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12.15.15: Rubio's 'Water Thing', Overlooked Books, & The Relic Master

Leo Newball Jr. via flickr Creative Commons

No matter how polished, prepped, and put together he or she may be, every presidential candidate copes with an Achilles heel. On today’s show, we'll find out how Marco Rubio capitalized on reaching for the water bottle...again and again and again. Then, need a gift idea for the book lover in your life? We'll go beyond the best seller list for a sampling of the best overlooked books of 2015, including a collection of short stories from Kelly Link.

Listen to the full show:

How Marco Rubio Took Advantage of His Water "Thing"

In 2013, Marco Rubio was the up-and-coming Republican chosen to follow up on President Obama’s State of the Union Speech. But it wasn't the content of the speech that made news; it was his awkward pause to get a drink of water. Ben Schreckinger is a reporter for Politico who wrote about "Marco Rubio’s 'Water Thing'".

How Marco Rubio Took Advantage of His Water "Thing"


Overlooked Book Suggestions

The annual onslaught of best-of lists is upon us. A time for critics to tell us what we should have been reading, watching and listening to in 2015. We at Word of Mouth are congenitally more attracted to the underdogs: the island of misfit toys equivalent of the year's best. We asked a couple of experts about their picks for the best overlooked books of 2015.

Michele Filgate is a a contributing editor at Literary Hub and board member of The National Book Critics Circle.

Isaac Fitzgerald is books editor for Buzzfeed and co-founder of The Pen and Ink

You'll find the full list of books and links right here: Gift Guide for Book Lovers: Best Overlooked Books of 2015

The Relic Master

Credit Simon & Schuster
Simon & Schuster

Christopher Buckley is no stranger to the absurd. He's written ten novels satirizing Washington politics and personalities, including Thank You for Smoking, and The White House Mess.

His newest book is called The Relic Master and is set in the Holy Roman Empire circa 1517. 

The relic master of the title is a former mercenary called Dismas who buys religious artifacts for two wealthy patrons. A series of misfortunes forces Dismas, along with the painter Albrecht Durer, on a quest to steal what is thought to be the burial shroud of Christ.

Along the way, they encounter a lascivious count, a beautiful apothecary, a syphilitic duke and a competing plot to steal the most coveted and well-guarded relic in Europe. The book has been called Ocean's 11 meets Monty Python.

The Relic Master


Lisa Morehouse reports from Mexicali, Mexico, a border town which is home to a surprising legacy of the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act. From the podcast Backstory with the American History Guys.

You can listen to this segment again at PRX.org.

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