The world's top authors and critics join host Pamela Paul 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.
Talking Barbra Streisand and Rebecca Yarros
Book Review reporter Alexandra Alter discusses two of her recent pieces. The first is about Georgette Heyer, the "queen of Regency romance," and recent attempts to posthumously revise one of her most famous works in order to remove stereotypical language. The second looks at Rebecca Yarros, author of one of this year's most surprising and persistent bestsellers: the "romantasy" novel "Fourth Wing." Then, staff critic Alexandra Jacobs joins Book Review editor Gilbert Cruz to discuss her review of Barbra Streisand's epic memoir, "My Name is Barbra."
10/11/2023 • 33 minutes 11 seconds
Why is Shakespeare's First Folio So Important?
In 1623, seven years after William Shakespeare died, two of his friends and fellow actors led an effort to publish a single volume containing 36 of the plays he had written, half of which had never been officially published before. Now known as the First Folio, that volume has become a lodestone of Shakespeare scholarship over the centuries, offering the most definitive versions of his work along with clues to his process and plenty of disputes about authorship and intention.In honor of its 400th anniversary, the British Library recently released a facsimile version of the First Folio. On this week’s episode, The Times’s critic at large Sarah Lyall talks with Adrian Edwards, head of the library’s Printed Heritage Collections, about Shakespeare’s work, the library’s holdings and the cultural significance of that original volume.
03/11/2023 • 28 minutes 14 seconds
Happy Halloween: Scary Book Recommendations
You don’t need Halloween to justify reading scary books, any more than you need sand to justify reading a beach novel. But the holiday does give editors here a handy excuse to talk about some of their favorite spooky reads. On this week’s episode, the host Gilbert Cruz talks with his colleagues Tina Jordan and Sadie Stein about the enduring appeal of ghost stories, Gothic novels and other scary books.Titles discussed:“Ghost Hunters: William James and the Search for Scientific Proof of Life After Death,” by Deborah Blum“Something Wicked This Way Comes,” by Ray Bradbury“Rebecca,” by Daphne du Maurier“Don’t Look Now: And Other Stories,” by Daphne du Maurier“The Exorcist,” by William Peter Blatty“Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark,” by Alvin Schwartz“Ghosts,” by Edith Wharton“Eight Ghosts: The English Heritage Book of Ghost Stories,” by various“Oh, Whistle, and I’ll Come to You, My Lad,” by M.R. James“The Hunger
27/10/2023 • 33 minutes 39 seconds
How Did Marvel Become the Biggest Name in Movies?
In 2008 — the same year that Robert Downey Jr. appeared in the action comedy “Tropic Thunder,” for which he would earn his second Oscar nomination — he also appeared as the billionaire inventor and unlikely superhero Tony Stark in “Iron Man,” the debut feature from the upstart Marvel Studios.Downey lost the Oscar (to Heath Ledger in “The Dark Knight”), but Marvel won the day. In the 15 years since “Iron Man” came out, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has expanded to 32 films that have earned a staggering $26 billion and changed the world of moviemaking for a generation. In a new book, “MCU: The Reign of Marvel Studios,” the writers Joanna Robinson, Dave Gonzales and Gavin Edwards explore the company’s scrappy beginnings, phenomenal success and uncertain hold on the future, with lots of dish along the way.On this week’s episode, Gonzales and Robinson join the host Gilbert Cruz to talk all things Marvel.
20/10/2023 • 33 minutes 56 seconds
What Big Books Have Yet to Come Out in 2023?
On this week’s episode, a look at the rest of the year in books — new fiction from Alice McDermott and this year’s Nobel laureate, Jon Fosse, a journalist’s investigation of state-sanctioned killings in the Philippines, and a trio of celebrity memoirs. Discussed in this week’s episode:“The Vulnerables,” by Sigrid Nunez“Day,” by Michael Cunningham“Absolution,” by Alice McDermott“A Shining,” by Jon Fosse“Romney: A Reckoniung,” by McKay Coppins“Class,” by Stephanie Land“Some People Need Killing,” by Patricia Evangelista“The Kingdom, the Power and the Glory: American Evangelicals in an Age of Extremism,” by Tim Alberta“My Name is Barbra,” by Barbra Streisand“The Woman in Me,” by Britney Spears“Worthy,” by Jada Pinkett Smith
13/10/2023 • 24 minutes 41 seconds
What It's Like to Write a Madonna Biography
Madonna released her first single in 1982, and in one guise or another she has been with us ever since — ubiquitous but also astonishing, when you consider the usual fleeting arc of pop stardom. How has she done it, and how have her various personae shaped or reflected the culture she inhabits? These are among the questions the renowned biographer Mary Gabriel takes up in her latest book, “Madonna: A Rebel Life,” which casts new light on its subject’s life and career.On this week’s episode, the host Gilbert Cruz chats with Gabriel about all things Madonna, and revisits the context of the 1980s’ music industry that she conquered.
06/10/2023 • 36 minutes 29 seconds
Audiobooks are the Best
You love books. You love podcasts. Ergo, we assume you love audiobooks the way we do — we hope you do, anyway, because this week we’ve devoted our entire episode to the form, as Gilbert Cruz is joined by a couple of editors from the Book Review, Lauren Christensen and Tina Jordan, to discuss everything from favorite narrators to regional accents to the ideal listening speed and the way audiobooks have to compete with other kinds of media.
29/09/2023 • 26 minutes 42 seconds
Zadie Smith on Her New Historical Novel
Zadie Smith’s new novel, “The Fraud,” is set in 19th-century England, and introduces a teeming cast of characters at the periphery of a trial in which the central figure claimed to be a long-lost nobleman entitled to a fortune. Smith discusses her new novel with Sarah Lyall.Also on this week’s episode, the Times reporters Alexandra Alter and Julia Jacobs discuss a recent controversy involving the National Book Awards and their decision to drop Drew Barrymore as this year’s master of ceremonies in solidarity with the Hollywood writers’ strike.
22/09/2023 • 34 minutes 57 seconds
Elon Musk's Biography and Profiling Naomi Klein
Elon Musk, the billionaire South Africa-born entrepreneur whose business interests include the electric car company Tesla, the private rocket company SpaceX and the social media platform X (formerly Twitter), is the richest person in the world — and the subject of an expansive new biography by Walter Isaacson, whose earlier subjects famously include the Apple founder Steve Jobs. Our critic Jennifer Szalai discusses her review of the Musk biography.Szalai also discusses her recent Times Magazine profile of the writer and activist Naomi Klein, whose new book, “Doppelganger,” examines the “mirror world” of online conspiracy theories and paranoia and its effect on real-world politics.
15/09/2023 • 24 minutes 26 seconds
Talking to Stephen King and September Books to Check Out
Stephen King’s new novel, “Holly,” is his sixth book to feature the private investigator Holly Gibney, who made her debut as a mousy side character in the 2014 novel “Mr. Mercedes” and has become more complicated and interesting with each subsequent appearance. King appears on the podcast this week to tell the host Gilbert Cruz about Holly’s hold on his imagination and the ways she overlaps with parts of his own personality. Along the way, he also tells a dad joke, remembers his friend Peter Straub, and discusses his views on writing and life.Also on this episode, Cruz talks with Joumana Khatib about some of the month’s most anticipated new titles. Here are the books discussed in this week’s September preview:“The Fraud,” by Zadie Smith“Elon Musk,” by Walter Isaacson“The Iliad,” by Homer. Translated by Emily Wilson“Glossy: Ambition, Beauty, and the Inside Story of Emily Weiss’s Glossier,” by Marisa Meltzer“Land of Milk and Honey,” by C. Pam
08/09/2023 • 38 minutes 48 seconds
Amor Towles Sees Dead People
The novelist Amor Towles, whose best-selling books include “Rules of Civility,” “A Gentleman in Moscow” and “The Lincoln Highway,” contributed an essay to the Book Review recently in which he discussed the evolving role the cadaver has played in detective fiction and what it says about the genre’s writers and readers.Towles visits the podcast this week to chat with the host Gilbert Cruz about that essay, as well as his path to becoming a novelist after an early career in finance.Also on this week’s episode, Sarah Lyall, a writer at large for The Times, interviews the actor Richard E. Grant about his new memoir, “A Pocketful of Happiness,” and about his abiding love for the book “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.”We would love to hear your thoughts about this episode, and about the Book Review’s podcast in general. You can send them to <a h
18/08/2023 • 52 minutes 50 seconds
What to Read in August
Sarah Lyall discusses a new thriller in which a scuba diver gets swallowed by a sperm whale and Joumana Khatib gives recommendations for five August titles.Books discussed on this week's episode: “Anansi’s Gold: The Man Who Looted the West, Outfoxed Washington, and Swindled the World,” by Yepoka Yeebo“The Bee Sting,” by Paul Murray“The Visionaries: Arendt, Beauvoir, Rand, Weil, and the Power of Philosophy in Dark Times,” by Wolfram Eilenberger“Pet,” by Catherine Chidgey“Happiness Falls,” by Angie Kim“Whalefall,” by Daniel Kraus
11/08/2023 • 26 minutes 37 seconds
Ann Patchett on Her Summery New Novel
Ann Patchett returns to the podcast to talk about her new novel, "Tom Lake," waxes poetic on Thornton Wilder's "Our Town" (which plays a big part in her book), and talks about the joys of owning an independent bookstore.
04/08/2023 • 37 minutes 13 seconds
It's Getting Hot Out There
The author Jeff Goodell joins to talk about his book “The Heat Will Kill You First,” about the consequences of a warming planet. Times critic Jennifer Szalai also discusses three books about the natural world.
28/07/2023 • 41 minutes 34 seconds
Colson Whitehead and His Crime Novel Sequel
Gilbert Cruz is joined by two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Colson Whitehead, who talks about his novel "Crook Manifesto" and Harlem in the '70s. He also reflects on his famous post-9/11 essay about New York City.
21/07/2023 • 29 minutes 3 seconds
Great Books from The First Half of 2023
Gilbert Cruz is joined by fellow editors from the Book Review to revisit some of the most popular and most acclaimed books of 2023 to date. First up, Tina Jordan and Elisabeth Egan discuss the year’s biggest books, from “Spare” to “Birnam Wood.” Then Joumana Khatib, MJ Franklin and Sadie Stein recommend their personal favorites of the year so far.Books discussed on this week’s episode:“Spare,” by Prince Harry“I Have Some Questions for You,” by Rebecca Makkai“Pineapple Street,” by Jenny Jackson“Romantic Comedy,” by Curtis Sittenfeld“You Could Make This Place Beautiful,” by Maggie Smith“The Wager,” by David Grann“Master, Slave, Husband, Wife,” by Ilyon Woo“King: A Life,” by Jonathan Eig“Birnam Wood,” by Eleanor Catton“Hello Beautiful,” by Ann Napolitano“Enter Ghost,” by Isabella Hammad“Y/N,” by Esther Yi“The Sullivanians,” by Alexander Stille“My Search for Warren Harding,” by Rober
14/07/2023 • 38 minutes 14 seconds
The Magic of Literary Translation and 'Bridget Jones' at 25
The editors of The Book Review talk about the nitty gritty of literary translation. And then, a conversation about the legacy of the novel “Bridget Jones’s Diary."What makes translation an art? How does a translator’s personality affect their work? Why do we see so many translations from some countries and almost none from others? These are just some of the questions addressed in a recent translation issue of the Book Review, which Gilbert Cruz breaks down with the editors Juliana Barbassa and Gregory Cowles.Also on this week’s episode, Elisabeth Egan and Tina Jordan discuss “Bridget Jones’s Diary,” published in the U.S. 25 years ago this summer. “I discovered, looking back at back into Bridget’s life on the eve of my 50th birthday, she was not as funny to me as she used to be,” says Egan, who wrote an essay about the novel called “Bridget Jones Deserved Better. We All Did.”
07/07/2023 • 36 minutes 11 seconds
Remembering Cormac McCarthy and Robert Gottlieb
Recently, two giants of modern American literature died within a single day of each other. Gilbert Cruz talks with Dwight Garner about the work of Cormac McCarthy’s work, and with Pamela Paul and Emily Eakin about the life and legacy of Robert Gottlieb.
23/06/2023 • 42 minutes 14 seconds
What It’s Like to Write an MLK Jr. Biography
Jonathan Eig’s book “King: A Life” is the first comprehensive biography in decades of Martin Luther King Jr., drawing on reams of interviews and newly uncovered archival materials to paint a fuller picture of the civil rights leader than we have received before. On this week’s podcast, Eig describes the process of researching and writing the book, and tells the host Gilbert Cruz how he tracked down resources that were unavailable to earlier biographers.“I was a newspaper reporter for a long, long time — and you know, working on daily stories, if you got five days to work on a story, it was a luxury. Now I’ve got five, six years to work on a story, and I take full advantage of that," Eig says. "It took me two years to find, even though I knew it was out there, this unpublished autobiography that Martin Luther King’s father wrote. Nobody had ever quoted from it. ... Stuff like that just gets me really, really pumped up.”We would love to hear your thoughts about
16/06/2023 • 32 minutes 50 seconds
Summer Book Preview and 9 Thrillers to Read
There’s no rule that says you have to read thrillers in the summer — some people gobble them up them year round, while others avoid them entirely and read Kafka on the shore — but on a long, lazy vacation day it’s undeniably satisfying to grab onto a galloping narrative and see where it pulls you. This week, Gilbert Cruz talks to our thrillers columnist Sarah Lyall about some classics of the genre, as well as more recent titles she recommends.Also on this week’s episode, Joumana Khatib offers a preview of some of the biggest books to watch for in the coming season.Here are the books discussed in this week’s episode:“Rebecca,” by Daphne du Maurier“Presumed Innocent,” by Scott Turow“The Secret History,” by Donna Tartt“Going Zero,” by Anthony McCarten“What Lies in the Woods,” by Kate Alice Marshall“My Murder,” by Katie Williams“The Quiet Tenant,” by Clémence Michallon“All the Sinners Bleed,” by S.A. Cosby“Croo
09/06/2023 • 35 minutes 29 seconds
On Reading ‘Beloved’ Over and Over Again
For readers, a book’s meaning can change with every encounter, depending on the circumstances and experiences they bring to it each time. On this week’s podcast, Gilbert Cruz talks to Salamishah Tillet, a Pulitzer-winning contributing critic at large for The Times, about her abiding love for Toni Morrison’s novel “Beloved” — in which a mother chooses to kill her own daughter rather than let her live in slavery — and about the ways that Tillet’s personal experiences have affected her view of the book.“I was sexually assaulted on a study abroad program in Kenya.” Tillet says. “And when I came back to the United States, I entered an experimental program that helped people who were sexual assault survivors, who were suffering from PTSD. Part of the process was like, you had to tell your story over and over again, because the idea was that the memory of the trauma is almost as visceral as the moment of the trauma. And so … looking at what Morrison does in her novel, she’s de
02/06/2023 • 20 minutes 29 seconds
Remembering Martin Amis
The writer Martin Amis, who died last week at the age of 73, was a towering figure of English literature who for half a century produced a body of work distinguished by its raucous wit, cutting intelligence and virtuosic prose.On this week’s podcast, Gilbert Cruz talks with The Times’s critics Dwight Garner (who wrote Amis’s obituary for the paper) and Jason Zinoman (who co-hosts a podcast devoted to Amis’s career, “The Martin Chronicles”) about the life and death of a remarkable figure who was, as Garner puts it, “arguably the most slashing, articulate, devastatingly clear, pungent writer of the last 25 years of the past century and the first almost 25 of this century.”We would love to hear your thoughts about this episode, and about the Book Review’s podcast in general. You can send them to [email protected]</a
26/05/2023 • 27 minutes 4 seconds
Essential Neil Gaiman and A.I. Book Freakout
Are you ready to dive in to the work of the prolific and inventive fantasy writer Neil Gaiman? On this week’s episode, the longtime Gaiman fan J.D. Biersdorfer, an editor at the Book Review, talks with the host Gilbert Cruz about Gaiman’s work, which she recently wrote about for our continuing “Essentials” series.Also this week, Cruz talks with the Times critic Dwight Garner about “The Death of the Author,” a murder mystery that the novelist Stephen Marche wrote with the assistance of ChatGPT and other artificial intelligence programs. Is A.I. in fact a harbinger of doom for creative writers?Here are the books discussed in this week’s episode:“American Gods,” by Neil Gaiman“Good Omens,” by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett“Stardust,” by Neil Gaiman“Coraline,” by Neil Gaiman“The Ocean at the End of the Lane,” by Neil Gaiman“The Sandman,” by Neil Gaiman“The Hyphenated Family,” by Hermann Hagedorn“Monsters,” by Claire
19/05/2023 • 31 minutes 33 seconds
The Pulitzer Prizes were announced on Monday, bestowing one of America’s most prestigious awards in journalism and the arts on writers across a range of categories. Among the winners were three authors who had also appeared on the Book Review’s list of the 10 Best Books of 2022: the New Yorker staff writer Hua Hsu, for his memoir “Stay True,” and two novelists who (in a first for the Pulitzers) shared the prize in fiction, Barbara Kingsolver for “Demon Copperhead” and Hernan Diaz for “Trust.”On this week’s episode, Hsu and Diaz chat with the host Gilbert Cruz about their books and what it’s like to win a Pulitzer.“I wish I had a more articulate thing to say, but it was just truly weird,” Hsu tells Cruz about learning he was the inaugural winner in the memoir category. (Before this year, memoirs were judged alongside biographies.) “It was a thrill, but it was also just truly a weird out-of-body experience.”For Diaz, the Pulitzer announcement came while he was at
12/05/2023 • 34 minutes
Book Bans and What to Read in May
Book-banning efforts remain one of the biggest stories in the publishing industry, and on this week’s episode of the podcast, our publishing reporters Alexandra Alter and Elizabeth Harris chat with the host Gilbert Cruz about the current state of such attempted bans and how they differ from similar efforts in the past.“It is amazing to see both the upward trend in book bans but also the ways that the process of getting bans has evolved,” Alter says. “This has happened really quickly. … We’ve seen a lot of the book bans that have taken place in the last couple of years coming from either organized groups or from new legislation, which is a big shift from what librarians had tracked in the past, where they would see usually just a couple hundred attempts to ban books each year. And most of those were from concerned parents who had seen what their kid was reading in class or what their kid brought home from the public library. And usually those disputes were resolved quietly. No
05/05/2023 • 26 minutes 25 seconds
Eleanor Catton on ‘Birnam Wood’
Eleanor Catton’s new novel, “Birnam Wood,” is a rollicking eco-thriller that juggles a lot of heady themes with a big plot and a heedless sense of play — no surprise, really, from a writer who won Britain’s prestigious Man Booker Prize for her previous novel, “The Luminaries,” and promptly established herself as a leading light in New Zealand’s literary community.On this week’s podcast, Catton tells the host Gilbert Cruz how that early success affected her writing life (not much) as well as her life outside of writing (her marriage made local headlines, for one thing). She also discusses her aims for the new book and grapples with the slippery nature of New Zealand’s national identity.“You very often hear New Zealanders defining their country in the negative rather than in the positive,” she says. “If you ask somebody about New Zealand culture, they’ll begin by descri
28/04/2023 • 33 minutes 7 seconds
David Grann on the Wreck of the H.M.S. Wager
David Grann is one of the top narrative nonfiction writers at work today; a staff writer at The New Yorker, he has previously combined a flair for adventure writing with deep historical research in acclaimed books including “The Lost City of Z” and “Killers of the Flower Moon.” His latest, “The Wager,” applies those talents to a seafaring tale of mutiny and murder, reconstructing the fate of a lost British man-of-war that foundered on an island off the coast of Patagonia in the 18th century. On this week’s podcast, Grann tells the host Gilbert Cruz that one of the things that most drew him to the subject was the role that storytelling itself played in the tragedy’s aftermath.“The thing that really fascinated me, that really caused me to do the book,” Grann says, “was not only what happened on the island, but what happened after several of these survivors make it back to England. They have just waged a war against virtually every element, from scurvy to typhoons, to tidal wave
21/04/2023 • 34 minutes 35 seconds
The Enduring Appeal of Judy Blume and Gabriel García Márquez
It’s been more than 50 years since the publication of Judy Blume’s middle-grade novel “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret,” a coming-of-age tale that has become a classic for its frank discussion of everything from puberty to religious identity to life in the New Jersey suburbs. Despite its grip on generations of readers, though, the book has never been adapted for film — until now, in a screenplay written by the director Kelly Fremon Craig and opening for wide release on April 28. To mark the occasion, our editor Elisabeth Egan appears on this week’s podcast and talks with the host Gilbert Cruz about the novel’s importance to her own 1980s New Jersey girlhood.“For me, Judy Blume was one of those writers — and I know that all readers have them — who just explained the world and talked about things that we did not talk about in my family,” Egan says. “I loved her constant theme of moving to New Jersey, as my family did when I was 6 years old. Most of all, I really loved her
14/04/2023 • 23 minutes 25 seconds
What We're Reading
As you might guess, the folks who work at the Book Review are always reading — and many of them like to juggle three or four books at once. In this episode, Gilbert Cruz talks to the editors Tina Jordan and Greg Cowles about what they’ve been reading and enjoying, and then, in honor of National Poetry Month, interviews Cowles — who, in addition to about a million other things, edits the Book Review's poetry coverage — about how he came to love it.“I’ve always loved good sentences and surprising language,” Cowles says. “A novel has room — and is even required — to have some slack language in it. If every sentence was perfectly chiseled and honed and used surprising metaphors, you wouldn’t have the patience to stick with it. But poetry, because it’s so distilled, requires that; any slack language stands out and would ruin a poem.”
07/04/2023 • 27 minutes 57 seconds
Victor LaValle Talks About Horror and ‘Lone Women’
After a spate of more or less contemporary horror novels set in and around New York, Victor LaValle’s latest book, “Lone Women,” opens in 1915 as its heroine, Adelaide Henry, is burning down her family’s Southern California farmhouse with her dead parents inside, then follows her to Montana, where she moves to become a homesteader with a mysteriously locked steamer trunk in tow.“Nothing in this genre-melding book is as it seems,” Chanelle Benz writes in her review. “The combination of LaValle’s agile prose, the velocity of the narrative and the pleasure of upended expectations makes this book almost impossible to put down.”LaValle visits the podcast this week to discuss “Lone Women,” and tells the host Gilbert Cruz that writing the novel required putting himself into a Western state of mind.“There was the Cormac McCarthy kind of writing, which is more Sou
31/03/2023 • 34 minutes 49 seconds
What We're Reading
It should come as no surprise that writers and editors at the Book Review do a lot of outside reading — and, even among ourselves, we like to discuss the books that are on our minds. On this week’s episode, Gilbert Cruz talks to the critic Jennifer Szalai and the editors Sadie Stein and Joumana Khatib about what they’ve been reading (and in some cases listening to) recently.For Szalai, that includes a novel she’s revisiting some two decades after she first read it: Kazuo Ishiguro’s “The Remains of the Day,” which she’s listening to this time around as an audiobook. “It has been wonderful,” she says. “The narration is great and it’s told in the first person, which I think is actually an ideal feature — at least for me, when I’m listening to an audiobook. It feels a bit like a conversation or a story, a personal story, that’s being related to me. And it’s been so long since I read the book that there are certain details that I hadn’t remembered that keep coming up. And so it’s
17/03/2023 • 23 minutes 9 seconds
Books About the Oscars
The 95th Academy Awards will be presented on Sunday evening in Hollywood, with top contenders including “Tár,” “Women Talking” and “Everything Everywhere All at Once.” For readers, it’s a perfect excuse to revisit two recent books about the Oscars.On this week’s episode, the host Gilbert Cruz talks to our critic Alexandra Jacobs about “The Academy and the Award,” by Bruce Davis, a former executive director of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and “Oscar Wars,” by the journalist Michael Schulman, which she recently wrote about for the paper.“We like to think that this is a ceremony, a process about merit. But I think that has been proven wrong time and time again,” Cruz says.“It’s like a political election,” Jacobs says, “or a sports contest that turns on a single play or call. These books really reveal that. It’s just interesting how many
10/03/2023 • 20 minutes 1 second
Revisiting 'Wisconsin Death Trip,' 50 Years Later
It's been 50 years since Michael Lesy's influential cult classic "Wisconsin Death Trip" was published. A documentary text of found material, the book gathered prosaic historical photos of Wisconsin residents from the turn of the 20th century and paired them to haunting effect with fragmentary newspaper archives from the same time period reporting on often garish deaths — what our critic Dwight Garner, evaluating the book for its anniversary, called "horrific local news items that point, page by page, toward spiritual catastrophe. Nearly every person in it looks as if they are about to be struck by lightning."Garner appears on the podcast this week to talk with the host Gilbert Cruz about "Wisconsin Death Trip" and the resonance it still holds in the culture."It evokes what long nights felt like in America," he says, "before there was electricity and ra
03/03/2023 • 23 minutes 11 seconds
On Reading "A Wrinkle in Time"
Some books find us at the right age and in the right frame of mind to lodge an enduring hold on our imagination; these are the books we turn to again and again, which become the cherished classics of our personal canon.On this week's episode, the Book Review's thriller columnist and writer at large Sarah Lyall talks to the host Gilbert Cruz about Madeleine L'Engle's 1962 novel "A Wrinkle in Time," in which the protagonist and her younger brother set out to rescue their father from the supernatural embodiment of evil that is holding him captive. Lyall first read the book when she was 9 years old and returned to it repeatedly throughout her childhood."I used to write my name in it every time I read the book," Lyall says. "I probably had 10 signatures there. And I could watch my signature change, I could try new types of signature. I tried cursive and I tried capitals, and I put a little flourish next to it."Lyall says that what first drew her to "A Wrinkle in Time
24/02/2023 • 19 minutes 32 seconds
Public Libraries, and Profiling Paul Harding
At a time when public libraries and librarians are facing budget headwinds and sometimes intense political scrutiny for the roles they play in their communities, the Times photo editor Erica Ackerberg last fall dispatched photographers to seven libraries in cities, suburbs and rural areas across the country to document what daily life in those public institutions really looks like in today's world. The resulting photographs, published this week with an accompanying essay by the Book Review editor Elisabeth Egan, revealed libraries to be essential community centers and far more than the hushed and beloved book depositories you may remember from your childhood. On this week's podcast, Egan and Ackerberg talk to the host Gilbert Cruz about how their article came together, and what libraries mean in their lives and in soc
17/02/2023 • 25 minutes 17 seconds
"Lives of the Wives: Five Literary Marriages"
Admit it: It's fun to look at other people's marriages — and all the more fun if those marriages are messy. In a new group biography, "Lives of the Wives: Five Literary Marriages," the author Carmela Ciuraru peers into some relationships that are very messy indeed: the tumultuous marriages of Kenneth Tynan and Elaine Dundy; Roald Dahl and Patricia Neal; Kingsley Amis and Elizabeth Jane Howard; Radclyffe Hall and Una Troubridge; and Alberto Moravia and Elsa Morante. As Ciuraru's title suggests, the book focuses especially on the role — and toll — of being a wife, stifling one's own creative impulses for the sake of a temperamental artist.On this week's podcast, Sadie Stein — an editor at the Book Review, who commissioned the literary critic Hermione Hoby to write about Ciuraru's book for us — talks with the host Gilbert Cruz about "Lives of the Wives.""They're all complicated people," Stein says. "I don't want to oversimplify it. Everyone knows you can't see inside any
10/02/2023 • 21 minutes 30 seconds
A Look Ahead at the Season's Big Books
How do you define a "big book"? It might be a new offering from a beloved author or a deep dive into a timely subject or a story that has generated unusual enthusiasm among editors and other early readers: One way or another, these are the books that build "buzz" and create momentum in the weeks and months before their publication. On this week's podcast, the Book Review's editor, Gilbert Cruz, talks with Tina Jordan, the deputy editor, about the books they're most looking forward to this season, including new fiction from Salman Rushdie, Eleanor Catton and Victor LaValle, and nonfiction from Matthew Desmond, Claire Dederer and David Grann.Among other things, Cruz and Jordan discuss cancel culture, spoilers from "Macbeth" and the concept of what's known in publishing circles as a "make book.""A 'make book' is a book a publisher has usually, although not always, spent a great deal of money for and earmarked a lot of money for a marketing campaign," Jordan says. "In othe
03/02/2023 • 21 minutes 1 second
The Critics’ Picks: A Year in Reading
Last week’s podcast featured members of The New York Times’s Books staff discussing the Book Review’s picks for the best books of 2022. The paper’s staff book critics participated in that selection process — but as readers inevitably do, they also cherished a more personal and idiosyncratic set of books, the ones that spoke to them on account of great characters or great writing, surprising information or heartfelt vulnerability or sheer entertainment value. On this week’s podcast, our critics Dwight Garner, Jennifer Szalai and Alexandra Jacobs discuss the books that stayed with them throughout 2022.We would love to hear your thoughts about this episode, and about the Book Review’s podcast in general. You can send them to [email protected].
09/12/2022 • 29 minutes 16 seconds
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 Tomor
02/12/2022 • 56 minutes 15 seconds
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 pre
24/11/2022 • 43 minutes 51 seconds
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 w
18/11/2022 • 41 minutes 14 seconds
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 a
11/11/2022 • 40 minutes 47 seconds
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 inf
04/11/2022 • 1 hour 4 minutes 19 seconds
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 ca
28/10/2022 • 43 minutes 12 seconds
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.A
21/10/2022 • 34 minutes 48 seconds
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
14/10/2022 • 34 minutes 35 seconds
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
07/10/2022 • 43 minutes 33 seconds
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 a
30/09/2022 • 25 minutes 24 seconds
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 mater
23/09/2022 • 51 minutes 13 seconds
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. “Be
16/09/2022 • 28 minutes 28 seconds
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
10/09/2022 • 36 minutes 1 second
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 rea
02/09/2022 • 19 minutes 12 seconds
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
26/08/2022 • 32 minutes 9 seconds
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.
19/08/2022 • 43 minutes 3 seconds
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
12/08/2022 • 29 minutes 35 seconds
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
05/08/2022 • 43 minutes 26 seconds
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 Fi
29/07/2022 • 53 minutes 23 seconds
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 men
22/07/2022 • 55 minutes 35 seconds
‘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 investiga
15/07/2022 • 57 minutes 8 seconds
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
09/07/2022 • 56 minutes 56 seconds
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 w
01/07/2022 • 49 minutes 24 seconds
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
25/06/2022 • 45 minutes 53 seconds
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, <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2022/06/07/books/review/pa
17/06/2022 • 47 minutes 39 seconds
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 w
10/06/2022 • 52 minutes 22 seconds
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 s
03/06/2022 • 53 minutes 24 seconds
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
27/05/2022 • 51 minutes 30 seconds
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 <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2022/05/17/books/review/cheri-the-end-of-cheri-colette.html" target="_blank
20/05/2022 • 36 minutes 7 seconds
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
13/05/2022 • 33 minutes 23 seconds
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 v
07/05/2022 • 48 minutes 52 seconds
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
29/04/2022 • 40 minutes 44 seconds
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.
23/04/2022 • 37 minutes 32 seconds
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 h
15/04/2022 • 47 minutes 16 seconds
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 cha
08/04/2022 • 48 minutes 48 seconds
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
02/04/2022 • 51 minutes 26 seconds
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 ca
25/03/2022 • 51 minutes 46 seconds
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 t
18/03/2022 • 58 minutes 48 seconds
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 ext
11/03/2022 • 1 hour 2 minutes 27 seconds
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 everythi
04/03/2022 • 1 hour 43 seconds
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 nov
25/02/2022 • 49 minutes 23 seconds
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 t
18/02/2022 • 54 minutes 24 seconds
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,
11/02/2022 • 55 minutes 3 seconds
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 t
04/02/2022 • 57 minutes 26 seconds
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,
28/01/2022 • 54 minutes 33 seconds
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
21/01/2022 • 1 hour 1 minute 24 seconds
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 t
14/01/2022 • 50 minutes 57 seconds
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
07/01/2022 • 1 hour 28 seconds
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 <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2021/11/06/books/review/the-lyr
23/12/2021 • 1 hour 13 seconds
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, w
17/12/2021 • 57 minutes 54 seconds
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
10/12/2021 • 1 hour 5 minutes 29 seconds
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<a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2021/07/03/books/review/razorblade-tears-s-a-cosby.ht
03/12/2021 • 1 hour 6 minutes 36 seconds
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,
25/11/2021 • 1 hour 1 minute 14 seconds
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 Bo
19/11/2021 • 56 minutes 4 seconds
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 yo
12/11/2021 • 1 hour 15 minutes 47 seconds
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
05/11/2021 • 1 hour 18 minutes 52 seconds
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 me
29/10/2021 • 1 hour 11 minutes 29 seconds
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’ abil
22/10/2021 • 1 hour 13 minutes 50 seconds
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 href="https://www.nytimes.com/2021/1
15/10/2021 • 59 minutes 32 seconds
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 journalist
08/10/2021 • 57 minutes 39 seconds
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
01/10/2021 • 1 hour 4 minutes 45 seconds
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 n
24/09/2021 • 1 hour 13 minutes 59 seconds
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 cape
17/09/2021 • 1 hour 9 minutes 7 seconds
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
10/09/2021 • 1 hour 5 minutes 32 seconds
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
03/09/2021 • 1 hour 7 minutes 28 seconds
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 th
27/08/2021 • 59 minutes 47 seconds
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
20/08/2021 • 55 minutes 15 seconds
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
13/08/2021 • 55 minutes 49 seconds
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 r
06/08/2021 • 1 hour 5 minutes 32 seconds
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
30/07/2021 • 1 hour 32 seconds
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, <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/25/books/review/th
23/07/2021 • 56 minutes 44 seconds
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 lik
16/07/2021 • 58 minutes 31 seconds
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
09/07/2021 • 44 minutes 41 seconds
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 ‘Hun
02/07/2021 • 58 minutes 57 seconds
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
25/06/2021 • 1 hour 13 minutes 23 seconds
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
18/06/2021 • 58 minutes 50 seconds
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 vi
11/06/2021 • 1 hour 2 minutes 34 seconds
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 <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/11/books/review/how-iceland-ch
04/06/2021 • 49 minutes 24 seconds
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
28/05/2021 • 1 hour 4 minutes 54 seconds
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 Rach
21/05/2021 • 56 minutes 54 seconds
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 th
14/05/2021 • 1 hour 9 minutes 34 seconds
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 vi
07/05/2021 • 1 hour 5 minutes 37 seconds
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 c
30/04/2021 • 1 hour 6 minutes 55 seconds
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 time
23/04/2021 • 1 hour 2 minutes 42 seconds
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
16/04/2021 • 1 hour 16 minutes 24 seconds
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 mo
09/04/2021 • 1 hour 1 minute 8 seconds
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 disc
02/04/2021 • 57 minutes 10 seconds
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 ju
26/03/2021 • 1 hour 3 minutes 19 seconds
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,
19/03/2021 • 52 minutes 48 seconds
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 s
12/03/2021 • 1 hour 3 minutes 9 seconds
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
05/03/2021 • 1 hour 10 minutes 53 seconds
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
26/02/2021 • 1 hour 7 minutes 59 seconds
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 expe
19/02/2021 • 1 hour 7 minutes 57 seconds
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.
12/02/2021 • 1 hour 1 minute 41 seconds
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 subti
05/02/2021 • 1 hour 7 minutes 11 seconds
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 gen
29/01/2021 • 1 hour 9 minutes 13 seconds
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 st
22/01/2021 • 1 hour 3 minutes 22 seconds
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 href="https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/05/books/05Group-Text-Pete
15/01/2021 • 1 hour 3 minutes 54 seconds
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 consider
08/01/2021 • 55 minutes 14 seconds
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
01/01/2021 • 58 minutes 15 seconds
The Listeners’ Episode: Editors and Critics Answer Your Questions
We respond to questions about criticism, reading habits, favorite stories and more.
25/12/2020 • 1 hour 13 minutes 37 seconds
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.
18/12/2020 • 49 minutes 5 seconds
Jo Nesbo Talks About 'The Kingdom'
Nesbo discusses his latest novel, and David Michaelis talks about his new biography of Eleanor Roosevelt.
11/12/2020 • 1 hour 11 seconds
David Sedaris on a Career-Spanning Collection
Sedaris talks about “The Best of Me” and his life as an essayist.
04/12/2020 • 1 hour 4 minutes 28 seconds
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.
27/11/2020 • 1 hour 9 minutes 30 seconds
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.”
20/11/2020 • 1 hour 1 minute 50 seconds
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."
13/11/2020 • 49 minutes 20 seconds
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.
06/11/2020 • 50 minutes 27 seconds
A Writing Career Among Trailblazing Music Stars
Peter Guralnick talks about “Looking to Get Lost,” and Alex Ross discusses “Wagnerism.”
30/10/2020 • 59 minutes 19 seconds
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.”
23/10/2020 • 53 minutes 59 seconds
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.”
16/10/2020 • 1 hour 3 minutes 7 seconds
The Fate of Refugees After World War II
David Nasaw talks about “The Last Million,” and Carlos Lozada discusses “What Were We Thinking.”
09/10/2020 • 1 hour 3 minutes 16 seconds
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.
02/10/2020 • 1 hour 5 minutes
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.”
25/09/2020 • 1 hour 6 minutes 39 seconds
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.
18/09/2020 • 59 minutes 47 seconds
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."
11/09/2020 • 57 minutes 48 seconds
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.”
04/09/2020 • 57 minutes 25 seconds
Kurt Andersen on ‘Evil Geniuses’
Andersen talks about his new book, and Lesley M.M. Blume discusses “Fallout.”
28/08/2020 • 57 minutes 48 seconds
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.”
21/08/2020 • 47 minutes 42 seconds
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.”
14/08/2020 • 1 hour 2 minutes 20 seconds
Isabel Wilkerson Talks About 'Caste'
Wilkerson describes the ideas about race in America that fuel her new book, and David Hill discusses “The Vapors.”
07/08/2020 • 55 minutes 15 seconds
The 'Seductive Lure' of Authoritarianism
Anne Applebaum discusses "Twilight of Democracy," and Barbara Demick talks about "Eat the Buddha."
31/07/2020 • 54 minutes 28 seconds
The Yearning for the Unexplained
Colin Dickey talks about “The Unidentified,” and Miles Harvey discusses “The King of Confidence.”
24/07/2020 • 51 minutes 58 seconds
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."
17/07/2020 • 1 hour 5 minutes 19 seconds
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."
10/07/2020 • 1 hour 2 minutes 9 seconds
Jules Feiffer on His Long, Varied Career
Feiffer talks about his new picture book and more, and Steve Inskeep discusses "Imperfect Union."
02/07/2020 • 55 minutes 38 seconds
A Short Guide to 'The World'
Richard Haass talks about his new primer on global affairs, and Abhrajyoti Chakraborty on new novels in translation.
26/06/2020 • 1 hour 6 minutes 24 seconds
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."
18/06/2020 • 59 minutes 48 seconds
Stephen Fry on Reimagining the Greek Myths
12/06/2020 • 1 hour 1 minute 50 seconds
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."
05/06/2020 • 58 minutes 58 seconds
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.
29/05/2020 • 1 hour 7 minutes 26 seconds
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.
22/05/2020 • 59 minutes 28 seconds
One Young Mother and the Homelessness Crisis
Lauren Sandler talks about “This Is All I Got,” and Sarah Weinman discusses classic mysteries.
15/05/2020 • 1 hour 15 minutes 19 seconds
The Angry Children Are Our Future
Lydia Millet talks about “A Children’s Bible,” and Barry Gewen discusses “The Inevitability of Tragedy.”
08/05/2020 • 57 minutes 32 seconds
Lawrence Wright on Researching a (Fictional) Pandemic
Wright talks about “The End of October,” and Dalia Sofer discusses “Man of My Time.”
01/05/2020 • 1 hour 1 minute 6 seconds
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.”
24/04/2020 • 49 minutes 59 seconds
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.
17/04/2020 • 56 minutes 22 seconds
Robert Kolker Discusses 'Hidden Valley Road'
Kolker talks about a large family beset by schizophrenia, and Elisabeth Egan discusses Lily King's "Writers & Lovers."
10/04/2020 • 54 minutes 11 seconds
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.
03/04/2020 • 1 hour 12 minutes 2 seconds
From the Archives: Colson Whitehead and Jeffrey Toobin
Whitehead discusses “The Underground Railroad,” and Toobin talks about “American Heiress.”
27/03/2020 • 54 minutes 4 seconds
Robert Caro on How He Does It
The acclaimed biographer of Lyndon Johnson and Robert Moses talks about his book “Working: Researching, Interviewing, Writing.”
20/03/2020 • 1 hour 3 minutes 12 seconds
From the Archive: Michael Lewis and Tana French
Lewis discusses "The Fifth Risk," and French talks about "The Witch Elm."
13/03/2020 • 55 minutes 37 seconds
James McBride Talks About ‘Deacon King Kong’
McBride discuss his latest novel, and Rebecca Solnit talks about “Recollections of My Nonexistence.”
06/03/2020 • 57 minutes 19 seconds
The Ties That Bind Deutsche Bank and Donald Trump
David Enrich discusses "Dark Towers," and Kiran Millwood Hargrave talks about "The Mercies."
28/02/2020 • 1 hour 8 minutes 19 seconds
Adam Cohen talks about “Supreme Inequality,” and Madeline Levine discusses “Ready or Not.”
21/02/2020 • 1 hour 1 minute 40 seconds
A History of Seduction
Clement Knox talks about “Seduction,” and Elisabeth Egan discusses Amina Cain’s “Indelicacy.”
14/02/2020 • 42 minutes 46 seconds
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.”
07/02/2020 • 1 hour 9 minutes 34 seconds
The Paradoxes of Nuclear War
Fred Kaplan discusses “The Bomb,” and Sarah Lyall talks about new thrillers.
31/01/2020 • 1 hour 2 minutes 40 seconds
Andrea Bernstein on 'American Oligarchs'
Bernstein discusses her new book about the Trumps and Kushners, and David Zucchino talks about “Wilmington’s Lie.”
24/01/2020 • 1 hour 39 seconds
Americans on a Financial 'Tightrope'
Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn talk about their new book, and Daniel Susskind discusses “A World Without Work.”
17/01/2020 • 56 minutes 33 seconds
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.
10/01/2020 • 54 minutes 23 seconds
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.
03/01/2020 • 53 minutes 6 seconds
Ralph Ellison’s Life in Letters
Saidiya Hartman talks about Ellison’s correspondence, and Olaf Olafsson discusses his new novel, “The Sacrament.”
27/12/2019 • 49 minutes 31 seconds
Times Critics Talk About Their Year-End Lists
Dwight Garner, Parul Sehgal and Jennifer Szalai on the top books of 2019.
20/12/2019 • 41 minutes 53 seconds
Poems About the Challenges of Life After Prison
Reginald Dwayne Betts talks about “Felon,” and Jung Chang discusses “Big Sister, Little Sister, Red Sister.”
13/12/2019 • 57 minutes 41 seconds
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.
06/12/2019 • 1 hour 46 seconds
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.
26/11/2019 • 1 hour 14 minutes 7 seconds
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.”
22/11/2019 • 1 hour 9 minutes 1 second
Revisiting Baldwin vs. Buckley
Nicholas Buccola talks about “The Fire Is Upon Us,” and Saeed Jones discusses “How We Fight for Our Lives.”
15/11/2019 • 1 hour 6 minutes 46 seconds
Among the Trolls
Andrew Marantz talks about “Antisocial,” and Gail Collins discusses “No Stopping Us Now.”
08/11/2019 • 1 hour 3 minutes 21 seconds
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.
01/11/2019 • 54 minutes 15 seconds
John Lithgow on His Satirical Poems
The actor talks about "Dumpty: The Age of Trump in Verse," and Leigh Bardugo discusses "Ninth House."
25/10/2019 • 1 hour 3 minutes 2 seconds
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.”
18/10/2019 • 1 hour 12 minutes 47 seconds
Are Cheap Clothes Ruining the Planet?
Dana Thomas discusses “Fashionopolis,” and Steven Greenhouse talks about “Beaten Down, Worked Up.”
11/10/2019 • 49 minutes 59 seconds
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."
04/10/2019 • 1 hour 2 minutes 24 seconds
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.
27/09/2019 • 1 hour 7 minutes 3 seconds
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.”
20/09/2019 • 1 hour 6 minutes 12 seconds
Bringing Down Harvey Weinstein
Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey talk about their new book, “She Said,” and Ian Urbina discusses “The Outlaw Ocean.”
13/09/2019 • 1 hour 4 minutes 25 seconds
Trump, TV and America
James Poniewozik discusses “Audience of One,” and Bina Venkataraman talks about “The Optimist’s Telescope.”
06/09/2019 • 1 hour 23 seconds
The Ruining of the American West
Christopher Ketcham talks about “This Land,” and Gretchen McCulloch discusses “Because Internet.”
30/08/2019 • 59 minutes 55 seconds
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.
23/08/2019 • 51 minutes 25 seconds
Jia Tolentino on Life With the Internet
Tolentino talks about “Trick Mirror,” and John Taliaferro discusses “Grinnell,” his biography of a pioneering conservationist.
16/08/2019 • 54 minutes 20 seconds
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.”
09/08/2019 • 1 hour 7 minutes 23 seconds
The Fight for the Supreme Court
Carl Hulse talks about “Confirmation Bias,” and De’Shawn Charles Winslow discusses “In West Mills.”
02/08/2019 • 57 minutes 44 seconds
Fiction About Unprecedented Situations
Ted Chiang talks about “Exhalation,” and Helen Phillips discusses “The Need.”
26/07/2019 • 1 hour 3 minutes 21 seconds
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.”
19/07/2019 • 52 minutes 48 seconds
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.”
12/07/2019 • 57 minutes 11 seconds
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.”
05/07/2019 • 51 minutes 7 seconds
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.”
28/06/2019 • 1 hour 2 minutes 19 seconds
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.
21/06/2019 • 1 hour 3 minutes 31 seconds
The World's Far Corners and Deepest Depths
Robert Macfarlane talks about "Underland," and Julia Phillips discusses "Disappearing Earth."
14/06/2019 • 57 minutes 35 seconds
Rethinking the Epidemic of Domestic Violence
Rachel Louise Snyder talks about “No Visible Bruises,” and Josh Levin discusses “The Queen.”
07/06/2019 • 59 minutes 26 seconds
Thrillers for Summer
Vanessa Friedman talks about this season’s notable thrillers, and Liesl Schillinger discusses new books about travel.
31/05/2019 • 54 minutes 2 seconds
A Trilogy About the American Revolution Begins
Rick Atkinson talks about “The British Are Coming,” and Brenda Wineapple discusses “The Impeachers.”
24/05/2019 • 1 hour 12 minutes
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."
17/05/2019 • 54 minutes 30 seconds
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.”
10/05/2019 • 1 hour 6 minutes 15 seconds
Laila Lalami on 'The Other Americans'
Lalami discusses her latest novel, and Jenny Odell talks about "How to Do Nothing."
03/05/2019 • 57 minutes 7 seconds
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.”
26/04/2019 • 1 hour 2 minutes 15 seconds
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."
19/04/2019 • 1 hour 12 minutes 21 seconds
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."
12/04/2019 • 1 hour 8 minutes 54 seconds
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."
05/04/2019 • 54 minutes 56 seconds
Preet Bharara on the Rule of Law
Bharara discusses “Doing Justice,” and Senator Doug Jones talks about “Bending Toward Justice.”
29/03/2019 • 55 minutes 23 seconds
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.”
22/03/2019 • 1 hour 5 minutes 21 seconds
Isaac Mizrahi on His New Memoir
The fashion designer discusses “I.M.,” and David McCraw talks about “Truth in Our Times.”
15/03/2019 • 1 hour 4 minutes 54 seconds
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.”
08/03/2019 • 59 minutes 3 seconds
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.”
01/03/2019 • 1 hour 5 minutes 30 seconds
Gal Beckerman discusses “How to Disappear,” by Akiko Busch, and “Silence,” by Jane Brox; and Steve Luxenberg talks about “Separate.”
22/02/2019 • 51 minutes 17 seconds
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.
15/02/2019 • 1 hour 3 minutes 9 seconds
Marlon James Talks About His Epic New Trilogy
James discusses "Black Leopard, Red Wolf," and Stephanie Land talks about "Maid."
08/02/2019 • 50 minutes
Assessing the Facebook Problem
Roger McNamee talks about "Zucked," and Charles Finch discusses the season's best thrillers.
01/02/2019 • 57 minutes 31 seconds
Dani Shapiro on Her Surprising 'Inheritance'
Shapiro talks about her new best-selling memoir, and David Treuer discusses “The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee.”
25/01/2019 • 1 hour 9 minutes 27 seconds
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.
18/01/2019 • 50 minutes 32 seconds
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."
11/01/2019 • 1 hour 10 minutes 23 seconds
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.”
04/01/2019 • 57 minutes 4 seconds
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.
28/12/2018 • 1 hour 1 minute 50 seconds
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.”
21/12/2018 • 1 hour 3 minutes 8 seconds
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.
14/12/2018 • 58 minutes 27 seconds
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.”
07/12/2018 • 50 minutes 17 seconds
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.
30/11/2018 • 55 minutes 50 seconds
The Epic Tragedy of Vietnam
Max Hastings discusses his new history of the war, and Sue Prideaux talks about the life of Friedrich Nietzsche.
21/11/2018 • 56 minutes 59 seconds
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.”
16/11/2018 • 1 hour 3 minutes 53 seconds
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.”
09/11/2018 • 54 minutes 23 seconds
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.”
02/11/2018 • 1 hour 5 minutes 21 seconds
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."
26/10/2018 • 54 minutes 17 seconds
Susan Orlean on a Great Library Fire
Orlean discusses “The Library Book,” and Reid Hoffman talks about “Blitzscaling.”
19/10/2018 • 57 minutes 18 seconds
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."
16/10/2018 • 51 minutes 24 seconds
Michael Lewis and Tana French on Their Latest Books
Lewis talks about "The Fifth Risk," and French discusses "The Witch Elm."
12/10/2018 • 1 hour 2 minutes 22 seconds
Kate Atkinson on 'Transcription'
Atkinson talks about her new novel, and Shane Bauer discusses "American Prison."
05/10/2018 • 50 minutes 5 seconds
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.”
28/09/2018 • 1 hour 1 minute 19 seconds
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.”
21/09/2018 • 59 minutes 2 seconds
A Memoir From the Hard-Working ‘Heartland’
Sarah Smarsh talks about her new book, and Allan Lichtman discusses "The Embattled Vote in America."
14/09/2018 • 59 minutes 26 seconds
'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.”
07/09/2018 • 1 hour 14 minutes 39 seconds
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.”
31/08/2018 • 1 hour 12 minutes 57 seconds
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.”
24/08/2018 • 53 minutes 49 seconds
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.”
17/08/2018 • 1 hour 2 minutes 16 seconds
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.”
10/08/2018 • 56 minutes 51 seconds
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.
03/08/2018 • 57 minutes 51 seconds
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.
27/07/2018 • 50 minutes 43 seconds
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.
20/07/2018 • 57 minutes 8 seconds
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.
19/07/2018 • 20 minutes 20 seconds
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.”
13/07/2018 • 1 hour 10 minutes 8 seconds
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."
06/07/2018 • 1 hour 4 minutes 18 seconds
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.”
29/06/2018 • 1 hour 4 minutes 44 seconds
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.”
22/06/2018 • 59 minutes 2 seconds
The Things We Inherit
Carl Zimmer discusses “She Has Her Mother’s Laugh,” and Henry Alford talks about “And Then We Danced.”
15/06/2018 • 1 hour 9 minutes 50 seconds
Michael Pollan on His Acid Test
Michael Pollan talks about “How to Change Your Mind,” and Edward Tenner discusses “The Efficiency Paradox.”
08/06/2018 • 1 hour 11 seconds
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.
01/06/2018 • 1 hour 5 minutes 43 seconds
David Sedaris on ‘Calypso’
Sedaris talks about his latest book, and Alisa Roth discusses “Insane: America’s Criminal Treatment of Mental Illness.”
25/05/2018 • 1 hour 19 minutes 23 seconds
Lost at Sea
Rachel Slade talks about “Into the Raging Sea,” and Clemantine Wamariya discusses “The Girl Who Smiled Beads.”
18/05/2018 • 1 hour 10 minutes 53 seconds
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.”
11/05/2018 • 1 hour 3 minutes 22 seconds
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.”
04/05/2018 • 1 hour 6 minutes 24 seconds
Julian Barnes on 'The Only Story'
Barnes talks about his latest novel, and Lawrence Wright discusses “God Save Texas.”
27/04/2018 • 1 hour 13 minutes 48 seconds
Jo Nesbo Reimagines ‘Macbeth’
James Shapiro discusses Nesbo’s new novel, and Leila Slimani talks about “The Perfect Nanny.”
20/04/2018 • 1 hour 4 minutes 23 seconds
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.”
13/04/2018 • 53 minutes 25 seconds
Tara Westover on 'Educated'
Westover discusses her best-selling memoir, and Mark Weinberg talks about "Movie Nights With the Reagans."
06/04/2018 • 1 hour 7 minutes 31 seconds
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.”
30/03/2018 • 52 minutes 6 seconds
'Just the Funny Parts'
Nell Scovell discusses her new memoir, and Joanne Lipman talks about "That's What She Said."
23/03/2018 • 52 minutes 46 seconds
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.”
16/03/2018 • 58 minutes 58 seconds
Ronen Bergman on Israel’s Targeted Assassinations
Bergman talks about “Rise and Kill First,” and Felix Salmon discusses Chris Hughes’s “Fair Shot.”
09/03/2018 • 51 minutes 30 seconds
A Marine’s Inventive Memoir
Matt Young discusses “Eat the Apple,” and A. O. Scott talks about Martin Amis’s “The Rub of Time.”
02/03/2018 • 56 minutes 55 seconds
Tayari Jones on 'An American Marriage'
Jones talks about her new novel, and J. Randy Taraborrelli discusses “Jackie, Janet & Lee.”
23/02/2018 • 56 minutes 42 seconds
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.
16/02/2018 • 58 minutes 6 seconds
Laura Lippman on 'Sunburn'
Lippman talks about her new novel, and Tina Jordan discusses new romance novels.
09/02/2018 • 42 minutes 31 seconds
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.”
02/02/2018 • 58 minutes 36 seconds
Twilight's Last Gleaming?
David Frum talks about “Trumpocracy,” and Helen Thorpe discusses “The Newcomers.”
26/01/2018 • 1 hour 1 minute 38 seconds
'Off the Charts'
Ann Hulbert discusses her new book about child prodigies, and Sam Graham-Felsen talks about his debut novel, “Green.”
19/01/2018 • 56 minutes 42 seconds
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.”
12/01/2018 • 53 minutes 2 seconds
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.”
05/01/2018 • 57 minutes 38 seconds
The Fire Next Time
Brendan I. Koerner talks about “Megafire” and “Firestorm,” and Henry Fountain discusses “The Great Quake.”
29/12/2017 • 46 minutes 38 seconds
'The Story of the Jews' Continues
Simon Schama talks about “Belonging: 1492-1900,” and Christopher de Hamel discusses “Meetings With Remarkable Manuscripts.”
22/12/2017 • 50 minutes 14 seconds
Mary Beard on 'Women & Power'
Beard talks about her new manifesto, and Hillary Chute discusses “Why Comics? From Underground to Everywhere.”
15/12/2017 • 53 minutes 58 seconds
'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.
08/12/2017 • 1 hour 8 minutes 40 seconds
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."
01/12/2017 • 46 minutes 28 seconds
Caroline Fraser talks about “Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder,” and Tiya Miles discusses “The Dawn of Detroit.”
21/11/2017 • 52 minutes 56 seconds
Mother Knows Best?
James Wolcott talks about “Raising Trump” and “The Kardashians,” and Tina Brown discusses “The Vanity Fair Diaries.”
17/11/2017 • 1 hour 4 minutes 31 seconds
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.
10/11/2017 • 1 hour 6 seconds
The American Revolution in Six Lives
Russell Shorto talks about “Revolution Song,” and Richard Aldous discusses his new biography of Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr.
03/11/2017 • 53 minutes 39 seconds
Marilyn Stasio on True Crime
Stasio discusses new books about real crimes, and Dave Eggers talks about his two new illustrated books.
27/10/2017 • 44 minutes 7 seconds
From Podcast to Book with Marc Maron
Marc Maron discusses “Waiting for the Punch,” and Victor Sebestyen talks about his new biography of Lenin.
20/10/2017 • 1 hour 11 minutes 37 seconds
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.”
13/10/2017 • 1 hour 8 minutes 7 seconds
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.”
06/10/2017 • 55 minutes 19 seconds
Robert Gottlieb talks about new romance novels, and Celeste Ng discusses her new novel, “Little Fires Everywhere.”
29/09/2017 • 46 minutes 5 seconds
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.”
22/09/2017 • 1 hour 2 minutes 1 second
Jill Abramson on the 2016 Presidential Campaign
Abramson discusses Katy Tur's "Unbelievable" and Hillary Clinton's "What Happened."
15/09/2017 • 1 hour 16 minutes 33 seconds
'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.
08/09/2017 • 48 minutes 55 seconds
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.”
01/09/2017 • 43 minutes 18 seconds
The Joys of Children’s Literature
Bruce Handy talks about “Wild Things,” and Adrian Owen discusses “Into the Gray Zone.”
25/08/2017 • 47 minutes 15 seconds
George Prochnik discusses “Freud,” and Nancy MacLean talks about “Democracy in Chains.”
18/08/2017 • 46 minutes
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.”
11/08/2017 • 47 minutes 12 seconds
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.
04/08/2017 • 47 minutes 12 seconds
'Lights On, Rats Out'
Cree LeFavour talks about her new memoir, and Andrew Sean Greer discusses his new novel, "Less."
28/07/2017 • 47 minutes 56 seconds
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.
21/07/2017 • 58 minutes 16 seconds
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.”
14/07/2017 • 47 minutes 27 seconds
The History of the London Zoo
Isobel Charman discusses "The Zoo," and R. L. Stine talks about scary stories for children.
07/07/2017 • 47 minutes 38 seconds
Silk on a Stick
Aaron Retica talks about Tim Marshall’s “A Flag Worth Dying For,” and Jill Eisenstadt discusses her new novel, “Swell.”
30/06/2017 • 44 minutes 5 seconds
'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.
23/06/2017 • 43 minutes 14 seconds
Howard W. French talks about “Everything Under the Heavens,” and Judith Newman discusses new books about how to grieve and how to die.
16/06/2017 • 46 minutes 16 seconds
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.
09/06/2017 • 55 minutes 23 seconds
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."
02/06/2017 • 43 minutes 45 seconds
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."
26/05/2017 • 40 minutes 47 seconds
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.”
19/05/2017 • 45 minutes 42 seconds
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.”
12/05/2017 • 47 minutes 16 seconds
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."
05/05/2017 • 49 minutes 22 seconds
Sheryl Sandberg on Life After Tragedy
Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant talk about “Option B,” and Annie Jacobsen discusses “Phenomena.”
28/04/2017 • 56 minutes 32 seconds
'Hamlet Globe to Globe'
Dominic Dromgoole talks about “Hamlet Globe to Globe”; and Judith Newman discusses new books about sex and relationships.
21/04/2017 • 44 minutes 31 seconds
Power and Punishment
Chris Hayes discusses "A Colony in a Nation," and Jason Zinoman talks about "Letterman: The Last Giant of Late Night."
14/04/2017 • 48 minutes 25 seconds
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.
07/04/2017 • 49 minutes 43 seconds
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.’ ”
31/03/2017 • 50 minutes 36 seconds
'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.”
24/03/2017 • 48 minutes 18 seconds
The Definition of Adulthood
Jami Attenberg talks about her new novel, “All Grown Up,” and Bonnie Rochman discusses “The Gene Machine.”
17/03/2017 • 1 hour 21 seconds
Points of No Return
Mohsin Hamid talks about his new novel, “Exit West,” and Gillian Thomas discusses Marjorie J. Spruill’s “Divided We Stand.”
10/03/2017 • 1 hour 9 minutes 30 seconds
Florence Williams discusses “The Nature Fix,” and Jennifer Szalai talks about new Argentine fiction.
03/03/2017 • 50 minutes 40 seconds
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."
24/02/2017 • 48 minutes 40 seconds
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.
17/02/2017 • 1 hour 2 minutes 33 seconds
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.
10/02/2017 • 46 minutes 1 second
A Brave Look at Depression
Daphne Merkin talks about “This Close to Happy,” and Min Jin Lee discusses her new novel, “Pachinko.”
03/02/2017 • 48 minutes 15 seconds
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."
27/01/2017 • 48 minutes 27 seconds
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."
20/01/2017 • 43 minutes
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.
13/01/2017 • 49 minutes 6 seconds
Should You Stop Eating Sugar?
Gary Taubes discusses "The Case Against Sugar," and Anthony Gottlieb talks about a new biography of Casanova.
06/01/2017 • 44 minutes 58 seconds
How Octopuses Are Like Aliens
Peter Godfrey-Smith discusses “Other Minds,” and Jeff Howe talks about “Whiplash: How to Survive Our Faster Future.”
29/12/2016 • 44 minutes 9 seconds
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."
23/12/2016 • 38 minutes 56 seconds
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.
16/12/2016 • 44 minutes 44 seconds
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."
09/12/2016 • 50 minutes 56 seconds
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."
02/12/2016 • 42 minutes 17 seconds
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."
25/11/2016 • 45 minutes 55 seconds
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.
18/11/2016 • 48 minutes 11 seconds
Thomas Ricks discusses new books about military history, and Maria Russo talks about the season's best new children's books.
11/11/2016 • 52 minutes 31 seconds
John Grisham on 'The Whistler'
John Grisham talks about his latest novel, and Ben Macintyre discusses "Rogue Heroes."
04/11/2016 • 43 minutes 16 seconds
Thrillers and True Crime
Charles Finch talks about the season’s thrillers; and Marilyn Stasio discusses new true-crime books.
29/10/2016 • 43 minutes 14 seconds
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.”
21/10/2016 • 45 minutes 48 seconds
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."
14/10/2016 • 57 minutes 55 seconds
'Sing for Your Life'
Daniel Bergner talks about "Sing for Your Life," and Maria Semple discusses "Today Will Be Different."
07/10/2016 • 38 minutes 41 seconds
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.
30/09/2016 • 48 minutes 57 seconds
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.”
23/09/2016 • 47 minutes 57 seconds
Maureen Dowd on Clinton and Trump
Maureen Dowd talks about “The Year of Voting Dangerously,” and Lauren Collins talks about “When in French.”
16/09/2016 • 46 minutes 54 seconds
Inside The New York Times Book Review: Mark Thompson's 'Enough Said'
09/09/2016 • 49 minutes 27 seconds
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.
02/09/2016 • 40 minutes 45 seconds
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.
26/08/2016 • 53 minutes 24 seconds
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.
19/08/2016 • 46 minutes 4 seconds
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.
12/08/2016 • 52 minutes 40 seconds
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.”
05/08/2016 • 2 minutes 36 seconds
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.”
05/08/2016 • 44 minutes 16 seconds
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.
29/07/2016 • 45 minutes 26 seconds
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.
22/07/2016 • 47 minutes 14 seconds
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.
15/07/2016 • 43 minutes 23 seconds
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.
10/07/2016 • 45 minutes 9 seconds
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.
01/07/2016 • 44 minutes 1 second
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.
24/06/2016 • 53 minutes 55 seconds
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.
17/06/2016 • 45 minutes 12 seconds
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.
10/06/2016 • 41 minutes 34 seconds
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.
03/06/2016 • 46 minutes 39 seconds
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.
27/05/2016 • 51 minutes 28 seconds
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.
23/05/2016 • 42 minutes 23 seconds
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.
20/05/2016 • 42 minutes 29 seconds
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.
13/05/2016 • 45 minutes 53 seconds
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.
06/05/2016 • 55 minutes 56 seconds
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.
05/05/2016 • 46 minutes 25 seconds
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.
29/04/2016 • 32 minutes 47 seconds
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.
22/04/2016 • 40 minutes 9 seconds
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.
15/04/2016 • 39 minutes 55 seconds
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.
08/04/2016 • 34 minutes 28 seconds
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.
01/04/2016 • 43 minutes 28 seconds
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.
25/03/2016 • 32 minutes 50 seconds
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.
18/03/2016 • 41 minutes 43 seconds
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.
11/03/2016 • 45 minutes 27 seconds
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.
04/03/2016 • 52 minutes 27 seconds
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.
26/02/2016 • 34 minutes 32 seconds
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.
19/02/2016 • 39 minutes 57 seconds
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.
18/02/2016 • 39 minutes 21 seconds
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.
12/02/2016 • 47 minutes 44 seconds
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.
05/02/2016 • 47 minutes 27 seconds
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.
29/01/2016 • 43 minutes 54 seconds
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.
24/01/2016 • 44 minutes 59 seconds
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.
15/01/2016 • 35 minutes 44 seconds
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.
08/01/2016 • 40 minutes 38 seconds
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.
31/12/2015 • 28 minutes 55 seconds
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.
24/12/2015 • 39 minutes 22 seconds
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.
18/12/2015 • 39 minutes 53 seconds
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.
11/12/2015 • 49 minutes 54 seconds
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.
04/12/2015 • 58 minutes 48 seconds
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.
27/11/2015 • 40 minutes 10 seconds
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.
20/11/2015 • 40 minutes 43 seconds
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.
13/11/2015 • 44 minutes
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.
06/11/2015 • 50 minutes 39 seconds
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.
30/10/2015 • 41 minutes 19 seconds
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.
25/10/2015 • 30 minutes 17 seconds
Inside The New York Times Book Review: ‘Doomed to Succeed”
This week, Scott Anderson and Roger Lowenstein.
25/10/2015 • 30 minutes 17 seconds
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.
16/10/2015 • 33 minutes 21 seconds
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.
09/10/2015 • 45 minutes 7 seconds
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.
02/10/2015 • 37 minutes 13 seconds
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.
25/09/2015 • 40 minutes 18 seconds
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.
18/09/2015 • 51 minutes 8 seconds
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.
11/09/2015 • 41 minutes 25 seconds
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.
04/09/2015 • 35 minutes 41 seconds
Inside The New York Times Book Review: ‘Give Us the Ballot’
This week, Ari Berman and Simon Winchester.
30/08/2015 • 27 minutes 45 seconds
Inside The New York Times Book Review: ‘Give Us the Ballot’
This week, Ari Berman and Simon Winchester.
30/08/2015 • 27 minutes 44 seconds
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.
21/08/2015 • 52 minutes 13 seconds
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.
14/08/2015 • 35 minutes 33 seconds
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.
07/08/2015 • 37 minutes 55 seconds
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.
31/07/2015 • 35 minutes 57 seconds
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.
24/07/2015 • 27 minutes 33 seconds
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.
17/07/2015 • 41 minutes 3 seconds
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.
10/07/2015 • 34 minutes 23 seconds
Inside The New York Times Book Review: ‘Skyfaring’
This week, Mark Vanhoenacker and Kristen Green.
05/07/2015 • 36 minutes 52 seconds
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.
03/07/2015 • 36 minutes 52 seconds
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.
26/06/2015 • 39 minutes 57 seconds
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.
19/06/2015 • 39 minutes 47 seconds
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.
12/06/2015 • 43 minutes 50 seconds
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.
05/06/2015 • 36 minutes 19 seconds
Inside The New York Times Book Review: Judy Blume’s ‘In the Unlikely Event’
This week, Judy Blume talks about her new novel; Liesl Schillinger rounds up new travel books; Alexandra Alter has news from the publishing world; Vanessa Grigoriadis discusses Wednesday Martin’s memoir, “Primates of Park Avenue”; feedback from readers; and Gregory Cowles has best-seller news. Pamela Paul is the host.
29/05/2015 • 45 minutes 11 seconds
Inside The New York Times Book Review: Shakespeare in Love
This week, Alan Riding discusses two new books about Shakespeare’s women characters and his personal life; Parul Sehgal and John Williams have news from the literary world; Michelle Orange talks about five new essay collections; and Gregory Cowles has best-seller news. Pamela Paul is the host.
22/05/2015 • 36 minutes 4 seconds
Inside The New York Times Book Review: The Future of Work
This week, Barbara Ehrenreich discusses “Rise of the Robots” and “Shadow Work”; Alexandra Alter has news from the publishing world; Andrew Solomon talks about Oliver Sacks’s new memoir, “On the Move”; and Gregory Cowles has best-seller news. Pamela Paul is the host.
15/05/2015 • 34 minutes 16 seconds
Matthew Weiner On the End of ‘Mad Men’
In a special supplement from The Times’s culture desk, Mr. Weiner, the creator of “Mad Men,” discusses the coming conclusion of the series with Dave Itzkoff, a reporter for The Times.
15/05/2015 • 34 minutes 40 seconds
Inside The New York Times Book Review: ‘A God in Ruins’
This week, Tom Perrotta discusses Kate Atkinson’s “A God in Ruins”; Alexandra Alter has news from the publishing world; Ruth Franklin talks about Shirley Jackson; and Gregory Cowles has best-seller news. Pamela Paul is the host.
08/05/2015 • 28 minutes 55 seconds
Inside The New York Times Book Review: ‘The Life of Saul Bellow’
This week, Sam Tanenhaus talks about Zachary Leader’s new biography of Saul Bellow; Alexandra Alter has news from the literary world; Emily Bazelon discusses Jon Krakauer’s “Missoula”; and Gregory Cowles has best-seller news. Pamela Paul is the host.
01/05/2015 • 46 minutes 42 seconds
Inside The New York Times Book Review: Mass Murder in Norway
This week, Eric Schlosser discusses Asne Seierstad’s “One of Us”; Alexandra Alter has news from the literary world; Meghan O’Rourke talks about Elizabeth Alexander’s “The Light of the World”; and Gregory Cowles has best-seller news. Pamela Paul is the host.
24/04/2015 • 37 minutes 47 seconds
Inside The New York Times Book Review: ‘Spinster’ and Public Shaming
This week, Kate Bolick discusses “Spinster”; Alexandra Alter has news from the publishing world; Jon Ronson talks about “So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed”; and Gregory Cowles has best-seller news. Pamela Paul is the host.
17/04/2015 • 41 minutes 27 seconds
Inside The New York Times Book Review: ‘The Brothers,’ About the Boston Marathon Bombers
This week, Masha Gessen discusses “The Brothers”; Alexandra Alter has news from the publishing world; Gretchen Rubin talks about “Better Than Before”; and Gregory Cowles has best-seller news. Pamela Paul is the host.
10/04/2015 • 44 minutes 55 seconds
Inside The New York Times Book Review: ‘Becoming Steve Jobs’
This week, Brad Stone talks about “Becoming Steve Jobs”; Alexandra Alter has news from the literary world; Amanda Schaffer discusses three new books about neuroscience; and Gregory Cowles has best-seller news. Pamela Paul is the host.
03/04/2015 • 40 minutes 7 seconds
Inside The New York Times Book Review: ‘Becoming Steve Jobs’
This week, “Becoming Steve Jobs” and three new books about neuroscience.
03/04/2015 • 40 minutes 7 seconds
Inside The New York Times Book Review: ‘The Folded Clock’
This week, Heidi Julavits discusses “The Folded Clock”; Alexandra Alter has news from the literary world; Jeffrey Lieberman talks about “Shrinks”; and Gregory Cowles has best-seller news. Pamela Paul is the host.
27/03/2015 • 44 minutes 13 seconds
Inside The New York Times Book Review: ‘The Folded Clock’
This week, Heidi Julavits and Jeffrey Lieberman.
27/03/2015 • 44 minutes 13 seconds
Inside The New York Times Book Review: ‘The Opposite of Spoiled’
This week, Ron Lieber discusses “The Opposite of Spoiled”; Alexandra Alter has news from the literary world; Harris Irfan talks about “Heaven’s Bankers”; and Gregory Cowles has best-seller news. Pamela Paul is the host.
20/03/2015 • 38 minutes 49 seconds
Inside The New York Times Book Review: ‘The Last Flight of Poxl West’
This week, Daniel Torday discusses “The Last Flight of Poxl West”; Alexandra Alter has news from the literary world; Frank Bruni talks about Barney Frank’s new memoir; and Gregory Cowles has best-seller news. Pamela Paul is the host.
13/03/2015 • 37 minutes 7 seconds
Inside The New York Times Book Review: Erik Larson’s ‘Dead Wake’
This week, Erik Larson talks about “Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania”; Alexandra Alter has news from the literary world; Orlando Patterson discusses two new books by black conservatives, “Please Stop Helping Us” and “Shame”; and Gregory Cowles has best-seller news. Pamela Paul is the host.
06/03/2015 • 45 minutes 37 seconds
Inside The New York Times Book Review: Elliot Ackerman’s ‘Green on Blue’
This week, Tom Bissell discusses Elliot Ackerman’s “Green on Blue”; Alexandra Alter has news from the literary world; John Hooper talks about “The Italians”; and Gregory Cowles has best-seller news. Pamela Paul is the host.
27/02/2015 • 38 minutes 49 seconds
Inside The New York Times Book Review: ‘H Is for Hawk’
This week, Vicki Constantine Croke discusses Heather Macdonald’s “H Is for Hawk”; Parul Sehgal has news from the literary world; John Williams talks about Nick Hornby’s “Funny Girl”; and Gregory Cowles has best-seller news. Pamela Paul is the host.
20/02/2015 • 27 minutes 22 seconds
Inside The New York Times Book Review: The War on Drugs
This week, Seth Mnookin discusses Johann Hari’s “Chasing the Scream”; John Williams has news from the publishing world; Ben Yagoda talks about “The B Side”; and Gregory Cowles has best-seller news. Pamela Paul is the host.
13/02/2015 • 38 minutes 41 seconds
Inside The New York Times Book Review: ‘Love and Lies’
This week, Adelle Waldman discusses Clancy Martin’s “Love and Lies”; Alexandra Alter has news from the publishing world; Dana Goldstein talks about Anya Kamenetz’s “The Test”; and Gregory Cowles has best-seller news. Pamela Paul is the host.
06/02/2015 • 36 minutes 21 seconds
Inside The New York Times Book Review: ‘Guantánamo Diary’
Mark Danner on “Guantánamo Diary” and David Adam on “The Man Who Couldn’t Stop.”
01/02/2015 • 48 minutes 55 seconds
Inside The New York Times Book Review: Jill Leovy’s ‘Ghettoside’
This week, Jill Leovy discusses “Ghettoside”; Patton Oswalt talks about his memoir “Silver Screen Fiend”; Alexandra Alter has news from the publishing world; Anita Shapira discusses “Ben-Gurion: Father of Modern Israel”; and Gregory Cowles has best-seller news. Pamela Paul is the host.
23/01/2015 • 42 minutes 44 seconds
Inside The New York Times Book Review: ‘Leaving Before the Rains Come’
This week, Alexandra Fuller discusses her new memoir, “Leaving Before the Rains Come”; John Williams has news from the publishing world; Lauren Groff talks about Miranda July’s “The First Bad Man”; and Gregory Cowles has best-seller news. Pamela Paul is the host.
16/01/2015 • 35 minutes 29 seconds
Inside The New York Times Book Review: ‘America’s Bitter Pill’
This week, Steven Brill discusses “America’s Bitter Pill”; Alexandra Alter has news from the publishing world; Heidi Julavits talks about Rachel Cusk’s “Outline”; and Gregory Cowles has best-seller news. Pamela Paul is the host.
09/01/2015 • 43 minutes 37 seconds
Inside The New York Times Book Review: Charles D’Ambrosio’s ‘Loitering’
This week, Phillip Lopate discusses Charles D’Ambrosio’s “Loitering”; Alexandra Alter has news from the publishing world; Sven Beckert talks about “Empire of Cotton”; and Gregory Cowles has best-seller news. Parul Sehgal is the host, filling in for Pamela Paul.
02/01/2015 • 37 minutes 19 seconds
Inside The New York Times Book Review: Patrick Modiano’s ‘Suspended Sentences’
This week, Alan Riding discusses Patrick Modiano’s “Suspended Sentences”; Alexandra Alter has news from the literary world; Judith Newman talks about Ruth Goodman’s “How to Be a Victorian”; and best-seller news. Pamela Paul is the host.
26/12/2014 • 31 minutes 56 seconds
Inside The New York Times Book Review: Disappearing Religions
This week, Gerard Russell talks about “Heirs to Forgotten Kingdoms”; Alexandra Alter has news from the literary world; Phil Zuckerman discusses “Living the Secular Life”; and Gregory Cowles has best-seller news. Pamela Paul is the host.
19/12/2014 • 42 minutes 46 seconds
Inside The New York Times Book Review: A Rare View of North Korea
This week, Suki Kim talks about “Without You, There Is No Us”; Parul Sehgal and John Williams have news from the literary world; Meghan Daum discusses “The Unspeakable”; and Gregory Cowles has best-seller news. Pamela Paul is the host.