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51:27

David Rakoff: 'There Is No Answer As To Why Me.'

Writer and humorist David Rakoff, who died Thursday at the age of 47, wrote with a perfect balance of wit and gravity about the cancer that would ultimately take his life. Fresh Air remembers Rakoff with excerpts from two interviews in 2001 and 2010.

43:58

David Rakoff's 'Half Empty' Worldview Is Full Of Wit

Writer David Rakoff's glass is never half full. In Half Empty, his latest essay collection, Rakoff explains the powers of pessimistic thought as he analyzes topics such as a pornography trade fair, his neurotic childhood and his recent cancer diagnosis.

09:48

Accepting the Challenge of the Natural World

Essayist Paul Gruchow has a new collection of essays called The Necessity of Empty Places, which celebrates the American wilderness. Rejecting the macho, survivalist approach to confronting nature, Gruchow sees the wilderness as a place of meditation and discovery.

28:05

William Kittredge on the Mistakes of Westward Expansion

The writer inherited his family's ranch, but later sold it when he moved to Iowa for graduate school. Kittredge critiques the belief that humans have the moral authority to develop and tame the American West. This mythology, he says, has led to ecological destruction and the genocide of American Indians. His new collection of essays about the subject is called Owning it All.

09:46

Accepting the Challenge of the Natural World

Essayist Paul Gruchow has a new collection of essays called The Necessity of Empty Places, which celebrates the American wilderness. Rejecting the macho, survivalist approach to confronting nature, Gruchow sees the wilderness as a place of meditation and discovery.

54:31

A Master of Filth on What He Loves and Loathes

Film director John Waters has cultivated a second career as a writer. His newest collection of essays is called Crackpot. He joins Fresh Air to talk about his television watching and filmgoing habits, and to discuss some of his favorite recent releases. Listeners call in with their questions.

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