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Dava Sobel is as adept at spotting promising subject matter as the extraordinary women astronomers she writes about in The Glass Universe were at spotting variable stars. By translating complex information into manageable bites sweetened with human interest stories, Sobel makes hard science palatable for the general audience. Even more than her 1999 book Galileo's Daughter, this new work highlights women's often under-appreciated role in the history of science.

This week, we've invited Alan Cumming, actor, singer, author, director and proud son of Scotland, to play our quiz. He's currently on tour performing songs from his new album, Alan Cumming Sings Sappy Songs.

Since Cumming plays Eli Gold on the TV series The Good Wife, we're asking him to answer three questions about bad wives.

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Much of the world is getting to know the work of Kathleen Collins - all the more to regret that she's not around to hear the praise. Kathleen Collins was a writer and filmmaker who died in 1988 of breast cancer. She was 46 years old.

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The last time New York's Metropolitan Opera presented a work written by a woman was 113 years ago. It's a drought that lasted longer than the years between the Cubs' World Series victories. That situation has finally been rectified this week with the New York premiere of the opera L'Amour de Loin by Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho.

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Let's pause now to remember a British actor best known for playing a Spanish waiter in a 1970s BBC series that lasted only 12 episodes - Andrew Sachs. He died at age 86. As NPR's Ted Robbins tells us, his relatively small role left a big impression.

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Bonnie Mackay has written an unusual sort of memoir: Tree of Treasures is the story of her life, told through Christmas tree ornaments.

Mackay is something of an ornament aficionado — starting with the first tree she decorated with a friend from college.

"We called it the tree of disarray ... " she tells NPR's Ari Shapiro. They adorned it with unconventional objects, including jewelry, scarves and kitchen items.

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