NPR Staff

What Best in Show did for dog shows and what A Mighty Wind did for folk music, the new mockumentary Mascots does for, well, mascots. The film, from director Christopher Guest, follows contestants in the World Mascot Association Championship.

The Beach Boys sounded like California in musical form: beach, waves and a perpetually sunny blue sky.

But Brian Wilson, who co-founded the band with his brothers Carl and Dennis and their cousin Mike Love — and who wrote many of The Beach Boys' signature hits — struggled for years with mental illness. He's heard voices in his head and wrestled with the ghosts of the ways of his father, who encouraged his musical career but beat and abused him.

At $68,000 per year, George Washington University in Washington D.C. is one of the most expensive schools in the country, and yet some students — most of whom receive financial aid — still don't have enough to eat every week.

The Nobel committee made a bit of a surprising announcement Thursday morning: Bob Dylan was awarded the Nobel Prize in literature for, according to the Swedish Academy, "having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition."

If you really want to understand a place, writer Colin Dickey has some advice: "Ignore the boastful monuments and landmarks, and go straight to the haunted houses. Look for the darkened graveyards, the derelict hotels, the emptied and decaying old hospitals."

Dickey has spent a lot of time travelling the country searching for places that go bump in the night. The result is a new book called Ghostland: An American History in Haunted Places.