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#NPRreads: 3 Stories To Spring Into This Weekend

#NPRreads is a weekly feature on Twitter and on The Two-Way. The premise is simple: Correspondents, editors and producers from our newsroom share the pieces that have kept them reading, using the #NPRreads hashtag. Each weekend, we highlight some of the best stories.

From executive producer of All Things Considered Carline Watson:

I first became aware of Aretha Franklin in the late 1960s when I heard the song "Respect." As a girl, growing up in the Caribbean, hearing that powerful voice coming out of the radio, "R-E-S-P-E-C-T, find out what it means to me," even if I didn't fully understand the meaning, I knew in my bones it meant something. I soon discovered Franklin was not just a "soul" singer, but a talented musician across many genres. If you've never heard her recording of "Sweet Bitter Love," give yourself a treat.

I've had the good fortune to see her live at the Newport Jazz Festival, and I watched her on TV at the Kennedy Center Honors last year. As she sang "You Make Me Feel Like A Natural Woman," not only did I get chills, I was moved to tears. Yes, she is a queen, and you will not disrespect her.

From deputy international editor Didrik Schanche:

In Brazil, the left-leaning Worker's Party has been in power since 2003 — part of the "pink tide" of left-wing leadership that swept across Latin and South America in past decades. But the tide could be turning.

With Brazil in economic and political crisis, conservatism is on the rise, writes Catherine Osborn in Foreign Policy Magazine. She profiles Rodrigo Constantino, as a 39-year-old right-wing blogger and libertarian think-tank director, who is the figurehead of the Free Brazil movement.

In an interesting twist, she reports on how a particular brand of conservatism — and the attendant polarization — has been exported from the United States. Constantino took his cues from the late American conservative and Tea Party activist Andrew Breitbart.

"With Brazil's masses turning decisively against the entire political establishment, the country's national political discourse increasingly bears the vigilante logic that had always defined Constantino's – and Breitbart's – punditry," Osborn writes.

The article provides a fascinating look at how Constantino has aggressively used social media as a vehicle to fuel his movement in an effort to mow down President Dilma Rousseff and her Workers Party. At the very least, Osborn writes, he has successfully "jerked Brazilian politics and political discourse to the right."

From national desk reporter Nathan Rott:

Let's be honest. We all know it's good to be prepared. It's the Boy Scout motto. But we've all been in a situation where we're like, "Nah, I'll be fine." This article looks at that attitude as it applies to the backcountry, where not being prepared can be deadly, and how that attitude has been amplified by technology.

Outside Magazine's J.R. Sullivan interviews Tim Smith, the founder of a wilderness living and skills school, who describes it like this:

"It gives people a false sense of security. It's the idea of, Who cares how bad of a jam I get myself into? Because if there's cell coverage I'll call and someone will come get me. But if you had no outside line, no way of contacting other people, you're way less likely to take risks."

With data and anecdotes to back it, Sullivan raises an important question that anyone who goes into the backcountry — or even a long walk down the street — should consider: What would I do if I didn't have my cellphone?

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Didi Schanche is NPR's chief international editor. Her team of correspondents, based around the world, is on the scene for breaking news and specializes in coverage of issues of international policy and national security. NPR's award-winning international coverage is consistently recognized for its excellence.
Nathan Rott is a correspondent on NPR's National Desk, where he focuses on environment issues and the American West.