The Book Review

The Book Review

By The New York Times

The world's top authors and critics join host John Williams and editors at The New York Times Book Review to talk about the week's top books, what we're reading and what's going on in the literary world.

Episodes

The 10 Best Books of 2022

Heads up! The Book Review podcast returns with a new episode this week, recorded Tuesday during a live event in which several of our editors and critics discussed the Book Review’s list of the year’s 10 Best Books. (If you haven’t seen the list yet and don’t want spoilers before listening, the choices are revealed one by one on the podcast.)In addition to the 10 Best Books, the editors discuss on this episode some of their favorite works from the year that didn’t make the list. Here are those additional books the editors discuss:The Passenger and Stella Maris, by Cormac McCarthyTomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, by Gabrielle ZevinAvalon, by Nell ZinkIf I Survive You, by Jonathan EscofferyWe would love to hear your thoughts about this episode, and about the Book Review’s podcast in general. You can send them to books@nytimes.com.
02/12/22·56m 15s

Bringing Down Harvey Weinstein

For the next few months, we’re sharing some of our favorite conversations from the podcast’s archives. This week’s segments first appeared in 2019 and 2020, respectively.In their best-selling book “She Said” — the basis for the Maria Schrader-directed film of the same title, currently in theaters — the Times reporters Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey recount how they broke the Harvey Weinstein story, work that earned them the Pulitzer Prize, led to Weinstein’s 2020 conviction on felony sex crimes and helped solidify #MeToo as an ongoing national movement.When the book was published in 2019, Twohey and Kantor were guests on the podcast and discussed the difficulties they had faced in getting women to speak on the record about Weinstein’s predation. They also said that their coverage of workplace sexual harassment would not end with Weinstein: “Our attitude is that you can’t solve a problem you can’t see,” Kantor told the host Pamela Paul. “Megan and I can’t adjudicate all of the controversies around #MeToo, but what we can continue to do is bring information to light in a responsible way and uncover this secret history that so many of us are still trying to understand.”Also this week, we revisit Neal Gabler’s 2020 podcast appearance, in which he talked about “Catching the Wind,” the first volume of his Ted Kennedy biography. (The second and concluding volume, “Against the Wind,” has just been published.) “I approached this book as a biography of Edward Kennedy, but also, equally, a biography of American liberalism,” he said at the time.We would love to hear your thoughts about this episode, and about the Book Review’s podcast in general. You can send them to books@nytimes.com.
24/11/22·43m 51s

Taffy Brodesser-Akner Discusses “Fleishman Is in Trouble”

For the next few months, we’re sharing some of our favorite conversations from the podcast’s archives. This week’s segments first appeared in 2019 and 2017, respectively.Taffy Brodesser-Akner's debut novel, “Fleishman Is in Trouble” — a best seller when it was published in 2019 — is back in the public eye, as the source material for Hulu’s new mini-series of the same name. The show, like the novel, follows a man’s life as his marriage of 14 years crumbles.Brodesser-Akner visited the podcast when her book came out, and told the host Pamela Paul that her time writing celebrity profiles for The New York Times Magazine and other outlets had helped her investigate the psychologies of her fictional characters: “What all the profiles taught me about is not people who want to be known, but what people say when they want you to know a version of themselves that isn’t the truth,” she said. “It taught me a lot about how people talk about themselves, and about how deluded we all are.”Also this week, we resurface Neil Gaiman’s 2017 podcast appearance, in which he talked about his book “Norse Mythology,” a reimagining of the traditional northern stories about Thor, Odin, Loki and company.We would love to hear your thoughts about this episode, and about the Book Review’s podcast in general. You can send them to books@nytimes.com.
18/11/22·41m 14s

Mark Harris on His Biography of Mike Nichols

For the next few months, we’re sharing some of our favorite conversations from the podcast’s archives. This week’s segments first appeared in 2021 and 2019, respectively.In his first two books, “Pictures at a Revolution” and “Five Came Back,” the entertainment journalist Mark Harris offered an ensemble look at Hollywood history, focusing first on five seminal movies and then on five wartime directors. But for his third book, in 2021, Harris trained his spotlight on a single individual: “Mike Nichols: A Life” is a biography of the renowned writer, director and performer whose many credits included “The Graduate” and “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”“He was remarkably open,” Harris said of Nichols on the podcast last year. “There are few bigger success stories for a director to look back on than ‘The Graduate,’ and I was asking Mike about it 40 years and probably 40,000 questions after it happened. But I was so impressed by his willingness to come at it from new angles, to re-examine things that he hadn’t thought about for a while, to tell stories that were frankly not flattering to him. I’ve never heard harsher stories about Mike’s behavior over the years than I heard from Mike himself. He was an extraordinary interview subject.”Also this week, we revisit Adam Higginbotham’s 2019 appearance, in which he discussed his book “Midnight in Chernobyl,” about the nuclear disaster in that city. Higginbotham visited the site enough times “to lose count,” he told the host Pamela Paul. “And I never really stopped being afraid of it.”We would love to hear your thoughts about this episode, and about the Book Review’s podcast in general. You can send them to books@nytimes.com.
11/11/22·40m 47s

N.K. Jemisin on Multiverses, Revolution and the ‘Soul’ of Cities

For the next few months, we’re sharing some of our favorite conversations from the archives. This week we turn the mic over to our sibling podcast “The Ezra Klein Show,” for a discussion that aired last month between Klein and the novelist N.K. Jemisin.The novelist and former Book Review columnist N.K. Jemisin is one of the most celebrated science-fiction and fantasy writers at work today: The winner of multiple Hugo Awards — including an unprecedented three in a row for her remarkable “Broken Earth” trilogy — she is renowned for her ability to build fictional worlds that reflect the complex social and political dynamics of our own.  Her latest novel, “The World We Make,” is a sequel to “The City We Became,” and like that book it examines the ways cities come to take on their own personalities and characters, and how they respond to the forces threatening those identities. Jemisin visited “The Ezra Klein” show in October to discuss the books and the real world that informed them. “I felt like writing about our world,” she told the host Ezra Klein. “And if I’m going to do that, then I would do the world a disservice by treating it as some fantasy land. I don’t want to depict New York, as much as I love it, as all joy and all light and all happiness.”We would love to hear your thoughts about this episode, and about the Book Review’s podcast in general. You can send them to books@nytimes.com.
04/11/22·1h 4m

Jason Zinoman Talks About David Letterman

For the next few months, we’re sharing some of our favorite conversations from the podcast’s archives. This week’s segments first appeared in 2017 and 2018, respectively.The longtime New York Times comedy critic Jason Zinoman is the first person ever to hold that position at the paper, and he’s a natural fit for it: In 2017, when his biography of the late-night host David Letterman was published, he explained on the podcast that his early love of Letterman had shaped not only his love of comedy but to some extent his outlook on the world: “I worshiped David Letterman as a kid,” Zinoman told the host Pamela Paul. “He is one of these people who I loved before I thought like a critic. And I do believe that you love things as a kid in a deep way that you don’t love things as an adult. And to a large degree I think my sense of humor was defined by David Letterman. When I was a kid I talked like him. I smiled like him. My sense of sarcasm came from him. Even as an adult I can sort of see traces of it.”Also this week, we revisit our 2018 conversation with the New York Times Magazine writer Sam Anderson, who talked about basketball, Oklahoma City and his book “Boom Town.”We would love to hear your thoughts about this episode, and about the Book Review’s podcast in general. You can send them to books@nytimes.com.
28/10/22·43m 12s

Siddhartha Mukherjee Talks About ‘The Gene’

For the next few months, we’re sharing some of our favorite conversations from the podcast’s archives. This week’s segments first appeared in 2016 and 2018, respectively.Since winning the Pulitzer Prize in general nonfiction for his first book, “The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer,” in 2011, the physician and professor Siddhartha Mukherjee has gone on to write two more sweeping studies of medical and scientific subjects: “The Song of the Cell,” which will be released next week, and “The Gene: An Intimate History,” which came out in 2016. Mukherjee was a guest on the podcast when “The Gene” was published, and he told the host Pamela Paul that his earlier book about cancer had led him naturally to the topic of genetics and heredity. “The more I thought about disease, illness, the more I came back to the question of inheritance: What do we inherit, what do our families give to us? How much of it is genetic, how much of it is environmental?” he said.Also this week, we revisit Kate Atkinson’s podcast appearance from 2018, when she discussed her World War II spy novel “Transcription” and its heroine, who starts out as “a very clever girl who’s slightly out of order.” Atkinson’s latest novel, “Shrines of Gaiety,” was published last month.We would love to hear your thoughts about this episode, and about the Book Review’s podcast in general. You can send them to books@nytimes.com.
21/10/22·34m 48s

George Saunders on ‘Lincoln in the Bardo’

For the next few months, we’re sharing some of our favorite conversations from the podcast’s archives. This week’s segments first appeared in 2017 and 2019, respectively.The writer George Saunders has long been acclaimed for his short stories, which he has collected into five books since 1996 (including this year’s “Liberation Day”). But in 2017 he showed he was comfortable with longer narratives as well when he released his first novel, “Lincoln in the Bardo,” invoking multiple voices and ghostly spirits to portray President Lincoln’s grief at the death of his young son even as the Civil War raged. Saunders visited the podcast that year to talk about the novel, and how the process of writing it was different for him from story writing. “It seemed like something that was going to have to be approached pretty earnestly, and I wasn’t sure I had the chops to do that,” he told the host Pamela Paul. “I kind of had this little talk with myself: Dude, you’re 50-whatever-I-was ... This is something you’ve been wanting to write your whole life. You’ve now been through many of the major milestones of life. You know, I’m old, I have beautiful kids, everything. Why is this material too earnest for you, or too whatever? So I made a little contract with myself that I would do three months of trying, just to see if it caught fire.”Also this week, we revisit Paul’s 2019 conversation with the journalist Patrick Radden Keefe about his book “Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland,” which looked at the Troubles in Northern Ireland through the lens of one young widow’s disappearance in 1972. “I’m drafting on an incredibly brave effort by her children, starting in the 1990s, to come out and break the code of silence in Ireland, and say: ‘We need to know what happened,’” said Keefe, whose book went on to be named one of our 10 Best Books of 2019.We would love to hear your thoughts about this episode, and about the Book Review’s podcast in general. You can send them to books@nytimes.com.
14/10/22·34m 35s

Revisiting Baldwin vs. Buckley

For the next few months, we’re sharing some of our favorite conversations from the podcast’s archives. This week’s segments first appeared in 2019 and 2020, respectively.In 1965, James Baldwin, by then internationally famous, faced off against William F. Buckley Jr., one of the leading voices of American conservatism, in a debate hosted by the Cambridge Union in England (and currently being dramatized as a stage show at the Public Theater in New York). The debate proposition before the house was: “The American dream is at the expense of the American Negro.”Nicholas Buccola’s 2019 book “The Fire Is Upon Us” tells the story of that intellectual prizefight as well as the larger story of Buckley’s and Baldwin’s lives.“Although the union had existed for 150 years prior to this night,” Buccola said on the podcast in 2019, “I’m pretty sure that there was never a speech quite like the speech that Baldwin delivered that night, because a lot of formal debate is this combination of intellectual exercise and performance art — you know, a lot of humor injected and that sort of thing. But Baldwin arrives that night and he delivers a sermon; he delivers a jeremiad. He is there to say things that people don’t want to hear.”Also this week, we revisit Lydia Millet’s podcast appearance from 2020, when she discussed her novel “The Children’s Bible,” which went on to be named one of our 10 Best Books of the year. The book was inspired, she told the host Pamela Paul, by younger people who are increasingly alarmed by the future they will inherit: “This generation is starting to notice and get angry, and I think the rage is long overdue, and I think it’s the only rational response to the threats we face.” Millet’s new novel, “Dinosaurs,” will be published next week.We would love to hear your thoughts about this episode, and about the Book Review’s podcast in general. You can send them to books@nytimes.com.
07/10/22·43m 33s

Celeste Ng on Race, Class and Suburbia

For the next few months, we’re sharing some of our favorite conversations from the podcast’s archives. This week’s segments first appeared in 2017 and 2015, respectively.Before “Little Fires Everywhere” was a hit series streaming on Hulu, it was a best-selling novel by Celeste Ng, who is also the author of the novels “Everything I Never Told You” and, most recently, the dystopian “Our Missing Hearts.” Ng came on the podcast in 2017 to talk about “Little Fires Everywhere,” which addressed themes of race, class and privilege in a fictionalized version of Shaker Heights, Ohio, where she grew up. “There’s a real difference between the surface of things and what the true state of things is,” Ng told the host Pamela Paul during her appearance. “That’s sort of a theme throughout — everyone in here, there’s a difference between the surface of who they appear to be and who they actually are inside.”Also this week, we revisit Paul’s 2015 conversation with the esteemed children’s book author Judy Blume, who visited the podcast to discuss the recent publication of one of her adult novels, “In the Unlikely Event.”We would love to hear your thoughts about this episode, and about the Book Review’s podcast in general. You can send them to books@nytimes.com.
30/09/22·25m 24s

The Life and Times of Jann Wenner and Rolling Stone

For the next few months, we’re sharing some of our favorite conversations from the podcast’s archives. This week’s segments first appeared in 2017 and 2019, respectively.Jann Wenner, the co-founder and longtime editor of Rolling Stone magazine, has a new memoir out — but it’s not the first book to tell his life story: In 2017, the journalist Joe Hagan published a biography, “Sticky Fingers,” that Wenner authorized and then repudiated after it included unflattering details. Hagan was a guest on the podcast in 2017, and explained his approach to the book’s most noteworthy revelations: “I made a decision, really at the outset, that I was going to be honest with him and always be frank with him,” he told Pamela Paul and John Williams. “And if I came across difficult material, I was just going to address it with him. So in that way, it kind of let some of the pressure off. And by the end, we reached a point where I really tried to present him with the most radioactive material and make him aware of what I knew, so he wouldn’t be surprised.”Also this week, we revisit a 2019 conversation among Williams and The Times’s staff book critics Dwight Garner, Jennifer Szalai and Parul Sehgal about their list ranking the 50 best memoirs of the past 50 years. No. 1: “Fierce Attachments,” by Vivian Gornick.We would love to hear your thoughts about this episode, and about the Book Review’s podcast in general. You can send them to books@nytimes.com.
23/09/22·51m 13s

Andrew Sean Greer on Writing ‘Less’

For the next few months, we’re sharing some of our favorite conversations from the podcast’s archives. This week’s segments first appeared in 2017 and 2015, respectively.Andrew Sean Greer won a Pulitzer Prize in 2018 for his comic novel “Less,” about a down-on-his-luck novelist named Arthur Less who embarks on a round-the-world trip to forget his sorrows. (Greer’s new novel, “Less Is Lost,” continues Less’s adventures in the same comic vein, this time setting him loose across America.) When “Less” was published, in 2017, Greer visited the podcast and told the host Pamela Paul why he had decided to write comic fiction after five well-received but much more serious novels: “I found funny things happening all the time, and they were always my fault,” he said. “Because I was the thing out of place, with terrible misperceptions about what was supposed to happen.”Also this week, we revisit the New Yorker staff writer William Finnegan’s 2015 podcast appearance, in which he discussed his memoir “Barbarian Days,” about his lifelong love of surfing. “It’s all about this experience of beauty,” he told Paul. “You know, this certain kind of drenched experience and beauty — and the physical risks are very much footnotes.”We would love to hear your thoughts about this episode, and about the Book Review’s podcast in general. You can send them to books@nytimes.com.
16/09/22·28m 28s

Jennifer Egan and the Goon Squad

For the next few months, we’re sharing some of our favorite conversations from the podcast’s archives. This week’s segments first appeared in 2010 and 2020, respectively.Jennifer Egan’s latest novel, “The Candy House,” is a follow-up to her Pulitzer-winning novel “A Visit From the Goon Squad,” which came out in 2010. That year she appeared on the podcast and told the host Sam Tanenhaus how she had gone about organizing the book’s centrifugal structure: “What I was really interested in was trying to move through time and work with the difference between private and public. We see people and they seem to be easily categorizable — sometimes they seem like types. And I loved then taking that person that we had seen peripherally and showing us that person’s inner life in a really immediate way,” she says. “It happened very organically. … I just followed the trail of my own curiosity.”Also this week, we revisit the actor and writer Stephen Fry’s 2020 conversation with the host Pamela Paul, in which he discussed topics including Oscar Wilde, Fry’s own love of language and his book “Heroes: The Greek Myths Reimagined.” “It’s a miraculous thing about Greek mythology that there is a timeline and a chronology,” Fry says. “It’s probably reverse-engineered by Hesiod and Homer and the later poets, obviously. But nonetheless, it has a shape, a beginning and an end, which other mythic structures don’t seem to have. And they’re so deep in the — I hesitate to use such a cliché, but I can’t avoid it — in the DNA of our own culture and art that it’s part of who we are.”We would love to hear your thoughts about this episode, and about the Book Review’s podcast in general. You can send them to books@nytimes.com.
10/09/22·36m 1s

David Sedaris’s Diaries

For the next few months, we’re sharing some of our favorite conversations from the podcast’s archives. This one was originally published on June 2, 2017.The essayist and humorist David Sedaris started keeping diaries nearly half a century ago, and in 2017 he published a broad selection of entries from them in his book “Theft by Finding: Diaries (1977-2002).” On the podcast, he talked about how the diaries evolved, the kinds of details and eccentricities that tend to catch his eye, and the process of combing through thousands of pages to produce this 500-page book.“I have a hundred and, I believe, 64 volumes of my diary, and each one is thicker than this book,” he says. “And a lot of it is crazy person — tiny letters, front and back page. So this is just a tiny fraction of my diary. … I tried to detach myself, and think, Would this be of interest to anyone? I mean, a lot of it wasn’t even interesting to me. Or, it was just interesting for, you know, nostalgic reasons. So I was just looking for things that might possibly interest someone who I don’t know.”We would love to hear your thoughts about this episode, and about the Book Review’s podcast in general. You can send them to books@nytimes.com.
02/09/22·19m 12s

John Lithgow on “Drama” and Maggie O'Farrell on “Hamnet”

For the next few months, we’re sharing some of our favorite conversations from the podcast’s archives. This week’s segments first appeared in 2011 and 2021, respectively.The actor John Lithgow has been nominated for 13 Emmy Awards and has won six times, for roles as varied as the British prime minister Winston Churchill (on “The Crown”) and the extraterrestrial high commander Dick Solomon (on “3rd Rock From the Sun”). In 2011 he talked to Sam Tanenhaus, the Book Review’s editor at the time, about his memoir “Drama” and his education as an actor. “The more that an actor can accommodate himself to the truth that he will eventually be forgotten, the better off he is,” he says.Also this week, the writer Maggie O’Farrell discusses her acclaimed novel “Hamnet,” which imagines the life of William Shakespeare, his wife, Anne (or Agnes) Hathaway, and the couple’s son Hamnet, who died at 11 years old in 1596. In her 2021 podcast appearance, O’Farrell told the host Pamela Paul that she hoped to capture a sense of the young boy at its center. “I think he’s been consigned to a literary footnote,” she says. “And I believe, quite strongly, that without him — without his tragically short life — we wouldn’t have the play ‘Hamlet.’ We probably wouldn’t have ‘Twelfth Night.’ As an audience, we are enormously in debt to him.”
26/08/22·32m 9s

Robert Caro on His Career

For the next few months, we're sharing some of our favorite conversations from the podcast's archives. This one was originally published on April 19, 2019.Eagerly awaiting the fifth volume in Robert A. Caro’s epic biography of Lyndon Johnson? You’re part of a big club. In the meantime, Caro published “Working,” a collection of pieces about how he writes his prizewinning books.On the podcast, Caro talked about his methods and about some of his experiences with imposing people, including the time he spoke to Lady Bird Johnson about a long and significant relationship her husband had with another woman. “That’s the only interview I ever had in my life where I couldn’t bring myself to look at the person I was interviewing,” he says. 
19/08/22·43m 3s

Roaring Through Paris With ‘Kiki Man Ray’

Mark Braude’s new biography, “Kiki Man Ray,” visits a place of perennial interest — Left Bank Paris in the 1920s — through the life of the singer, model, memoirist and muse. On this week’s podcast, Braude says that his subject thoroughly captured the spirit of her age, “a mix of deep pain and a very deep love of life” that emerged after the First World War.We’re used to reading about this age, Braude says, through the eyes of Americans in Paris, like Hemingway and Fitzgerald. Kiki “represents something that sometimes gets overlooked,” he says, which is “the French contribution to this scene and to this moment. People like Kiki were part of the reason why expats found France and Paris so exciting.” She was “living on a completely different rhythm and in a completely different way. She was just undeniably herself, and wasn’t putting on airs. And just loved life; she just wanted to do everything and meet everyone and go everywhere, and she did.”Also on this week’s episode, Gregory Cowles and Elisabeth Egan talk about what they’ve been reading. John Williams is the host.Here are the books discussed in this week’s “What We’re Reading”:“River of Mountains” by Peter Lourie“Colony” by Anne Rivers Siddons“The Emperor’s Tomb” by Joseph RothWe would love to hear your thoughts about this episode, and about the Book Review’s podcast in general. You can send them to books@nytimes.com.
12/08/22·29m 35s

Poems in Practice and in Theory

Elisa Gabbert, the Book Review's On Poetry columnist, visits the podcast this week to discuss writing about poetry and her own forthcoming collection of poems, her fourth, “Normal Distance.”“When I’m writing what I would call nonfiction or an essay or just pure prose, I’m really trying to be accurate,” Gabbert says. “I’m not lying, I’m really telling you what I think. There’s very minimal distance between my persona on the page and who I really am. And then when I’m writing poetry, that persona really takes on more weight. I’m definitely creating more distance, and it really feels more like fiction or even more like theater, I might say. I’m really more creating a character that’s going to be speaking this monologue I’m writing.”Ian Johnson visits the podcast to talk about his review of “Golden Age,” a novel by Wang Xiaobo recently translated by Yan Yan. The novel, set against Mao’s Cultural Revolution, made waves in China when it was originally published there in the 1990s.“It was controversial primarily because of sex, there’s a lot of sex in the novel,” Johnson says. “The sex is not really described in graphic detail; this isn’t Henry Miller or something like that. It’s more like they’re having sex to make a point: that they’re independent people and they’re not going to be trampled by the state. And it’s very humorous — he talks about sex using all kinds of euphemisms, like ‘commit great friendship,’ stuff like that. It’s meant to be a sort of parody, a somewhat absurd version of a romance.”Also on this week’s episode, Elisabeth Egan and Dave Kim talk about what people are reading. John Williams is the host.Here are the books discussed in this week’s “What We’re Reading”:“Time Shelter” by Georgi Gospodinov, translated by Angela Rodel“The Displacements” by Bruce Holsinger“The Annotated Wizard of Oz” by L. Frank Baum, edited by Michael Patrick HearnWe would love to hear your thoughts about this episode, and about the Book Review’s podcast in general. You can send them to books@nytimes.com.
05/08/22·43m 26s

Chaos Among Spies After the Berlin Wall Crumbles

Dan Fesperman’s 13th thriller, “Winter Work,” is set just after the fall of the Berlin Wall. The Stasi, East Germany’s brutal Cold War intelligence service, was busy destroying evidence. The C.I.A. was just as busy trying to learn the enemy organization’s secrets.“The C.I.A., initially, had people calling ex-Stasi agents,” Fesperman says on this week’s podcast. “They got a hold of a directory with home phone numbers of some of these Stasi foreign intelligence people. And they started cold-calling them — like salesmen, like these irritating calls we get at home, except for the Stasi it was the C.I.A. calling. ‘Hey, would you like to share your secrets with us? We can pay you.’ They were getting mostly hang-ups, a lot of angry lectures. And when that quickly didn’t work out, they then began visiting them door to door, which didn’t work a whole lot better.”Isaac Fitzgerald visits the podcast to talk about his new memoir, “Dirtbag, Massachusetts,” which recalls his troubled childhood and his eventual coming to terms with those responsible for it.“I was able to give my parents a little more grace in this book,” Fitzgerald says. “And part of that was recognizing that my story didn’t start with my birth; my story starts with the things that happened to them.”Also on this week’s episode, Elizabeth Harris has news from the publishing world; and Dwight Garner and Molly Young talk about books they’ve recently reviewed. John Williams is the host.Here are the books discussed in this week’s “What We’re Reading”:“Memoirs” by Robert Lowell“Yoga” by Emmanuel CarrèreWe would love to hear your thoughts about this episode, and about the Book Review’s podcast in general. You can send them to books@nytimes.com.
29/07/22·53m 23s

Diana Goetsch on ‘This Body I Wore’

The acclaimed poet Diana Goetsch has now published “This Body I Wore,” which our reviewer, Manuel Betancourt, called an “achingly beautiful memoir” about “a trans woman’s often vexed relationship with her own body.” On this week’s podcast, Goetsch talks about her approach to writing.“My assumption always, as a poet and as a writer, is — I’m a generalist. And I just think the most idiosyncratic thing about ourselves also happens to be the most universal, if we can get to it and present it in the right way,” she says. “It was never my primary objective to give information about a transition, even if somebody’s initial attraction is prurient. They can now get that on Wikipedia or something. I particularly love artists who have what I call the common touch — Bruce Springsteen has the common touch. my old mentor William Zinsser has the common touch; the ability to say something very well, but also not exclude anyone from it at the same time.”CJ Hauser visits the podcast to talk about her new essay collection, “The Crane Wife,” the title essay of which became an online phenomenon after The Paris Review published it in 2019. She describes her attempt to overcome the idea that love needs to have a grand narrative attached to it.“In my family, we love stories. We’re sort of Don Quixote people. We’ve read so many stories and we self-mythologize and we tell stories,” Hauser says. “By the end of the book, I come out into a place of telling a kind of static love story or slow-growing love story. What does it mean to not conflate drama with love, and does love need to be dramatic? Because I think that’s a thing that I inherited.”Also on this week’s episode, Alexandra Alter discusses new novels about race and racism that find freedom in satire; and Lauren Christensen and Joumana Khatib talk about what they’ve been reading. John Williams is the host.Here are the books discussed in this week’s “What We’re Reading”:“Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow” by Gabrielle Zevin“Mating” by Norman Rush“Norwood” by Charles PortisWe would love to hear your thoughts about this episode, and about the Book Review’s podcast in general. You can send them to books@nytimes.com.
22/07/22·55m 35s

‘Son of Elsewhere’ Recounts Life as a Young Immigrant

In “Son of Elsewhere,” Elamin Abdelmahmoud writes about growing up in Canada after moving there from Sudan when he was 12. On this week’s podcast, he talks about that experience, including his first interactions with his new peers.“This is not a story of bigotry, this is not a story of a classic playground bully,” Abdelmahmoud says. “Most of the demons I was wrestling with in this book were actually returning to the feelings of me needing to put certain parts of my identity on the shelf. Because sometimes you don’t really have to wait for other people to reduce you, you can do that to yourself. So I came to Canada and as I was trying to fit in, for me one of the things that became obvious fairly quickly was: I don’t want to stand out. I don’t want the attention of being the new kid, the immigrant kid. I don’t want to be different.”The investigative journalist and author Sally Denton visits the podcast to discuss her new book, “The Colony: Faith and Blood in a Promised Land,” which takes readers across the border to a Mormon sect in Mexico. Denton says the idea for the book came to her in 2019, after she saw news of gunmen opening fire on a caravan of three cars from a Mormon community, killing three women and six children.“When I learned of this incident, it just struck me immediately as: There was more to this story,” Denton says. “This was not a case of mistaken identity, it wasn’t a case of people being at the wrong place at the wrong time. This was a group of women and children intentionally targeted in the most brutal and heinous way. And I was initially really moved by the tragedy, and thought it would be really important to figure out what was going on. And my main impetus was really: Why were these women and children traveling alone on one of the most dangerous roads in the world. Where were the men? Why were they unarmed, why were they unescorted?”Also on this week’s episode, Alexandra Alter talks about the growing number of independent bookstores and their increased diversity; and Alexandra Jacobs and Jennifer Szalai talk about books they’ve recently reviewed.Here are the books discussed in this week’s “What We’re Reading”:“Why We Did It” by Tim Miller“Hollywood Ending” by Ken AulettaWe would love to hear your thoughts about this episode, and about the Book Review’s podcast in general. You can send them to books@nytimes.com.
15/07/22·57m 8s

Alice Elliott Dark on ‘Fellowship Point’

In Alice Elliott Dark’s second novel, “Fellowship Point,” Agnes Lee and Polly Wister have been friends for about 80 years. Their intertwined families own homes on a Maine peninsula, and some of the book’s drama stems from their efforts to preserve the land and keep it out of the hands of developers.“The issue of land, land ownership, land conservation has always been of deep interest to me,” Dark says on this week’s podcast. “I came to that pretty quickly as I was developing this story. I decided I wanted to write something like a 19th-century-style novel, and I wanted to have it be modern. Women didn’t own land in the 19th century. They didn’t make decisions about land, even if they did own it, and having women landowners dealing with these issues seemed to me a modern version of a big, older, 19th-century-type novel.”Katherine Chen visits the podcast to discuss her new novel, “Joan,” which imagines Joan of Arc as a born fighter who becomes an avenging warrior.“I think the central image that keeps us fascinated with Joan of Arc all these years later is the mental image of a woman in armor on horseback going to war,” Chen says. “I think that image keeps us enthralled to this day because it’s as startling and surprising as it is empowering.” We also remain captivated, Chen says, by the “sheer improbability” of Joan’s story.Also on this week’s episode, Elizabeth Harris has news about librarians caught in the culture war over banned books; and Elisabeth Egan and MJ Franklin talk about what they’ve been reading. John Williams is the host.Here are the books discussed in this week’s “What We’re Reading”:“Everything I Need I Get From You” by Kaitlyn Tiffany“Thank You For Listening” by Julia Whelan“A Word Child” by Iris MurdochWe would love to hear your thoughts about this episode, and about the Book Review’s podcast in general. You can send them to books@nytimes.com.
09/07/22·56m 56s

A Novel About Brilliant Young Game Designers

Gabrielle Zevin’s new novel, “Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow,” is set in the world of video game design, and follows two friends named Sadie and Sam as they collaborate on what becomes a very successful game.“A friend of mine described the book as being what it’s like to co-parent something that’s not a child,” Zevin says on this week’s podcast. “Sam and Sadie, they are more intimate with each other than anyone else in their lives. Yet they aren’t spouses, and he’s not her child, and yet this is the most important relationship that both of them have. So I wanted to write about that: What if the most important person in your life was really your colleague and your friend?”Morgan Talty visits the podcast to discuss his debut story collection, “Night of the Living Rez,” which is set on the Penobscot Indian Nation reservation in Maine, where Talty was raised.“I was very much aware that Indigenous fiction tries to perform for a white readership, or a largely white readership, and there are instances in books that I’ve admired by Native writers that I could see this. And I always wanted to shy away from it, because I didn’t want to keep feeding into that type of storytelling,” Talty says. “Throughout the book there’s less association with Indigeneity in the characters, so it’s the characters who are front and center, it’s their human nature that’s front and center, as opposed to maybe something cultural.”Also on this week’s episode, Elizabeth Harris talks about how #BookTok has become a dominant driver of fiction sales; and Dwight Garner and Alexandra Jacobs talk about what people are reading. John Williams is the host.Here are the books discussed by The Times’s critics this week:“I Used to Live Here Once” by Miranda Seymour“The Last Resort” by Sarah StodolaWe would love to hear your thoughts about this episode, and about the Book Review’s podcast in general. You can send them to books@nytimes.com.
01/07/22·49m 24s

Sensing the World Anew Through Other Species

Ed Yong’s new book, “An Immense World,” urges readers to break outside their “sensory bubble” to consider the unique ways that dogs, dolphins, mice and other animals experience their surroundings.“I’ve often said that my beat is everything that is or was once alive, which covers billions of species, across basically the entirety of the planet’s history,” Yong says on this week’s podcast. “One thing I like about this particular topic — the sensory worlds of other animals — is that it, itself, though a singular, cohesive topic, is also the gateway to thousands of small wonders. There’s so much to learn about just in this one corner of biology.”Terry Alford visits the podcast to talk about his new book, “In the Houses of Their Dead,” an investigation of how Abraham Lincoln, John Wilkes Booth and their families were influenced by spiritualism.Alford says of Lincoln: “There’s a struggle, as best I see it, in him between the rational side and the side that desires to be comforted and to be in contact with someone you loved who’s not there anymore. He really wanted that, and he said he wanted that to a number of people. But he just felt, at the end of the day, that séance-type contact with the dead was really delusional.”Also on this week’s episode, Lauren Christensen and Joumana Khatib talk about what they’ve been reading. John Williams is the host.Here are the books discussed in this week’s “What We’re Reading”:“The Secret History” by Donna Tartt“Blood Orange Night” by Melissa Bond“The Hack” by Wilfrid SheedWe would love to hear your thoughts about this episode, and about the Book Review’s podcast in general. You can send them to books@nytimes.com.
25/06/22·45m 53s

Jackie, Before Marrying Jack

Elisabeth Egan, an editor at the Book Review, curates our Group Text column — a monthly choice of a book that she feels is particularly well suited to book clubs and their discussions. On this week’s podcast, she talks about her latest pick: “Jackie & Me,” by Louis Bayard, which imagines the friendship between Jacqueline Bouvier and Lem Billings, a close friend of the Kennedys.“This is rooted in reality,” Egan says, “but Bayard runs with it and imagines conversations between Lem and Jackie, and just shows this, on one hand, fabulous life of parties and museums and fun they had together, but also sets up this ticking clock where you come to understand what Jackie really has at stake, and has to lose by committing to this life with the Kennedys.”Matthew Schneier visits the podcast to discuss Paula Byrne’s new biography, “The Adventures of Miss Barbara Pym.” Pym, a British writer, began publishing novels in the 1950s.“She published six novels in pretty quick succession, and they’re great,” Schneier says of the first decade or so of her career. “Very clever, very witty, she was often compared to Jane Austen — which was a writer that she loved and appreciated, but also a kind of very easy comparison, whereas Pym’s ironies can be a little bit darker than some of Austen’s. And there’s a sense in her work that she is spotlighting characters who are not the Emma Woodhouses, who are beautiful and rich and effervescent. They’re what she ended up calling ‘excellent women,’ which is the title of I think her best starter novel. These women who are well brought up and very proper, a little bit pious, but can also be a little dowdy, a little dreary, a little bit easier to overlook.”Also on this week’s episode, Alexandra Alter talks about the filmmaker Werner Herzog and his first novel, “The Twilight World”; and Jennifer Szalai and Molly Young talk about books they’ve recently reviewed. John Williams is the host.Here are the books discussed by The Times’s critics this week:“The Facemaker” by Lindsey Fitzharris“Meet Me by the Fountain” by Alexandra Lange
17/06/22·47m 39s

Tom Perrotta on the Return of Tracy Flick

Few fictional characters in recent decades have been as intensely discussed as Tracy Flick. The ambitious teenage protagonist of Tom Perrotta’s novel “Election” (1998) and the ensuing film adaptation, starring Reese Witherspoon, has been reconsidered in recent years as misunderstood and unfairly maligned. On this week’s podcast, Perrotta talks about Tracy’s return in his new novel, “Tracy Flick Can’t Win.”“I think most people, when they think about Tracy Flick — I say this in all sad modesty — they’re thinking about Tracy in the movie,” Perrotta says. “‘Election’ as a book didn’t make a huge splash, and Reese Witherspoon’s performance was so powerful that I think the debate is really around Tracy in the film. And maybe to some degree me writing this book was an attempt to reclaim my own version of Tracy.”Ann Leary visits the podcast to discuss her new novel, “The Foundling,” which was inspired by the real-life story of Leary’s grandmother, who worked, in the 1930s, at a public asylum that sequestered “unfit” women. Leary did a great deal of research for the book, and felt freedom in being able to bring it to bear in a work of fiction rather than history.“I really wanted a story,” Leary says. “I could write about the widespread practice of eugenics, but I would have to kind of stick it to the place where my grandmother worked. And what I did in my novel was read about many other asylums, because there were many others. And I was able to make a fictitious place where I used things that I’d learned from the various different institutions.”Also on this week’s episode, Alexandra Alter has news from the publishing world; and Gregory Cowles and Elizabeth Harris talk about what they’ve been reading. John Williams is the host.Here are the books discussed in this week’s “What We’re Reading”:“frank: sonnets” by Diane Seuss“Life Between the Tides” by Adam Nicolson“Saturday Night and Sunday Morning” by Alan SillitoeWe would love to hear your thoughts about this episode, and about the Book Review’s podcast in general. You can send them to books@nytimes.com.
10/06/22·52m 22s

One Island, Two Men and Lots of Big Questions

Karen Jennings’s novel “An Island,” which was on the longlist for the Booker Prize in 2021, is set on a fictional unnamed island off the coast of Africa, where a man named Samuel has worked as a lighthouse keeper for more than 20 years. When a refugee washes up on shore one day, barely alive, Samuel navigates life around this stranger and flashes back to his own past, including his role in a political uprising and years that he spent in prison. On this week’s podcast, Jennings says that the book’s somewhat fable-like tone was very intentional.“I knew that if I were to write about any one specific country, then I would have to make it about that country: that country’s political events, that country’s culture,” Jennings says. “My plan was to make it more universal, and attempt to understand something greater, something more complex. And the only way that I could see to do that was to do it in this very pared-down, focused way, reducing most of the action to this fictional island and then to these brief moments — I guess kind of like highlights — from Samuel’s past.”Phil Klay, the Marine Corps veteran and acclaimed fiction writer, visits the podcast this week to talk about a new collection of his nonfiction writing, “Uncertain Ground: Citizenship in an Age of Endless, Invisible War.”“There’s a huge problem when we’re regularly sending troops to kill people and sending troops at risk and the president is not forced on a regular basis to go before Congress to explain what the mission is, how it’s in the national interest, what it’s going to cost, what we’re trying to achieve,” Klay says. “I think that war is the most morally fraught thing we can do as a nation, and it demands more democratic accountability.”Also on this week’s episode, Dwight Garner and Alexandra Jacobs talk about books they’ve recently reviewed. John Williams is the host.Here are the books discussed by the Times’s critics this week:“Phil” by Alan Shipnuck“Here’s the Deal” by Kellyanne ConwayWe would love to hear your thoughts about this episode, and about the Book Review’s podcast in general. You can send them to books@nytimes.com.
03/06/22·53m 24s

Remembering the ‘Great Stewardess Rebellion’

With current-day labor movements at Amazon, Starbucks and other big employers in the news, Nell McShane Wulfhart is on the podcast this week to discuss her new book about a vivid moment in labor history, “The Great Stewardess Rebellion: How Women Launched a Workplace Revolution at 30,000 Feet.” That revolution was launched in the face of working conditions that included contracts with onerous demands about every corner of a woman’s life.“The age restrictions and the marriage restrictions and the pregnancy restrictions — obviously that was a big no-no — they had been part of the contracts for many years, I think for as long as stewardesses had been working,” Wulfhart says. “These restrictions were obviously designed to keep the work force as young as possible, as svelte as possible and as pliable as possible, because when you’re only working for a few years, you’re not that invested in getting better benefits or establishing a pension plan or fighting for your rights.”James Kirchick visits the podcast to discuss his new book, “Secret City: The Hidden History of Gay Washington.” The sweeping story, from the days of the New Deal up through Bill Clinton’s presidency, considers the toll of homophobia in the nation’s capital.“It’s incalculable,” Kirchick says. “The governmental resources that were expended in this, the hundreds of thousands of man hours that went into rooting out, discovering and firing patriotic civil servants. The deep wells of knowledge that were denied this country based upon fear of gay people. We don’t know those numbers. And then there’s of course the impact that it had on individual gay people.”Also on this week’s episode, Lauren Christensen and Gregory Cowles talk about what they’ve been reading. John Williams is the host.Here are the books discussed in this week’s “What We’re Reading”:“Truth and Beauty” by Ann Patchett“Fierce Attachments” by Vivian Gornick“Role Models” by John WatersWe would love to hear your thoughts about this episode, and about the Book Review’s podcast in general. You can send them to books@nytimes.com.
27/05/22·51m 30s

Brian Morton on ‘Tasha: A Son’s Memoir’

Brian Morton, an accomplished novelist, has turned to nonfiction for the first time in his new book, “Tasha: A Son’s Memoir.” On this week’s podcast, he discusses his mother’s life, the difficulties in taking care of her toward the end of her life and what led him to write a memoir.“I started writing a few pages about her, and I relished the freedom to write directly, to write without having to invent any characters,” Morton says. “I love to write about fictional characters, that’s my favorite part of writing. But it takes me a very long time to sort of give birth to them. And here was my mother, perhaps the most colorful character I’ve ever written about, who was right there to be written about.”Rachel Careau visits the podcast to discuss her new translation of Colette’s “Chéri” and its sequel, “The End of Chéri.”“One of the problems with her spare style is that the sentences can lack some of the words that usually oil a sentence,” Careau says of the task of translating the books. “So they can sound a little bit bare, sometimes a little syncopated. And the sound was very important to me, and I really let the sound guide me. But it’s difficult to make that bone-on-bone style flow.”Also on this week’s episode, Lauren Christensen and Joumana Khatib talk about what they’ve been reading. John Williams is the host.Here are the books discussed in this week’s “What We’re Reading”:“Four Treasures of the Sky” by Jenny Tinghui Zhang“The Last Samurai” by Helen DeWitt“Independent People” by Halldor LaxnessWe would love to hear your thoughts about this episode, and about the Book Review’s podcast in general. You can send them to books@nytimes.com.
20/05/22·36m 7s

John Waters Talks About His First Novel

The filmmaker, artist, author and general cultural icon John Waters visits the podcast this week to talk about his first novel, “Liarmouth: A Feel-Bad Romance.” The book features three generations of women in the Sprinkle family, and their very complicated (and antagonistic) relationships with one another. The first of them we meet is Marsha, an unrepentant thief and overall misanthrope; but Waters says he still wants us to root for her.“She’s so crazy and so terrible that you can’t believe it at first,” Waters says. “And she’s quite serious about herself, as all fanatics are. No one in this book has much of a sense of humor about themselves, which, I think, can be played funny — the same way that when I made a movie, the main thing I told every actor was, ‘Never wink at the audience. Say it like you believe every single word.’”Also on this week’s episode, Elizabeth Harris discusses the winners of this year’s Pulitzer Prizes; and Dwight Garner and Jennifer Szalai talk about books they’ve recently reviewed. John Williams is the host.Here are the books discussed by The Times’s critics this week:“Tacky” by Rax King“The Last Days of Roger Federer” by Geoff DyerWe would love to hear your thoughts about this episode, and about the Book Review’s podcast in general. You can send them to books@nytimes.com.
13/05/22·33m 23s

Hernan Diaz on ‘Trust’ and Money in Fiction

Hernan Diaz’s second novel, “Trust,” is four books in one. Our reviewer, Michael Gorra, calls it “intricate, cunning and consistently surprising.” It starts with a novel inside the novel, about a man named Benjamin Rask, who builds and maintains a fortune in New York City as the 19th century gives way to the 20th. Diaz describes writing the uniquely structured book on this week’s podcast, and the ideas at its core.“Although wealth and money are so essential in the American narrative about itself as a nation, and occupy this almost transcendental place in our culture, I was rather surprised to see that there are precious few novels that deal with money itself,” Diaz says. “Sure, there are many novels that deal with class — we were talking about Henry James and Edith Wharton a moment ago — or with exploitation or with excess and luxury and privilege. Many examples of that, but very few examples of novels dealing with money and the process of the accumulation of a great fortune.”Paul Fischer visits the podcast to discuss “The Man Who Invented Motion Pictures,” which is about Louis Le Prince, who made what is now widely acknowledged to be the first known moving picture, and the story of his mysterious disappearance as well.“What was fascinating about Le Prince — and what I really loved as a film nerd myself — is that he seems to have been the first one of that generation to really have a vision for what the medium could be,” Fischer says. “There were a lot of people, like Thomas Edison or the Lumière brothers, who were working on moving-image projects as a kind of novelty toy. Their idea was, this can make a little bit of money, at least for a while, and then it will fade away. And there were people, like Eadweard Muybridge or the French scientist Étienne-Jules Marey, who were scientists and really thought moving images would be a way to deconstruct the way our bodies work, the way things move, the way nature worked. And Le Prince was really the first to write in his notebooks and speak to his family about this medium as something that would change the way we related to reality.”Also on this week’s episode, Gregory Cowles and Elisabeth Egan talk about what they’ve been reading. John Williams is the host.Here are the books discussed in this week’s “What We’re Reading”:“Music, Late and Soon” by Robyn Sarah“French Braid” by Anne Tyler“Poguemahone” by Patrick McCabe“The Butcher Boy” by Patrick McCabeWe would love to hear your thoughts about this episode, and about the Book Review’s podcast in general. You can send them to books@nytimes.com.
07/05/22·48m 52s

Jennifer Egan Talks About 'The Candy House'

Jennifer Egan’s new novel, “The Candy House,” is a follow-up to her Pulitzer Prize-winning “A Visit From the Goon Squad.” A few characters appear in both books, but the novels are also united by Egan’s structural approach — an inventive one that, in “Goon Squad,” included a chapter written as a PowerPoint presentation, and in “The Candy House,” a chapter written as a long series of terse directives to a spy.On this week’s podcast, Egan talks about the new book, and about why she enjoys experimenting with form.“To my mind, the novel was invented to be a hungry, greedy form that could pull into itself all other kinds of discourse,” Egan says. “So in the earliest novels: graphic images, letters, legal documents. As a fiction writer, one of the fun things about working with the novel is that anything is up for grabs. If I can bend it to fiction, I will, and I’m looking around me for those opportunities all the time. It’s not easy to do it, because the danger is that you just look like you’re using gimmickry. And what I find is that the only time any kind of radical structural form works is if I can find a story that can only be told that way. It involves a lot of waiting, and a lot of trial and error.”Also on this week’s episode, Alexandra Alter discusses the work of the Russian novelist Vladimir Sorokin; and Alexandra Jacobs and Molly Young talk about books they’ve recently reviewed. John Williams is the host.Here are the books discussed by The Times’s critics this week:“The Palace Papers” by Tina Brown“Liarmouth” by John WatersWe would love to hear your thoughts about this episode, and about the Book Review’s podcast in general. You can send them to books@nytimes.com.
29/04/22·40m 44s

Liana Finck Reimagines the Story of Genesis

The cartoonist Liana Finck’s new book, “Let There Be Light,” recasts the story of Genesis with a female God who is a neurotic artist.“At the very beginning of this book, she’s existing in a void and she just decides to make something,” Finck says. “And it’s all fun and games until she starts to feel some self-doubt and realizes that she hasn’t done well enough. She’s really kind of a self-portrait of me at that point. She’s well-intentioned, she’s happy and she’s very hard on herself.”Jonathan Van Ness of “Queer Eye” fame visits the podcast to discuss his new book, “Love That Story.” He talks to Lauren Christensen, an editor at the Book Review.“As a queer person, we are told very early on what spaces you are able to thrive in. Beauty is often one of those spaces. There are just a lot of spaces that you can be directed to. And I love hairdressing and I love beauty and I love what I get to do on ‘Queer Eye,’” Van Ness says. “So I am eternally grateful to that. But also, I think that queer people who are feminine and who are flamboyant — as I’ve been called my entire life — are not also allowed to be information gatherers, are also not allowed to be seen as credible.” He continues: “Obviously I didn’t go to journalism school. I didn’t graduate college. But that doesn’t mean that I can’t learn and share my experiences with others.”Also on this week’s episode, Joumana Khatib and Dave Kim talk about what they’ve been reading. John Williams is the host.Here are the books discussed in this week’s “What We’re Reading”:“In the Country of Others” by Leïla Slimani“Phenotypes” by Paulo Scott“Tamarisk Row” by Gerald MurnaneWe would love to hear your thoughts about this episode, and about the Book Review’s podcast in general. You can send them to books@nytimes.com.
23/04/22·37m 33s

Elizabeth Alexander on 'The Trayvon Generation'

Elizabeth Alexander’s new book, “The Trayvon Generation,” grew out of a widely discussed essay of the same name that she wrote for The New Yorker in 2020. The book explores themes of race, class and justice and their intersections with art. On this week’s podcast, Alexander discusses the effects of video technology on our exposure to and understanding of violence and vulnerability, and contrasts the way her generation was brought up with the lives of younger people today.“If you think about some of the language of the civil rights movement: ‘We shall overcome’ is hopeful,” Alexander says. “And if you stop there and take that literally, I would say that’s what my childhood was about. But after that comes ‘someday.’ Well, I think what we’re seeing now is that we have not yet arrived at that day.”Lucasta Miller visits the podcast to discuss her new biography, “Keats: A Brief Life in Nine Poems and One Epitaph.”“I think the popular vision is of him as this rather sort of ethereal creature, a sort of delicate flower, the embodiment of loveliness, a spiritualized essence,” Miller says. “What I really wanted to do was to get back something of the real flesh-and-blood Keats, as a real complicated human being. I’m not trying to undermine him in any way. I’m just trying to make him more complex. And I love him all the same — I love him even more, as a result.”Also on this week’s episode, Alexandra Jacobs and Jennifer Szalai talk about books they’ve recently reviewed. John Williams is the host.Here are the books discussed by The Times’s critics this week:“It Was Vulgar & It Was Beautiful” by Jack Lowery“Private Notebooks: 1914-1916” by Ludwig WittgensteinWe would love to hear your thoughts about this episode, and about the Book Review’s podcast in general. You can send them to books@nytimes.com.
15/04/22·47m 17s

Fiction About Lives in Ukraine

While a steady stream of disturbing news continues to come from Ukraine, new works of fiction highlight the ways in which lives there have been transformed by conflict. On this week’s podcast, the critic Jennifer Wilson talks about two books, including the story collection “Lucky Breaks,” by Yevgenia Belorusets, translated by Eugene Ostashevsky.“Belorusets has been compared to Gogol in these stories,” Wilson says. “There’s a certain kind of supernatural quality to them. I think anyone looking to these books for a play-by-play of the conflict is going to be disappointed for that reason, but I think delighted in other ways.”Ben McGrath visits the podcast to talk about his new book, “Riverman: An American Odyssey,” which tells the story of Dick Conant, a troubled and charismatic man who disappeared while on a canoe trip from New York to Florida. Conant was in his 60s when McGrath met him, and had spent many years questing on various waterways.“What he learned was that there wasn’t really anything he was going to find out about himself that was going to improve things, and that the secret to finding happiness was to turn his lens outward,” McGrath says. “Rather than, in the Thoreauvian model, retreating to Walden Pond and staring into his reflection, he decided to go out into the world and to keep seeing new places and meeting new people; and by doing that, keep himself sufficiently occupied that he didn’t have to struggle too much with worrying about who he was and what his own problems were.”Also on this week’s episode, Elizabeth Harris has news from the literary world; and Lauren Christensen and MJ Franklin talk about what they’ve been reading. John Williams is the host.Here are the books discussed in this week’s “What We’re Reading”:“Young Mungo” by Douglas Stuart“Heartstopper: Volume One,” by Alice OsemanElena Ferrante’s Neapolitan Novels, read by Hillary Huber“Catholics” by Brian MooreWe would love to hear your thoughts about this episode, and about the Book Review’s podcast in general. You can send them to books@nytimes.com.
08/04/22·48m 49s

Life in an E.R. During Covid

Thomas Fisher’s new book, “The Emergency,” details his life as an emergency physician at the University of Chicago Medical Center, where he’s worked for 20 years. It provides an up-close look at a hospital during the pandemic, and also zooms out to address the systemic issues that afflict American health care.“This book was conceptualized prior to Covid,” Fisher says on this week’s podcast. “But Covid laid bare so much of what I intended to discuss from the beginning. So in some ways it was weirdly fortuitous. It gave the opportunity to discuss many of the details in much more vivid relief because we had this pandemic laying out all the things that have been a problem for so long.”The critic and essayist Maud Newton’s first book, “Ancestor Trouble,” details her investigations into her family’s fascinating and sometimes discomfiting history, and reflects on our culture’s increased obsession with genealogy.“Allowing ourselves to really imagine our ancestors, in all of their fullness — the difficult and bad things that they did, and of course the wonderful things that they did — can just be a really transformative experience,” Newton says. “I’ve come to find that the line between imagination and spirituality has become a lot more porous over the course of writing this book.”Also on this week’s episode, Dwight Garner and Molly Young talk about books they’ve recently reviewed. John Williams is the host.We would love to hear your thoughts about this episode, and about the Book Review’s podcast in general. You can send them to books@nytimes.com.
02/04/22·51m 26s

A Personal Tour of Modern Irish History

Fintan O’Toole was born in Dublin in 1958, the same year that T.K. Whitaker, a member of the Irish government, published an influential report suggesting that Ireland open its doors economically and culturally to the rest of the world. O’Toole’s new book, “We Don’t Know Ourselves,” weaves memoir with history to tell the story of modern Ireland.“There’s a lot of dark stuff in the book,” he says, “there’s a lot of violence and repression and hypocrisy and abuse. But there’s also the story of a people coming to terms with itself. One of the reasons why we’re still dealing with darkness is at least we’re dealing with it. There’s a kind of confrontation with the past going on in Ireland which I think is very healthy. It’s not easy.” He continues: “One of the hopeful things about the Irish story is that it shows you that you can transform a nation — you can make it in many ways an awful lot better than it was, you can open it up to the world, you can develop much more complex, ambivalent, nonbinary senses of who you are — and yet you can still feel very much attached to a place and an identity.”Julie Otsuka visits the podcast to discuss her third novel, “The Swimmers,” which begins with a large group of characters at a public pool before becoming the powerful story of one particular woman, Alice, who is suffering from dementia.Alice is “actually there from the very beginning,” Otsuka says. “She’s there at the end of the very first paragraph. But I did not want the reader to be too aware of her. I want her to be there very peripherally, just as one of many. I want the reader to realize, as the story is going on, that it is Alice’s story, but I don’t want that to be so apparent in the beginning. I really wanted to paint the world that she had thrived in before she enters the second half of the book.”Also on this week’s episode, Alexandra Alter has news from the publishing world; and Gregory Cowles and Dave Kim talk about what people are reading. John Williams is the host.Here are the books discussed in this week’s “What We’re Reading”:“Lucky Breaks” by Yevgenia Belorusets“2666” by Roberto Bolaño“Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont” by Elizabeth TaylorWe would love to hear your thoughts about this episode, and about the Book Review’s podcast in general. You can send them to books@nytimes.com.
25/03/22·51m 47s

The Science Behind Mental Afflictions

In “A Molecule Away From Madness,” the neurologist Sara Manning Peskin writes about the errant molecular activity that underlies many serious mental afflictions. Peskin’s book, reminiscent of the work of Oliver Sacks, conveys its scientific information through narrative.“I wanted to capture how this actually unfolds in real time,” she says on this week’s podcast. “For a lot of us, we go to doctors and you get a diagnosis and it’s as if that diagnosis has always existed. But in fact, the diagnosis was invented by someone who discovered something. And the history behind these diseases is often lost.”J. Kenji López-Alt visits the podcast to discuss his latest book, “The Wok: Recipes and Techniques.” López-Alt comes from a family of scientists, and is known for his science-based approach to home cooking.“I was cooking for a number of years in restaurants, and all through that time I had a lot of questions,” he says. “For me, it’s natural to ask why we do something, why is this working the way it does? And in restaurants, just by the nature of how a restaurant works and the goal of a restaurant, which is more speed and consistency, you don’t have a lot of time to really focus on thinking about those types of questions or experimenting with them. So I had this backlog of questions built up in my head that eventually I started to get to explore.”Also on this week’s episode, Alexandra Jacobs and Jennifer Szalai talk about books they’ve recently reviewed. Pamela Paul is the host.Here are the books discussed in this week’s “What We’re Reading”:“I Was Better Last Night” by Harvey FiersteinBooks about shameWe would love to hear your thoughts about this episode, and about the Book Review’s podcast in general. You can send them to books@nytimes.com.
18/03/22·58m 48s

How People First Arrived in the Americas

Scholars have long believed that the first Americans arrived via land bridge some 13,000 years ago, when retreating glaciers created an inland corridor from Siberia. Jennifer Raff, an anthropological geneticist at the University of Kansas, tells a different story in “Origin.” According to Raff, the path to the Americas was coastal rather than inland, and what we’ve thought of as a bridge was a homeland inhabited for millenniums. Raff talks about the book on this week’s podcast.“In recent years, the ability to obtain complete genomes from ancient ancestors has really given us new insights — extraordinary new insights — into the histories not only of individuals and populations but also of our ancestors globally,” Raff says. “We can now identify the populations who originally gave rise to the ancestors of Native Americans. And we can identify extremely important evolutionary events in that process going back, starting about 26,000 years ago. So we can use genetics to identify biological histories, to characterize biological histories, and even identify populations which we had no idea existed based on archaeology alone.’Ira Rutkow visits the podcast to talk about “Empire of the Scalpel: The History of Surgery.” Rutkow says the idea for the book evolved over the course of 50 years, and that he wrote it for the general public and surgeons alike.“I was dismayed, over the course of my surgical practice, at how little patients understood about the whys and wherefores of what a surgeon did, or how a surgeon becomes a surgeon,” he says. And he was “shocked” when he would ask colleagues historical questions — “When did anesthesia come about? When did Lister discover antisepsis?” — and “they would have no idea.”Also on this week’s episode, Alexandra Alter has news from the publishing world, and Elisabeth Egan and John Williams talk about what they’ve been reading. Pamela Paul is the host.Here are the books discussed in this week’s “What We’re Reading”:“The Days of Afrekete” by Asali Solomon“A Word Child” by Iris Murdoch“The Examined Life” by Stephen Grosz“The True American” by Anand GiridharadasWe would love to hear your thoughts about this episode, and about the Book Review’s podcast in general. You can send them to books@nytimes.com.
11/03/22·1h 2m

Two New Memoirs About Affliction

In 2017, Frank Bruni suffered a stroke while sleeping in the middle of the night, an event that led to blindness in his right eye. His new memoir, “The Beauty of Dusk,” examines not only his physical condition but the emotional and spiritual counsel he sought from others in order to deal with it. On this week’s podcast, he discusses the experience, including his initial reaction to it.“I woke up one October morning and I felt like I had some sort of smear — some gunk or something — in my eye, because the right side of my field of vision had this dappled fog over it,” Bruni says. “I think like a lot of boomers, I had this sense of invincibility. When I was diagnosed, at one point, with mild gout, I took Allopurinol every day and that was solved. When my cholesterol was un-ideal, I took a statin, and that was solved. I kind of thought modern medicine solves everything and we boomers, with our gym workouts, et cetera, are indestructible. So for hours I thought, ‘This is just an oddity.’ I took a shower and washed my eye, but the fog didn’t go away. I thought, ‘Maybe I haven’t had enough coffee.’ I thought, ‘Maybe I had too much wine last night.’ It was a good 12 to 24 hours later before I accepted, something is really wrong here.”Meghan O’Rourke visits the podcast to talk about her latest book, “The Invisible Kingdom: Reimagining Chronic Illness,” which is also about personal pain and the larger context around it. O’Rourke spent many years experiencing symptoms that were misdiagnosed or dismissed.“I just kept getting sicker and sicker, but it took so long to realize, OK, something is quite wrong.” She attributes some of this delayed realization to the “problem of subjectivity,” especially when younger. “None of us know what others are experiencing, so I thought, ‘OK, maybe pain is normal. Maybe brain fog is normal. Maybe I just should never eat dessert. It really did take maturing into my 30s and getting really sick to cross that line where it became unignorable.”Also on this week’s episode, Elizabeth Harris has news from the publishing world, and Dwight Garner and Alexandra Jacobs talk about books they’ve recently reviewed. Pamela Paul is the host.Here are the books discussed by The Times’s critics this week:“Black Cloud Rising” by David Wright Faladé“The Founders” by Jimmy SoniWe would love to hear your thoughts about this episode, and about the Book Review’s podcast in general. You can send them to books@nytimes.com.
04/03/22·1h 0m

The Invention of the Index

You probably take the index for granted. It might be hard to remember that the handy list of subjects at the back of a book, with the corresponding page numbers on which each subject is discussed, had to be invented. This happened in the early 13th century, and on this week’s podcast, Dennis Duncan talks about his new book, “Index, a History of the,” and about the earliest examples of the form.“What’s really interesting is, it’s invented twice at the same time,” Duncan says. “So it’s one of those inventions, like the light bulb or like mathematical calculus — the moment is so ripe for it that two people in separate places invent it. So the index gets invented once in Paris, and at the same time in Oxford. and there are very slight differences between what these inventions look like.”Brendan Slocumb visits the podcast to talk about his debut novel, “The Violin Conspiracy.” Slocumb is himself an accomplished violinist, and the book — both a mystery and a musical-coming-of-age story — was inspired, in part, by an experience he had as a teenager.“When I was a senior in high school, we came home from a family trip, and my violin — I actually make reference to it in the novel — my 1953 Eugene Lehman violin was stolen, along with a bunch of other stuff that I didn’t care about,” Slocumb says. “If your instrument is taken, as a musician, it’s like a part of you is missing. I felt like I was missing a limb. It was right before I was supposed to go to college. It was supposed to take me through school, and I had nothing. It was a devastating experience.”Also on this week’s episode, Lauren Christensen and MJ Franklin talk about what they’ve been reading. Pamela Paul is the host.Here are the books discussed in this week’s “What We’re Reading”:“The Chiffon Trenches” by André Leon Talley“Recitatif” by Toni Morrison“How to Be Perfect” by Michael SchurWe would love to hear your thoughts about this episode, and about the Book Review’s podcast in general. You can send them to books@nytimes.com.
25/02/22·49m 23s

Jennifer Haigh on 'Mercy Street'

Jennifer Haigh’s new novel, “Mercy Street” — which Richard Russo calls “extraordinary” in his review — is about a woman named Claudia who works at a women’s clinic in Boston. It’s also about the protesters outside. On this week’s podcast, Haigh says the novel was inspired in part by her own time working on a clinic’s hotline.“Obviously I am strongly pro-choice or I wouldn’t have been volunteering at this clinic,” Haigh says. “But until this experience, I knew very little about what abortion actually means in a person’s life. And I think that’s true for many people who have strong convictions about abortions. Most people don’t know very much about it. It’s ironic when you consider, this is such a common experience, right? We know that about one in four American women will at some point have an abortion. And yet there’s such a climate of secrecy around this procedure that most of them don’t feel free to talk about it honestly. And many never tell anyone that they’ve done this. The result being that the average person knows very, very little about this experience.”Megan Walsh visits the podcast to talk about her new book, “The Subplot: What China Is Reading and Why It Matters.”And why does it matter? “We tend to think about China in quite binary terms these days, as friend or foe,” Walsh says. “If we do properly pay attention to what people are genuinely trying to process and think about in China — which is peculiar, diverse, strange, innovative, some of it’s terrible, some of it’s amazing — I feel like we get an alternative way of understanding the complexities at the heart of a country which we are defining ourselves against, and we have an opportunity to also understand without seeing it as a sort of monolith.”Also on this week’s episode, Elizabeth Harris has news from the publishing world, and Jennifer Szalai and Molly Young talk about books they’ve recently reviewed. Pamela Paul is the host.Here are the books discussed by The Times’s critics this week:“The Power Law” by Sebastian Mallaby“Eating to Extinction” by Dan SaladinoWe would love to hear your thoughts about this episode, and about the Book Review’s podcast in general. You can send them to books@nytimes.com.
18/02/22·54m 25s

A Spiritual, Dangerous Quest in the Himalayas

Harley Rustad’s new book, “Lost in the Valley of Death,” is about an American adventurer named Justin Alexander Shetler, who went on a quest in the Himalayas that ended in his disappearance. One of Shetler’s heroes was Christopher McCandless, whose story was told in Jon Krakauer’s “Into the Wild.” On this week’s podcast, Rustad discusses Shetler’s life, including his use of social media and how that dovetailed — and didn’t — with his spiritual journey.“He was a very good-looking guy. He’s somebody that could be potentially quite easy to roll your eyes at and write off. There are a fair amount of shirtless selfies on his Instagram account,” Rustad says. But that curated image, the author says, doesn’t necessarily reflect the full truth. Rustad continues: “I think there was something that he was deeply trying to search for. And his social media accounts, while they gave him a platform to potentially inspire people — something that he really, really longed for and struggled with was solitude. And right now it’s almost impossible to achieve that true solitude in this world of deep, profound connectivity. And so as much as he validated and found value in that platform, it also was impossible; it created this barrier for him to achieve something pure.”Jessamine Chan visits the podcast to discuss her debut novel, “The School for Good Mothers,” which imagines a future where parents (mostly women) get sent to government-run reform school.“The standards in the book are purposefully set up to be impossible,” Chan says, “to draw attention to the way that our culture and society and government sets up such punishing standards for moms. So if the moms do succeed, it’s really by chance.”Also on this week’s episode, Alexandra Alter has news from the publishing world, and Gregory Cowles and John Williams talk about what they’ve been reading. Pamela Paul is the host.Here are the books discussed in this week’s “What We’re Reading”:“Mercy Street” by Jennifer Haigh“After Me Comes the Flood” by Sarah Perry“Our Mutual Friend” by Charles DickensWe would love to hear your thoughts about this episode, and about the Book Review’s podcast in general. You can send them to books@nytimes.com.
11/02/22·55m 3s

Ruta Sepetys Talks About 'I Must Betray You'

Ruta Sepetys writes Y.A. historical fiction that draws plenty of adult readers as well. Her new novel, “I Must Betray You,” is about a Romanian teenager who is blackmailed to become an informer for a Communist regime. On this week’s podcast, Sepetys talks about why she turned her focus to the epochal events of 1989, and about what she wants readers to see in them.“What I want to get across is the strength and fortitude of the Romanian people, particularly the young people,” Sepetys says. “Oftentimes what we don’t think about is that these authoritarian regimes or totalitarian regimes, they often are disassembled from within. And that’s what happened here. And it was the young people, on Dec. 21, who took to the streets, completely unarmed, and in some cases were attacking tanks with their bare hands. They put themselves in harm’s way. The courage, it blows my mind. And the leader gunned them down, until the military switched sides and sided with the people.” The novelist Jami Attenberg visits the podcast to talk about her first memoir, “I Came All This Way to Meet You: Writing Myself Home.” Having written about fictional characters for so long, Attenberg says it was initially a challenge to make herself the central figure.“It was really hard at first because I couldn’t see myself in that way,” she says. “At some point I did have to make a decision of which version of myself I was going to show to the world, because there are so many versions that are possible.”Also on this week’s episode, Elizabeth Harris has news from the publishing world, and Gregory Cowles and John Williams talk about what they’ve been reading. Pamela Paul is the host.Here are the books discussed in this week’s “What We’re Reading”:“The Black Prince” by Iris Murdoch“Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead” by Olga Tokarczuk“Death Be Not Proud” by John GuntherWe would love to hear your thoughts about this episode, and about the Book Review’s podcast in general. You can send them to books@nytimes.com.
04/02/22·57m 27s

Imani Perry Talks About 'South to America'

Imani Perry’s new book, “South to America,” joins a tradition of books that travel the South to find keys to the United States: its foundations, its changes and its tensions. Perry, who was born in Alabama, approaches the task from a variety of angles, and discusses some of them on this week’s podcast.“It includes personal stories,” Perry says. “It is a book about encounters. It is a book about the encounter with history but also with human beings. And as part of it, self-discovery, to try to understand why a Southern identity is so centrally important to me, and why it’s so centrally important to the formation of this country.”Oliver Roeder visits the podcast to discuss his new book, “Seven Games,” a history of checkers, backgammon, chess, Go, poker, Scrabble and bridge that also asks why we play.“The simplest answer is, they’re fun,” Roeder says. “We enjoy playing them as a pastime. Another answer is, they’re practice. Games are very simplified, distilled models of the real world in which we live. So for example, a game like poker allows us to practice dealing with uncertainty and hidden information. We don’t know our opponents’ cards. And of course, we see situations like that in real life all the time.”Also on this week’s episode, Alexandra Alter has news from the publishing world, and Dwight Garner and Alexandra Jacobs talk about books they’ve recently reviewed. Pamela Paul is the host.Here are the books discussed by The Times’s critics this week:“The Betrayal of Anne Frank” by Rosemary Sullivan“Devil House” by John DarnielleWe would love to hear your thoughts about this episode, and about the Book Review’s podcast in general. You can send them to books@nytimes.com.
28/01/22·54m 33s

The Chinese Language Revolution

Jing Tsu’s new book, “Kingdom of Characters,” is about the long and concerted efforts of linguists, activists and others to adapt Chinese writing to the modern world, so that it could be used in everything from typewriters and telegraphs to artificial intelligence and automation. On this week’s podcast, Tsu talks about that revolution, from its roots to the present day.“The story of the Chinese script revolution and how it came to modernize is really a story about China and the west,” she says. “Because without the Jesuit missionaries first coming to China in the 16th century, and trying to understand what the Chinese language was — the Chinese didn’t really see their language any differently than the way they’ve always seen it. So what happened was, as these Western technologies came in, along with imperialism and colonial dominance, China had to confront that it had to either play the game or be completely shut out. So this was a long process, an arduous process, of how to get itself into the infrastructure of global communication technology.”Kathryn Schulz visits the podcast to talk about “Lost and Found,” her new memoir about losing her father and falling in love.“It is, I think, the closest I could come to the book I wanted to write,” Schulz says. “The gap between what you want to do and what you are able to do is always enormous, and the struggle for writers is to close it to the best of your abilities. But kind of unusually for me, I did have a very clear sense of this book from the beginning.”Also on this week’s episode, Elizabeth Harris has news from the publishing world; and Gregory Cowles and John Williams talk about what they’ve been reading. Pamela Paul is the host.Here are the books discussed in this week’s “What We’re Reading”:“Small Things Like These” by Claire Keegan“2666” by Roberto Bolaño“The Anomaly” by Hervé Le TellierWe would love to hear your thoughts about this episode, and about the Book Review’s podcast in general. You can send them to books@nytimes.com.
21/01/22·1h 1m

Robert Gottlieb on ‘Garbo’ and ‘Babbitt’

The writer and editor Robert Gottlieb does double duty on this week’s podcast. He talks about the life and career of Sinclair Lewis, on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of “Babbitt,” Lewis’s best-selling novel about the narrow-mindedness and conformity of middle-class America in the first half of the 20th century. But first, he talks about his own new book, “Garbo,” a biography of the movie star Greta Garbo, whose impact on the culture was matched by the sense of mystery that surrounded her.“I understood the power of the impact, but I didn’t really understand — because I hadn’t been seeing her movies, I was too young — I didn’t really understand what she was on the screen and how she got to the screen in the first place. So as usual, it was curiosity that led me to write about her,” Gottlieb says. “No one had ever seemed like her before, and no one has ever seemed like her since. So to trace what those qualities were became the subject of the book.Carl Bernstein visits the podcast to discuss his new memoir, “Chasing History.” The book is about a time before Bernstein and Bob Woodward became household names for their Watergate reporting. Subtitled “A Kid in the Newsroom,” Bernstein’s memoir focuses on the years 1960 to 1965, when he worked at The Evening Star in Washington, then the chief rival of The Washington Post. He was first hired as a copyboy when he was only 16.“I was spending a lot of time at the pool hall,” Bernstein says of his life before he got the job. “I was getting terrible grades in school. I was working Saturdays at a low-rent department store in a bad part of town.” At the newspaper, he saw a clearer future. “The greatest reporters of their time, many of them were in this newsroom. And I saw what they were doing, and I studied what they were doing and I knew that’s what I wanted to do.”Also on this week’s episode, Elizabeth Harris has news from the publishing world; and Jennifer Szalai and Molly Young talk about the books they’ve recently reviewed. Pamela Paul is the host.Here are the books discussed by The Times’s critics this week:Books about Stoicism“How Civil Wars Start” by Barbara F. WalterWe would love to hear your thoughts about this episode, and about the Book Review’s podcast in general. You can send them to books@nytimes.com.
14/01/22·50m 57s

The Second Annual Listeners’ Questions Episode

Throughout the year, we hear from many of you, and are always glad when we do. From time to time, we try to answer some of your questions on the podcast. This week, for the second time, we dedicate an entire episode to doing just that. Some of the many questions addressed this week:Who are literature’s one-hit wonders?What are some of our favorite biographies?What are empowering novels about women in midlife?How do we assign books to reviewers?Who are writers that deserve more attention?How does the practice of discounted books work?Providing the answers are the book critic Dwight Garner, the editors Lauren Christensen, MJ Franklin and John Williams, and the reporters Alexandra Alter and Elizabeth Harris. Pamela Paul is the host.We mention many more books than usual on this episode. Here’s a list for reference:“A Confederacy of Dunces,” by John Kennedy Toole“Gilead,” by Marilynne Robinson“The Master and Margarita,” by Mikhail Bulgakov“The Goldfinch,” by Donna Tartt“The Secret History,” by Donna Tartt“Natural Opium,” by Diane Johnson“In Trouble Again,” by Redmond O’Hanlon“Into the Heart of Borneo,” by Redmond O’Hanlon“Venice,” by Jan Morris“On the Road,” by Jack Kerouac“Minor Characters,” by Joyce Johnson“The Life of Samuel Johnson,” by James Boswell“William James,” by Robert D. Richardson“Last Train to Memphis: The Rise of Elvis Presley,” by Peter Guralnick“Careless Love: The Unmaking of Elvis Presley,” by Peter Guralnick“Samuel Pepys,” by Claire Tomalin“No One Here Gets Out Alive,” by Jerry Hopkins“The Life You Save May Be Your Own,” by Paul Elie“Virginia Woolf,” by Hermione Lee“The Stone Angel,” by Margaret Laurence“Memento Mori,” by Muriel Spark“The Friend,” by Sigrid Nunez“What Are You Going Through,” by Sigrid Nunez“The Journals of John Cheever”“A Manual for Cleaning Women,” by Lucia Berlin“The Blood of the Lamb,” by Peter De Vries“Go Tell It on the Mountain,” by James Baldwin“Sula,” by Toni Morrison“Lot,” by Bryan Washington“Little Fires Everywhere,” by Celeste Ng“The Yellow House,” by Sarah M. Broom“Sing, Unburied, Sing,” by Jesmyn Ward“The Topeka School,” by Ben Lerner“Modern Lovers,” by Emma StraubThe fiction of Randall Kenan“Popisho,” by Leone Ross“Detransition, Baby” by Torrey Peters“The Magician,” by Colm Toibin“When We Cease to Understand the World,” by Benjamín Labatut“Say Nothing,” by Patrick Radden Keefe“Empire of Pain,” by Patrick Radden Keefe“Bad Blood,” by John CarreyrouThe poetry of Emily DickinsonThe poetry of Ada Limón“Piranesi,” by Susanna Clarke“Klara and the Sun,” by Kazuo IshiguroWe would love to hear your thoughts about this episode, and about the Book Review’s podcast in general. You can send them to books@nytimes.com.
07/01/22·1h 0m

David Sedaris’s Diaries and Paul McCartney’s Songs

David Sedaris’s second volume of diaries, “A Carnival of Snackery,” covers the years 2003 to 2020. On this week's podcast, he talks about the diaries, and about being on the road again — we caught him in Montana, a stop on his sprawling reading and signing tour.“I’ve been surprised by what people are willing to — ‘You want us to show proof of vaccination? OK, we’ll do it. You want us to wear a mask the entire time? OK, we’ll do it,’” Sedaris says. “And then the book signings have lasted as long as they always did, so people are still willing to wait in line. I’ve really been touched by that. And I’m willing to make whatever sacrifices I need to.” He added: “I’m just so grateful to be out again.”The poet Paul Muldoon visits the podcast to talk about his work editing Paul McCartney’s two-volume collection “The Lyrics.” He says becoming involved with the project was an easy choice.“Through his career, as a Beatle, of course, and then with Wings and his solo career, he’s been a force in my life and certainly in the lives of many people who were even vaguely sentient through the 1960s and since,” Muldoon says of McCartney. “What’s fascinating about his career with the Beatles is that they were, of course, very much of their moment, they were defined by their moment — including, at the risk of sounding a bit banal — the optimism that was associated in the U.K. with the postwar period. But of course, extraordinarily, they went on to influence their moment also; they came to define their moment, and to define the rest of us, actually. It was a very interesting phenomenon. So yeah, I was thrilled to be involved, and continue to be thrilled to be involved.”Muldoon also talks about, and reads from, his new poetry collection, “Howdie-Skelp.”Also on this week’s episode, Gregory Cowles and John Williams talk about what they’ve been reading. Pamela Paul is the host.Here are the books discussed in this week’s “What We’re Reading”:“Middlemarch” by George Eliot“Less” by Andrew Sean Greer“The Corrections” by Jonathan FranzenWe would love to hear your thoughts about this episode, and about the Book Review’s podcast in general. You can send them to books@nytimes.com.
23/12/21·1h 0m

The Life of a Jazz Age Madam

In 2007, Debby Applegate won a Pulitzer Prize for “The Most Famous Man in America,” her biography of the 19th-century preacher and abolitionist Henry Ward Beecher. Applegate’s new book, “Madam,” is another biography, of a very different subject: Polly Adler, who ran a brothel and had many famous friends during the Jazz Age in New York City. On this week’s podcast, Applegate describes the challenges of running a business in the underworld.“You have to depend on your reputation,” Applegate says. “You can’t advertise, you can’t sell your product in a normal market square. So you have to cultivate your own kind of word of mouth and your own kind of notoriety. Polly worked out of small but luxurious apartments that were hidden away and constantly moving, so she could stay one step ahead of the cops or other crooks. What Polly did was use that small town but big city of Manhattan, which was really thriving in those years between World War I and World War II, and she became a critical player — a ‘big shot,’ as the gossip columnists called her.”Matthew Pearl visits the podcast to discuss his new book, “The Taking of Jemima Boone,” about the kidnapping of Daniel Boone’s daughter in 1776. Pearl is well known as a novelist, and he says that this work of nonfiction has many of the elements he looks for in any good story.“Jemima is such a strong and incredible character to work with,” he says. She was one of the Boones’ 10 children, though “not all of them survived into childhood or adulthood, and Jemima was one who was very close with her father, in particular, and she had really her father’s spirit of persistence and independence.”Also on this week’s episode, Elizabeth Harris has news from the publishing world, and Dwight Garner and Jennifer Szalai talk about books they’ve recently reviewed. Pamela Paul is the host.Here are the books discussed by The Times’s critics this week:“The Oxford Companion to Spirits and Cocktails”“Accidental Gods” by Anna Della SubinWe would love to hear your thoughts about this episode, and about the Book Review’s podcast in general. You can send them to books@nytimes.com.
17/12/21·57m 54s

A New Oral History of HBO

James Andrew Miller has written a series of oral histories about some our biggest cultural institutions: “Saturday Night Live,” Creative Artists Agency and ESPN. His new book, “Tinderbox,” follows HBO from its start in 1972 through its transformative “Sopranos” years and up to the present day.“One of the things that struck me was just how emotional people were,” Miller says on this week’s podcast. “First of all, HBO was a place that people didn’t date, they married. There were people that were there for 20 years, 25 years, 30, 35 years. They stayed there for their careers, and they were very, very wedded to it. I’m not bragging about this, but there were at least — more than — a dozen people who cried during interviews, who called me back the next day and said, ‘Now I have PTSD revisiting some of what I went through.’” He says he learned that “this was not just a place that people checked in on a time clock and left; it was like a tsunami that washed over their lives.”Mayukh Sen visits the podcast to talk about his new book, “Taste Makers: Seven Immigrant Women Who Revolutionized Food in America.”“Five of the seven women whom I focus on in this book are no longer with us,” Sen says, “and in the absence of their presence I really wanted to understand how they spoke and how they wanted to present themselves to the world. And I really wanted to find them speaking in their own words. So the way I sought that out was to find their memoirs, or cookbooks with memoiristic passages or any interviews they gave throughout their lifetime that really presented them speaking without that kind of filter.”Also on this week’s episode, Gregory Cowles and John Williams talk about what they’ve been reading. Pamela Paul is the host.Here are the books discussed in this week’s “What We’re Reading”:“Now Beacon, Now Sea” by Christopher Sorrentino“A Gentleman in Moscow” by Amor Towles“Ghost Light” by Frank Rich“Fairyland” by Alysia Abbott“Life Inside” by Mindy Lewis
10/12/21·1h 5m

Talking About the 10 Best Books of 2021

Earlier this week, several editors at The New York Times got together (virtually) for a live taping of the podcast to discuss the Book Review’s list of the year’s 10 Best Books. (If you haven’t seen the list yet and don’t want spoilers before listening, the choices are revealed one by one on the podcast.)In addition to the 10 Best Books, the editors discuss on this episode some of their favorite works from the year that didn’t make the list. Here are those additional books the editors discuss:“The Magician” by Thomas Mann“Klara and the Sun” by Kazuo Ishiguro“Razorblade Tears” by S.A. Cosby“Wayward” by Dana Spiotta“Dirty Work” by Eyal Press“Beautiful World, Where Are You” by Sally Rooney“The Life of the Mind” by Christine Smallwood“Crossroads” by Jonathan Franzen“The Prophets” by Robert Jones Jr.“Our Country Friends” by Gary Shteyngart
03/12/21·1h 6m

Ann Patchett on ‘These Precious Days’

The novelist and Nashville bookstore owner Ann Patchett’s latest book is a collection of essays, “These Precious Days.” It’s anchored by the long title piece, which originally appeared in Harper’s Magazine, about her intimate friendship with a woman who moved to Nashville for cancer treatment just as the coronavirus pandemic started. On this week’s podcast, Patchett talks about the collection, and about where writing essays fits into her creative life.“I write essays while I’m writing novels too sometimes, but it’s wonderful to have something you can finish,” she says. “I can start a novel and it will take me three years sometimes to finish it, and no one reads it as I’m writing it. So if I write an essay, it’s almost like sending up a flare saying: I’m still here, I’m still alive. I’m a very project-oriented person, and somehow writing an essay feels closer to, say, making Thanksgiving dinner than it does writing a novel. It’s like, I’m going to do this and it’s going to take me a couple of days. But it’s not going to take me years.”Corey Brettschneider, a professor of political science at Brown University, visits the podcast to talk about the Penguin Liberty series, a group of books he’s editing about modern issues in liberty and constitutional rights. He says he wants the project to be used in schools, but also hopes it will find a much broader audience as well.“I certainly would hope that professors would use this, but really I think if we’re going to continue on as a democracy — and I don’t think that, as we learn about Jan. 6, that this is hyperbole, I think that we are under threat when it comes to a very different idea of what government is supposed to look like that’s prevailing in much of the public right now. And how are we to combat it?” he says. “I think in order to really take seriously the idea that we’re going to defend liberty in any defensible, robust sense, we have to know what it is, and that means that citizens have to think about these things.”Also on this week’s episode, Alexandra Alter has news from the publishing world; and Dwight Garner and Alexandra Jacobs talk about books they’ve recently reviewed. Pamela Paul is the host.Here are the books discussed by the Times’s critics this week:“Patricia Highsmith: Her Diaries and Notebooks, 1941-1995” edited by Anna von Planta“On Consolation” by Michael Ignatieff
25/11/21·1h 1m

Ross Douthat on Dealing With Lyme Disease

The New York Times columnist Ross Douthat is used to writing about politics and ideas at play in the broader world, but with his new book, “The Deep Places,” he has written a memoir about his own harrowing experience with Lyme disease. Given the mysteries surrounding the disease, Douthat’s story is also very much about his interactions with — and outside of — the medical establishment.“I was relatively open-minded at an intellectual level to the possibility that there are diseases that existing medical science doesn’t know how to treat,” Douthat says on this week’s podcast. “What I was not prepared for was actually just how bad these diseases could be, and also just how extreme, when you have something like this, you can be willing to get. Eventually I followed what is the outsider medical approach to treating chronic Lyme.”Elisabeth Egan, an editor at the Book Review, visits the podcast to discuss her latest pick for our Group Text, “O Beautiful,” by Jung Yun. The novel is about a Korean American woman who has traded a modeling career for journalism. She inherits an assignment in the oil fields of North Dakota from a former teacher and love interest.“She gets there and quickly discovers that what Richard, her professor, has set up for her isn’t really the story that she wants to tell,” Egan says. “And she starts to unravel her own story, and it becomes a novel about insiders and outsiders, and about this town that’s completely ill equipped for this influx of somewhat desperate people who are there to work and live in really, really unpleasant and sometimes dangerous conditions.”Also on this week’s episode, Elizabeth Harris has news from the publishing world; and Gregory Cowles and Andrew Lavallee talk about what people are reading. Pamela Paul is the host.Here are the books discussed in this week’s “What We’re Reading”:“Resuscitation of a Hanged Man” by Denis Johnson“Our Country Friends” by Gary Shteyngart“The Overstory” by Richard Powers
19/11/21·56m 4s

Alan Cumming Talks About ‘Baggage’

The actor and author Alan Cumming was happily surprised that his best-selling first memoir, “Not My Father’s Son,” inspired many readers who had suffered their own childhood traumas. But he was disappointed, he says on this week’s podcast, when people characterized him as having “triumphed” or “overcome” his adversity. “I haven’t, I haven’t, I absolutely haven’t,” he says. And he stresses that point in his new memoir, “Baggage.”“We all have baggage, we all have trauma, we all have something,” he says. “But the worst thing to do is to pretend it hasn’t happened. to deny it or to think that you’re over it. And that’s what I felt was in danger of happening with the way that my first book was reacted to. So in this I’m trying to say: You never get over it, it’s with you all the time.” He adds: “You have to be very vigilant about your trauma. If you deny it, it will come back and bite you in the bum.”Allen C. Guelzo visits the podcast to discuss “Robert E. Lee: A Life,” his new biography of the Confederate leader.“Since it had been at least 25 years since another serious biography of Lee had been published — this was by Emory Thomas, in 1995 — it seemed to me that the time was right to begin a re-evaluation of Lee, and especially to ask questions about Lee from someone like myself coming from what was, quite frankly, a Northern perspective,” Guelzo says. “After all, all the books I’ve written up to this point have been about Abraham Lincoln and the Union cause in the war, and I thought it might be productive to look at Robert E. Lee through the other end of the telescope.”Also on this week’s episode, Alexandra Alter has news from the publishing world; and Alexandra Jacobs and Molly Young talk about books they’ve recently reviewed. Pamela Paul is the host.Here are the books discussed by the Times’s critics this week:“Our Country Friends” by Gary Shteyngart“Solid Ivory” by James Ivory
12/11/21·1h 15m

Huma Abedin Talks About 'Both/And'

In her new memoir, “Both/And: A Life in Many Worlds,” Huma Abedin writes about her Muslim faith, her years working alongside Hillary Clinton and, of course, her relationship with her estranged husband, the former Democratic Representative Anthony Weiner. On this week’s podcast, Abedin says that writing the book was “the most therapeutic thing I could have possibly done,” and that writing about her marriage and its time in the tabloids gave her perspective.“Now that I am on the other side, I can say with confidence: I don’t think what I went through is all that singular,” she says. “What’s different is that I had to go through it on the front page of the news. So I know there is a sisterhood and brotherhood of people out there in the world that have had to endure betrayal and have had to figure out how to move on with their lives. And these are the conversations that I still am called into; the people who stop me on the street and ask me a simple question: ‘When does it stop hurting?’ ‘Should I stay?’ ‘When do I leave?’”Gary Shteyngart visits the podcast to discuss his new novel, “Our Country Friends,” about seven friends (and one nemesis) spending time together in one Hudson Valley property during the early months of the pandemic. The novel’s drama, Shteyngart says, comes from people confronting their “deepest selves,” as Chekhov’s characters did when they left Moscow for rural surroundings.“When you’re stuck in the countryside, no matter where you are, life just goes so much slower than it does in the city, and you’re able to really begin to think about your place in the world,” Shteyngart says. “There’s definitely a feeling of time slowing down and you’re able to ascertain your true relationships. If you love someone, you love them more in the country. If you hate them, you hate them more in the country. Everything is turned up to 11.”Also on this week’s episode, Tina Jordan looks back at Book Review history as it celebrates its 125th anniversary; Elizabeth Harris has news from the publishing world; and Dave Kim and Sarah Lyall talk about what they’re reading. Pamela Paul is the host.Here are the books discussed in this week’s “What We’re Reading”:“Man in the Holocene” by Max Frisch“A Wrinkle in Time” by Madeleine L’Engle“Perfect Little Children” by Sophie Hannah“The Flight Attendant” by Chris Bohjalian
05/11/21·1h 18m

Katie Couric Talks About 'Going There'

In her new memoir, “Going There,” Katie Couric writes about her career as a host of “Today and the first woman to anchor the “CBS Evening News” solo. She also, as the title suggests, writes about difficult personal subjects, including the deaths of her father and of her first husband. On this week’s podcast, she says the most difficult part of the book to write was about her former “Today” colleague Matt Lauer and his downfall over allegations of sexual misconduct.“My feelings were so complicated, and they definitely evolved over time,” Couric says. “I felt like I was almost doing my own therapy sessions. I did original reporting — which sounds so pretentious — but I actually revisited some people who were affected by his behavior, and it was really, really helpful. And I talked to a lot of experts about this. I reached out to people who had written extensively about men in power. This was at the time it happened, because I was really trying to make sense of it in my head. I talked to gender studies people, I talked to lawyers who have represented victims. It was a real mission for me, and a lot of soul-searching honestly.”John McWhorter visits the podcast to discuss his new book, “Woke Racism: How a New Religion Has Betrayed Black America.”“I think that there is a certain kind of woke person who is caught in a frame of mind where the idea is that how you show that you’re a good person is by showing that you are woke — that you’re aware, for example, that racism exists, and it’s not just the N-word and people burning crosses on people’s lawns,” McWhorter says. “You want to show that you’re aware of this. But it’s narrowed to the point where a certain kind of person thinks that showing one’s awareness of that is the key, regardless of what you prescribe’s effects upon actual Black people. So although it’s the last thing these people would suspect about themselves, They do not think of Black people as more important than their own showing that they are not racist. That is a woke racist, as far as I’m concerned.”Also on this week’s episode, Tina Jordan looks back at Book Review history as it celebrates its 125th anniversary; Alexandra Alter has news from the publishing world; and Dwight Garner and Jennifer Szalai talk about books they’ve recently reviewed. Pamela Paul is the host.Here are the books discussed this week by The Times’s critics:“The End of Bias” by Jessica Nordell“Colorization” by Wil Haygood
29/10/21·1h 11m

One Factory and the Bigger Story It Tells

In “American Made,” Farah Stockman writes about the downfall of manufacturing employment in the United States by focusing on the lives of workers at one Indianapolis factory that was relocated to Mexico. Stockman, a member of The New York Times editorial board, talks about the book on this week’s podcast.“I really think we’ve seen unions in a death spiral,” she says. “And part of the reason is globalization. You had so many people who fought for these manufacturing jobs to be good-paying jobs, and decent jobs that you could raise a family on. They didn’t used to be, but they were after the labor movement had a long struggle and a long fight. And as soon as we start seeing pensions and health care and decent wages, and as soon as Blacks and women start getting that stuff, now factories can move away. They can go to other countries. And it really undercut unions’ ability to demand things and to strike. And you saw a lot less appetite among workers for asking for stuff like that, because now everybody just has to beg those factories to stay.”Benjamín Labatut visits the podcast to discuss his book “When We Cease to Understand the World,” a combination of fact and fiction about some of the most ground-shifting discoveries in physics. Labatut explains why he gave himself license to imagine the lives and thoughts of some of the scientists featured — Einstein, Schrödinger and Heisenberg among them.“What I’m trying to do is for people to understand just how mad these ideas seemed at the time to the very people who discovered them,” Labatut says. “And I had to use these characters for people to get a sense of how brutal the beauty was that these men were seeing for the first time.”Also on this week’s episode, Tina Jordan looks back at Book Review history as it celebrates its 125th anniversary; Elizabeth Harris has news from the publishing world; and Gal Beckerman and Lauren Christensen talk about what people are reading. Pamela Paul is the host.Here are the books discussed in this week’s “What We’re Reading”:“Dirty Work” by Eyal Press“Invisible Child” by Andrea Elliott“Beautiful World, Where Are You” by Sally Rooney
22/10/21·1h 13m

Thomas Mallon on the Career of Jonathan Franzen

Jonathan Franzen’s new novel, “Crossroads,” has generated a lot of discussion, as his work tends to do. The novelist and critic Thomas Mallon, who reviewed “Crossroads” for us, is on the podcast this week to talk about the book and to place it in the context of Franzen’s entire career.“He is fundamentally a social novelist, and his basic unit of society is the family,” Mallon says. “Always families are important in Franzen, and we move outward from the family into the business, into the town, into whatever the larger units are. His novels are likely to remain as indicators of what the world was like at the time he was writing. This new novel is a little bit different in that he’s going back 50 years. The Nixon era is now, definitely, historical novel material.”Joshua Ferris visits the podcast to talk about his new novel, “A Calling for Charlie Barnes.”“It’s basically about a guy who has floundered all his life until the moment that he gets pancreatic cancer,” Ferris says. “His diagnosis is a little back and forth, he’s not really being honest with too many people in his life about what’s going on. But eventually this rather thundering and life-changing disease happens to him. He’s got to deal with it, he’s got to get an operation and go through chemo and all the rest of it. And he changes his life. That’s sort of the plot of the book, I suppose. But it’s narrated by a tricky fellow who is related to him and determines the narrative as much as Charlie himself.”Also on this week’s episode, Tina Jordan looks back at Book Review history as it celebrates its 125th anniversary; Alexandra Alter has news from the publishing world; and our new book critics, Molly Young and Alexandra Jacobs, introduce themselves and talk about their approaches to literary criticism. Pamela Paul is the host.We would love to hear your thoughts about this episode, and about the Book Review’s podcast in general. You can send them to books@nytimes.com.
15/10/21·59m 33s

Andrea Elliott on ‘Invisible Child’

In 2013, the front page of The New York Times devoted five straight days to the story of Dasani, an 11-year-old Black girl who lived in a homeless shelter in Brooklyn. Now, Andrea Elliott, the reporter of that series, has published her first book, “Invisible Child,” which tells the full story of Dasani and her family up to the present day. On this week’s podcast, Elliott discusses how she came to focus her reporting on Dasani.“I’ve always believed as a journalist that the story shows itself to you, and you just have to do the work of being there and being present for as long as possible until it becomes more clear,” Elliott says. “In the very beginning, I had three families I was following at that shelter. And I had this approach that a lot of journalists take, that you need to capture three different families to give a sense of the spectrum of experience. But what I think becomes more important to the reader is to be able to identify deeply with one story, one protagonist, and follow that person.” Dasani became that person, in part, Elliott says, because “she was somebody who, at a very young age, could articulate in a moving and profound way her experience. And that’s a rare trait even in adults.”The stand-up comedian, actress, producer and publisher Phoebe Robinson visits the podcast to discuss her new book of essays, “Please Don’t Sit on My Bed in Your Outside Clothes.”“Book writing is a completely different style of writing than stand-up,” Robinson says. “Stand-up, there’s a rhythm and you’re aware of the laughs and how they’re hitting. With a book you can really have more flavor with it; you can be vulnerable, you can slow it down, have some down beats, you could be really funny. I wouldn’t say it’s difficult to write stand-up versus book writing. They both have their challenges.”Also on this week’s episode, Tina Jordan looks back at Book Review history as it celebrates its 125th anniversary; Elizabeth Harris has news from the publishing world; and Gregory Cowles and John Williams talk about what they’ve been reading. Pamela Paul is the host.Here are the books discussed in this week’s “What We’re Reading”:“The Diary of a Country Priest” by Georges Bernanos“The Magician” by Colm Toibin“The Outlaw Ocean” by Ian Urbina
08/10/21·57m 40s

Richard Powers on ‘Bewilderment’

In “Bewilderment,” Richard Powers’s first novel since he won a Pulitzer Prize for “The Overstory,” an astrobiologist named Theo Byrne looks for life on other planets while struggling to raise his highly sensitive 9-year-old son, Robin. On this week’s podcast, Powers compares Theo’s work in the galaxy with his relationship on the ground.“If there are all of these millions of exoplanets out there are and they are all subject to radically different conditions, what would life look like in these conditions that are so very different from Earth?” Power says that a similar question “is also the preoccupation of most literature. Books themselves are empathy machines and travels to other planets. They’re ways that we have of participating in sensibilities that are not ours. So when Robin asks this question — which is bigger, outer space or inner? — that question of where are we going, who are we, why are we the way we are, gets turned inward, to this question of how do I understand someone who’s so profoundly different from myself? And in that way, travel to other planets always becomes travel to other people.”Honorée Fanonne Jeffers visits the podcast to discuss her best-selling debut novel, “The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois.” Among other subjects, Jeffers talks about why the book’s main character, Ailey Pearl Garfield, who comes from a long family line of physicians, becomes a historian herself.“It’s a gesture to the way that I grew up learning about African American history,” she says. “I’m an English professor, a creative writing professor, but when I was a little girl I would sit up underneath the old people. I never really was a child that liked to play with other children. I would sort of scoot into a corner so I wouldn’t be noticed and I would listen to the old people talk about the way they grew up, growing up in segregation, growing up in Jim Crow, and then some of the stories that they remembered from the old people who had been born into slavery, like my great grandma Mandy Napier, so it had a great impact on me, and I think that’s why I made Ailey an eventual historian.”Also on this week’s episode, Tina Jordan looks back at Book Review history as it celebrates its 125th anniversary; and Gregory Cowles and John Williams talk about what they’ve been reading. Pamela Paul is the host.Here are the books discussed in this week’s “What We’re Reading”:“When We Cease to Understand the World” by Benjamín Labatut“On Juneteenth” by Annette Gordon-Reed“Congratulations, by the Way” by George Saunders“A Motor-Flight Through France” by Edith Wharton
01/10/21·1h 4m

Randall Kennedy on 'Say It Loud!'

The Harvard law professor Randall Kennedy’s new book, “Say It Loud!,” collects 29 of his essays. Kennedy’s opinions about the subjects listed in the book’s subtitle — race, law, history and culture — tend to be complex, and he’s not afraid to change his mind. He says on the podcast that there’s “no shame” in admitting you’re wrong, and that he does just that in the book when he finds it appropriate.“I thought that the United States was much further down the road to racial decency than it is,” Kennedy says. “Donald Trump obviously trafficked in racial resentment, racial prejudice in a way that I thought was securely locked in the past. This has had a big influence on me. I used to be a quite confident racial optimist. I am not any longer. I’m still in the optimistic camp — I do think that we shall overcome — but I’m uneasy. I’m uneasy in a way that was simply not the case, let’s say, 10 years ago.”Mary Roach visits the podcast to discuss her new book, “Fuzz: When Nature Breaks the Law.” It’s impossible to choose just one moment to highlight from this interview, which includes but is not limited to the following subjects: caterpillars called into court, moose crash test dummies, and how to distinguish (and why you would want to) between a real and fake tiger penis.Also on this week’s episode, Tina Jordan looks back at Book Review history as it celebrates its 125th anniversary; Elizabeth Harris has news from the publishing world; and Jennifer Szalai and John Williams talk about books they’ve recently reviewed. Pamela Paul is the host.Here are the books discussed by the critics this week:“The Contrarian” by Max Chafkin“Peril” by Bob Woodward and Robert Costa
24/09/21·1h 13m

Colson Whitehead on 'Harlem Shuffle'

Colson Whitehead’s new novel, “Harlem Shuffle,” revolves around Ray Carney, a furniture retailer in Harlem in the 1960s with a sideline in crime. It’s a relatively lighthearted novel, certainly compared to “The Underground Railroad” and “The Nickel Boys,” Whitehead’s two previous novels, each of which won the Pulitzer Prize.“I usually do a lighter book, then a heavier book, but I felt compelled to write ‘The Nickel Boys’ at the time that I did,” Whitehead says on this week’s podcast. “I knew that in the crime genre, there’s more room for jokes. There’s just a lot more room for play. So I could exercise my humor muscle again. And then immediately, Carney … I wanted him to win, as soon as he appeared on the page. He was someone who was not as determined by circumstances — slavery, Jim Crow — as the characters in those previous two novels. And he pulls off some capers. And I think we — or at least I was rooting for him. So immediately the tone was different, and I gave myself to it.”Colm Toibin visits the podcast to talk about his new novel, “The Magician,” based on the life of the great German writer Thomas Mann. Toibin says that the book is not an attempt to “inhabit” Mann, or to fully understand him, which is impossible with such a complex person.“It’s not an attempt to pin him down, so that by the end of the book you really know him,” Toibin says. “I’m as interested in his unknowability as I am in attempting to draw a very clear portrait of him. I think it’s an important question. I often hear novelists saying, ‘I felt I really knew my character.’ And I often feel the opposite. I often feel my character has become even more evasive the further attempts I have made to enter their spirit.”Also on this week’s episode, Tina Jordan looks back at Book Review history as it celebrates its 125th anniversary; Alexandra Alter has news from the publishing world; and Gregory Cowles and John Williams talk about what they’ve been reading. Pamela Paul is the host.Here are the books discussed in this week’s “What We’re Reading”:“A Time of Gifts” by Patrick Leigh Fermor“Latecomers” by Anita Brookner“The Makioka Sisters” by Junichiro Tanizaki
17/09/21·1h 9m

Brandon Taylor on the Sally Rooney Phenomenon

The novelist Brandon Taylor, who has generated his own buzz with his debut novel, “Real Life,” and a collection of stories, “Filthy Animals,” visits the podcast to discuss the much-discussed work of Sally Rooney. Taylor recently reviewed her third novel, “Beautiful World, Where Are You.” On the podcast, he describes Rooney’s writing as an “intense, melancholic tractor beam.”“She has this really great, tactile metaphorical sense, but it’s never overworked,” he says. “Her style is so clean. That is the word I come to most often in describing her style. It is so clean, so pristine.” Like her two previous books, this one is fueled by the vexations of intimate relationships. “Ultimately, if you’re a Sally Rooney fan, I think you’ll love this novel,” Taylor says. “And if you’re a Sally Rooney skeptic, I think she will acknowledge your concerns but maybe not answer them in full.”Another Rooney, David Rooney, visits the podcast to discuss his new book, “About Time: A History of Civilization in Twelve Clocks.”“There’s something about clocks and watches,” he says.” They have more meaning to many people than other artifacts. I wasn’t quite sure why. I was trying to get behind the faces of clocks and watches, to understand not so much how they work — although that’s fascinating — but what they mean, and what they’ve always meant, through history, across cultures.”Also on this week’s episode, Tina Jordan looks back at Book Review history as it celebrates its 125th anniversary; Alexandra Alter has news from the publishing world; and Jennifer Szalai and John Williams talk about books that have been recently reviewed. Pamela Paul is the host.Here are the books discussed by the Times’s critics this week:“The Failed Promise” by Robert S. Levine“The War for Gloria” by Atticus Lish“The Magician” by Colm Toibin
10/09/21·1h 5m

Andrew Sullivan on Being ‘Out on a Limb’

“Out on a Limb” is a selection of Andrew Sullivan’s essays from the past 32 years of American history. On this week’s podcast, Sullivan talks about the book and his feelings about some of the very contentious public arguments in which he’s been involved.“You’re never at a moment of finality in politics or intellectual life. You’re always just about to be proven wrong again,” Sullivan says. “I have developed a very thick skin. You have to. I was very controversial in the gay rights movement very early on. The case for marriage equality was bitterly opposed by some gay activists, and I was targeted and picketed by gay people sometimes, for my first book. So I’ve always accepted that that’s part of the price. I am a sensitive person and it does hurt my feelings, obviously, but I think my answer is that it doesn’t matter what they say about you as long as it isn’t true. And if it’s true, hear it, take it in, try and figure out what insight they have about you and change. If it isn’t, forget it.”Leila Slimani’s new novel, “In the Country of Others,” is the first installment of a planned trilogy loosely based on the lives of the author’s grandparents. On this episode of the podcast, Slimani talks about why she’s writing the autobiographical material as fiction.“Imagination is a great power that we have,” she says. “Even if my family is interesting in certain ways, it’s not as interesting as I wanted. So I need to add other things, and I need to feel completely free. I don’t really want to tell about reality but about what fascinates me.”Also on this week’s episode, Tina Jordan looks back at Book Review history as it celebrates its 125th anniversary; Alexandra Alter has news from the publishing world; and Lauren Christensen, Andrew Lavallee and John Williams talk about what they’ve been reading. Pamela Paul is the host.Here are the books discussed in this week’s “What We’re Reading”:“Intimacies” by Katie Kitamura“A Visitation of Spirits” by Randall Kenan“Loop” by Brenda Lozano
03/09/21·1h 7m

A.O. Scott Talks About William Maxwell

A.O. Scott, The Times’s co-chief film critic, returns to the Book Review’s podcast this week to discuss the work of William Maxwell, the latest subject in Scott’s essay series The Americans, about writers who give a sense of the country’s complex identity. In his novels and stories, Maxwell frequently returned to small-town Illinois, and to, as Scott describes it, the “particular civilization and culture and society that he knew growing up.”“In so many of these books,” Scott says, “he was trying in a sense to figure out himself by figuring how where he had come from. It was inexhaustible. The thing that’s really remarkable about his revisiting his family, his family’s story and the town where they lived is just how many layers are there. In what seems like a simple, small, provincial place, just how much depth and complexity and comedy and pathos live there.”Eyal Press visits the podcast to discuss his new book, “Dirty Work,” about the lives of workers in slaughterhouses, correctional facilities and other morally fraught places. Press says that the people who do this work make inequality one of the book’s primary themes.“One of the messages of the book is that it’s very rarely the privileged and the powerful,” Press says. “It’s more likely to be people at the bottom of the social ladder, people with fewer choices and opportunities, who are thrust into these ethically troubling roles that they carry out in a sense on society’s behalf and in our name.”Also on this week’s episode, Tina Jordan looks back at Book Review history as it celebrates its 125th anniversary; Alexandra Alter has news from the publishing world; and Dwight Garner and Jennifer Szalai discuss books they’ve recently reviewed. Pamela Paul is the host.Here are the books discussed by the Times’s critics this week:“Reign of Terror” by Spencer Ackerman“Playlist for the Apocalypse” by Rita Dove
27/08/21·59m 48s

Life at Seven Miles Below the Sea

In her new book, “The Brilliant Abyss,” Helen Scales writes about the largely unseen realm of the deepest parts of the ocean. On this week’s podcast, she talks about the life down there — and how long it took us to realize there was any at all.“It wasn’t so long ago, maybe 200 years ago, that most people — scientists, the brightest minds we had — assumed that life only went down as far as sunlight reaches, so the first 600 feet or so,” Scales says. “But what’s so fascinating is that life does go all the way to the very, very bottom; down to seven miles, which is the deepest point, just about. And there are ways in which life has found adaptations to all of these crazy, extreme conditions in the deep, and that’s what we’re really doing a lot of the time, as marine biologists working in the deepest, is finding that stuff and asking the question: ‘How are you here?’”Rebecca Donner visits the podcast to discuss her new book, “All the Frequent Troubles of Our Days,” which recounts the story of Mildred Harnack, Donner’s great-great-aunt, an American woman executed in 1943 for being a member of the German resistance to the Nazis during World War II.“She most definitely saw herself as a resistance fighter, and she certainly did not see herself as a spy,” Donner says. “She engaged in acts of espionage in order to undermine the Nazi regime, but she never met with a control officer, she never accepted money. She worked in an unofficial capacity.”Also on this week’s episode, Tina Jordan looks back at Book Review history as it celebrates its 125th anniversary; Elizabeth Harris has news from the publishing world; and Gal Beckerman and John Williams talk about what they’re reading. Pamela Paul is the host.Here are the books discussed in this week’s “What We’re Reading”:“Four Thousand Weeks” by Oliver Burkeman“Ghettoside” by Jill Leovy“Last Best Hope” by George Packer
20/08/21·55m 15s

Dana Spiotta Talks About ‘Wayward’

In Dana Spiotta’s new novel, “Wayward,” a woman named Sam buys a dilapidated house in a neglected neighborhood in Syracuse, leaving her husband and her daughter in order to face down big midlife questions.“She is what we used to call a housewife, a stay-at-home mom,” Spiotta says on this week’s podcast, describing her protagonist. “She has one daughter, she’s married to a lawyer. It’s not an unhappy marriage. I wanted to avoid a lot of clichés with her. I didn’t want it to be an unhappy marriage that was the problem. And I didn’t want him to leave her for a younger woman. I didn’t want her to be worried about her looks. She never thinks about wrinkles or her looks very much in the book. She doesn’t even look in the mirror anymore. She’s not concerned about that.”What she’s concerned about is living a more honest and purposeful life, and the novel follows her efforts to do that.Ash Davidson visits the podcast to discuss her debut novel, “Damnation Spring,” set in a tightknit logging community in Northern California in the late 1970s. Davidson describes how the book was partly inspired by her parents’ memories of living in the area.“I grew up listening to my parents’ stories of this place, and it is the most beautiful place they have ever lived, and that beauty is also the source of its own destruction,” she says. “So those stories became almost like a mythology of my childhood, and I think I always kept a folder of them in my head, where I was filing them away. I used a lot of them as scaffolding for the novel, in the early years of writing it. Gradually, as time went on and the story got strong enough to stand on its own, I was able to strip away that scaffolding of their stories and let the fictional narrative shine through.”Also on this week’s episode, Tina Jordan looks back at Book Review history as it celebrates its 125th anniversary; Alexandra Alter has news from the publishing world; and Elisabeth Egan and John Williams talk about what they’re reading. Pamela Paul is the host.Here are the books discussed in this week’s “What We’re Reading”:“Emerson” by Robert D. Richardson Jr.“Transcendent Kingdom” by Yaa Gyasi“The Post-Birthday World” by Lionel Shriver
13/08/21·55m 50s

Katie Kitamura Talks About ‘Intimacies’

The slightly directionless, unnamed narrator of Katie Kitamura’s fourth novel, “Intimacies,” takes a job as a translator at an international criminal court. On this week’s podcast, Kitamura talks about the novel, including her realization about the book’s title.“‘Intimacy’ as a word is something that we think of as desirable, and something that we seek out, in our relationships in particular, but also in our friendships and in all the people that we care about,” Kitamura says. “But I think it’s a plural for a reason, which is that there’s a lot of different kinds of intimacies in the novel, and a lot of them are not desired, they’re imposed on the narrator. It was only when I finished writing the novel that I realized that there are multiple incidents of sexual harassment, sexual intimidation in it, sprinkled throughout. Afterward, I understood it, because a novel is really about power, and sexual harassment is of course about power, rather than desire. So it made sense that there would be these little negotiations and these trespasses and these forced forms of intimacy.”The acclaimed writer and director James Lapine visits the podcast to talk about “Putting It Together,” his new mix of memoir and oral history about his first collaboration Stephen Sondheim, creating the musical “Sunday in the Park With George.”“Part of the pleasure in writing the book was rediscovering who I was at the time, because you’re so involved in something — you’re not outside of it — and maybe it takes 35 years to look back at it to realize what was actually going on,” Lapine says. Writing the book was “an excavation of sorts, both of the show and the creative process and what it’s like for someone in my position, as a writer and a director, to do his first Broadway show.”Also on this week’s episode, Tina Jordan looks back at Book Review history as it celebrates its 125th anniversary; Elizabeth Harris has news from the publishing world; and Dwight Garner and Jennifer Szalai talk about books they’ve recently reviewed. Pamela Paul is the host.Here are the books discussed by the Times’s critics this week:“Until Proven Safe” by Geoff Manaugh and Nicola Twilley“Afterparties” by Anthony Veasna So
06/08/21·1h 5m

Echoes of a Fairy Tale in a Devastating Novel

Omar El Akkad’s new novel, “What Strange Paradise,” uses some fablelike techniques to comment on the migrant crisis caused by war in the Middle East. El Akkad explains that he thinks of the novel as a reinterpretation of the story of Peter Pan, told as the story of a contemporary child refugee.“There’s this thing Borges once said about how all literature is tricks, and no matter how clever your tricks are, they eventually get discovered,” El Akkad says. “My tricks are not particularly clever. I lean very hard on inversion. I wanted to take a comforting story that Westerners have been telling their kids for the last hundred years, and I wanted to invert it, to tell a different kind of story.” He continues: “At its core, it’s a book about dueling fantasies: the fantasies of people who want to come to the West because they think it’s a cure for all ills, and the fantasies of people who exist in the West and think of those people as barbarians at the gate. The book takes place at the collision of those two fantasies.”Sheera Frenkel and Cecilia Kang, two reporters at The Times, visit the podcast this week to discuss their new book, “An Ugly Truth: Inside Facebook’s Battle for Domination,” including how the company makes many of its strategic decisions.“A lot of people think that a company like this, that’s so sophisticated, that has so many people who have come in with such incredible pedigrees, that they have a plan in mind,” Kang says. “They’re actually, in many cases, doing this on the fly. They’re making a lot of ad hoc decisions.”Also on this week’s episode, Tina Jordan looks back at Book Review history as it celebrates its 125th anniversary; Alexandra Alter has news from the publishing world; and Emily Eakin and MJ Franklin talk about what they’ve been reading. Pamela Paul is the host.Here are the books discussed in this week’s “What We’re Reading”:“How the Word Is Passed” by Clint Smith“Red Comet” by Heather Clark“Lenin” by Victor Sebestyen
30/07/21·1h 0m

A Heartbreaking Novel About Mothers, Daughters and Secrets

The latest pick for Group Text, our monthly column for readers and book clubs, is Esther Freud's “I Couldn’t Love You More,” a novel about three generations of women grappling with secrets, shame and an inexorable bond. Elisabeth Egan, an editor at the Book Review and the brains behind Group Text, talks about the novel on this week’s podcast.“It’s this incredibly powerful story about mothers and daughters,” Egan says, “and also an interesting and really heartbreaking look at what was happening in Ireland at the time that really went on for about 100 years, where the Catholic church ran the — they were like prisons — for women who were in trouble in some way. They forced the women to change their names and to give up their babies.”Philip D’Anieri visits the podcast to discuss his new book, “The Appalachian Trail: A Biography,” including what drew him to the sprawling subject.“It’s a place that gives us an opportunity to examine the intersection of the built and the natural,” D’Anieri says. “It’s a place that we think of as natural — it’s the outdoors, you can hike, you can connect with the natural world — but it also had to be built: It needed shelters built, a route had to be determined, the land has to be owned. That tension is something that has always interested me.”Also on this week’s episode, Tina Jordan looks back at Book Review history as it celebrates its 125th anniversary; Alexandra Alter has news from the publishing world; and Gregory Cowles and Lauren Christensen talk about what they’ve been reading. Pamela Paul is the host.Here are the books discussed in this week’s “What We’re Reading”:“Empire of Pain” by Patrick Radden Keefe“Intimacies” by Katie Kitamura“Razorblade Tears” by S.A. Cosby“The Plot” by Jean Hanff Korelitz
23/07/21·56m 44s

S.A. Cosby on 'Razorblade Tears'

On this week’s podcast, S.A. Cosby says that a writer friend once told him: “I think you’re like the bard of broken men.” In Cosby’s new novel, “Razorblade Tears,” the fathers of two married gay men who have just been murdered team up to track down the killers. Cosby says that the fathers — Ike, who’s Black, and Buddy Lee, who’s white — are familiar to him.“I grew up with men like Ike and Buddy Lee,” he says. “Maybe not necessarily violent men, but men who were emotionally closed off, who were unable to articulate or communicate their frailties, their feelings. I grew up in an environment where masculinity was all about presentation, was about being ‘tough,’ whatever that means. So when I started out writing the book, I started with these two characters, because the people that I think need to read the book the most are the people like that that I know, the people like that who surround me every day. But even more than that, I fell in love with Ike and Buddy Lee because if these two men can change, then change is possible for anyone.”Dean Jobb visits the podcast to talk about his new book, “The Case of the Murderous Dr. Cream: The Hunt for a Victorian Era Serial Killer.” The book recounts the crimes of Thomas Neill Cream, a Canadian obstetrician who killed an unknown number of people between the 1870s and 1892, most of them women from marginalized backgrounds.“There was a lot of madness in what he did, but also some calculating method,” Jobb says. “He never claimed insanity at any of his trials, so there was never any professional assessment of him. He almost seems to have bought into the idea, as one of his medical instructors said, that doctors are godlike; they stand between the living and the dead. And he just seems to have decided that his godlike powers, given to him as a doctor, would be used to decide who would live and who would die.”Also on this week’s episode, Tina Jordan looks back at Book Review history as it celebrates its 125th anniversary; Elizabeth Harris has news from the publishing world; and Dwight Garner and Jennifer Szalai talk about books they’ve recently reviewed. Pamela Paul is the host.Here are the books discussed by the Times’s critics this week:“Dear Miss Metropolitan” by Carolyn Ferrell“Democracy Rules” by Jan-Werner Müller
16/07/21·58m 32s

The Lives of Flies

The subtitle of Jonathan Balcombe’s new book, “Super Fly: The Unexpected Lives of the World’s Most Successful Insects” leads to the first question on this week’s podcast. Why “successful”?“Their diversity, for one,” Balcombe says. “There’s over 160,000 described species — and it’s important to add that qualifier, ‘described,’ because it’s estimated there may be about five times that many that are undescribed. Insects make up 80 percent of all animal species on the planet, so that says something right there about how incredibly successful they are, and flies are arguably the most species-rich subset of insects. It’s estimated there’s about 20 million flies on earth at any moment for every human who’s on the earth. And they occupy all seven continents.”Marjorie Ingall visits the podcast this week to discuss her essay about why she finds it troubling that children’s literature focuses so relentlessly on the Holocaust.“Just as Black kids deserve more than books about slavery and suffering — they deserve books about Black joy and Black excellence — so too do Jewish kids deserve books that reflect the incredible diversity and often happiness of their lives,” Ingall says. “And I think sometimes we push the Holocaust because we want to tell kids: ‘Look where you come from; look how important it is to be Jewish; look how people died because they were Jewish.’ When we’re talking about children’s books, that is not a way to make kids feel a connection.”Also on this week’s episode, Tina Jordan looks back at Book Review history as it celebrates its 125th anniversary; and Elisabeth Egan and Joumana Khatib talk about what they’ve been reading. Pamela Paul is the host.Here are the books discussed in this week’s “What We’re Reading”:“A Tale for the Time Being” by Ruth Ozeki“The Lost Child of Philomena Lee” by Martin Sixsmith“My Family and Other Animals” by Gerald Durrell
09/07/21·44m 42s

An Outsider Finds Suspense in Hollywood

The actress and thriller writer Catherine Steadman visits the podcast this week to talk about “The Disappearing Act,” her new suspense novel about the absurdities of Hollywood. Steadman was drawn to the idea of setting a story during pilot season, when actors from all over the world descend on Los Angeles once a year and compete for lead roles in new TV series.“It’s a sort of competitive world where friendships are made really quickly, and people will find their nemesis — someone who looks just like them who keeps snatching away parts from them,” she says. “It’s a very strange atmosphere but it’s very fun. It’s kind of like the Vegas of the acting world. You go there, you cash your chips and you have a roll on the table and see what happens. There’s all these strangers with the same desires and goals, in the same environment, and they really are up against each other. It’s kind of a ‘Hunger Games’ situation.”Michael Dobbs visits the podcast to talk about his new book, “King Richard,” which finds fresh things to say about President Richard Nixon and Watergate. Dobbs discusses writing about a story that’s been told many times, all in the shadow of perhaps the best-known Watergate book, “All the President’s Men,” by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein.“That’s the story of two reporters pursing this scandal into the White House and trying to figure out what was going on in the White House,” Dobbs says. “And now 50 years later — because we have access to these extraordinary materials, particularly Nixon’s own tape-recorded conversations — one can tell the story from the inside rather than the outside. We’re never again going to get such an intimate look at a president facing an existential crisis, as it’s possible to get with Richard Nixon.”Also on this week’s episode, Tina Jordan looks back at Book Review history as it celebrates its 125th anniversary, Alexandra Alter has news from the publishing world, and Parul Sehgal and Jennifer Szalai talk about books they’ve recently reviewed. Pamela Paul is the host.Here are the books discussed by the Times’s critics this week:“Wayward” by Dana Spiotta“Nightmare Scenario: Inside the Trump Administration’s Response to the Pandemic That Changed History” by Yasmeen Abutaleb and Damian Paletta
02/07/21·58m 57s

Clint Smith on ‘How the Word Is Passed’

Clint Smith’s “How the Word Is Passed” is about how places in the United States reckon with — or fail to reckon with — their relationship to the history of slavery. On this week’s podcast, Smith says that one thing that inspired the book was his realization that “there were more homages to enslavers than to enslaved people” in New Orleans, where he grew up.“Symbols and names and iconography aren’t just symbols, they’re reflective of stories that people tell, and those stories shape the narratives that societies carry, and those narratives shape public policy, and public policy shapes the material conditions of people’s lives,” Smith says. “Which isn’t to say that taking down a statue of Robert E. Lee is going to erase the racial wealth gap, but it is to say that it’s part of a larger ecosystem of stories and ideas that shape how we understand what has happened to communities and what communities need or deserve.”Julian Rubinstein visits the podcast to discuss his new book, “The Holly,” an extensively reported look at the social and historical forces that led to a 2013 shooting in Denver.“It’s a multigenerational story, and in many ways I think it’s a story of activism and thwarted activism over the decades,” Rubinstein says, “including the connections between gangs and activism, which goes all the way back to the civil rights movement.”Also on this week’s episode, Tina Jordan looks back at Book Review history as it celebrates its 125th anniversary; Elizabeth Harris has news from the publishing world; and Gregory Cowles and John Williams talk about what they’ve been reading. Pamela Paul is the host.Here are the books discussed in this week’s “What We’re Reading”:“The Collected Essays of Elizabeth Hardwick”“Early Work” by Andrew Martin“The Copenhagen Trilogy” by Tove Ditlevsen“No One Is Talking About This” by Patricia Lockwood
25/06/21·1h 13m

George Packer on Our Divided America

In his new book, “Last Best Hope,” George Packer describes “Four Americas,” and the tensions that exist between these different visions of the country. He calls them “Free America” (essentially libertarian), “Real America” (personified by Sarah Palin), “Smart America” (the professional class) and “Just America” (identity politics). On this week’s podcast, Packer says that though he was raised and lives in “Smart America,” he thinks no one of the four paints the whole picture.“I see the appeal and the persuasiveness of all of them,” he says. “I don’t accept any of them as having the answers. I think they all lead to hierarchy, in some ways to more inequality, to division. We are desperately polarized, and there’s no way around that. I’m not saying if we would all just drop our preconceptions, we could get along. Because we can’t. There are these fundamental clashes of values in this country that are expressed in politics, and that’s not going away. But I think we’ve lost the sense of a common American identity, which I do think still exists, even though it’s been buried.”Suzanne Simard visits the podcast this week to talk about her new book, “Finding the Mother Tree: Discovering Wisdom in the Forest,” and the remarkable relationships maintained between trees.“Trees, I call them mother trees, these big old trees, can discern which seedlings are their own and which ones are not, and they actually can favor those seedlings by shuttling them more carbon,” Simard says. “It’s a very sophisticated communication that involves a lot of information going back and forth, below ground, even as you’re walking through the forest.”Also on this week’s episode, Tina Jordan looks back at Book Review history as it celebrates its 125th anniversary; and Dwight Garner and Jennifer Szalai talk about books they’ve recently reviewed. Pamela Paul is the host.Here are the books discussed by the Times’s critics this week:“The Great Dissenter” by Peter S. Canellos“Where You Are Is Not Who You Are” by Ursula M. Burns
18/06/21·58m 51s

A More Perfect Union

“The Engagement,” by Sasha Issenberg, recounts the complex and chaotic chain reaction that thrust same-sex marriage from the realm of conservative conjecture to the top of the gay political agenda and, eventually, to the halls of the Supreme Court. On this week’s podcast, Issenberg talks about the deeply researched book, which covers 25 years of legal and cultural history.“What they have done, ultimately,” he says of those who won the victory, “is helped to enshrine, both in the legal process and in American culture, a sense that marriage is a unique institution. And the language they used to talk about it — about love and commitment — is so particular, I think, to the dynamic between two people that in a certain respect marriage is a more central institution in American life now than it was 30 years ago, because we went through this political fight over it.”J. Hoberman visits the podcast to discuss his piece about 10 books that, taken together, tell the story of Hollywood. He talks, among other subjects, about why the only celebrity memoir on his list is “Lulu in Hollywood,” by Louise Brooks, who acted in the 1920s and ’30s and published her memoir much later in life.“She was a remarkably cleareyed observer of what was going on,” Hoberman says, “and embarked on the whole star-making thing with a healthy degree of ambivalence. So she’s able to write about herself and about the conditions under which movies were made and the people she met in Hollywood and so on, in a way that’s both personal and detached. There aren’t too many other memoirs like this.”Also on this week’s episode, Alexandra Alter has news from the publishing world; Tina Jordan looks back at Book Review history as it celebrates its 125th anniversary; and Elisabeth Egan and Andrew LaVallee talk about what they’ve been reading. Pamela Paul is the host.Here are the books discussed in this week’s “What We’re Reading”:“Libertie” by Kaitlyn Greenidge“Malibu Rising” by Taylor Jenkins Reid“On Juneteenth” by Annette Gordon-Reed
11/06/21·1h 2m

Reimagining the Aftermath of a Wartime Attack

Francis Spufford’s new novel, “Light Perpetual,” is rooted in a real event: the rocket attack on a Woolworth’s in London, killing 168 people, toward the end of World War II. Spufford fictionalizes the tragedy and invents five children who survive it, trailing them through the ensuing decades to discover all they might have done and seen if they had lived. On this week’s podcast, Spufford says that he settled on this real-life incident for intentionally arbitrary reasons.“The ordinariness is kind of the point,” he says. “I wanted something that was terrible but not exceptional. Something which was one tree in a wartime forest of bad things happening, which I could select out and then follow out the long-term consequences of through time.”Egill Bjarnason visits the podcast to talk about “How Iceland Changed the World: The Big History of a Small Island.”“The title is maybe the opposite of humble,” he says, “but I went into this project wanting to write about the history of Iceland. I have always found that really compelling, because unlike other European nations, we can tell our history almost from the beginning. But I figured that people who don’t have high stakes in that story may not be so interested. So I wanted to tell the history of Iceland through our impact on the outside world, by looking at where we have shaped events in some way or another.”Also on this week’s episode, Alexandra Alter has news from the publishing world; Tina Jordan looks back at Book Review history as it celebrates its 125th anniversary this year; and Dwight Garner and Parul Sehgal talk about books they’ve recently reviewed. Pamela Paul is the host.Here are the books discussed in this week’s “What We’re Reading”:“A Ghost in the Throat” by Doireann Ni Ghriofa“Languages of Truth” by Salman Rushdie
04/06/21·49m 25s

A Desperate Writer Steals 'The Plot'

Jake Bonner, the protagonist of Jean Hanff Korelitz’s “The Plot,” writes a novel based on someone else’s idea. The book becomes a big hit, but Jake has a hard time enjoying it because he’s worried about getting caught. On this week’s podcast, Korelitz says that Jake’s more general anxieties about his career as a writer are relatable, despite her own success (this is her seventh novel).“Jake is all of us,” Korelitz says. “I used to regard other people’s literary careers with great curiosity. I used to have this little private parlor game: Would I want that person’s career? Would I want that person’s career? And those names have changed over the years as careers have faltered, disappeared. I’ve been publishing for a very long time, and my contemporaries in the 1990s were people with massive successes who have not been heard of now for 10, 15 years. So it’s very much a tortoise and hare kind of thing, in my own case.”Elizabeth Hinton visits the podcast to discuss her new book, “America on Fire,” a history of racial protest and police violence that reframes the civil rights struggle between the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968 and the widespread demonstrations after the murder of George Floyd in 2020. Hinton writes about major uprisings, but also focuses on lesser-known examples of systemic violence against Black communities in places like York, Pa., and Cairo, Ill.“Part of the reason why the violence in both of those cities was so extreme was the deep entanglement between white vigilante groups and white power groups and the police department and political and economic elites in both cities,” Hinton says. “So in many ways, what happened, in Cairo especially, is a warning to all of us about what the consequences are when officials decide to use the police to manage the material consequences of socioeconomic exclusion and poverty.”Also on this week’s episode, Elizabeth Harris has news from the publishing world; Tina Jordan looks back at Book Review history as it celebrates its 125th anniversary this year; and Gregory Cowles and John Williams talk about what they’ve been reading. Pamela Paul is the host.Here are the books discussed in this week’s “What We’re Reading”:“Dispatches” by Michael Herr“The Emigrants” by W.G. Sebald“Lenin” by Victor Sebestyen
28/05/21·1h 4m

Maggie O’Farrell on ‘Hamnet’

Maggie O’Farrell’s “Hamnet,” one of last year’s most widely acclaimed novels, imagines the life of William Shakespeare, his wife, Anne (or Agnes) Hathaway, and the couple’s son Hamnet, who died at 11 years old in 1596. On this week’s podcast, O’Farrell says she always planned for the novel to have the ensemble cast it does, but that her deepest motivation was the desire to capture a sense of the young boy at its center.“The engine behind the book for me was always the fact that I think Hamnet has been overlooked and underwritten by history,” she says. “I think he’s been consigned to a literary footnote. And I believe, quite strongly, that without him — without his tragically short life — we wouldn’t have the play ‘Hamlet.’ We probably wouldn’t have ‘Twelfth Night.’ As an audience, we are enormously in debt to him.”Judith Shulevitz visits the podcast to discuss Rachel Cusk’s new novel, “Second Place,” and to analyze Cusk’s literary style.“In this review, I quote Isaac Babel: ‘No iron spike can pierce a human heart as icily as a period in the right place.’ There’s this kind of clinical accuracy to her writing,” Shulevitz says, “that she brings to bear on both the physical world and on the emotional world that is almost scary. Which is what I like.”Also on this week’s episode, Tina Jordan looks back at Book Review history as it celebrates its 125th anniversary this year; Alexandra Alter has news from the publishing world; and Dwight Garner and Jennifer Szalai talk about books they’ve recently reviewed. Pamela Paul is the host.Here are the books discussed by the Times’s critics this week:“The Life She Wished to Live” by Ann McCutchan“Dedicated” by Pete Davis
21/05/21·56m 55s

Louis Menand on 'The Free World'

Louis Menand’s new book, “The Free World: Art and Thought in the Cold War,” covers the interchange of arts and ideas between the United States and Europe in the decades following World War II. On this week’s podcast, Menand talks about the book, including why he chose to frame his telling from the end of the war until 1965.“What I didn’t get right away was the extent to which, what happened in American culture, both at the level of avant-garde art, like John Cage’s music, and at the level of Hollywood movies, was influenced by countries around the world,” Menand says. “When American culture comes into its own — because before 1945, I think, nobody really thought of America as a central player in world culture; that changes in the ’60s — but when that happens, culture becomes global, becomes international.”Phillip Lopate has edited many acclaimed anthologies throughout his career, but his latest project might be his most ambitious: three volumes of American essays from colonial times to the present day. “The Glorious American Essay” was published last year; “The Golden Age of the American Essay” arrived last month; and “The Contemporary American Essay” will be available this summer.“I’m really trying to expand the notion of what an essay is,” Lopate says on the podcast. “So I’ve included essays that are in the form of letters, like Frederick Douglass’s letter to his master; I’ve included essays in the form of sermons, like Jonathan Edwards, the Puritan preacher; I’ve included essays in the form of rants. I’m just trying to get people to see the essay as occurring in many, many different forms.”Also on this week’s episode, Tina Jordan looks back at Book Review history during this year of its 125th anniversary; Elizabeth Harris has news from the publishing world; and Gal Beckerman and Gregory Cowles talk about what they’re reading. Pamela Paul is the host.Here are the books discussed in this week’s “What We’re Reading”:“The Committed” by Viet Thanh Nguyen“The Big Sleep” by Raymond Chandler“Beijing Payback” by Daniel Nieh“Yoga” by Emmanuel Carrère
14/05/21·1h 9m

Michael Lewis on 'The Premonition'

In 2018, Michael Lewis published “The Fifth Risk,” which argued, in short, that the federal government was underprepared for a variety of disaster scenarios. Guess what his new book is about? Lewis visits the podcast this week to discuss “The Premonition,” which recounts the initial response to the coronavirus pandemic.“It wasn’t just Trump,” Lewis says. “Trump made everything worse. But there had ben changes in the American government, and changes in particular at the C.D.C., that made them less and less capable of actually controlling disease and more and more like a fine academic institution that came in after the battle and tried to assess what had happened; but not equipped for actual battlefield command. The book doesn’t get to the pandemic until Page 160. The back story tells you how the story is going to play out.”The historian Annette Gordon-Reed visits the podcast to talk about her new book, “On Juneteenth,” which combines history about slavery in Texas with more personal, essayistic writing about her own family and childhood.“This is a departure for me, but it is actually the kind of writing that I always thought that I would be doing when I was growing up, dreaming about being a writer,” Gordon-Reed says. “I’ve always been a great admirer of James Baldwin, and Gore Vidal’s essays I thought were wonderful, better than the novels, and that’s the kind of thing that I wanted to do. So it was sort of a dream come true for me to be able to take this form and talk about some things that were very important to me.”Also on this week’s episode, Tina Jordan looks back at Book Review history during this year of its 125th anniversary; Alexandra Alter has news from the publishing world; and Parul Sehgal and John Williams talk about the latest in literary criticism. Pamela Paul is the host.Here are the books discussed by the critics this week:“The Secret to Superhuman Strength” by Alison Bechdel“Jackpot” by Michael Mechanic
07/05/21·1h 5m

Amy Klobuchar on 'Antitrust'

In her new book, “Antitrust,” Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota explores the history of fighting monopoly power in this country, and argues that the digital age calls for a renewed effort.“I think the best way to do this right now is to have our laws be as sophisticated as the companies that we’re dealing with,” Klobuchar says on this week’s podcast. To her, that means “switching the burden for the big, big mergers or for the big exclusionary conducts of the companies that are the largest, and say, ‘Instead of the government having to prove that it hurts competition, you guys have to prove that it doesn’t hurt competition.’” She continues: “You’ve got to look backwards, just like they did with AT&T or some of the big cases — Standard Oil — they looked backwards and said, ‘Wait a minute, this has gotten out of hand.’ It doesn’t mean that we’re going to make this company go away. The chairman of AT&T, after the breakup, said they got stronger because they had to compete.”Andrew Solomon visits the podcast to talk about Katie Booth’s “The Invention of Miracles: Language, Power, and Alexander Graham Bell’s Quest to End Deafness.” Bell was a proponent of oralism, a theory that pressured deaf people to learn speech and, more important, not to learn sign language.“He thought that sign language was a secondary, second-rate thing,” Solomon says of Bell. “He learned it very fluently, and could use it very well, but he didn’t find any beauty in it, and he didn’t really recognize it as another language of equal validity. His underlying belief was that if you could be someone who passed for hearing, you were doing well, and that was what he was trying to teach people. And of course, the deaf politics movement, which had already begun in his day, though it had not reached the strength it’s reached now, said that actually, while it was nice to be able to interact with people who were hearing, and convenient and helpful, that there was a great beauty in sign.”Also on this week’s episode, Tina Jordan looks back at Book Review history during this year of its 125th anniversary; Elizabeth Harris has news from the publishing world; and Gregory Cowles and John Williams talk about what they’re reading. Pamela Paul is the host.Here are the books discussed in this week’s “What We’re Reading”:“Despair” by Vladimir Nabokov“A Fan’s Notes” by Frederick Exley“So Much for That” by Lionel Shriver“How Beautiful We Were” by Imbolo Mbue
30/04/21·1h 6m

Patrick Radden Keefe on ‘Empire of Pain’

Patrick Radden Keefe’s new book, “Empire of Pain,” is a history of the Sacklers, the family behind Purdue Pharma, the creator of the powerful painkiller OxyContin, which became the root of the opioid crisis in the United States. One of the subjects covered in Keefe’s investigative work is what the company knew, and when, as the crisis began to unfold.“One thing I was able to establish very definitively in the book is that, in fact, there is this paper trail, really starting in 1997, so just a year after the drug is released, of sales reps sending messages back saying, ‘Hey, we’ve got a problem here. People are abusing this drug,’” Keefe says. “And there’s very high-level discussion by senior executives at the company, some of whom subsequently testified under oath that they didn’t know anything about this until early 2000. In terms of the timeline, it’s very hard to reconcile what they have always said publicly and what I was able to substantiate with internal documents.”Elisabeth Egan, an editor at the Book Review, is on the podcast this week to discuss “What Comes After,” by JoAnne Tompkins, the latest pick for Group Text, our monthly column for readers and book clubs. The novel starts with the deaths of two high school students, and becomes a mystery when we meet Evangeline McKensey, a pregnant 16-year-old with a connection to the dead boys.“I am the mother of three teenagers, and I’m constantly looking for the book that makes me feel a little better about how little I know about what’s running through my kids’ heads at any given time,” Egan says. “There was something about this book that felt reassuring to me, as strange as that sounds because it begins with this terrible tragedy. But it’s really, actually a book about life.”Also on this week’s episode, Tina Jordan looks back at Book Review history during this year of its 125th anniversary, and Lauren Christensen and John Williams talk about what they’ve been reading. Pamela Paul is the host.Here are the books discussed in this week’s “What We’re Reading”:“Crusoe’s Daughter” by Jane Gardam“The Secret Lives of Church Ladies” by Deesha Philyaw“True Grit” by Charles Portis“Klara and the Sun” by Kazuo Ishiguro
23/04/21·1h 2m

Celebrating Our 15th Anniversary

We’ve been in celebration mode all week as the Book Review’s podcast turns 15 years old. Pamela Paul shared 15 of her favorite episodes since she began hosting in 2013. We chose 10 other memorable conversations from the show’s full archives, and did a bit of digging to tell the story of the podcast’s earliest days.Now, appropriately, we cap things off with a new episode dedicated to the milestone. This week, Paul speaks with Sam Tanenahus, her predecessor and the founding host, and Dwight Garner, now a critic for The Times who came up with the idea to do the podcast when he was the senior editor at the Book Review. Jocelyn Gonzales, a former producer of the show, and Pedro Rosado, its current maestro, talk about their favorite and unusual memories from over the years. (Did one guest really call in from a submarine? It’s uncertain.) And Paul answers questions about what it’s been like to host the show, sharing a few clips of Robert Caro and others discussing their work.We also conduct some business as usual this week, with Tina Jordan looking back at Book Review history during this year of its 125th anniversary and Alexandra Alter discussing news from the publishing world.
16/04/21·1h 16m

Blake Bailey on Writing His Life of Philip Roth

Blake Bailey’s long-awaited biography of Philip Roth has generated renewed conversation about the life and work of the towering American novelist who died at 85 in 2018. Bailey visits the podcast this week to take part in that conversation himself.“Most of Philip’s life was spent in this little cottage in the woods of Connecticut, standing at a desk and living inside his head 12 hours a day,” Bailey says. “This is not unique to Philip. This is a phenomenon that I experienced vis-à-vis my other subjects, too. They don’t see people very clearly. They sort of see themselves projected out, they see what they want to see. And Philip needed to understand that — though I was very fond of him, I was — I had a job to do. So our relationship was constantly teetering on the cusp between professional and friendship, and that could be an awkward dynamic. But for the most part I was extremely fond of Philip.”Julia Sweig visits the podcast to discuss her new book, “Lady Bird Johnson: Hiding in Plain Sight.”“I wanted to write a book about women and power,” Sweig says. “And to be truthful, I didn’t have a subject when I got into this, and discovered that Lady Bird had kept this immense record of her time in the White House. And of course, Lady Bird Johnson is married to the American president of the 20th century perhaps most associated with the word ‘power.’ So the doors, once they opened, just showed a huge opportunity to discover somebody who I thought I had some feel for, but really did not.”Also on this week’s episode, Tina Jordan looks back at Book Review history during this year of its 125th anniversary; Alexandra Alter has news from the publishing world; and Dwight Garner and Parul Sehgal talk about books they’ve recently reviewed. Pamela Paul is the host.Here are the books discussed by The Times’s critics this week:“Places of Mind: A Life of Edward Said” by Timothy Brennan“Francis Bacon: Revelations” by Mark Stevens and Annalyn Swan
09/04/21·1h 1m

Carl Zimmer on Defining Life

In his new book, “Life’s Edge,” Carl Zimmer asks the modest questions: What is life? How did it begin? And by what criteria can we define things as “living”? On this week’s podcast, Zimmer, a science columnist for The Times, talks about just how difficult it can be to find answers.“There are actually philosophers who have argued that maybe we should just try not to define life at all, in fact; that maybe we’re getting ourselves into trouble,” Zimmer says. “If you look for a definition of life from scientists, you will find hundreds of them; hundreds of published definitions that are different from each other. And every year a new one comes out, or maybe two, and they just keep going. there was a paper I read not too long ago that said that there are probably as many definitions of life as people who are trying to define life.”Paulina Bren visits the podcast to discuss her new book, “The Barbizon,” an account of the storied hotel for women that first opened in 1928.“It went through all sorts of incarnations,” Bren says. “This hotel really follows in so many ways not just the history of women in the 20th century, but truly the ups and downs, the history, of New York.”Also on this week’s episode, Elisabeth Egan and John Williams talk about what people are reading. Pamela Paul is the host.Here are the books discussed in this week’s “What We’re Reading”:“Visitors” by Anita Brookner“Firekeeper’s Daughter” by Angeline Boulley“I Am, I Am, I Am” by Maggie O’Farrell
02/04/21·57m 11s

Tillie Olsen and the Barriers to Creativity

A.O. Scott, The Times’s co-chief film critic, returns to the Book Review’s podcast this week to discuss the work of Tillie Olsen, the latest subject in his essay series The Americans, about writers who give a sense of the country’s complex identity. Olsen, who died in 2007 at 94, was known best as the author of “Tell Me a Riddle,” a collection of three short stories and a novella published in 1961. She also wrote rigorous depictions of working-class families, conveying the costs of living for burdened mothers, wives and daughters.“I think people should read her now for a few different reasons,” Scott says. “I was really drawn to this idea of the difficulty of writing, and the ways that our other responsibilities and the fatigue of living can make it hard to write. I think I related to this very much in this year. One of the themes in her stories is tiredness, is just the physical and mental fatigue of being alive and how hard that can make it to create anything.”Wendy Lower visits the podcast to discuss “The Ravine: A Family, a Photograph, a Holocaust Massacre Revealed.” In the book, Lower, a historian of the Holocaust, considers a photograph taken in October 1941 that shows several men shooting a woman who holds the hand of a small boy.“Most people think that we know all there is to know about the Holocaust,” Lower says, “and this is an important example of how these records are just being declassified now from various countries that were involved in the Holocaust or occupied by the Nazis.”Also on this week’s episode, Tina Jordan looks back at Book Review history during this year of its 125th anniversary; Alexandra Alter has news from the publishing world; and Parul Sehgal and Jennifer Szalai talk about books they’ve recently reviewed. Pamela Paul is the host.Here are the books discussed by The Times’s critics this week:“100 Boyfriends” by Brontez Purnell“Until Justice Be Done” by Kate Masur
26/03/21·1h 3m

Four Decades of Downs and Ups in New York City

There’s nothing wrong with your eyes: The title of Thomas Dyja’s new book is “New York, New York, New York.” (The triplicate is inspired by the urbanist Holly Whyte’s answer when he was asked to name his three favorite American cities.) On this week’s podcast, Dyja discusses how he went about organizing this sweeping look at the past four decades in the city’s history.“I love timelines,” Dyja says. “I make huge charts to take themes through, so this had an eight-foot-long thing on my wall that basically took certain themes and wove them through all those years.” With all that material, “having to make tough choices was just basic," and "there are things that are on the cutting room floor that I kind of miss. But at the end of the day, I think it conveys that subway-express-train-blasting-along-from-stop-to-stop experience of New York.”The magician, writer and theatrical performer Derek DelGaudio visits the podcast to talk about his new book, “Amoralman: A True Story and Other Lies,” which is told in two parts: The first covers his childhood in Colorado, and the second the time he spent doing a very unusual job.“When I was in my 20s, I worked as what’s known as a bust-out dealer, which is a professional card cheat hired by the house to cheat its customers,” DelGaudio says. “And what I experienced at that house, and what I recognized, I thought was something worth sharing.”Also on this week’s episode, Tina Jordan looks back at Book Review history during this year of its 125th anniversary; Alexandra Alter has news from the publishing world; and Gal Beckerman and Dave Kim talk about what people are reading. Pamela Paul is the host.Here are the books discussed in this week’s “What We’re Reading”:“An Empire of Their Own” by Neal Gabler“My Heart” by Semezdin Mehmedinovic“Le Freak” by Nile Rodgers
19/03/21·52m 49s

Imbolo Mbue on Writing Her Second Novel

Imbolo Mbue first began writing her new novel, “How Beautiful We Were,” in 2002. The book concerns the impact of an American oil company’s presence on a fictional African village. She eventually put the idea aside to work on what turned into her acclaimed debut novel, “Behold the Dreamers.” When she began working again on the earlier idea, it was 2016. On this week’s podcast, she says that returning to the novel at that moment changed the way she approached writing it.“Flint, Michigan, had happened, and Sandy Hook had happened a few years before,” she says. “So I was thinking a lot about children. I was thinking a lot about what it means to be a child growing up in a world in which you don’t understand why things are happening and nobody is doing something about it. And that was what gave me the inspiration to tell the story mostly from the point of the view of the children. That definitely changed a huge part of the story.”Annalee Newitz visits the podcast to discuss “Four Lost Cities: A Secret History of the Urban Age.” In the book, Newitz gleans lessons about urban living from four cities that no longer exist: Pompeii; Angkor, a metropolis of medieval Cambodia; Cahokia, an urban sanctuary that sprawled across both sides of the Mississippi River a thousand years ago; and Catalhoyuk, a city that existed 9,000 years ago above the plains of south-central Turkey.“It’s a tragedy because for us now, in the present day, looking back, a lot of us would love to know more about what life was like in these places and be able to visit them in their prime,” Newitz says. “So it’s sad because we can’t go and see them alive. But I also think that in many cases, people left these cities for good reason. The abandonment, it’s a rejection of something that’s gone wrong, and I think it’s good that we have these examples.”Also on this week’s episode, Alexandra Alter has news from the publishing world; and Dwight Garner and Jennifer Szalai talk about books they’ve recently reviewed. Pamela Paul is the host.Here are the books discussed by the Times’s critics this week:“Lucky: How Joe Biden Barely Won the Presidency” by Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes“The Empathy Diaries” by Sherry Turkle
12/03/21·1h 3m

Kazuo Ishiguro and Friendship With Machines

Kazuo Ishigruo’s eighth novel, “Klara and the Sun,” is his first since he won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2017. It’s narrated by Klara, an Artificial Friend — a humanoid machine who acts as a companion for a 14-year-old child. Radhika Jones, the editor of Vanity Fair, talks about the novel and where it fits into Ishiguro’s august body of work on this week’s podcast.“How human can Klara be? What are the limits of humanity, in terms of transferring it into machinery? It’s one of the many questions that animate this book,” Jones says. “It’s not something that’s oversimplified, but I do think it’s very poignant because the truth is that Klara is our narrator. So as far as we’re concerned, she’s the person whose inner life we come to understand. And the question of what limits there are on that, for a being that is artificial, is interesting.”Mark Harris visits the podcast to discuss “Mike Nichols: A Life,” his new biography of the writer, director and performer whose many credits included “The Graduate” and “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” “He was remarkably open,” Harris says of his subject. “There are few bigger success stories for a director to look back on than ‘The Graduate,’ and I was asking Mike about it 40 years and probably 40,000 questions after it happened. But I was so impressed by his willingness to come at it from new angles, to re-examine things that he hadn’t thought about for a while, to tell stories that were frankly not flattering to him. I’ve never heard harsher stories about Mike’s behavior over the years than I heard from Mike himself. He was an extraordinary interview subject.”Also on this week’s episode, Alexandra Alter has news from the publishing world; and Gregory Cowles and John Williams talk about what people are reading. Pamela Paul is the host.Here are the books discussed in this week’s “What We’re Reading”:“No One Is Talking About This” by Patricia Lockwood“The View From Castle Rock” by Alice Munro“The Turn of the Screw and Other Ghost Stories” by Henry James
05/03/21·1h 10m

Lauren Oyler Talks About Deception Online

Lauren Oyler’s debut novel, “Fake Accounts,” features a nameless narrator who discovers that her boyfriend has a secret life online, where he posts conspiracy theories. The novel is about that discovery, but also more broadly about how the time we spend online — especially on social media — transforms our personalities.“The book is about various modes of deceit or lying or misdirection, and the ways we deceive each other in various ways, both on the internet and off,” Oyler says on this week’s podcast.Stephen Kearse visits the podcast to discuss the work of Octavia Butler, who “committed her life,” as Kearse recently wrote, “to turning speculative fiction into a home for Black expression.”But despite Butler’s groundbreaking career, “I wouldn’t want to overstate how different she was,” Kearse says, “because she was very much interested in the things that golden age sci-fi authors were interested in — so, space travel and human extinction and aliens visiting. But I think her innovations were on the level of craft and even just concept. She saw alien stories as very connected to colonization. She saw time travel as escapist. She was able to think about how these tropes rely on certain ideas of privilege and access and really just dive in deeper.”Also on this week’s episode, Tina Jordan looks back at Book Review history during this year of its 125th anniversary; Elizabeth Harris has news from the publishing world; and Dwight Garner asks questions of Pamela Paul, the editor of the Book review and the podcast’s host.
26/02/21·1h 8m

Writing About Illness Without Platitudes

At 22 years old, Suleika Jaouad was a recent college graduate who had moved to Paris, looking forward to everything life might offer. Then she received a diagnosis of leukemia. In her new memoir, “Between Two Kingdoms,” Jaouad writes about the ensuing years. On this week’s podcast, she discusses her experience with the disease and her effort, in writing the book, to avoid the many platitudes that surround serious illness.“When you’re sick, you get bombarded with all kinds of bumper-sticker sayings,” she says. “You’re told to find the silver lining, that everything happens for a reason, or — the one that I hated the most — that God doesn’t give you more than you can handle, because in my case it certainly felt like I had been given more than I could handle. So I was really focused on writing toward the silence and toward the shadows, and writing about the experiences that maybe aren’t as palatable but that, from my perspective, needed to be unveiled.”The Times’s comedy critic, Jason Zinoman, visits the podcast to discuss his favorite memoirs by comedians, including books by Harpo Marx, Joan Rivers and Tina Fey, and to discuss the genre as a whole.“The comedy memoir is the worst genre of book that I can’t get enough of,” Zinoman says. “I gobble up comedy memoirs, even though the vast, vast majority of them are terrible.” One reason for that, Zinoman says, is because “you don’t need to make a great book to become a best seller. It’s the same with political books; most books by politicians are bad because they don’t need to be good to be successful, and the same logic applies here.”Also on this week’s episode, Tina Jordan looks back at Book Review history during this year of its 125th anniversary; Alexandra Alter has news from the publishing world; and Gregory Cowles and John Williams talk about what people are reading. Pamela Paul is the host.Here are the books discussed in this week’s “What We’re Reading”:“Let Me Tell You What I Mean” by Joan Didion“Her First American” by Lore Segal“A Promised Land” by Barack Obama
19/02/21·1h 7m

This Land Is Whose Land?

When Simon Winchester takes on a big subject, he takes on a big subject. His new book, “Land: How the Hunger for Ownership Shaped the Modern World,” travels through centuries and to places like Ukraine, New Zealand, Scotland, the United States and elsewhere. On this week’s podcast, he talks about the history of private land ownership and a few of the many aspects of this history that caught his attention.“The whole notion of trespass I find absolutely fascinating,” Winchester says. “There is this pervasive feeling — it’s not uniquely American, but it is powerfully American — that once you own it, you put up posted signs, you put up barbed wire, you put up fences, to keep people off. Because one of the five ‘bundle of rights,’ lawyers call it — when you buy land, you get these rights — is that you have an absolute right of law to exclude other people from your land. In Sweden, in Norway, in Denmark, you can’t do that.” The journalist Amelia Pang visits the podcast to talk about her new book, “Made in China,” in which she investigates the brutal system of forced labor that undergirds China’s booming export industry. She tells the story of one average American woman who bought a cheap Halloween decoration during a clearance sale after the holiday one year.“She didn’t really need it,” Pang says. “It actually sat in her storage for about two years before she remembered to open it. And so she was very shocked to find this SOS message written by the prisoner who had made this product when she finally opened it. It just goes to show the trivialness of a lot of the products that are made in these camps. In my book, I try to go into: Do we as Americans actually need so much of this stuff? And how much is our shopping habits and consumer culture contributing to factors that compel Chinese factories to outsource work to labor camps?”Also on this week’s episode, Tina Jordan looks back at Book Review history during this year of its 125th anniversary; Alexandra Alter has news from the publishing world; and Dwight Garner and Parul Sehgal talk about books they’ve recently reviewed and how they approach reading the classics. Pamela Paul is the host.Here are the books discussed by Times critics this week:“My Year Abroad” by Chang-rae Lee“Gay Bar” by Jeremy Atherton Lin
12/02/21·1h 1m

Chang-rae Lee on His New Novel: ‘It’s Kind of a Crazy Book.’

Chang-rae Lee’s new novel, “My Year Abroad,” is his sixth. On this week’s podcast, Lee says that his readers might be surprised by it.“It’s kind of a crazy book, and particularly I think for people who know my work,” Lee says. “I’m sure my editor was surprised by what she got. I didn’t quite describe it the way it turned out.” The novel follows a New Jersey 20-year-old named Tiller, who is at loose ends, as he befriends a very successful Chinese entrepreneur. “They go traveling together,” Lee says. “They have what we might call business adventures, but those adventures get quite intense.”Maurice Chammah visits the podcast to talk about his densely reported first book, “Let the Lord Sort Them,” which is a history, as the subtitle has it, of “the rise and fall of the death penalty.”“One of the fascinating parts of researching this book was revisiting a time that I kind of dimly remembered when the death penalty had a role in the culture war pantheon, along with gun control and abortion,” Chammah says. “Starting around the year 2000, it feels like that was a high-water mark where something broke, and over the 20 years since, the death penalty has declined, both in the number of people who support it, but I think more importantly, in relevance. It’s less of a thing that people feel matters to their daily lives.”Also on this week’s episode, Tina Jordan looks back at Book Review history during this year of its 125th anniversary; Elizabeth A. Harris has news from the publishing world; and Tina Jordan and John Williams talk about what people are reading. Pamela Paul is the host.Here are the books discussed in this week’s “What We’re Reading”:The books of John le Carré“Read Me” by Leo Benedictus“Nine Perfect Strangers” by Liane Moriarty“Dear Child” by Romy Hausmann“Winterkeep” by Kristin Cashore
05/02/21·1h 7m

Navigating the Maze of Paying for College

Ron Lieber’s new book, “The Price You Pay for College,” aims at helping families with, as the book’s subtitle puts it, the biggest financial decision they will ever make. Lieber, a personal financial columnist for The Times, visits the podcast this week to discuss it. Among other subjects, he addresses all the ways in which the price to attend a particular college can vary from student to student, similar to how the cost of seats on one airplane flight can vary.Michael J. Stephen visits the podcast to discuss his new book, “Breath Taking: The Power, Fragility, and Future of Our Extraordinary Lungs.” Stephen, a pulmonary expert at Thomas Jefferson University, talks about what we’ve learned about the lungs during the coronavirus crisis, and more generally about the wonders and perplexities of this organ.Also on this week’s episode, Alexandra Alter has news from the publishing world; and the Times’s critics talk about books they’ve recently reviewed. Pamela Paul is the host.Here are the books discussed by the critics this week:“The Lives of Lucian Freud: Fame, 1968-2011” by William Feaver“The Liar’s Dictionary” by Eley Williams“1984” by George Orwell
29/01/21·1h 9m

The Ethics of Adoption in America

In “American Baby,” the veteran journalist Gabrielle Glaser tells the story of one mother and child, and also zooms out from there to consider the ethics of adoption in this country. Our reviewer, Lisa Belkin, calls the book “the most comprehensive and damning” account of the “growing realization that old-style adoption was not always what it seemed.” Glaser visits the podcast this week to talk about it.Kenneth R. Rosen visits the podcast to discuss his new book, “Troubled: The Failed Promise of America’s Behavioral Treatment Programs.” The book is an examination of the “tough-love industry” of wilderness camps and residential therapeutic programs for young people. Rosen himself, as a troubled teen, spent time at a few of these places, and his book strongly criticizes their methods.Also on this week’s episode, Alexandra Alter has news from the publishing world; and Gregory Cowles and Tina Jordan talk about what they’ve been reading. Pamela Paul is the host.Here are the books discussed in this week’s “What We’re Reading”:“Summer Cooking” by Elizabeth David“Never Let Me Go” by Kazuo Ishiguro“The Soul of a New Machine” by Tracy Kidder“Just Mercy” by Bryan Stevenson
22/01/21·1h 3m

James Comey and Truth in Government

James Comey’s “Saving Justice,” arrives three years after his first book, “A Higher Loyalty.” Joe Klein reviews it for us, and visits the podcast this week to discuss, among other subjects, how the new book is different from the first.“It doesn’t differ very much at all, actually,” Klein says, “except for one thing: He rehearses all of the confrontations he had with Donald Trump in both books, but in the second book he places that in the context of the need for truth and transparency in government, which I think is a valuable thing. The book is a repetition of the first book, but it’s not an insignificant repetition because of the context that he’s now placed it in.”Elisabeth Egan, an editor at the Book Review, is on the podcast to discuss the latest selection for our monthly column Group Text: “A Lie Someone Told You About Yourself,” by Peter Ho Davies.“What I found especially compelling about this book in this moment, when we’re all still kind of confined to our houses,” Egan says, “is that it was very reassuring to read about parental worry in a moment when we’re all flying blind. But you have this worry with a lot of funny lines and funny observations about parenthood.”Also on this week’s episode, Alexandra Alter has news from the publishing world; and Parul Sehgal and Jennifer Szalai talk about books they’ve recently reviewed. Pamela Paul is the host.Here are the books discussed by the Times’s critics this week:“Kill Switch” by Adam Jentleson“The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald
15/01/21·1h 3m

Charles Yu Talks About ‘Interior Chinatown’

Charles Yu’s “Interior Chinatown,” which won the National Book Award for fiction in November, is a satire about Hollywood’s treatment of Asian-Americans. It features an actor named Willis Wu, who has a very small role in a TV show. On this week’s podcast, Yu, himself a writer for TV as well as a novelist, discusses the book and why he wrote it. David S. Brown visits the podcast to discuss his new biography of Henry Adams, “The Last American Aristocrat.” Adams was the great-grandson of John Adams, the grandson of John Quincy Adams and the author of “The Education of Henry Adams,” a posthumously published memoir that is widely considered one of the greatest nonfiction works of the 20th century.Also, Alexandra Alter answers questions from listeners about the publishing industry, and Gregory Cowles, John Williams and the show's host, Pamela Paul, discuss what they're reading. The books discussed on "What We're Reading" this week: “Just Like You” by Nick Hornby“The Watch Tower” by Elizabeth Harrower“The Last Million” by David Nasaw
08/01/21·55m 15s

Fareed Zakaria on Life After the Pandemic

The author and CNN host Fareed Zakaria calls the coronavirus pandemic “the most transformative event of our lifetimes.” He says: “What has happened over the last 50 years is, we have gotten increasingly confident about the power of science and medicine, so we’ve kind of lost sight of the effect that something like a plague, a pandemic, has. And I think this was a mistake."The historian Margaret MacMillan visits the podcast to discuss her most recent book, “War: How Conflict Shaped Us,” one of the Book Review’s 10 Best Books of 2020. MacMillan has written about specific wars in the past, but here she looks more broadly at the subject throughout human history, which led her to some new conclusions. “What I hadn’t really got involved in or really understood,” MacMillan says, “was the debate about whether war is something that’s biologically driven — are we condemned to war because of something that evolution has left us with, or is war the product of culture?”Also on this week’s episode, Gregory Cowles and John Williams talk about what they’re reading. Pamela Paul is the host.
01/01/21·58m 16s

The Listeners’ Episode: Editors and Critics Answer Your Questions

We respond to questions about criticism, reading habits, favorite stories and more.
25/12/20·1h 13m

Agents of Change

Kerri Greenidge discusses two books about African-Americans in the years before the Civil War, and Neal Gabler talks about “Catching the Wind,” his biography of Edward Kennedy.
18/12/20·49m 6s

Jo Nesbo Talks About 'The Kingdom'

Nesbo discusses his latest novel, and David Michaelis talks about his new biography of Eleanor Roosevelt.
11/12/20·1h 0m

David Sedaris on a Career-Spanning Collection

Sedaris talks about “The Best of Me” and his life as an essayist.
04/12/20·1h 4m

Talking About the 10 Best Books of 2020

On a special episode of the podcast, taped live, editors from The New York Times Book Review discuss this year's outstanding fiction and nonfiction.
27/11/20·1h 9m

Joy Williams and Unique Views of America

A.O. Scott talks about Williams’s fiction, and Nicholas Christakis discusses his new book about the coronavirus, “Apollo’s Arrow.”
20/11/20·1h 1m

David Byrne on Turning 'American Utopia' Into a Book

Byrne talks about his work with the artist Maira Kalman on his latest book, and Brittany K. Barnett discusses "A Knock at Midnight."
13/11/20·49m 21s

The Birth of the Animal Rights Movement

Ernest Freeberg talks about “A Traitor to His Species,” and the illustrator Christian Robinson discusses his career in picture books.
06/11/20·50m 27s

A Writing Career Among Trailblazing Music Stars

Peter Guralnick talks about “Looking to Get Lost,” and Alex Ross discusses “Wagnerism.”
30/10/20·59m 19s

Real-Life Political Violence Fuels Fiction in ‘The Abstainer’

Ian McGuire talks about his new novel, and Elisabeth Egan discusses Romy Hausmann’s “Dear Child.”
23/10/20·53m 59s

The Ottoman Empire’s Influence on the Present Day

Alan Mikhail talks about “God’s Shadow,” and Benjamin Lorr discusses “The Secret Life of Groceries.”
16/10/20·1h 3m

The Fate of Refugees After World War II

David Nasaw talks about “The Last Million,” and Carlos Lozada discusses “What Were We Thinking.”
09/10/20·1h 3m

Hari Kunzru on Writing ‘Red Pill’

Kunzru talks about his new novel, and Ben Macintyre discusses “Agent Sonya,” his latest real-life tale of espionage.
02/10/20·1h 5m

C.I.A. Operatives in the Early Years of the Cold War

Scott Anderson discusses “The Quiet Americans,” and Peter Baker and Susan Glasser talk about “The Man Who Ran Washington.”
25/09/20·1h 6m

Ayad Akhtar on Truth and Fiction

Akhtar discusses "Homeland Elegies," and Marc Lacey talks about "Cry Havoc," by Michael Signer, and "The Violence Inside Us," by Chris Murphy.
18/09/20·59m 47s

Brian Stelter on Fox News and Reed Hastings on Netflix

Stelter talks about "Hoax: Donald Trump, Fox News and the Dangerous Distortion of Truth" and Reed Hastings discusses "No Rules Rules: Netflix and the Culture of Reinvention."
11/09/20·57m 49s

Jeffrey Toobin on Writing About Trump

Toobin talks about “True Crimes and Misdemeanors,” and Dayna Tortorici discusses Elena Ferrante’s “The Lying Life of Adults.”
04/09/20·57m 25s

Kurt Andersen on ‘Evil Geniuses’

Andersen talks about his new book, and Lesley M.M. Blume discusses “Fallout.”
28/08/20·57m 49s

The Life of a Brilliant, Suffering Scientist

Samanth Subramanian discusses “A Dominant Character,” his biography of J. B. S. Haldane, and Patrik Svensson talks about “The Book of Eels.”
21/08/20·47m 43s

The Fictional World of Edward P. Jones

A.O. Scott talks about Jones’s work and the American experience, and Eric Jay Dolin discusses “A Furious Sky.”
14/08/20·1h 2m

Isabel Wilkerson Talks About 'Caste'

Wilkerson describes the ideas about race in America that fuel her new book, and David Hill discusses “The Vapors.”
07/08/20·55m 16s

The 'Seductive Lure' of Authoritarianism

Anne Applebaum discusses "Twilight of Democracy," and Barbara Demick talks about "Eat the Buddha."
31/07/20·54m 28s

The Yearning for the Unexplained

Colin Dickey talks about “The Unidentified,” and Miles Harvey discusses “The King of Confidence.”
24/07/20·51m 58s

Newt Gingrich and the Start of an Era

Julian E. Zelizer talks about "Burning Down the House," and Lacy Crawford talks about "Notes on a Silencing."
17/07/20·1h 5m

David Mitchell's Vast and Tangled Universe

Daniel Mendelsohn discusses Mitchell's career and new novel, "Utopia Avenue," and Maria Konnikova talks about "The Biggest Bluff."
10/07/20·1h 2m

Jules Feiffer on His Long, Varied Career

Feiffer talks about his new picture book and more, and Steve Inskeep discusses "Imperfect Union."
02/07/20·55m 39s

A Short Guide to 'The World'

Richard Haass talks about his new primer on global affairs, and Abhrajyoti Chakraborty on new novels in translation.
26/06/20·1h 6m

André Leon Talley on 'The Chiffon Trenches'

Talley talks about his new memoir; Claudia Rankine and Jericho Brown read new poems; and Megha Majumdar discusses her debut novel, "A Burning."
18/06/20·59m 48s

A.O. Scott on the Work of Wallace Stegner

Scott discusses his first in a series of essays about American writers, and David Kamp talks about "Sunny Days: The Children’s Television Revolution That Changed America."
05/06/20·58m 58s

A Manhunt on the 17th Century’s High Seas

Steven Johnson talks about “Enemy of All Mankind,” and Gilbert Cruz offers a guide to Stephen King’s work.
29/05/20·1h 7m

Immigration Reform, Past and Present

Jia Lynn Yang talks about “One Mighty and Irresistible Tide,” and Judith Newman talks about books that help simplify life.
22/05/20·59m 29s

One Young Mother and the Homelessness Crisis

Lauren Sandler talks about “This Is All I Got,” and Sarah Weinman discusses classic mysteries.
15/05/20·1h 15m

The Angry Children Are Our Future

Lydia Millet talks about “A Children’s Bible,” and Barry Gewen discusses “The Inevitability of Tragedy.”
08/05/20·57m 33s

Lawrence Wright on Researching a (Fictional) Pandemic

Wright talks about “The End of October,” and Dalia Sofer discusses “Man of My Time.”
01/05/20·1h 1m

The Great Alaska Quake of 1964

Jon Mooallem talks about “This Is Chance!” and Elisabeth Egan discusses Charlie Mackesy’s “The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse.”
24/04/20·49m 59s

Samantha Irby Talks About ‘Wow, No Thank You’

Irby on her new essay collection, and Jon Meacham discusses three books about leadership during times of crisis.
17/04/20·56m 23s

Robert Kolker Discusses 'Hidden Valley Road'

Kolker talks about a large family beset by schizophrenia, and Elisabeth Egan discusses Lily King's "Writers & Lovers."
10/04/20·54m 11s

Parenting When the Family Is Locked Inside

The clinical psychologist Lisa Damour discusses the specific challenges of raising children during the pandemic, and Dwight Garner asks Pamela Paul about putting together the Book Review.
03/04/20·1h 12m

From the Archives: Colson Whitehead and Jeffrey Toobin

Whitehead discusses “The Underground Railroad,” and Toobin talks about “American Heiress.”
27/03/20·54m 5s

Robert Caro on How He Does It

The acclaimed biographer of Lyndon Johnson and Robert Moses talks about his book “Working: Researching, Interviewing, Writing.”
20/03/20·1h 3m

From the Archive: Michael Lewis and Tana French

Lewis discusses "The Fifth Risk," and French talks about "The Witch Elm."
13/03/20·55m 37s

James McBride Talks About ‘Deacon King Kong’

McBride discuss his latest novel, and Rebecca Solnit talks about “Recollections of My Nonexistence.”
06/03/20·57m 19s

The Ties That Bind Deutsche Bank and Donald Trump

David Enrich discusses "Dark Towers," and Kiran Millwood Hargrave talks about "The Mercies."
28/02/20·1h 8m

Unjust America

Adam Cohen talks about “Supreme Inequality,” and Madeline Levine discusses “Ready or Not.”
21/02/20·1h 1m

A History of Seduction

Clement Knox talks about “Seduction,” and Elisabeth Egan discusses Amina Cain’s “Indelicacy.”
14/02/20·42m 47s

Leslie Jamison on Jenny Offill’s ‘Weather’

Jamison talks about Offill’s new novel, and Courtney Maum talks about “Before and After the Book Deal.”
07/02/20·1h 9m

The Paradoxes of Nuclear War

Fred Kaplan discusses “The Bomb,” and Sarah Lyall talks about new thrillers.
31/01/20·1h 2m

Andrea Bernstein on 'American Oligarchs'

Bernstein discusses her new book about the Trumps and Kushners, and David Zucchino talks about “Wilmington’s Lie.”
24/01/20·1h 0m

Americans on a Financial 'Tightrope'

Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn talk about their new book, and Daniel Susskind discusses “A World Without Work.”
17/01/20·56m 33s

Life in Tech’s ‘Uncanny Valley’

Anna Wiener discusses her new memoir, and Elisabeth Egan talks about Group Text, a new monthly feature from the Book Review.
10/01/20·54m 24s

Medicine in the Middle Ages

Jack Hartnell talks about “Medieval Bodies,” and Matt Dorfman talks about his work as the Book Review’s art director.
03/01/20·53m 6s

Ralph Ellison’s Life in Letters

Saidiya Hartman talks about Ellison’s correspondence, and Olaf Olafsson discusses his new novel, “The Sacrament.”
27/12/19·49m 31s

Times Critics Talk About Their Year-End Lists

Dwight Garner, Parul Sehgal and Jennifer Szalai on the top books of 2019.
20/12/19·41m 53s

Poems About the Challenges of Life After Prison

Reginald Dwayne Betts talks about “Felon,” and Jung Chang discusses “Big Sister, Little Sister, Red Sister.”
13/12/19·57m 42s

The Life of Mike Nichols

Ash Carter and Sam Kashner discuss their new oral history of the director, and Alexandra Jacobs talks about her biography of Elaine Stritch.
06/12/19·1h 0m

10 Best Books of 2019

On a special episode of the podcast, taped live, editors from The New York Times Book Review discuss this year’s outstanding fiction and nonfiction. Read more details about the books discussed on this episode here.
26/11/19·1h 14m

The Authorized Life of the Iron Lady

Charles Moore discusses the final volume of his biography of Margaret Thatcher, and Adrienne Brodeur talks about her memoir, “Wild Game.”
22/11/19·1h 9m

Revisiting Baldwin vs. Buckley

Nicholas Buccola talks about “The Fire Is Upon Us,” and Saeed Jones discusses “How We Fight for Our Lives.”
15/11/19·1h 6m

Among the Trolls

Andrew Marantz talks about “Antisocial,” and Gail Collins discusses “No Stopping Us Now.”
08/11/19·1h 3m

The Life of Thomas Edison

David Oshinsky talks about Edmund Morris’s “Edison,” and Tina Jordan discusses new memoirs by Demi Moore, Julie Andrews and Carly Simon.
01/11/19·54m 15s

John Lithgow on His Satirical Poems

The actor talks about "Dumpty: The Age of Trump in Verse," and Leigh Bardugo discusses "Ninth House."
25/10/19·1h 3m

Thomas Chatterton Williams on ‘Unlearning Race’

Williams talks about his new memoir, “Self-Portrait in Black and White,” and Stephen Kinzer discusses “Poisoner in Chief: Sidney Gottlieb and the CIA Search for Mind Control.”
18/10/19·1h 12m

Are Cheap Clothes Ruining the Planet?

Dana Thomas discusses “Fashionopolis,” and Steven Greenhouse talks about “Beaten Down, Worked Up.”
11/10/19·49m 59s

Ben Lerner's New Novel and the Politics of Language

Garth Risk Hallberg talks about Lerner's "The Topeka School," and Bari Weiss discusses "How to Fight Anti-Semitism."
04/10/19·1h 2m

Samantha Power on What She's Learned

Power talks about her new memoir, "The Education of an Idealist," and Craig Johnson discusses his Longmire mysteries.
27/09/19·1h 7m

Two Times Reporters on ‘The Education of Brett Kavanaugh’

Robin Pogrebin and Kate Kelly discuss their new book, and Tim Winton talks about his most recent novel, “The Shepherd’s Hut.”
20/09/19·1h 6m

Bringing Down Harvey Weinstein

Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey talk about their new book, “She Said,” and Ian Urbina discusses “The Outlaw Ocean.”
13/09/19·1h 4m

Trump, TV and America

James Poniewozik discusses “Audience of One,” and Bina Venkataraman talks about “The Optimist’s Telescope.”
06/09/19·1h 0m

The Ruining of the American West

Christopher Ketcham talks about “This Land,” and Gretchen McCulloch discusses “Because Internet.”
30/08/19·59m 55s

The Politicization of Academic Life

Anthony Kronman talks about “The Assault on American Excellence,” and Christopher Benfey discusses “If,” his new book about Rudyard Kipling.
23/08/19·51m 26s

Jia Tolentino on Life With the Internet

Tolentino talks about “Trick Mirror,” and John Taliaferro discusses “Grinnell,” his biography of a pioneering conservationist.
16/08/19·54m 21s

Toni Morrison's Legacy

Wesley Morris, Parul Sehgal and Dwight Garner talk about Morrison’s career, and Sarah M. Broom talks about her debut memoir, “The Yellow House.”
09/08/19·1h 7m

The Fight for the Supreme Court

Carl Hulse talks about “Confirmation Bias,” and De’Shawn Charles Winslow discusses “In West Mills.”
02/08/19·57m 45s

Fiction About Unprecedented Situations

Ted Chiang talks about “Exhalation,” and Helen Phillips discusses “The Need.”
26/07/19·1h 3m

Colson Whitehead Talks About 'The Nickel Boys'

The Pulitzer Prize winner discusses his new novel, and Jon Gertner talks about “The Ice at the End of the World.”
19/07/19·52m 48s

George F. Will on Conservatism’s Homelessness

Will discusses “The Conservative Sensibility,” and David Maraniss talks about “A Good American Family: The Red Scare and My Father.”
12/07/19·57m 12s

Picking the Best Memoirs Since 1969

The Times’s book critics talk about choosing the best 50 memoirs of the past 50 years, and Daniel Okrent discusses “The Guarded Gate.”
05/07/19·51m 7s

Taffy Brodesser-Akner Talks About Her First Novel

Brodesser-Akner discusses “Fleishman in Trouble,” and Katherine Eban talks about “Bottle of Lies: The Inside Story of the Generic Drug Boom.”
28/06/19·1h 2m

Jill Lepore on the 50th Anniversary of the Moon Landing

Lepore discusses several new books about the Apollo 11 mission, and Julie Satow talks about the history of the Plaza Hotel.
21/06/19·1h 3m

The World's Far Corners and Deepest Depths

Robert Macfarlane talks about "Underland," and Julia Phillips discusses "Disappearing Earth."
14/06/19·57m 35s

Rethinking the Epidemic of Domestic Violence

Rachel Louise Snyder talks about “No Visible Bruises,” and Josh Levin discusses “The Queen.”
07/06/19·59m 26s

Thrillers for Summer

Vanessa Friedman talks about this season’s notable thrillers, and Liesl Schillinger discusses new books about travel.
31/05/19·54m 3s

A Trilogy About the American Revolution Begins

Rick Atkinson talks about “The British Are Coming,” and Brenda Wineapple discusses “The Impeachers.”
24/05/19·1h 12m

Harper Lee's Unwritten True-Crime Book

Casey Cep discusses "Furious Hours," and Eliza Griswold talks about "Amity and Prosperity: One Family and the Fracturing of America."
17/05/19·54m 30s

The Real Life of a Diplomat, Told Like a Novel

George Packer talks about “Our Man: Richard Holbrooke and the End of the American Century,” and Lori Gottlieb discusses “Maybe You Should Talk to Someone.”
10/05/19·1h 6m

Laila Lalami on 'The Other Americans'

Lalami discusses her latest novel, and Jenny Odell talks about "How to Do Nothing."
03/05/19·57m 8s

Connecting the Dots Between Reconstruction and Jim Crow

Henry Louis Gates Jr. talks about “Stony the Road” and “Dark Sky Rising,” and David Wallace-Wells discusses “The Uninhabitable Earth.”
26/04/19·1h 2m

Robert Caro on How He Does It

The acclaimed biographer of Lyndon Johnson and Robert Moses talks about his new book, "Working: Researching, Interviewing, Writing."
19/04/19·1h 12m

Ruth Reichl's Delicious New Memoir

Reichl discusses "Save Me the Plums," and Emily Bazelon talks about "Charged: The New Movement to Transform American Prosecution and End Mass Incarceration."
12/04/19·1h 8m

The Chernobyl Disaster in Full

Adam Higginbotham talks about his sweeping new history of the nuclear accident and its aftermath, and Nellie Bowles discusses Clive Thompson's "Coders."
05/04/19·54m 56s

Preet Bharara on the Rule of Law

Bharara discusses “Doing Justice,” and Senator Doug Jones talks about “Bending Toward Justice.”
29/03/19·55m 23s

The Life of Sandra Day O'Connor

Evan Thomas talks about “First,” his new biography of O’Connor, and Mitchell S. Jackson discusses “Survival Math.”
22/03/19·1h 5m

Isaac Mizrahi on His New Memoir

The fashion designer discusses “I.M.,” and David McCraw talks about “Truth in Our Times.”
15/03/19·1h 4m

A Violent Summer in Chicago

Alex Kotlowitz discusses “An American Summer: Love and Death in Chicago,” and John Lanchester talks about his new novel, “The Wall.”
08/03/19·59m 3s

A Gripping Political Mystery in Northern Ireland

Patrick Radden Keefe talks about “Say Nothing,” and Frans de Waal discusses “Mama’s Last Hug: Animal Emotions and What They Tell Us About Ourselves.”
01/03/19·1h 5m

Seeking Silence

Gal Beckerman discusses “How to Disappear,” by Akiko Busch, and “Silence,” by Jane Brox; and Steve Luxenberg talks about “Separate.”
22/02/19·51m 18s

A Class in ‘Dreyer’s English’

Benjamin Dreyer discusses his best-selling book about writing, and Thomas Mallon discusses “Landfall,” his new novel about the presidential administration of George W. Bush.
15/02/19·1h 3m

Marlon James Talks About His Epic New Trilogy

James discusses "Black Leopard, Red Wolf," and Stephanie Land talks about "Maid."
08/02/19·50m 0s

Assessing the Facebook Problem

Roger McNamee talks about "Zucked," and Charles Finch discusses the season's best thrillers.
01/02/19·57m 32s

Dani Shapiro on Her Surprising 'Inheritance'

Shapiro talks about her new best-selling memoir, and David Treuer discusses “The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee.”
25/01/19·1h 9m

A New Novel Conjures Liv Ullmann and Ingmar Bergman

A. O. Scott talks about Linn Ullmann’s “Unquiet,” and Judith Newman discusses new books about anxiety, mental illness and grief.
18/01/19·50m 32s

How Curses Function in Literature

Julian Lucas talks about the role of curses in contemporary African literature, and Abby Ellin discusses "Duped: Double Lives, False Identities, and the Con Man I Almost Married."
11/01/19·1h 10m

Fugitive Slaves and the Road to the Civil War

Andrew Delbanco discusses “The War Before the War,” and Rob Dunn talks about “Never Home Alone.”
04/01/19·57m 5s

Tyranny in Rome and Fake Drugs in Fiction

Yascha Mounk discusses Edward J. Watts's "Mortal Republic," and Jonathan Lethem talks about the surge of fictional psychotropic drugs in novels.
28/12/18·1h 1m

Isabel Wilkerson Talks About Michelle Obama’s Memoir

The Pulitzer Prize-winning historian discusses the former first lady’s story, and Helen Schulman talks about her novel “Come With Me.”
21/12/18·1h 3m

Poetry & Politics

The Book Review’s poetry editor, Gregory Cowles, discusses Tracy K. Smith’s essay about political poetry and more from this week’s special issue; and Maria Russo discusses the best children's books of 2018.
14/12/18·58m 27s

Immaturity in American Politics

Alan Wolfe discusses “The Politics of Petulance,” and Nadja Spiegelman talks about two newly published books by Lucia Berlin, “Evening in Paradise” and “Welcome Home.”
07/12/18·50m 17s

Talking About the 10 Best Books of 2018

On a special episode of the podcast, taped live, editors from The New York Times discuss the Book Review’s list of the year’s outstanding fiction and nonfiction.
30/11/18·55m 50s

The Epic Tragedy of Vietnam

Max Hastings discusses his new history of the war, and Sue Prideaux talks about the life of Friedrich Nietzsche.
21/11/18·56m 59s

The Past, Present and Future of Jews in America

Gal Beckerman discusses several new books about the state of Judaism in this country, and Kiese Laymon talks about his new memoir, “Heavy.”
16/11/18·1h 3m

Big New Biographies of Two Big American Lives

David W. Blight talks about “Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom,” and Bob Spitz talks about “Reagan: An American Journey.”
09/11/18·54m 24s

Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah on “Friday Black”

“Black people being murdered is unfortunately a constant in this country. Murdered with impunity. It’s something that’s constantly on my mind,” Adjei-Brenyah says. “So some of these stories respond to that very specifically.” Plus, Joseph Ellis discusses his new book, “American Dialogue.”
02/11/18·1h 5m

Lisa Brennan-Jobs on 'Small Fry'

In a special episode of the Book Review's podcast, taped in front of a live audience, Brennan-Jobs talks about her memoir, and Gary Shteyngart discusses "Lake Success."
26/10/18·54m 18s

Susan Orlean on a Great Library Fire

Orlean discusses “The Library Book,” and Reid Hoffman talks about “Blitzscaling.”
19/10/18·57m 19s

Barry Jenkins and Meg Wolitzer on Two of This Season's Novels on Screen

Jenkins talks about his adaptation of James Baldwin's "If Beale Street Could Talk," and Wolitzer discusses the adaptation of her novel "The Wife."
16/10/18·51m 25s

Michael Lewis and Tana French on Their Latest Books

Lewis talks about "The Fifth Risk," and French discusses "The Witch Elm."
12/10/18·1h 2m

Kate Atkinson on 'Transcription'

Atkinson talks about her new novel, and Shane Bauer discusses "American Prison."
05/10/18·50m 5s

The End of the ‘Struggle’

Daniel Mendelsohn discusses Karl Ove Knausgaard’s “My Struggle,” and Jill Lepore talks about “These Truths: A History of the United States.”
28/09/18·1h 1m

Esi Edugyan on Her Booker-Shortlisted 'Washington Black'

Edugyan talks about her new novel, and Lisa Margonelli talks about “Underbug: An Obsessive Tale of Termites and Technology.”
21/09/18·59m 2s

A Memoir From the Hard-Working ‘Heartland’

Sarah Smarsh talks about her new book, and Allan Lichtman discusses "The Embattled Vote in America."
14/09/18·59m 26s

'The Most Secretly Interesting Place in America'

Sam Anderson talks about “Boom Town,” his new book about Oklahoma City; and David Enrich and Andrew Ross Sorkin discuss finance in fiction, including in Gary Shteyngart’s new novel, “Lake Success.”
07/09/18·1h 14m

The Uses and Misuses of Identity

Kwame Anthony Appiah talks about “The Lies That Bind: Rethinking Identity,” and Jonathan Haidt discusses “The Coddling of the American Mind.”
31/08/18·1h 12m

Interrogating the Change Makers

Anand Giridharadas talks about his new book on the world of a global elite, and Kim Brooks discusses “Small Animals: Parenthood in the Age of Fear.”
24/08/18·53m 49s

Rethinking the 'Tangled Tree' of Life

David Quammen discusses his new book about the science of evolution, and Andrea Gabor talks about “After the Education Wars.”
17/08/18·1h 2m

Lydia Millet on 'Fight No More'

Millet discusses her new collection of stories, and Alexandra Jacobs talks about Jamie Bernstein’s “Famous Father Girl: A Memoir of Growing Up Bernstein.”
10/08/18·56m 51s

Beth Macy on 'Dopesick'

Macy discusses her new book about the opioid crisis; Lovia Gyarkye talks about Chibundu Onuzo’s “Welcome to Lagos”; and Jennifer Schuessler discusses a controversy in the world of poetry.
03/08/18·57m 52s

Drawing History

Hillary Chute talks about new graphic books that address serious issues, and Nicole Lamy discusses her Match Book column, in which she helps readers find books they'll love.
27/07/18·50m 44s

True Crime Starring the Creator of Sherlock Holmes

Margalit Fox talks about “Conan Doyle for the Defense,” and Tina Jordan discusses this season’s thrillers.
20/07/18·57m 8s

Making a Killing

In this special bonus episode of the Book Review’s podcast, best-selling thriller writers Lee Child, Megan Abbott, Meg Gardiner, Lisa Gardner and Lisa Scottoline discuss the tricks of their best-selling trade.
19/07/18·20m 20s

From Transcribing for Obama to Writing Her Own Story

Beck Dorey-Stein discusses “From the Corner of the Oval,” and Caroline Weber talks about “Proust’s Duchess: How Three Celebrated Women Captured the Imagination of Fin-De-Siècle Paris.”
13/07/18·1h 10m

An Inside View of Putin

Michael McFaul discusses "From Cold War to Hot Peace: An American Ambassador in Putin’s Russia," and Ottessa Moshfegh talks about her new novel, "My Year of Rest and Relaxation."
06/07/18·1h 4m

The Latest in Cyberwarfare

David E. Sanger talks about “The Perfect Weapon,” and Stacy Horn discusses “Damnation Island: Poor, Sick, Mad & Criminal in 19th-Century New York.”
29/06/18·1h 4m

The Life of Atticus Finch

Joseph Crespino talks about his biography of Harper Lee's fictional character, and Philip Dray talks about “The Fair Chase: The Epic Story of Hunting in America.”
22/06/18·59m 3s

The Things We Inherit

Carl Zimmer discusses “She Has Her Mother’s Laugh,” and Henry Alford talks about “And Then We Danced.”
15/06/18·1h 9m

Michael Pollan on His Acid Test

Michael Pollan talks about “How to Change Your Mind,” and Edward Tenner discusses “The Efficiency Paradox.”
08/06/18·1h 0m

Dinosaurs, the Master of Horror and Philip Roth

Steve Brusatte talks about “The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs”; Victor Lavalle and Gilbert Cruz discuss the work of Stephen King; and Dwight Garner, A.O. Scott and Taffy Brodesser-Akner talk about the legacy of Philip Roth.
01/06/18·1h 5m

David Sedaris on ‘Calypso’

Sedaris talks about his latest book, and Alisa Roth discusses “Insane: America’s Criminal Treatment of Mental Illness.”
25/05/18·1h 19m

Lost at Sea

Rachel Slade talks about “Into the Raging Sea,” and Clemantine Wamariya discusses “The Girl Who Smiled Beads.”
18/05/18·1h 10m

Amy Chozick on 'Chasing Hillary'

Chozick discusses her time covering Hillary Clinton on the campaign trail, and Sloane Crosley talks about her new collection of essays, “Look Alive Out There.”
11/05/18·1h 3m

There Is Nothin' Like a Tune

Todd S. Purdum talks about “Something Wonderful: Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Broadway Revolution,” and Fran Leadon discusses “Broadway: A History of New York City in Thirteen Miles.”
04/05/18·1h 6m

Julian Barnes on 'The Only Story'

Barnes talks about his latest novel, and Lawrence Wright discusses “God Save Texas.”
27/04/18·1h 13m

Jo Nesbo Reimagines ‘Macbeth’

James Shapiro discusses Nesbo’s new novel, and Leila Slimani talks about “The Perfect Nanny.”
20/04/18·1h 4m

Parenting in the Age of Omnipresent Screens

Pamela Druckerman discusses “The Art of Screen Time” and “Be the Parent, Please,” and Ben Austen talks about “High-Risers: Cabrini-Green and the Fate of American Public Housing.”
13/04/18·53m 25s

Tara Westover on 'Educated'

Westover discusses her best-selling memoir, and Mark Weinberg talks about "Movie Nights With the Reagans."
06/04/18·1h 7m

All in the Family

Luis Alberto Urrea talks about his new novel, “The House of Broken Angels,” and Martin Doyle discusses “The Source: How Rivers Made America and America Remade Its Rivers.”
30/03/18·52m 6s

'Just the Funny Parts'

Nell Scovell discusses her new memoir, and Joanne Lipman talks about "That's What She Said."
23/03/18·52m 47s

Impeachment, Then and Now

Cass R. Sunstein talks about “Impeachment: A Citizen’s Guide” and “Can It Happen Here?”; and Kathryn Hughes discusses “Victorians Undone.”
16/03/18·58m 59s

Ronen Bergman on Israel’s Targeted Assassinations

Bergman talks about “Rise and Kill First,” and Felix Salmon discusses Chris Hughes’s “Fair Shot.”
09/03/18·51m 31s

A Marine’s Inventive Memoir

Matt Young discusses “Eat the Apple,” and A. O. Scott talks about Martin Amis’s “The Rub of Time.”
02/03/18·56m 55s

Tayari Jones on 'An American Marriage'

Jones talks about her new novel, and J. Randy Taraborrelli discusses “Jackie, Janet & Lee.”
23/02/18·56m 43s

Lisa Halliday on 'Asymmetry'

Halliday discusses her debut novel, and Naomi Novik and Gerald Jonas remember the life and work of Ursula K. Le Guin.
16/02/18·58m 6s

Laura Lippman on 'Sunburn'

Lippman talks about her new novel, and Tina Jordan discusses new romance novels.
09/02/18·42m 32s

Rose McGowan on 'Brave'

McGowan talks about her new memoir, and Katie Kitamura discusses Tom Malmquist’s new novel, “In Every Moment We Are Still Alive.”
02/02/18·58m 37s

Twilight's Last Gleaming?

David Frum talks about “Trumpocracy,” and Helen Thorpe discusses “The Newcomers.”
26/01/18·1h 1m

'Off the Charts'

Ann Hulbert discusses her new book about child prodigies, and Sam Graham-Felsen talks about his debut novel, “Green.”
19/01/18·56m 43s

Some Assembly Required

Alexander Langlands discusses “Craeft: An Inquiry Into the Origins and True Meaning of Traditional Crafts,” and Max Boot talks about “The Road Not Taken: Edward Lansdale and the American Tragedy in Vietnam.”
12/01/18·53m 3s

What to Read About North Korea

Nicholas Kristof discusses the best books about the secretive country, and Tui Sutherland talks about the graphic novel edition of “Wings of Fire.”
05/01/18·57m 38s

The Fire Next Time

Brendan I. Koerner talks about “Megafire” and “Firestorm,” and Henry Fountain discusses “The Great Quake.”
29/12/17·46m 38s

'The Story of the Jews' Continues

Simon Schama talks about “Belonging: 1492-1900,” and Christopher de Hamel discusses “Meetings With Remarkable Manuscripts.”
22/12/17·50m 15s

Mary Beard on 'Women & Power'

Beard talks about her new manifesto, and Hillary Chute discusses “Why Comics? From Underground to Everywhere.”
15/12/17·53m 58s

'The Second Coming of the KKK'

Linda Gordon talks about “The Second Coming of the KKK”; Scott Kelly discusses “Endurance: A Year in Space, a Lifetime of Discovery”; and editors from the Book Review talk about our 10 Best Books of 2017.
08/12/17·1h 8m

The History of Jann Wenner and Rolling Stone

Joe Hagan discusses "Sticky Fingers," and Simon Winchester talks about "The Taste of Empire" and "A Thirst for Empire."
01/12/17·46m 29s

O Pioneers!

Caroline Fraser talks about “Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder,” and Tiya Miles discusses “The Dawn of Detroit.”
21/11/17·52m 56s

Mother Knows Best?

James Wolcott talks about “Raising Trump” and “The Kardashians,” and Tina Brown discusses “The Vanity Fair Diaries.”
17/11/17·1h 4m

Kurt Andersen on Channeling President Trump

Andersen talks about "You Can't Spell America Without Me"; Liza Mundy discusses “Code Girls”; and Maria Russo on the season's children’s books.
10/11/17·1h 0m

The American Revolution in Six Lives

Russell Shorto talks about “Revolution Song,” and Richard Aldous discusses his new biography of Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr.
03/11/17·53m 39s

Marilyn Stasio on True Crime

Stasio discusses new books about real crimes, and Dave Eggers talks about his two new illustrated books.
27/10/17·44m 8s

From Podcast to Book with Marc Maron

Marc Maron discusses “Waiting for the Punch,” and Victor Sebestyen talks about his new biography of Lenin.
20/10/17·1h 11m

Ron Chernow on 'Grant'

Chernow talks about his new biography of Ulysses S. Grant, and Mike Wallace discusses “Greater Gotham: A History of New York City From 1898 to 1919.”
13/10/17·1h 8m

Jennifer Egan Talks About 'Manhattan Beach'

Egan discusses her new novel, and Franklin Foer talks about “World Without Mind: The Existential Threat of Big Tech.”
06/10/17·55m 20s

Recent Romances

Robert Gottlieb talks about new romance novels, and Celeste Ng discusses her new novel, “Little Fires Everywhere.”
29/09/17·46m 6s

Jesmyn Ward on 'Sing, Unburied, Sing'

Ward discusses her new novel; David Dobbs on five new books about Darwin; and Kristin Cashore talks about “Jane, Unlimited.”
22/09/17·1h 2m

Jill Abramson on the 2016 Presidential Campaign

Abramson discusses Katy Tur's "Unbelievable" and Hillary Clinton's "What Happened."
15/09/17·1h 16m

'Gorbachev: His Life and Times'

William Taubman discusses his biography of Mikhail Gorbachev, and N. K. Jemisin talks about reading, writing and reviewing science fiction and fantasy.
08/09/17·48m 55s

An American Abroad

Suzy Hansen discusses “Notes on a Foreign Country,” and David Thomson talks about “Warner Bros: The Making of an American Movie Studio.”
01/09/17·43m 19s

The Joys of Children’s Literature

Bruce Handy talks about “Wild Things,” and Adrian Owen discusses “Into the Gray Zone.”
25/08/17·47m 15s

Analyzing Freud

George Prochnik discusses “Freud,” and Nancy MacLean talks about “Democracy in Chains.”
18/08/17·46m 1s

New Books About Parenting

Judith Newman discusses new parenting books, and Bill Goldstein talks about “The World Broke in Two: Virginia Woolf, T.S. Eliot, D.H. Lawrence, E.M. Forster, and the Year That Changed Literature.”
11/08/17·47m 13s

Amy Schumer on ‘Girl With the Lower Back Tattoo’

Amy Schumer discusses her memoir, and Gregory Cowles talks about the Book Review's special poetry issue.
04/08/17·47m 12s

'Lights On, Rats Out'

Cree LeFavour talks about her new memoir, and Andrew Sean Greer discusses his new novel, "Less."
28/07/17·47m 57s

Steve Bannon's Road to the White House

Joshua Green talks about “Devil’s Bargain”; Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich discusses “The Fact of a Body”; and Laura Dassow Walls on her new biography of Thoreau.
21/07/17·58m 17s

The World of Jane Austen Fans

Deborah Yaffe talks about “Among the Janeites,” and Robert Ferguson discusses “Scandinavians: In Search of the Soul of the North.”
14/07/17·47m 28s

The History of the London Zoo

Isobel Charman discusses "The Zoo," and R. L. Stine talks about scary stories for children.
07/07/17·47m 39s

Silk on a Stick

Aaron Retica talks about Tim Marshall’s “A Flag Worth Dying For,” and Jill Eisenstadt discusses her new novel, “Swell.”
30/06/17·44m 5s

'The Boy Who Loved Too Much'

Jennifer Latson talks about “The Boy Who Loved Too Much”; Daniel Menaker discusses two new books about how to understand others and make ourselves understood.
23/06/17·43m 14s

China's World

Howard W. French talks about “Everything Under the Heavens,” and Judith Newman discusses new books about how to grieve and how to die.
16/06/17·46m 17s

Al Franken on Life in the Senate

Franken discusses his new political memoir; Thomas E. Ricks talks about “Churchill and Orwell”; and Dav Pilkey on the movie adaptation of “Captain Underpants” and more.
09/06/17·55m 24s

David Sedaris Talks About His Diaries

Sedaris discusses "Theft by Finding," and Christopher Knowlton talks about "Cattle Kingdom: The Hidden History of the Cowboy West."
02/06/17·43m 45s

Paris, London and New York in the Age of Revolution

Mike Rapport discusses "The Unruly City," and Dan Egan talks about "The Death and Life of the Great Lakes."
26/05/17·40m 47s

Joshua Ferris on ‘The Dinner Party’

Ferris talks about his new collection of stories, and Jonathan Taplin discusses “Move Fast and Break Things: How Facebook, Google, and Amazon Cornered Culture and Undermined Democracy.”
19/05/17·45m 43s

Elizabeth Warren on Fighting for the Middle Class

Elizabeth Warren talks about “This Fight Is Our Fight,” and Doree Shafrir discusses her debut novel, “Startup.”
12/05/17·47m 17s

Gabourey Sidibe and Neil deGrasse Tyson

Gabourey Sidibe talks about her memoir, "This Is Just My Face," and Neil deGrasse Tyson discusses "Astrophysics for People in a Hurry."
05/05/17·49m 22s

Sheryl Sandberg on Life After Tragedy

Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant talk about “Option B,” and Annie Jacobsen discusses “Phenomena.”
28/04/17·56m 33s

'Hamlet Globe to Globe'

Dominic Dromgoole talks about “Hamlet Globe to Globe”; and Judith Newman discusses new books about sex and relationships.
21/04/17·44m 31s

Power and Punishment

Chris Hayes discusses "A Colony in a Nation," and Jason Zinoman talks about "Letterman: The Last Giant of Late Night."
14/04/17·48m 25s

Lives on the Line

Elisabeth Rosenthal talks about “An American Sickness”; and Jill Filipovic discusses “Unwanted Advances,” by Laura Kipnis, and “The Campus Rape Frenzy,” by KC Johnson and Stuart Taylor Jr.
07/04/17·49m 43s

The Charm of 'The Idiot'

Elif Batuman talks about her first novel, “The Idiot,” and David Bellos discusses “The Novel of the Century: The Extraordinary Adventure of ‘Les Misérables.’ ”
31/03/17·50m 37s

'Ties' to Ferrante?

Domenico Starnone and Jhumpa Lahiri talk about “Ties”; Mary Otto discusses “Teeth: The Story of Beauty, Inequality, and the Struggle for Oral Health in America.”
24/03/17·48m 19s

The Definition of Adulthood

Jami Attenberg talks about her new novel, “All Grown Up,” and Bonnie Rochman discusses “The Gene Machine.”
17/03/17·1h 0m

Points of No Return

Mohsin Hamid talks about his new novel, “Exit West,” and Gillian Thomas discusses Marjorie J. Spruill’s “Divided We Stand.”
10/03/17·1h 9m

Happy Trails

Florence Williams discusses “The Nature Fix,” and Jennifer Szalai talks about new Argentine fiction.
03/03/17·50m 41s

The History of Race and Racism in America

Ibram X. Kendi discusses the history of books about race and racism in America; Bill Schutt talks about "Cannibalism: A Perfectly Natural History."
24/02/17·48m 40s

Neil Gaiman's Myths

Neil Gaiman discusses "Norse Mythology"; Sarah Lyall talks about Ali Smith's "Autumn"; and Nick Bilton on two new books about Silicon Valley.
17/02/17·1h 2m

George Saunders on Lincoln and Lost Souls

George Saunders talks about “Lincoln in the Bardo”; Alan Burdick on “Why Times Flies”; and Maria Russo discusses Laura Ingalls Wilder and the “Little House” books.
10/02/17·46m 1s

A Brave Look at Depression

Daphne Merkin talks about “This Close to Happy,” and Min Jin Lee discusses her new novel, “Pachinko.”
03/02/17·48m 16s

From Brooklyn to the Gulag

Sana Krasikov talks about her debut novel, "The Patriots"; and Michael Sims discusses "Arthur and Sherlock: Conan Doyle and the Creation of Holmes."
27/01/17·48m 27s

Barack Obama's Legacy

Jonathan Chait talks about "Audacity: How Barack Obama Defied His Critics and Created a Legacy That Will Prevail," and Randall Fuller discusses "The Book That Changed America: How Darwin’s Theory of Evolution Ignited a Nation."
20/01/17·43m 1s

Edward Snowden: Hero, Traitor or Spy?

Nicholas Lemann talks about Edward Jay Epstein's "How America Lost Its Secrets: Edward Snowden, the Man and the Theft," and James Ryerson discusses new books about how to be civil in an uncivil world.
13/01/17·49m 6s

Should You Stop Eating Sugar?

Gary Taubes discusses "The Case Against Sugar," and Anthony Gottlieb talks about a new biography of Casanova.
06/01/17·44m 58s

How Octopuses Are Like Aliens

Peter Godfrey-Smith discusses “Other Minds,” and Jeff Howe talks about “Whiplash: How to Survive Our Faster Future.”
29/12/16·44m 9s

The Year in Reading

Editors at the Book Review discuss what many notable people were reading in 2016, and Will Schwalbe talks about "Books for Living."
23/12/16·38m 56s

Michael Lewis and Arianna Huffington

Michael Lewis discusses his new book, "The Undoing Project," and Arianna Huffington talks about "Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less," by Alex Soojung-Kim Pang.
16/12/16·44m 45s

The 10 Best Books of 2016

Stefan Hertmans talks about "War and Turpentine"; editors at the Book Review talk about the year's best books; and Ian McGuire discusses "The North Water."
09/12/16·50m 56s

100 Notable Books of 2016

Editors at the Book Review discuss the year's notable books; Ronald H. Fritze talks about "Egyptomania," and Matthew Schneier on "Vanity Fair's Writers on Writers."
02/12/16·42m 17s

Thomas Friedman on 'Thank You for Being Late'

Thomas Friedman discusses "Thank You for Being Late," and David France talks about "How to Survive a Plague."
25/11/16·45m 55s

Michael Chabon Talks About 'Moonglow'

Michael Chabon discusses his new novel, and Blanche Wiesen Cook talks about the third volume in her biography of Eleanor Roosevelt.
18/11/16·48m 11s

War Stories

Thomas Ricks discusses new books about military history, and Maria Russo talks about the season's best new children's books.
11/11/16·52m 31s

John Grisham on 'The Whistler'

John Grisham talks about his latest novel, and Ben Macintyre discusses "Rogue Heroes."
04/11/16·43m 16s

Thrillers and True Crime

Charles Finch talks about the season’s thrillers; and Marilyn Stasio discusses new true-crime books.
29/10/16·43m 14s

Beth Macy’s ‘Truevine’

Beth Macy talks about “Truevine”; Calvin Trillin and Roz Chast discuss “No Fair! No Fair! And Other Jolly Poems of Childhood”; and Molly Young on “Bridget Jones's Baby.”
21/10/16·45m 49s

The Rise of Hitler

Adam Kirsch discusses Volker Ullrich's new biography of Hitler; Billy Collins talks about his latest collection of poems; and iO Tillett Wright on his new memoir, "Darling Days."
14/10/16·57m 55s

'Sing for Your Life'

Daniel Bergner talks about "Sing for Your Life," and Maria Semple discusses "Today Will Be Different."
07/10/16·38m 41s

American Apartheid

Patrick Phillips talks about “Blood at the Root”; Ethan Gilsdorf discusses three new books about gaming; and Melissa Clark on the season’s best new cookbooks.
30/09/16·48m 58s

Simon Schama's 'The Face of Britain'

Simon Schama talks about “The Face of Britain: A History of the Nation Through Its Portraits,” and Robert Gottlieb discusses “Avid Reader.”
23/09/16·47m 57s

Maureen Dowd on Clinton and Trump

Maureen Dowd talks about “The Year of Voting Dangerously,” and Lauren Collins talks about “When in French.”
16/09/16·46m 55s

Inside The New York Times Book Review: The Attica Uprising

This week, Heather Ann Thompson talks about "Blood in the Water"; Seth Mnookin discusses "Patient H.M."; feedback from readers; and Gregory Cowles and John Williams on what we're reading. Pamela Paul is the host.
02/09/16·40m 46s

Inside The New York Times Book Review: ‘ADHD Nation’

This week, Alan Schwarz talks about “ADHD Nation”; Raina Telgemeier discusses “Ghosts”; Nicholson Baker talks about “Substitute”; and Gregory Cowles, Jennifer Schuessler and John Williams on what people are reading. Pamela Paul is the host.
26/08/16·53m 25s

Inside The New York Times Book Review: ‘I Contain Multitudes’

This week, Ed Yong talks about “I Contain Multitudes”; Alexandra Alter has news from the publishing world; Meghan Daum discusses Egos, her new column about memoirs; and Gregory Cowles and John Williams on what we’re reading. Pamela Paul is the host.
19/08/16·46m 5s

Inside The New York Times Book Review: Colson Whitehead and Jeffrey Toobin

This week, Colson Whitehead discusses his new novel, “The Underground Railroad,” and Jeffrey Toobin talks about “American Heiress,” his new book about Patty Hearst. Pamela Paul is the host.
12/08/16·52m 40s

Inside The New York Times Book Review: Colson Whitehead

In a sneak preview of next week’s podcast, Colson Whitehead talks about what he read (and couldn’t read) while writing “The Underground Railroad.”
05/08/16·2m 36s

Inside The New York Times Book Review: ‘How to Be a Person in the World’

Heather Havrilesky discusses her new collection of advice columns, and Jessica Winter talks about her debut novel, “Break in Case of Emergency.”
05/08/16·44m 16s

Inside The New York Times Book Review: Megan Abbott’s ‘You Will Know Me’

Megan Abbott discusses “You Will Know Me”; Alexandra Alter has news from the publishing world; Marilyn Stasio talks about several new true-crime books; feedback from readers; and Gregory Cowles and John Williams on what people are reading. Pamela Paul is the host.
29/07/16·45m 27s

Inside The New York Times Book Review: ‘We Are Not Such Things’

This week, Justine van der Leun talks about “We Are Not Such Things”; Alexandra Alter has news from the publishing world; David Goldblatt discusses “The Games: A Global History of the Olympics”; feedback from readers; and Gregory Cowles and John Williams on what people are reading. Pamela Paul is the host.
22/07/16·47m 15s

Inside The New York Times Book Review: The Life of Helen Gurley Brown

This week, Moira Weigel discusses new biographies of Helen Gurley Brown; Alexandra Alter has news from the publishing world; Juliet Nicolson talks about “A House Full of Daughters”; and Gregory Cowles and Parul Sehgal on what people are reading. Pamela Paul is the host.
15/07/16·43m 23s

Inside The New York Times Book Review: ‘You’ll Grow Out of It’

This week, Jessi Klein discusses her new essay collection; Alexandra Alter has news from the publishing world; Antonio García Martinez talks about “Chaos Monkeys”; and Gregory Cowles and Parul Sehgal on what people are reading. Pamela Paul is the host.
10/07/16·45m 9s

Inside The New York Times Book Review: ‘Hogs Wild’

This week, Ian Frazier talks about “Hogs Wild”; Alexandra Alter has news from the publishing world; Barry Friedman discusses two new books about law enforcement; and John Williams, Gregory Cowles and Parul Sehgal on what people are reading. Pamela Paul is the host.
01/07/16·44m 2s

Inside The New York Times Book Review: Why Populism Now?

This week, Sam Tanenhaus talks about new political books; Alexandra Alter has news from the publishing world; Calvin Trillin discusses “Jackson, 1964”; listeners share some of their favorite summer reading memories; and Gregory Cowles and Parul Sehgal on what people are reading. Pamela Paul is the host.
24/06/16·53m 55s

Inside The New York Times Book Review: Susan Faludi’s ‘In the Darkroom’

This week, Susan Faludi discusses her new memoir, “In the Darkroom”; Alexandra Alter has news from the publishing world; James Lee McDonough talks about his new biography of William Tecumseh Sherman; listeners share some of their favorite summer reading memories; and Gregory Cowles and Parul Sehgal on what people are reading. Pamela Paul is the host.
17/06/16·45m 12s

Inside The New York Times Book Review: ‘First Dads’

This week, Joshua Kendall talks about “First Dads”; Alexandra Alter has news from the publishing world; Judith Warner discusses “The End of American Childhood”; and Gregory Cowles and Parul Sehgal talk about what people are reading. Pamela Paul is the host.
10/06/16·41m 35s

Inside The New York Times Book Review: ‘Before the Fall’

This week, Noah Hawley talks about “Before the Fall”; Andrew Solomon discusses “Far and Away”; Marjorie Ingall on the season’s new Y.A. novels; and Parul Sehgal and Gregory Cowles talk about what people are reading. Pamela Paul is the host.
03/06/16·46m 39s

Inside The New York Times Book Review: ‘Secondhand Time: The Last of the Soviets’

This week, Adam Hochschild talks about Svetlana Alexievich’s “Secondhand Time”; Alexandra Alter has news from the publishing world; Stephanie Danler discusses her debut novel, “Sweetbitter”; Jojo Moyes talks about the film adaptation of her novel “Me Before You”; and Gregory Cowles and Parul Sehgal talk about what people are reading. Pamela Paul is the host.
27/05/16·51m 29s

Inside The New York Times Book Review: ‘The Romanovs’

This week, Simon Sebag Montefiore discusses his new history of the Romanovs; Alexandra Alter has news from the publishing world; Laura Miller talks about new audiobooks of childhood favorites; and Parul Sehgal and Gregory Cowles discuss what people are reading. Pamela Paul is the host.
23/05/16·42m 23s

Inside The New York Times Book Review: ‘The Romanovs’

This week, Simon Sebag Montefiore discusses his new history of the Romanovs; Alexandra Alter has news from the publishing world; Laura Miller talks about new audiobooks of childhood favorites; and Parul Sehgal and Gregory Cowles discuss what people are reading. Pamela Paul is the host.
20/05/16·42m 30s

Inside The New York Times Book Review: ‘The Gene’

Siddhartha Mukherjee talks about “The Gene”; Alexandra Alter has news from the publishing world; Jennifer Szalai discusses two books about taste; and Gregory Cowles and Parul Sehgal talk about what people are reading.
13/05/16·45m 53s

Inside The New York Times Book Review: ‘Pumpkinflowers’

This week, Matti Friedman discusses “Pumpkinflowers: A Soldier’s Story”; Alexandra Alter has news from the publishing world; Judith Shulevitz talks about Angela Duckworth’s “Grit”; Sherman Alexie and Yuyi Morales discuss “Thunder Boy Jr.”; and Gregory Cowles and Parul Sehgal discuss what people are reading.
06/05/16·55m 56s

Inside The New York Times Book Review: Celebrating 10 Years

On this special episode of the podcast, Pamela Paul, Sam Tanenhaus, Dwight Garner and Gary Shteyngart discuss the history of the show, which started in 2006.
05/05/16·46m 25s

Inside The New York Times Book Review: ‘Listen, Liberal’

Thomas Frank talks about “Listen, Liberal”; Lydia Millet discusses her new novel, “Sweet Lamb of Heaven”; and Parul Sehgal and Gregory Cowles talk about what people are reading. Pamela Paul is the host.
29/04/16·32m 48s

Inside The New York Times Book Review: ‘Old Age: A Beginner’s Guide’

This week, Michael Kinsley discusses “Old Age”; Alexandra Alter has news from the literary world; Eric Fair talks about “Consequence”; Viet Thanh Nguyen discusses his Pulitzer Prize-winning novel; and Gregory Cowles and Parul Sehgal talk about what people are reading. Pamela Paul is the host.
22/04/16·40m 9s

Inside The New York Times Book Review: ‘At the Existentialist Café'

This week, Sarah Bakewell discusses her new book about the existentialists; Alexandra Alter has news from the publishing world; Liesl Schillinger talks about a new biography of Blanche Knopf; and Gregory Cowles has best-seller news. Pamela Paul is the host.
15/04/16·39m 55s

Inside The New York Times Book Review: The Life of Louisa Adams

This week, Louisa Thomas talks about “Louisa”; Alexandra Alter has news from the publishing world; Hope Jahren discusses “Lab Girl”; and Gregory Cowles has best-seller news. Pamela Paul is the host.
08/04/16·34m 29s

Inside The New York Times Book Review: ‘Spain in Our Hearts’

This week, Adam Hochschild talks about “Spain in Our Hearts”; Alexandra Alter has news from the publishing world; Anna Quindlen discusses “Miller’s Valley”; John Williams talks about James McBride and his new biography of James Brown; and Gregory Cowles has best-seller news. Pamela Paul is the host.
01/04/16·43m 28s

Inside The New York Times Book Review: ‘Girls and Sex’

This week, Peggy Orenstein talks about “Girls and Sex”; Alexandra Alter has news from the publishing world; John Williams discusses “The Throwback Special”; and Gregory Cowles has best-seller news. Pamela Paul is the host.
25/03/16·32m 51s

Inside The New York Times Book Review: American Eugenics

This week, Adam Cohen talks about “Imbeciles”; Alexandra Alter has news from the publishing world; Ellen Fitzpatrick discusses “The Highest Glass Ceiling”; and Gregory Cowles has best-seller news. Pamela Paul is the host.
18/03/16·41m 43s

Inside The New York Times Book Review: ‘The Profiteers’

This week, Sally Denton talks about “The Profiteers”; Alexandra Alter has news from the literary world; Jack Viertel discusses “The Secret Life of the American Musical”; and Gregory Cowles has best-seller news. Pamela Paul is the host.
11/03/16·45m 28s

Inside The New York Times Book Review: ‘All the Single Ladies’

This week, Rebecca Traister talks about “All the Single Ladies”; Alexandra Alter has news from the publishing world; Ben Ratliff discusses “Every Song Ever”; Richard Armitage discusses his audiobook recording of “David Copperfield”; and Gregory Cowles has best-seller news. Pamela Paul is the host.
04/03/16·52m 27s

Inside The New York Times Book Review: ‘A Mother’s Reckoning’

This week, Sue Klebold talks about her new memoir; Alexandra Alter has news from the publishing world; Matthew Desmond discusses “Evicted”; and Gregory Cowles has best-seller news. Pamela Paul is the host.
26/02/16·34m 33s

Inside The New York Times Book Review: ‘West of Eden’

This week, Maria Russo discusses Jean Stein’s “West of Eden,” A. O. Scott talks about “Better Living Through Criticism” and Parul Sehgal has best-seller news. Pamela Paul is the host.
19/02/16·39m 57s

Can the American Dream Survive?

Robert Gordon, author of “The Rise and Fall of American Growth,” and Jeffrey Sachs, director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, debate whether the era of strong economic growth is over, or whether innovation can revive America’s future.
18/02/16·39m 21s

Inside The New York Times Book Review: Love and Death

This week, Andrew Solomon discusses five new books about death and dying; Alexandra Alter has news from the literary world; Alexandra Fuller talks about Olga Grushin’s “Forty Rooms”; readers recommend books for Valentine’s Day; and Gregory Cowles has best-seller news. Pamela Paul is the host.
12/02/16·47m 44s

Inside The New York Times Book Review: ‘Infinite Jest’ at 20

This week, Michael Pietsch and Tom Bissell talk about David Foster Wallace’s “Infinite Jest”; Alexandra Alter has news from the publishing world; Chris Jennings discusses “Paradise Now”; and Gregory Cowles has best-seller news. Pamela Paul is the host.
05/02/16·47m 27s

Inside The New York Times Book Review: Bill Bryson on Britain

This week, Bill Bryson talks about “The Road to Little Dribbling”; Jennifer Schuessler has news from the literary world; Molly Young discusses new books about productivity; and Gregory Cowles has best-seller news. Pamela Paul is the host.
29/01/16·43m 55s

Inside The New York Times Book Review: ‘Dark Money’

This week, Jane Mayer discusses “Dark Money”; Alexandra Alter has news from the publishing world; David Greenberg talks about “Republic of Spin”; and Gregory Cowles has best-seller news. Pamela Paul is the host.
24/01/16·44m 59s

Inside The New York Times Book Review: ‘City of Thorns’

This week, Ben Rawlence discusses “City of Thorns”; Alexandra Alter has news from the literary world; Janice Y. K. Lee talks about “The Expatriates”; and Gregory Cowles has best-seller news. Pamela Paul is the host.
15/01/16·35m 44s

Inside The New York Times Book Review: ‘The Defender’

This week, Brent Staples discusses “The Defender” and the history of the black press; Alexandra Alter has news from the publishing world; Maria Konnikova talks about “The Confidence Game”; and Gregory Cowles has best-seller news. Pamela Paul is the host.
08/01/16·40m 39s

Inside The New York Times Book Review: You, New and Improved

This week, Heather Havrilesky talks about Amy Cuddy’s “Presence” and Shonda Rhimes’s “Year of Yes,” and Michael Ian Black discusses “Navel Gazing.” Pamela Paul is the host.
31/12/15·28m 55s

Inside The New York Times Book Review: The Year in Poetry

This week, Parul Sehgal and Gregory Cowles discuss the year in poetry; Alexandra Alter has news from the publishing world; George Saunders talks about children’s books; and Cowles has best-seller news. Pamela Paul is the host.
24/12/15·39m 22s

Inside The New York Times Book Review: From Movement to Mainstream

This week, Sam Tanenhaus discusses two new books about the history of American conservatism; Alexandra Alter has news from the publishing world; Lori Gottlieb talks about Courtney Jung’s “Lactivism”; and Gregory Cowles has best-seller news. Pamela Paul is the host.
18/12/15·39m 54s

Inside The New York Times Book Review: Reading ‘Pride and Prejudice’

This week, Rosamund Pike talks about recording “Pride and Prejudice” as an audiobook; Alexandra Alter has news from the publishing world; Kaiama Glover discusses the work of Patrick Modiano; James Shapiro on “The Year of Lear”; feedback from readers; and Gregory Cowles has best-seller news. Pamela Paul is the host.
11/12/15·49m 54s

Inside The New York Times Book Review: The 10 Best Books of 2015

This week, editors at the Book Review discuss the year’s best books; Alexandra Alter has news from the literary world; Matthew Schneier discusses facial hair and a treatise on men’s style; Bee Wilson talks about “First Bite”; and Gregory Cowles has best-seller news. Pamela Paul is the host.
04/12/15·58m 48s

Inside The New York Times Book Review: ‘Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs’

This week, Lisa Randall talks about “Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs”; Alexandra Alter has news from the publishing world; Louisa Lim discusses five new memoirs about fleeing North Korea; and John Williams has best-seller news. Pamela Paul is the host.
27/11/15·40m 10s

Inside The New York Times Book Review: David Hare’s Memoir

This week, David Hare discusses “The Blue Touch Paper”; Alexandra Alter has news from the publishing world; Sarah Vowell talks about “Lafayette in the Somewhat United States”; and Gregory Cowles has best-seller news. Pamela Paul is the host.
20/11/15·40m 43s

Inside The New York Times Book Review: The Life of George H. W. Bush

This week, Jon Meacham discusses his biography of the 41st president; Alexandra Alter has news from the publishing world; Dan Ephron talks about “Killing a King”; and Gregory Cowles has best-seller news. Pamela Paul is the host.
13/11/15·44m 1s

Inside The New York Times Book Review: Putin’s Reign

This week, Steven Lee Myers talks about “The New Tsar”; Alexandra Alter has news from the publishing world; Amy Ellis Nutt discusses “Becoming Nicole”; Maria Russo talks about the season in children’s books; and Gregory Cowles has best-seller news. Pamela Paul is the host.
06/11/15·50m 39s

Inside The New York Times Book Review: Michael Connelly’s ‘The Crossing’

This week, Michael Connelly discusses his new novel; Alexandra Alter has news from the literary world; Joseph Kanon talks about a new biography of John le Carré and a memoir by Frederick Forsyth; feedback from readers; and Gregory Cowles has best-seller news. Pamela Paul is the host.
30/10/15·41m 19s

Inside The New York Times Book Review: ‘Doomed to Succeed”

This week, Scott Anderson and Roger Lowenstein.
25/10/15·30m 18s

Inside The New York Times Book Review: ‘Doomed to Succeed”

This week, Scott Anderson discusses “Doomed to Succeed”; Alexandra Alter has news from the literary world; Roger Lowenstein talks about “America’s Bank”; and Gregory Cowles has best-seller news. Parul Sehgal, filling in for Pamela Paul, is the host.
25/10/15·30m 18s

Inside The New York Times Book Review: Richard McGuire’s ‘Here’

This week, Richard McGuire talks about “Here”; John Williams has news from the literary world and feedback from readers; Simon Parkin discusses two new books about gaming; and Gregory Cowles has best-seller news. Parul Sehgal, filling in for Pamela Paul, is the host.
16/10/15·33m 22s

Inside The New York Times Book Review: ‘Rosemary: The Hidden Kennedy Daughter’

This week, Kate Clifford Larson discusses the life of Rosemary Kennedy; Alexandra Alter has news from the literary world; Larissa MacFarquhar talks about “Strangers Drowning”; feedback from readers; and Gregory Cowles has best-seller news. Pamela Paul is the host.
09/10/15·45m 7s

Inside The New York Times Book Review: Niall Ferguson’s ‘Kissinger’

This week, Niall Ferguson discusses his biography of Henry Kissinger; Alexandra Alter has news from the publishing world; Sloane Crosley talks about “The Clasp”; and Gregory Cowles has best-seller news. Pamela Paul is the host.
02/10/15·37m 13s

Inside The New York Times Book Review: ‘Black Silent Majority’

This week, Khalil Gibran Muhammad talks about Michael Javen Fortner’s “Black Silent Majority”; Alexandra Alter has news from the publishing world; Hanna Rosin discusses David Brock’s “Killing the Messenger”; feedback from readers; and Gregory Cowles has best-seller news. Pamela Paul is the host.
25/09/15·40m 19s

Inside The New York Times Book Review: ‘The Court and the World’

This week, John Fabian Witt talks about Stephen Breyer’s new book; Alexandra Alter has news from the literary world; Mira Jacob discusses three new coming-of-age novels; Sam Tanenhaus reminisces about the podcast; and Gregory Cowles has best-seller news. Pamela Paul is the host.
18/09/15·51m 9s

Inside The New York Times Book Review: ‘Fates and Furies’

This week, Lauren Groff talks about her new novel, “Fates and Furies”; Alexandra Alter has news from the publishing world; Scott Shane discusses “Objective Troy”; feedback from listeners; and Gregory Cowles has best-seller news. Pamela Paul is the host.
11/09/15·41m 25s

Inside The New York Times Book Review: Bill Clegg’s Debut Novel

This week, Bill Clegg talks about “Did You Ever Have a Family”; Alexandra Alter has news from the publishing world; Kathryn J. Edin discusses "$2.00 a Day”; feedback from readers; and Gregory Cowles has best-seller news. Pamela Paul is the host.
04/09/15·35m 41s

Inside The New York Times Book Review: ‘Give Us the Ballot’

This week, Ari Berman and Simon Winchester.
30/08/15·27m 45s

Inside The New York Times Book Review: ‘Give Us the Ballot’

This week, Ari Berman and Simon Winchester.
30/08/15·27m 46s

Inside The New York Times Book Review: ‘NeuroTribes’

This week, Steve Silberman talks about “NeuroTribes” and autism; Alexandra Alter has news from the publishing world; Elisabeth Egan discusses “A Window Opens”; questions from readers; Maria Russo talks about the season’s children’s books; and Parul Sehgal has best-seller news. Pamela Paul is the host.
21/08/15·52m 13s

Inside The New York Times Book Review: Vu Tran’s ‘Dragonfish’

This week, Vu Tran discusses his debut novel, “Dragonfish”; Alexandra Alter has news from the publishing world; Ruth Franklin talks about Lucia Berlin’s stories; listeners share what they’ve been reading; and Gregory Cowles has best-seller news. Pamela Paul is the host.
14/08/15·35m 33s

Inside The New York Times Book Review: ‘Katrina: After the Flood’

This week, Gary Rivlin discusses “Katrina: After the Flood”; Alexandra Alter has news from the publishing world; Joe Domanick talks about “Blue: The LAPD and the Battle to Redeem American Policing”; and Gregory Cowles has best-seller news. Pamela Paul is the host.
07/08/15·37m 55s

Inside The New York Times Book Review: ‘The Conservative Heart’

This week, Arthur C. Brooks discusses “The Conservative Heart”; Alexandra Alter has news from the publishing world; Susan Southard talks about “Nagasaki”; readers offer changes to the literary canon; and Gregory Cowles has best-seller news. Pamela Paul is the host.
31/07/15·35m 57s

Inside The New York Times Book Review: ‘What Pet Should I Get?’

This week, Maria Russo and Alexandra Alter talk about Dr. Seuss; Jill Ciment discusses “The Hand That Feeds You”; and Gregory Cowles has best-seller news. Pamela Paul is the host.
24/07/15·27m 33s

Inside The New York Times Book Review: ‘Barbarian Days’

This week, William Finnegan talks about “Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life”; Alexandra Alter has news from the publishing world; Peter Moore discusses “The Weather Experiment”; questions from readers; and Gregory Cowles has best-seller news. Pamela Paul is the host.
17/07/15·41m 3s

Inside The New York Times Book Review: Michael B. Oren’s ‘Ally’

This week, Jacob Heilbrunn discusses Michael B. Oren’s “Ally”; Alexandra Alter has news from the publishing world; Julia Pierpont talks about her debut novel, “Among the Ten Thousand Things”; questions from readers; and Gregory Cowles has best-seller news. Pamela Paul is the host.
10/07/15·34m 23s

Inside The New York Times Book Review: ‘Skyfaring’

This week, Mark Vanhoenacker and Kristen Green.
05/07/15·36m 52s

Inside The New York Times Book Review: ‘Skyfaring’

This week, Mark Vanhoenacker talks about “Skyfaring: A Journey With a Pilot”; Alexandra Alter has notes from the publishing world; Kristen Green discusses “Something Must Be Done About Prince Edward County”; and Gregory Cowles has best-seller news. Pamela Paul is the host.
03/07/15·36m 52s

Inside The New York Times Book Review: The Art Issue

This week, Holland Cotter discusses four new books and the contemporary art scene; Alexandra Alter has notes from the publishing world; Jonathon Keats talks about art theft and forgeries; questions from readers; and Gregory Cowles has best-seller news. Pamela Paul is the host.
26/06/15·39m 57s

Inside The New York Times Book Review: When I Grow Up

This week, Heather Havrilesky and Meghan Daum discuss new books about bringing up children and redefining adulthood; Alexandra Alter has news from the publishing world; Vendela Vida talks about her new novel, “The Diver’s Clothes Lie Empty”; questions from readers; and Gregory Cowles has best-seller news. Pamela Paul is the host.
19/06/15·39m 48s

Inside The New York Times Book Review: ‘Stalin’s Daughter’

This week, Rosemary Sullivan talks about “Stalin’s Daughter”; Alexandra Alter has news from the publishing world; Eugenia Cheng discusses “How to Bake Pi”; Judd Apatow on his reading habits; questions from listeners; and Gregory Cowles has best-seller news. Pamela Paul is the host.
12/06/15·43m 51s

Inside The New York Times Book Review: “Reagan: The Life”

This week, Jeff Shesol discusses H. W. Brands’s new biography of Ronald Reagan; Alexandra Alter has notes from the publishing world; Charlotte DeCroes Jacobs talks about her new biography of Jonas Salk; questions from readers; and Gregory Cowles has best-seller news. Pamela Paul is the host.
05/06/15·36m 19s
-
-
Heart UK
Mute/Un-mute