NPR Staff

Over the past 25 years, there's been no more prominent name in gospel music than Kirk Franklin. In that time, the singer has been no stranger to controversy. By merging hip-hop with gospel, he brought the stars and sound of the club scene into the church — and not everyone in the church has been comfortable with that.

Monday's Iowa caucuses are being billed, as they are every election season, as "a fight for the soul of the Party," both Democratic and Republican.

Yes, it's a worn-out cliché, but especially on the Republican side this year, it's a real battle.

As many know, parenting isn't an easy job. It can be hugely frustrating and even lonely trying to figure out what's best for your kid. Should you be a taskmaster or a best friend? Is there a middle ground? The pressures of full-time work and round-the-clock activities can make that question even more challenging to tackle.

Last week, a conversation on NPR's Weekend Edition Sunday, about reading books with difficult material surrounding race and gender to your children, sparked a lot of criticism.

NPR's Rachel Martin spoke with editor Jeremy Adam Smith about the controversy over A Birthday Cake For George Washington, a children's book that portrays a slave chef and his daughter preparing the desert for the president.

Saul Williams is a man with a message — and he'll will use any medium available to share that message. As a writer and poet he's published five books, including The Dead Emcee Scrolls: The Lost Teachings of Hip-Hop. As an actor he's appeared in film and television, and recently starred in Holler If Ya Hear Me, a broadway musical featuring the music of Tupac Shakur.

Was Andy Warhol a collector of beautiful and mundane things, or was he a full-blown hoarder? Did Abraham Lincoln suffer from melancholia, or was he clinically depressed? Did Albert Einstein have autism? These are the questions journalist Claudia Kalb seeks to answer in her new book, Andy Warhol Was A Hoarder: Inside The Minds Of History's Great Personalities.

Kalb tells NPR's Rachel Martin how she went about diagnosing the historic figures she talks about in her book.

In the winter of 1987, music producer Todd Lockwood was on the lookout for a hot new project to grow his label. Lockwood owned the White Crow recording studio in Burlington, Vt. — and he didn't have to look far to find his bold idea.

That idea? Get Bernie Sanders — then the longtime mayor of Burlington — into the studio to record a few of his favorite songs.

The World Health Organization has described the advance of the Zika virus as "explosive." It was first detected in Brazil in 2015 and has spread to at least 22 countries since. The mosquito-borne virus has been associated with severe birth defects in babies born to infected mothers.

Readers have waited almost 15 years for a second novel from the acclaimed Alexander Chee, following the highly-praised Edinburgh. The wait is over.

The Queen Of The Night is sprawling, soaring, bawdy and plotted like a fine embroidery. Lilliet Berne is the most famous soprano in the French opera. She is offered the role of a lifetime: an original part written for her. But then she sees that the opera must be based on a part of her life she's kept under wraps.

For decades, Diane Rehm has hosted her own daily talk show. The Peabody Award winner first took over as host of the midday show for NPR member station WAMU in 1979; only late last year, Rehm announced that she plans to retire sometime after the 2016 presidential election.

Andy Goodling met his boyfriend, Bryan, at college in Pennsylvania. Six years ago, they started dating — but for years, they kept their relationship hidden.

"Bryan was my best friend, but we were both very much in the closet," Goodling tells his father, Scott, on a recent visit with StoryCorps. "You know, we knew who we were. We just didn't want to actually say it."

Actor Richard Dreyfuss has played a variety of roles — from the bubbling teen in American Graffiti to a man lured by aliens in Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Now, in a new ABC miniseries, he plays Bernie Madoff, the former Nasdaq chairman who orchestrated a Ponzi scheme considered to be one of the largest financial frauds in American history.

For women who are pregnant, or hope to be, the news about the Zika virus can be terrifying. The mosquito-borne pathogen is being linked to a significant increase in Brazil of a rare birth defect called microcephaly.

The virus has already spread to 22 countries in the Americas. That's led four countries, Ecuador, El Salvador, Jamaica and Colombia, to recommend that women delay their pregnancies. It's a strategy that is being criticized by some.

Sahr and Nyumah were barely teenagers when rebel soldiers from the Revolutionary United Front stormed their villages in Sierra Leone. The two friends fled with their families and neighbors — Sahr to the bush and Nyumah to the road leading to Guinea. But both were captured.

Rebel soldiers forced Nyumah to beat Sahr, and to kill Sahr's father. It was part of a systematic campaign to turn neighbor on neighbor, friend on friend, and damage the social ties that held communities together.

Tracing your genealogy has become a popular hobby in the United States. More than 1 million people around the country have taken these tests. Shows like PBS's Finding Your Roots have shown the public how much information you can find out about your family tree with a simple DNA test.

The latest films in the Star Wars and Hunger Games franchises were not just box office smashes. They also shared something else in common: Both tapped into a widespread debate about casting.

The Old Vic Theatre in Bristol, England, is spending this year celebrating its 250th anniversary. And they're doing something pretty dramatic. They're taking a cue from their predecessors, by reviving some of the antique ways of producing sound effects for the stage.

For this summer's production of King Lear, the theater is using technology from the 18th century to create effects for rain, wind and thunder. Using old-fashioned wooden wheels, wooden gutters and wooden balls, they can recreate the sounds of a thunderstorm.

It's 1977 and an 11-year-old dancer named Mira is struggling to find her place in the competitive world of New York City ballet. Dance is her escape from her parents' failing marriage — but instead of a sanctuary, Mira finds the opposite: a dark threat intermingled with her dreams of being a star ballerina. Sari Wilson gives us a glimpse into this world in her new novel — it's called Girl Through Glass. Sari spent her own childhood dancing, like her protagonist, and she tells NPR's Rachel Martin that she found it exhilarating, in the beginning.

In front of one of the colleges at Oxford University, a statue of Cecil Rhodes stands overlooking the campus. Rhodes, a South African businessman, started the De Beers diamond company and went on to become the namesake of the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship.

He was also a colonialist who believed in the superiority of Anglo-Saxons, and he enforced a policy of racial segregation in South Africa.

Now, because of that history, a growing number of students at Oxford say it's time to take down the statue of Rhodes.

Musician Brooke Waggoner was on a 6 a.m. coffee run when she got a worrisome text from a friend, whose husband was apparently dealing with a life-threatening heart problem. The news gave her a shiver — and an idea.

Forgive us if you've heard this (and heard it, and heard it) already: The East Coast is getting its fair share of snow this weekend.

If you have, chances are you've also heard another little anecdote. When folks get snowed in for a couple of days — the urban legend goes — the population in that area is likely to see a boost in births just nine months later. In other words: Blizzards might be prime baby-making time.

Julia has a gift — or is it? Ingrid Betancourt's new novel, The Blue Line, is about a woman in 1970s Argentina who can see the world through the eyes of others. Usually what she sees are terrible events, and that makes her different from the millions of Argentines who say they don't know about the detentions, disappearances, tortures and murders by which Argentina's military government ruled and quashed dissent in what is known as The Dirty War.

On Sunday, the FBI's Fox Mulder and Dana Scully will once again start taking on unsolved cases of the paranormal kind. That's right: The X-Files is back.

Actors Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny are reprising their roles of Scully and Mulder in six new episodes. The show is being revived under the helm of its original creator, Chris Carter. Duchovny and Anderson tell NPR's Scott Simon how their characters have changed in the years between the original X-Files and this reboot.

With about a week left until the Iowa caucuses, the NPR Politics Podcast team discusses the emerging rifts between GOP candidates and the return of a certain Alaskan politician — and her endorsement of Donald Trump.

Special guest Ari Shapiro, host of All Things Considered, joins the podcast this week. He shares some nuggets from his interview with Hillary Clinton, including how she's talking about Bernie Sanders and her surprising go-to snack on the campaign trail.

On the podcast:

When Marine Cpl. Zach Skiles returned from Iraq, he couldn't sleep, hold down a job or pay rent. Earlier this year, he and his father sat down to talk for the first time about his life after the war.

UPDATE January 26, 11:52 a.m.: This live Q&A has ended. Watch a recorded version in the player above.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

When Sunil Yapa's laptop was stolen, he didn't just lose his computer — he also lost the 600-page novel saved on it. Yapa summoned the will to write it all over again — but a little shorter this time. This second version has turned into a newly published novel about recurring themes in American history.

Your Heart is a Muscle the Size of a Fist was inspired by a real-life event; in 1999, thousands of demonstrators disrupted a meeting of the World Trade Organization in Seattle. Badly outnumbered police resorted to using tear gas, pepper spray and rubber bullets.

Pages