Josh Axelrod

The air tingles with prose. Patrons perch atop bar stools, but they aren't drinking. Individuals congregate together as a group, but they aren't talking.

Paperbacks adorn a table stained by water rings, and tote bags dangle over the backs of chairs. Classic rock is blaring from the speakers, but at this table, silence rings out.

A Silent Book Club is meeting.

Confettied scraps of shredded money blanket a table as a federal employee inspects each piece beneath a magnifying glass. A sliver containing Benjamin Franklin's face is examined before being placed in a pile with matching fragments.

Meticulously, workers piece together bills, as if solving a jigsaw puzzle. Noting the serial numbers, they deem that this pile of shreds contains value and move on to the next task, peeling apart waterlogged bills congealed into a sodden slab, probably recovered from a flood-hit home.

Andre and Jordan Anchondo were expecting houseguests for a barbecue last Saturday. It was supposed to be a triple celebration. Andre had just finished building their new home, the couple was celebrating their first wedding anniversary and their daughter was turning 6.

Before the barbecue, they dropped by Walmart to grab school supplies and food for the party. But all of their plans and celebrations shattered in an instant of violence.

Police have identified the nine people who were killed after a shooter fired dozens of rounds into a busy street in Dayton, Ohio, early Sunday morning.

The people who died range in age from 22 to 57, and they include four women and five men. Police say the attacker, who was killed at the scene, is 24-year-old Connor Betts. They identified one of the victims as his 22-year-old sister, Megan Betts.

On Friday, Minnie Mouse joined Mickey in the place that cartoon voice-over actors go when they die.

Russi Taylor, the voice of Minnie for over 30 years, died this weekend in Glendale, Calif., according to a press release from the Walt Disney Co. She was married to Wayne Allwine, who voiced Mickey and died in 2009. Both portrayed their iconic characters longer than any other voice actors.

Taylor was born in Cambridge, Mass. and was 75.

On a hot Maryland summer day, two toddlers play in the wading area of a community pool. Their glee is uncontainable as they dump water-filled plastic pails over each other's heads. A few weeks earlier, these little ones would not come close to the water.

Dr. Julie Rickard thought her visit to Wisconsin over the Christmas holiday would bring a break from her day job working in suicide prevention in Wenatchee, Wash.

The visit didn't go as planned. After a tense fight broke out between her mother and another family member, everyone dispersed. Rickard readied herself for the trip back to the Pacific Northwest.

At the airport, she received a call from her mother, Sheri Adler. This was not out of the ordinary — Adler, like many adoring mothers, always calls her daughter after parting ways.

As a child, Harrison Duran would visit the La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles, captivated by the fossils preserved in asphalt. Now 23, Duran is responsible for his own fossil discovery: the 65-million-year-old partial skull of a triceratops.

As many as 150 refugees are believed dead after their wooden boat that had been bound for Europe capsized off Libya's coast. According to the United Nations, it's the worst loss of life this year in Mediterranean.

On Wednesday night, the boat departed from Al Khoms, Libya, about 75 miles east of the capital, Tripoli. It sank on Thursday, five miles from Libya's coast.

The 1940s were significant for a number of reasons.

America went off to fight in the second World War. Orson Welles released his masterpiece Citizen Kane. A rocket-powered plane flew faster than the speed of sound.

And a great love story was being written.

Joel and Julia Helfman grew up in the West Bronx in New York during the '40s. Joel was 13 when a 12-year-old girl moved in across the street. After an errant ball during a stickball game landed near Julia as she read a book, she retrieved it for Joel.

These burglars came prepared. They cut a hole through the concrete roof and shimmied down into the warehouse. They disabled the alarms. They escaped with $2 million worth of goods.

The stolen booty: 34,000 pairs of high-end fajas, a Spanx-like undergarment popular in Miami's Hispanic community.

The robbery took place last year and was only made public recently. David Ovalle, a Miami Herald journalist, has been reporting the story from South Florida.

The California condor, North America's largest bird, once ruled the American Southwest and California's coastal mountains. The vulture-like bird was revered by Native Americans and was believed to contain spiritual powers.

Hundreds of years later, its future seemed all but certain. Defying odds, conservation efforts brought the species back and prevented it from joining the dodo in extinction.

Now, condor reintroduction celebrates a milestone: Chick No. 1,000 has hatched.

This story is part of the StoryCorps series of conversations.

A half-century ago, America's dreams were realized in space. The power of U.S. innovation and spirit took the Apollo 11 crew to the moon and back.

That mission was possible because of a diverse team of engineers, astronauts and mathematicians. It was also possible thanks to the help of one 10-year-old boy who was in the right place at the right time.

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock entered the Democratic primary in May, months after many of his competitors. He has an excuse.

Lady Gaga fills the tiny back-of-seat airplane screen. Then, (spoiler alert) A Star Is Born's tragic ending ensues and the waterworks begin.

Amanda Wind, an airline passenger taking an early morning flight, felt tears welling up in her eyes. Soon, her sobs were so loud, she had roused several other passengers from their sleep.

Her uncontrollable crying is not out of the ordinary. Neither are bizarre beverage orders, tirades against flight attendants or intimate bonds forged with seatmate strangers.

Flying makes people do weird things.

Chicago Cubs center fielder Albert Almora Jr. dropped to one knee during the fourth inning last May, hands over his face in horror. He had just watched a foul ball fly off his bat and strike a 2-year-old girl in the head, fracturing her skull.

South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg got a really big boost to his campaign recently, announcing a staggering $24.8 million fundraising haul over the past three months.

But that hasn't changed one of the toughest realities his candidacy faces: support among black voters that barely registers in the polls.

Eight of architect Frank Lloyd Wright's buildings were added to the UNESCO World Heritage List on Sunday, elevating them to the same status as Machu Picchu, the Pyramids of Giza and the Statue of Liberty.

Coffee poured. Pillow fluffed. E-book loaded. You're ready to begin a delightful afternoon on your e-reader when, poof, the book disappears.

Starting in July, Microsoft will be closing its e-book library and erasing all content purchased through the Microsoft e-bookstore from devices. Consumers will receive a refund for every e-book bought.

Facing persecution, violence, lack of health care and myriad other barriers to safety, millions of refugees leave home each year seeking a better life in a different country.

As of 2017, more than 2 million Somalis have been displaced, in one of the world's worst refugee crises, according to the United Nations refugee agency.

The University of Alaska System is bracing for a 41% cut in funding it receives from the state, after Gov. Mike Dunleavy vetoed a $130 million line item in the state's budget.

The announcement came last Friday, three days before the fiscal year began on July 1. Dunleavy vetoed roughly $400 million in items in the budget, with education receiving the largest cut.

As thousands gathered in New York City for the world's largest LGBTQ celebration, some other events across the country were unable to proceed because of threats and safety concerns.

Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh and Jacksonville Public Library in Florida both canceled events that celebrate LGBTQ pride scheduled for this weekend.

He saunters up behind a sunbathing woman, exuding coolness and charm. He wears a baby-blue terry-cloth swimsuit, cut-off mid-thigh, adorned with a golden belt buckle.

He goes to introduce himself, but viewers already know the name.

"Bond. James Bond."

Tina Dietz grew up in North Dakota, in the sleepy, rural town of Mandan. But to her, it felt like a battle zone.

"I thought parents screamed at each other all the time," Dietz, now 38, tells her partner, Patrick Conteh, in a 2018 StoryCorps interview. "I didn't know any different."

Yet one silver lining shone brightly over the gloom: visits to her great-aunt Shirley's farm.

"It was just 60 miles," Dietz says. "I knew that road like the back of my hand. Every mile marker we passed, I was one minute closer to just being loved."

A man struts through the Los Angeles Convention Center wearing a mermaid-style gown, decked out with pink ostrich feathers. No one bats a fake eyelash.

He is just one of more than 60,000 people who streamed into the convention center in May for RuPaul's DragCon, the country's biggest drag queen convention, according to its organizers. Fabulous outfits, high-heeled pumps and colorful wigs filled the hall.

Loud and proud, drag culture is having a moment.

Editor's note: We got duped. After this story was published, a press official for the Embassy of Norway in Washington, D.C. contacted NPR to let us know that the campaign by residents on the Norwegian island of Sommaroy to do away with timekeeping was "a well-planned PR stunt aimed at getting more tourists to northern Norway." The stunt "certainly fooled me," said the official, Jon-Åge Øyslebø.

Your files are done syncing, and you go to plug in your thumb drive. You try once. Failure ensues. Metal clashes with metal. Humiliated and discouraged, you flip it and try again. Failure, again! How could this be possible?

Wiping your brow, ready to give up, you flip back to the original orientation for a final try. The hard-won success is unsatisfying, tainted by the absurdity of the process.

Many dangers await migrants who attempt to cross the border from Mexico into the U.S. Hundreds die each year, faced with dehydration, hypothermia and drowning. Many more go missing along the route, separated from their group.

Maria Ochoa is part of an organization called the Tucson Samaritans. She helps migrants along the way who are stranded or in danger. She brings them food, water and medical assistance.

With climate activists cheering on the Green New Deal, former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke is borrowing a different allusion from American history.

"We've called for ... an investment commensurate with John F. Kennedy's moonshot," O'Rourke told NPR. "We're going to invest in the technologies that will allow us to lead the world on this. It should be happening right here in the United States."

This Sunday, as sisters Estela and Candi Reyes mark Father's Day, they will be thinking of their dad, Juan, who died in 2010.

Juan Reyes was born in Mexico and immigrated to the U.S. in the 1940s, eventually settling his family in El Paso, Texas. Estela, 50, and Candi, 46, adored their dad, and at StoryCorps in 2012, they recall the lasting influence he had on them.

"Papito era lo máximo," Estela said. "He was everything to us."

Growing up in El Paso, Estela remembers Juan was a "tough guy."