Ari Shapiro

F. Scott Fitzgerald's beloved American novel The Great Gatsby is about the messiness of chasing the American dream. But author Stephanie Powell Watts says something about the book left her unsatisfied.

"I loved it when I was a kid and read it for the first time. ... But subsequent readings, I felt like I'm seeing other things. I'm seeing all of these black characters — never thought about them before. I'm seeing the women and the tiny, tiny roles that they have in the book, and I want them to speak. I want to hear what they have to say."

Here's an update on a story that NPR started following almost two years ago in Izmir, Turkey, a city on the edge of the Mediterranean Sea. That's where NPR's Ari Shapiro first met a teacher from Syria — a father in his early 30s named Monzer al-Omar.

Omar had been in Izmir for a week, waiting for a phone call from a human smuggler who would put him onto a crowded raft heading for Greece. Once the call came, Omar said, he would have just five minutes to gather his belongings, run to the beach, get on a raft and go.

Every recent president has promised to innovate the way government works, and this week, the Trump administration announced its plan to do the same.

The initiative is called the White House Office of American Innovation. Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law and senior adviser, will lead a team that includes business executives with little or no government experience. The Trump team says its agenda includes "modernizing government services" and "creating transformational infrastructure projects."

Jerry Miller spent more than 25 years behind bars for kidnapping, rape and robbery — crimes he didn't commit.

Miller was released from prison in 2006. In 2007, after decades of insisting he was innocent, Miller was finally vindicated: He became the 200th American to be cleared by DNA evidence of a wrongful conviction. Today, that number is closer to 350.

La Vida Boheme plays upbeat music on somber themes. The Venezuelan rockers' last album, Será, came as student protests were erupting in their home town of Caracas. The band's booking agent was murdered; their tour manager was kidnapped. The four members of the group locked themselves inside their apartments. They would later describe the record, which won a Latin Grammy, as "the soundtrack to an apocalypse."

Georgetown, Texas, is a conservative town in a conservative state. So it may come as something of a surprise that it's one of the first cities in America to be entirely powered by renewable energy.

Mayor Dale Ross, a staunch Republican who attended President Trump's inauguration, says that decision came down to a love of green energy and "green rectangles" — cash.

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ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Sweeney Todd is a piece of theater that should make you lose your appetite. The grisly musical by Stephen Sondheim tells the story of a demonic barber whose clients become the filling for meat pies. Many productions leave the stage soaked in blood.

In the waning years of the Civil War, advertisements like this began appearing in newspapers around the country:

"INFORMATION WANTED By a mother concerning her children.

All Things Considered co-host Ari Shapiro is on a road trip leading up to the inauguration of Donald Trump on Jan. 20. He is driving through North Carolina and Virginia, on the way to Washington, D.C. These are two swing states that went in opposite directions in November, each by a close margin: North Carolina for Trump, Virginia for Hillary Clinton. As the country faces dramatic changes, we're asking people what they want from that change — and what concerns them.

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