BBC World Service

Monday-Friday midnight-5am, Saturdays 2-7am, Sundays 1-7am (WPSU 2: Saturdays & Sundays midnight-1am, Sundays 9pm-midnight)

BBC World Service is the world's leading international radio broadcaster. It provides impartial news reports and analysis in English and 27 other languages. BBC World Service aims to inspire and illuminate the lives of its audience by bringing the world together, making connections and helping listeners to make sense of the world.

Former Vice President Joe Biden has figured something out: "I learned how to become one of the most popular politicians in America," he says. "Announce that you are not running for president, and be authentic."

Biden shared that secret with Fresh Air on Tuesday in front of a live audience at WHYY studios in Philadelphia, where he received WHYY's Lifelong Learning Award for his distinguished career in public service and commitment to education.

The title of Maile Meloy's new novel is misleading: Do Not Become Alarmed sounds like a suspense story. Granted, I did read it in two nights; but, while I'm a unapologetic fan of thrillers, Meloy's novel is something else, something trickier to characterize. I'd call it a very smart work of literary fiction that exposes how very thin the layer of good luck is that keeps most of us from falling into the abyss.

When it comes to comedy, Late Night host Seth Meyers is clear about what drew him in: "I got into it because it looked like the most fun job in the world," he says. "And it has not led me astray."

Indeed, Meyers' resume is packed with fun. Before taking over the reins at Late Night, he spent 13 years at Saturday Night Live, first as a performer, then as head writer and the co-host, alongside Amy Poehler, of the show's "Weekend Update" segment.

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. I'm Dave Davies in for Terry Gross. When my guest, journalist Souad Mekhennet, chooses to go and conduct an interview, it can be a life-or-death decision. She spent much of the past 15 years reporting on Islamic extremist groups, and she's interviewed leaders of al-Qaida, the Taliban and ISIS, some of the world's most wanted men.

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. I'm Dave Davies in for Terry Gross.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

JOHN LAURENCE: What kind of fighting is it going to be?

ERNIE CHEATHAM: It's house to house and from room to room.

LAURENCE: Had you ever expected to experience this kind of street fighting in Vietnam?

CHEATHAM: No, I didn't, and this is my first crack at street fighting. I think this is the first time the Marine Corps' been street fighting since Seoul in 1950.

Copyright 2017 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

Copyright 2017 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

There's a classic moment in the romantic thriller Charade, when Audrey Hepburn says to Cary Grant in exasperation, "Do you know what's the matter with you? ... Nothing."

For decades, the whole world felt the same. Grant's unrivaled blend of charm, good looks and silliness — he hadn't a shred of pomposity or elitism — made him a movie star everyone loved. Everyone, that is, except Archie Leach, the actor's real-life self who wrote that he'd spent years cautiously peering from behind the face of a man known as Cary Grant.

Manal al-Sharif's path to activism began simply enough: In 2011, the Saudi woman filmed herself driving a car, then uploaded the video to YouTube. Ordinarily such a video might not get much notice, but because it's not socially acceptable for women to drive in Saudi Arabia, where there is a de facto ban, Sharif's video went viral.

Copyright 2017 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

In the annals of TV villains, actor Giancarlo Esposito's Breaking Bad character, Gus Fring, stands out. Gus was an upstanding, impeccably dressed, New Mexico businessman who spoke with an elegant Chilean accent — and also happened to be a vicious drug lord.

Esposito describes the character as resembling "someone who may live next door, who is successful and very caring, but who is also ruthless."

Conservation photographer Paul Nicklen has spent more than two decades documenting the ice and wildlife in some of the most inhospitable places on Earth — the Arctic and the Antarctic.

Copyright 2017 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:

Copyright 2018 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

Copyright 2018 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. I'm Dave Davies in for Terry Gross.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM MY FRIENDS")

Copyright 2019 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

Humorist David Sedaris admits that his latest work, Theft by Finding, isn't exactly the book he set out to publish. It was originally meant to be a collection of funny diary entries, but then Sedaris' editor had a suggestion that changed its course.

"My editor said, 'Why don't you go back to the very beginning and find things that aren't necessarily funny and put those in as well?' " Sedaris says. "Soon those [entries] outweighed the funny ones, and the funny ones seemed almost over-produced, so I got rid of a lot of them."

Minnesota Sen. Al Franken has the distinction of being the only former Saturday Night Live cast member to serve in the U.S. Senate. It's a singular career trajectory, but it's also not particularly surprising given Franken's deep interest in politics and comedy.

It all started in high school, when Franken began writing satire with his friend (and later SNL writing partner) Tom Davis.

Copyright 2017 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:

Copyright 2017 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

The title of Cate Shortland's new film, Berlin Syndrome, is a sly riff on "Stockholm syndrome," that condition in which a hostage begins to feel sympathy for her captor. It's never clear what sets the Berlin version apart, and in some ways Shortland and the screenwriter, Shaun Grant, seem to be figuring it out as they go along.

Copyright 2017 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

Journeys — near and far, into the past and even into near space — are the subject of the novels, memoirs and narrative histories that make up my summer reading list. Here are six books to escape with:

Even if you can't get yourself to the solar eclipse's "path of totality" this Aug. 21, any of these very different books will get you onto the path of a totally good story.

Copyright 2020 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross. Our next guest, Pamela Paul, is the editor of The New York Times Book Review and oversees book coverage at The Times, which is to say she's surrounded by books. This seems like a great job for someone who read so much as a child that by the age of 10, she asked repeatedly if she could get a job at her local library.

Copyright 2017 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

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