NPR Staff

Bonnie Mackay has written an unusual sort of memoir: Tree of Treasures is the story of her life, told through Christmas tree ornaments.

Mackay is something of an ornament aficionado — starting with the first tree she decorated with a friend from college.

"We called it the tree of disarray ... " she tells NPR's Ari Shapiro. They adorned it with unconventional objects, including jewelry, scarves and kitchen items.

On Donald Trump's visit to Carrier in Indiana on Thursday, he mentioned a phone call that he made to the CEO of United Technologies, the air conditioning company's parent. As Trump describes it, that call led to Carrier announcing it will not move as many jobs to Mexico as it had planned.

"We can't allow this to happen anymore with our country. So many jobs are leaving and going to other countries, not just Mexico," Trump said.

Robert Sanchez first met Fred Davie in 1998, in a small, windowless room at Sing Sing Prison. Sanchez was there serving 15 years on a drug conviction; Davie was a Presbyterian minister, who was teaching there in a theology master's program.

It "didn't look like much of an educational setting," Sanchez laughs. He was studying toward his master's in theology, sitting there with 16 men, most of whom were serving sentences of 15 to 20 years. "But that room created magic."

The late Cuban dictator Fidel Castro loved baseball. And you may have heard that he was such a good player that years before the Cuban revolution, he tried out for the New York Yankees in Havana.

Or not. This myth has persisted for years, and though it might be fun to contemplate the historical consequences of this "What if?" scenario, Adrian Burgos Jr., University of Illinois history professor and author of Playing America's Game: Baseball, Latinos and the Color Line, says it simply didn't happen.

Stephen Moore, a senior economic adviser to Donald Trump, was once a doctrinaire libertarian and free-trader. Now, Moore says: "Donald Trump's victory has changed the [Republican] Party into a more populist working-class party in some ways that conservatives like myself will like and some that we'll be uncomfortable with."

Katie Melua has become one of the U.K.'s most popular young musicians, with six studio albums already to her name. She began her life in the ex-Soviet Union country of Georgia, on the coast of the Black Sea.

For years, Americans have been eager to visit Cuba, not just for its Caribbean warmth, but to seek out the roots of the island's music, to watch its films, to thumb through its books and meet its writers.

Fidel Castro's death Friday has again spiked interest in the country among Americans. And, with diplomatic relations thawing between the U.S. and Cuba, now more than ever it's possible to explore the island's culture at its origin.

But where to start?

Mary Ostendorf met her partner, Leslye Huff, in 1983. At that time, like so many LGBTQ people then, Mary didn't tell her family. And Huff went along with it.

"You took me to meet your mom," Huff tells Ostendorf, recalling their relationship's beginnings in a conversation with StoryCorps. "She was short like me, and pretty vivacious. She and I sat and talked and I thought the makings of a pretty good friendship was beginning."

H.G. Wells' eerie writing brought us time machines, aliens and a submarine, long before a real one was seen in the world. Still, one of his short stories spent decades unseen by his avid readers.

Until now, that is.

His long-unpublished story "The Haunted Ceiling" is making its way into print for the first time. In its new issue, The Strand Magazine is publishing the story — which features a man driven mad by the image of a dead woman, with her throat slit, appearing on his ceiling.

Some people had been girding for battle for weeks; others, meanwhile, had been practicing their evasive maneuvers. Some even gave up on the looming fights entirely, heading for safer shores — alone, with takeout, or a good book.

It's tough to blame them.

After a particularly brutal election season, Thanksgiving this year had many people feeling nervous about family conversations around the table. In a year riven by a deep partisan divide, the holiday promised more than a little friction with the feasts.

But did it really pan out that way?

Saboor Sahely grew up in Laghman, Afghanistan, with a large extended family.

"I vividly remember there was a lot of happiness and joy in eastern Afghanistan," Sahely, 65, tells his youngest daughter, Jessica. On a recent visit with StoryCorps, he tells her about the lessons of community he learned there.

"If there was a wedding, the entire village would show up. And you felt very welcomed to go into each other's homes, and we knew who had what for dinner every night and if we didn't like what we had for dinner, we all went to the neighbor's house."

For the second year in a row, the annual All Things Considered Thanksgiving music chat is a multi-part conversation. Host Ari Shapiro welcomes four musicians, each of whom was named by one of his or her fellow guests as an artist to be thankful for.

Looking for a diversion from divisive political conversation this Thanksgiving? StoryCorps suggests using its smartphone app as part of its Great Thanksgiving Listen project.

Disney's latest movie, Moana, tells the story of a young girl living on an island in the South Pacific. She's the daughter of the chief, which means she's supposed to lead her people and stay on the island, but she finds herself drawn to the sea. When coconuts start rotting and fish start dying, she sails out to save herself and her people by finding the demigod named Maui.

It's Thanksgiving, which means you'll be seeing Aunt Martha's sweet potato casserole encased in a marshmallow cloud that has drifted too close to the sun. Cousin Joe, who's just here for the game, will bring his famous can-shaped cranberry sauce that looks like it's been attacked by a Slinky. Then your sister will arrive with her sad concoction of green beans drowning in cream-of-mushroom soup, flecked with floating onion strings that have been flung like debris from the Titanic.

Imagine a wave so big it darkens the horizon as it rolls in.

Just south of San Francisco, this surf spot is called Mavericks.

Sarah Gerhardt is the first women to surf this famously dangerous big-wave spot. She did that in 1999 when she was 24. Now, at 42, she's one of six women comprising the first women's heat in a surfing contest there.

The women will compete for $30,000 in the Titans of Mavericks, surfing waves that swell well beyond 30 feet.

When you're facing a major life change, it helps to talk to someone who's already been through it. All Things Considered is connecting people on either side of a shared experience, and they're letting us eavesdrop on their conversations in our series Been There.

In 1941, science-fiction writer Isaac Asimov stated "The Three Laws of Robotics," in his short story "Runaround."

Law One: A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.

Law Two: A robot must obey orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.

Law Three: A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.

This is the story of a stolen book, a sense of national pride and some creative sleuthing. The book in question is a first edition copy of One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez. In 2015, it was stolen from a Bogota, Colombia, book fair. Many cases in that city go unsolved because of a lack of resources, but local law enforcement went all out to solve this crime.

BADBADNOTGOOD knows its name is a little strange. The jazz group's bassist, Chester Hansen, says it invites jokes from nearly everyone the band meets. "It's probably the most punned name I have ever heard," he says.

The new TBS show Search Party isn't just an amateur detective story — it's also a millennial comedy.

"The setting is the fast-talking, young world of Brooklyn," co-creator Charles Rogers tells NPR's Audie Cornish. "Dory and her friends all have job titles that aren't exactly real jobs and everyone has a very strong identity."

A Tribe Called Red is a group of three indigenous DJs from Canada: Bear Witness, 2oolman and DJ NDN. The trio has produced three full-length albums now, and its latest is called We Are the Halluci Nation.

Moonglow, Michael Chabon's new novel, is like a moonshot in search of life before it goes dark.

Mike, the narrator, goes to his grandfather on his deathbed, where strong painkillers crack open the stories the old man has kept under wraps for so long. The grandson can finally see his grandfather as a young man, an unheralded hero of the OSS in World War II, an engineer who dreamed of the stars, a pool hustler, a lover and an unabashed felon.

After almost two decades of silence, last week A Tribe Called Quest released a new album. It's called We Got It From Here... Thank You 4 Your Service.

Here's a succinct analysis of last week's presidential vote:

"Trump understands the new ecosystem, in which facts and truth don't matter. You attract attention, rouse emotions, and then move on."

When he was growing up in New York, All Things Considered host Robert Siegel always knew that Bellevue Hospital was a city institution.

But it wasn't until he read David Oshinsky's book Bellevue: Three Centuries of Medicine and Mayhem at America's Most Storied Hospital, that he realized the hospital was a pioneering institution for all of American medicine.

Steve Bannon, recently named as chief strategist to president-elect Donald Trump, is a fantastic manager, a visionary journalist and "has no prejudices," according to a top editor who has worked with him for years.

In an interview with Morning Edition's Steve Inskeep, Breitbart Senior Editor at Large Joel Pollak defended Bannon and pushed back against the idea that the news website he ran and significantly expanded promoted racist or sexist views. On the contrary, Pollak accused NPR's Code Switch blog, which covers race and culture, of being "racist" itself.

Pages