 18,000 boasts a vibrant arts community.
Credit J. Stephen Conn / via Flickr
Steve Ayers, a local potter, was part of the effort 14 years ago to recruit other artists to live in Hannibal. He's shown here with Nancy Kaufman, in her shop on Main Street. Kaufman moved to Hannibal in 2005, and says as soon as she saw this old drugstore, she dreamed of turning it into a shop for her woven art.
Credit Tim Lloyd / St. Louis Public Radio
Painter<strong> </strong>Melissa Dominiak moved here from Seattle and purchased a massive church and home about two miles from Main Street in Hannibal, Mo., for $70,000. She plans to rehab the building herself and rent out the space for special events.
Samuel Clemens, who is said to have taken his pen name Mark Twain from the cries of riverboat crewmen, found the inspiration for his classic works while growing up in the river town of Hannibal, Mo. Today, more than 125 years after the first pressing of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, there's a new set of artistic characters in Twain's boyhood home.
Linguist Geoffrey Nunberg wants people to take his new book, Ascent of the A-Word, seriously.
"I'd meet people when I was working on the book, and even academics — they'd say, 'What are you working on?' and they'd giggle. Or they'd say, 'You must have a lot of time on your hands,' " Nunberg tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross.