Ari Shapiro

Lea Berman and Jeremy Bernard have organized state dinners and congressional picnics, each serving as White House social secretary for different administrations. Bernard worked for President Obama; Berman for President George W. Bush. And they've collaborated on a new book that uses their White House experiences to draw out lessons in how to handle crises, defuse awkward moments and manage expectations. It's called Treating People Well: The Extraordinary Power Of Civility At Work And In Life.

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At the White House this afternoon, President Trump celebrated the final passage of Republicans' massive tax legislation. He spoke surrounded by dozens of GOP lawmakers, basking in the glow of a major legislative victory.

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As millions of people have fled Syria, they haven't been able to take much with them on their journey. Families often had to abandon the things that reminded them of home. So the recipes that bring them back to the places they left behind are precious.

Dina Mousawi and Itab Azzam are the authors of a new cookbook, Our Syria: Recipes From Home. For the book they interviewed Syrian refugees scattered around Europe and the Middle East. The book gathers their stories, along with the recipes that remind them of home.

Below a highway overpass in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, college students eat fried noodles and spicy chicken stew from brightly lit food stalls that fill this gritty space. The noise of cars and trucks rumbling overhead mingles with the sound of jets landing at the nearby airport.

A singer's voice begins to pierce this dense cacophony. She has woven palm fronds into her hair to create a headpiece that crowns her sparkly pink outfit. Diners tip her before turning back to their meals.

As home to 250 million people speaking hundreds of languages and spanning some 17,000 islands in an area as wide as the continental U.S., Indonesia is one of the most populous and diverse countries in the world.

The actress and comedian Amy Sedaris has become famous for her roles in shows like Strangers With Candy and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. At the same time, she has always harbored a not-so-secret love of home crafting projects.

She's written books about it — Simple Times: Crafts for Poor People, and I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence — and now, she has a program on Tru TV, At Home With Amy Sedaris, inspired by the shows she loved as a kid.


Interview Highlights

On her inspirations

In every field, there are people whose behind-the-scenes work ripples out; whose vision helps define the way we live, work or play. In fashion, Grace Coddington is one of those people.

Many people first heard of Coddington through The September Issue, the 2009 documentary about American Vogue. She's been a top editor there for nearly 30 years, directing the photo spreads that appear in the magazine. She helps choose the clothes, setting and models, and she works with the photographer to figure out how to capture it all.

Sometimes the world can feel a bit uniform: the same department stores in every shopping mall, the same fast food chains on every corner. The website Atlas Obscura will make you reconsider that sense of monotony.

"The world is still this huge, bizarre, vast place filled with astounding stuff," says co-founder Dylan Thuras. "And if you sort of tilt your view a little bit and start looking for it, you start finding it everywhere."

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In Baton Rouge, La., people are using whatever tools they have to help their community recover from the flood.

That includes cameras.

Four photographers have been creating portraits of those affected. Their project, "Humans of the Water," focuses not on what people lost, but on what they saved.

One of those photographers is Collin Richie. He says documentary photography isn't typically his style. Most of his work involves snapping photos for weddings, magazines and corporate advertisements.

Out on the wide open plains of West Texas, you can see the horizon for 360 degrees, interrupted only by the nodding up and down of pump jacks pulling oil up out of the earth.

There lies the aptly named town of Midland.

To get the hang of the place, you need to start downtown, on a corner near the Chase Bank, where an electric billboard displays the essentials: the temperature, a message — "God Bless Midland" — and a number. On this day, it's 45.94.

In the U.S., affordable housing has always been a big concern for poor people.

Now in some of America's biggest cities, "middle class" families can't afford the rent. And that is making affordable housing a more important issue for the elected leaders who run these cities.

As part of the All Things Considered series "The New Middle," a look at what it means to be middle class in America today, NPR's Ari Shapiro went to the most expensive city in the country to see what happens when you earn a middle class salary in an upper class town.

While covering the aftermath of the shooting at Pulse in Orlando, Fla., NPR's Ari Shapiro realized he had gone to the nightclub more than a decade ago.

"We saw you there by yourself and wanted to make sure you were, you know, part of the group," recalls Nathan Jokers, a former Pulse bartender. "We didn't want you to feel alone."

You can listen to their conversation at the audio link above.

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