NPR Fun Facts

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One of the great joys of listening to NPR is not knowing where the next story will take me. Will it be the Steppes of Mongolia? A prison in Alabama? The inside of the Federal Reserve?

Often embedded within these pieces are facts, figures, and fascinating trivia; but the smooth, dulcet tones of the reporter distract me, allowing the information to slip out the back. I will attempt to collect these morsels of hard data and post them here.

If you hear something, share something. But only the facts; not subjective thoughts, loose approximations, or unprovable claims.

Link: Over its first 36 years in print, only 3,000 copies of Moby Dick were sold.


"The one Melville resuscitation attempt that stuck was Carl Van Doren, a very influential American critic. And he, according to the legend, found a copy of Moby Dick in a used bookstore, went home, read it, was so blown away that this book had like completely vanished from – from literary consciousness, and he wrote an essay about it.

"D.H. Lawrence noticed that essay, E.M. Forster noticed that essay. And then in the teens and the twenties Moby Dick actually reentered American consciousness, and all of his books were brought back into print, in which they have stubbornly stuck since then.”

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NPR Trivia facts literature moby dick melville publishing books history America whales Brooke Gladstone WNYC