Have you ever read a novel that is so propulsive you don't want to put it down (not even to play with your new kitten), and so well-plotted that it doesn't reveal itself to you until its 288th page — which just happens to be the book's final page as well? Marabou Stork Nightmares by Irvine Welsh is that kind of a novel.
On first glance, if you simply picked it up and shuffled its pages, it might not look appealing to some readers.
Analysts are predicting a fairly good year for retailers over the holiday season. Those sales are expected to increase 3 percent overall and go up 15 percent for online retailers. Plus, this is the first year tablets like the iPad may make an impact on the retail landscape.
With technocratic governments being formed in Italy and Greece, the euro may get a short-term bounce from the markets. But there is concern the changes afoot may not happen fast enough to end the eurozone debt mess.
Steve Inskeep talks to Shahidul Alam. The former chemist became a photographer because he was tired of seeing images of the developing world through the lens of Western photographers. He now runs an art gallery, a photo agency and a school of photojournalism in Bangladesh. He recently published a book of stunning photographs called, "My Life as a Witness."
After a week of market turmoil over the worsening eurozone crisis, hopes are high that the appointment of economist Mario Monti to head a technocratic government in Italy will reassure lenders that the country can speed economic overhaul. Monti could face obstruction from lawmakers of outgoing Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's party.
And as Ari said just a moment ago, President Obama will be back in Washington just before that supercommittee's deadline. Before the president left for Hawaii, he picked up the phone and made calls to both the Democratic and Republican chairs of the group.
To talk about that and more, let's turn now to NPR's Cokie Roberts. Good morning.
COKIE ROBERTS, BYLINE: Hi, Renee.
MONTAGNE: Let's start with what those phone calls were about.