Lourdes Garcia-Navarro

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LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

And now for an update - two years ago when I was NPR's Brazil correspondent, I danced in Rio de Janeiro's famous Sambadrome with the Vila Isabel Samba School. Here's me at the end of that experience.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED BROADCAST)

Terese Marie Mailhot started her new memoir, Heart Berries, while she was in a mental institution, where she had committed herself after a breakdown. The pages bleed with the pain of mental illness, lost love and her family history on an Indian reservation in British Columbia.

It's a collection of essays filled with what she called "heavy material": experiences of poverty, addiction and abuse. But she also says she's finding joy in cultivating art. She spoke with me about her work and her life from Spokane, Wash.

Solar eclipses, supermoons, a star-studded night sky — for us earthlings, looking up into space can be a transformative experience.

But what about the other way around? What is it like to see the entire earth from space? Only a select group of astronauts have had that grand opportunity.

"There was actually a physical moment in time when we answered a puzzle — something that's puzzled us throughout the whole of human history: What did the Earth look like from the outside?" says science historian Christopher Potter.

In the summer of 1967, Linda Walker was at Girl Scout camp in North Carolina when a lightning bolt struck her.

She says she was in a tent with three other girls when they all ran out after the crackle and boom. Walker was on the floor, unresponsive.

"But as Girl Scouts you always keep up with your buddy — you never lose track of your buddy," Walker says. "And my buddy walked out, ran out of the tent without me, but realized I wasn't with her and came back. Had she not done that, I wouldn't be here today ... because she saved my life."

In the 2012 best-selling novel Me Before You, an idealistic young Englishwoman named Louisa Clark becomes the caretaker of a wealthy businessman left paralyzed from a motorcycle accident. They fall in love. Then tragedy strikes, and Louisa is left to pick up the pieces.

Editor's note on Jan. 18: This story should have noted that artnet News was the first to report that the High Museum's proportion of nonwhite visitors has grown to 45 percent and now is close to the percentage of people of color who live in the Atlanta metropolitan area. That news site's report about the museum's "valuable case study" concerning how to diversify audiences is online here.

Just off a Houston freeway, in a strip mall with an Indian tailor and South Asian grocery store, is a small restaurant with an out-size reputation. It's called Himalaya and its chef and owner is a Houston institution.

Chef Kaiser Lashkari is a large man with a bushy salt-and-pepper mustache. He's constantly in motion — greeting clients, inspecting steaming dishes carried by busy waiters, calling out to his wife overseeing the kitchen. He offers us food before we've even sat down.

It's that time of year — Sugar Plum fairies dancing in delight, the Mouse King, a gorgeous Christmas party, a prince, and that instantly recognizable music.

The Nutcracker ballet is a beloved holiday perennial, but Wicked author Gregory Maguire's new novel Hiddensee — which is based on the Nutcracker tale — is not exactly meant for the kiddos. It tells the backstory of the powerful toymaker, Herr Drosselmeier, who gives the Nutcracker to Clara.

If you're reading this through some kind of Bluetooth or Wi-Fi gadget, here's an interesting fact: Some ideas behind that technology can be traced back to a famous actress from the 1930s. Her name was Hedy Lamarr.

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