This month, NPR's Backseat Book Club hits the high seas for an adventurous novel called Heart of a Samurai by Margi Preus. The book begins in 1841, and is based on the sprawling true-life tale of Manjiro, whose destiny was almost determined before birth as a son in a long line of fishermen. But a storm blew his life on a new course, and he became one of the first Japanese to set foot in America.
Poised to triumphantly clinch the Republican nomination for president, Romney instead was upstaged Tuesday by supporter Donald Trump's new birther-on-steroids shtick that stole the headlines and the candidate's big moment.
Then on Thursday, ready to embarrass President Obama by holding a "surprise" press event in front of Solyndra, the Obama-touted California solar energy company that failed after getting a $535 million government loan guarantee, Romney was upstaged yet again.
A student in Pamplona, holding a sign in the Basque language, protests cuts Thursday in education and other public services by the government. Spain's financial position is weakening and there are fears the country will need a bailout.
Spain's borrowing costs hit record highs this week and European stock markets have slumped over fears Madrid can't afford the price tag required to prop up its ailing banks. It's looking ever more likely the country will need some kind of bailout.
After watching Greece from afar for years, many Spaniards now believe Spain's number is up.
A tourist in Madrid might wonder where the crisis is. Traffic is heavy and the tapas bars are packed.
But listen in on some of the conversations, and it's clear that Spaniards are scared.