At the start of the fall TV season, HBO gave us the best new series of the year with Boardwalk Empire, which was set in the Prohibition era in Atlantic City, N.J. This Sunday, HBO launches an ambitious, impressive five-hour miniseries — and as with Boardwalk Empire, it's set during the Depression.

It takes a deft hand to do justice to the ordinary. Most novelists don't even bother to try, which is why most novels are about a rip in the fabric of the routine. It's tough to find fiction ambitious enough to tackle the story of a run-of-the-mill job, a hum-drum family; but, if the mundane matters to you, then Stewart O'Nan is your man.

In California's Silicon Valley, the economy is finally showing signs of a turnaround. Social media companies like Twitter and Facebook are generating a lot of new excitement, and there's even been a slight uptick in hiring. Still, the recession has done considerable damage to the region's economy, and the unemployment rate remains high.

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STEVE INSKEEP, Host:

It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

You simply cannot appreciate the brilliance of Angry Birds unless you play the game. So go get your iPhone or borrow one from a friend. You can download the first game for free.

There are many spoilers ahead in this piece, and by spoilers, we mean this: If you want to be surprised by the final few episodes of Big Love, you should not read or listen to this piece until you finish the season.

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SIMON: Warren Christopher died last night at the age 85, at home in Los Angeles. He was the son of a North Dakota bank clerk who became a blue chip, L.A. lawyer in splendid suits, and a famously self-effacing diplomat.

H: the best public servant I ever knew.

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P: Mr. Breslin, thanks so much for being with us.

JIMMY BRESLIN: Good. I'm here.

: Yeah, you...

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: Indeed, and it's good to have you here, sir.

BRESLIN: Yeah

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NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson reports voter turnout is unusually high in some districts.

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Ohio Valley ReSource

Henderson is a small city of about 30,000 people on the Ohio River. 

For most of the last 50 years, the city has run on coal power. And the coal is locally sourced: all of it comes from Western Kentucky coal fields from within a 30 miles radius. 
Henderson Mayor Steve Austin is giving a tour around downtown. He remembers growing up beside the plant. 

Rebecca Kiger

Far from the ocean and Puerto Rico’s famous beaches, narrow roads wind into mountains not unlike the country roads of our home, West Virginia. After hours of driving we reach a rural community in the island’s center called Tetuan Tres. Like so many places in rural Appalachia, you don’t come here accidentally.

Nicole Erwin/ Ohio Valley ReSource

LaRue County, Kentucky, dairy farmer Gary Rock sits in his milking parlor, overlooking what is left of his 95 cow operation.

“Three hundred years of history is something that a lot of people in our country cannot even talk about,” Rock said.

That’s how long the farm has been in his family. While the land has turned out tobacco, soybeans and other crops over the years, since 1980 dairy has nourished the family in and out of tragedy.

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