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#NPRreads: 3 Stories Worth Leaping Into

#NPRreads is a weekly feature on Twitter and on The Two-Way. The premise is simple: Correspondents, editors and producers from our newsroom share the pieces that have kept them reading, using the #NPRreads hashtag. Each weekend, we highlight some of the best stories.

Elissa Nadworny, ‎NPR Ed Producer & Editor

On a recent visit to my parents' house, I found a couple of postcards I had cut out from American Girl Magazine as an 11-year-old. One extolled forgiveness. Another read: It's OK to be scared.

I brought the cards into work and a male coworker remarked that at that age, he couldn't care less about forgiveness or fear. For him, it was all about dirt and cars and playing as much as possible.

That was fresh in my mind when I read Caroline Paul's op-ed in last Sunday's New York Times bemoaning the fact that we teach young girls to be frightened.

As a firefighter in California, Paul was often asked if she was scared. And yet she hardly ever heard this asked of her male colleagues. "Apparently," she writes, "fear is expected of women."

When we shelter young girls, Paul argues, we hold them back from embracing fear and from being courageous:

"When girls become women, this fear manifests as deference and timid decision making. We try to counter this conditioning by urging ourselves to "lean in." Books on female empowerment proliferate on our shelves. I admire what these writers are trying to do — but they come far too late."

Larry Kaplow, International Editor

With just a few astute observations and anecdotes, this Washington Post story explains why Dale Earnhardt Sr. stood out — as a driver to millions of fans and as a person, up close.

It also opens a window into journalism.

As reporter Liz Clarke worries for Earnhardt's fate, she also calls her editor to discuss with where the story should play in the paper. She forces herself to stay focused on her job but is left forever affected by what she experienced — witnessing the death of someone who had treated her graciously:

"From time to time, I'm invited to speak with sportswriting classes. And I try to mention a few basics. Don't try to become an athlete's friend. Don't root in the press box, except for there to be no overtime. Be prepared for anything: a power outage at the Super Bowl, an earthquake during the World Series, a death on the last lap of the Daytona 500."

Carol Ritchie, Engagement Editor

Mr. Money Mustache thinks I and my peers are slaves to debt, consumer suckas, car clowns and complainy pants with chronic cases of "excusitis." We throw money away on things we don't need and needlessly rob ourselves of early retirement, along with the sanity and happiness we need to enjoy that early retirement. In the process of buying the umpteenth pair of shoes or , Mr. Mustache says, we are destroying the world.

After reading about him in The New Yorker — having recently paid $12 to park inside on a rainy day and $7 on a sandwich I could have brought from home — I find he is right on the money, so to speak.

Pete Adeney, the man behind the Mr. Money Mustache blog , retired early after a career in the tech industry — but not with the kind of savings you might be picturing. Adeney quit with a wife, a child, $600,000 in savings and a paid-off house in Colorado, a life-choice he was able to make through thrifty living and sensible frugality. No Starbucks frappes, no gas-guzzling SUVs. Adeney now advises readers on thrifty living that he portrays as "liberation rather than as deprivation," as The New Yorker's Nick Paumgarten writes:

"He combines the deductive discipline of Mr. Spock, the D.I.Y. proficiency of MacGyver, and the gleeful certitude (and knack for coinage) of Ignatius J. Reilly. The consumer-waste complex is his confederacy of dunces."

A delightful read. Now, excuse me, I see a penny on the floor over there.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Elissa Nadworny reports on all things college for NPR, following big stories like unprecedented enrollment declines, college affordability, the student debt crisis and workforce training. During the 2020-2021 academic year, she traveled to dozens of campuses to document what it was like to reopen during the coronavirus pandemic. Her work has won several awards including a 2020 Gracie Award for a story about student parents in college, a 2018 James Beard Award for a story about the Chinese-American population in the Mississippi Delta and a 2017 Edward R. Murrow Award for excellence in innovation.
Larry Kaplow edits the work of NPR's correspondents in the Middle East and helps direct coverage about the region. That has included NPR's work on the Syrian civil war, the Trump administration's reduction in refugee admissions, the Iran nuclear deal, the US-backed fight against ISIS in Syria and Iraq, and the conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians.

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