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Encyclopedia Man

NPR's Scott Simon checks in again with writer A.J. Jacobs, who is reading the entire Encyclopaedia Britannica. Jacobs has made it through the letter P, where he has discovered that a Patch Box is the place where French people used to store their fake beauty marks.

Also: In his classic book Remembrance of Things Past, Marcel Proust recounts the story of how biting into a madeleine prompted a rush of memories that inspired him to write. But under the letter "P," Jacobs learns that in truth, the magical memory cookie was actually a dry piece of toast known as a rusk cracker.

And pastries don't just prompt books; as Jacob tells it, they've also been credited with starting at least one war, as have pigs and beer.

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Scott Simon is one of America's most admired writers and broadcasters. He is the host of Weekend Edition Saturday and is one of the hosts of NPR's morning news podcast Up First. He has reported from all fifty states, five continents, and ten wars, from El Salvador to Sarajevo to Afghanistan and Iraq. His books have chronicled character and characters, in war and peace, sports and art, tragedy and comedy.