The Book Show | WAMC

The Book Show

Tuesdays, 3:00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.; Thursdays, 8:30 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.

Each week on The Book Show, host Joe Donahue interviews authors about their books, their lives and their craft. It is a celebration of both reading and writers. Joe holds interesting conversations with a variety of authors including Malcolm Gladwell, Lawrence Wright, and Emily St. John Mandel.

As the son of a librarian, Joe has been part of the book world since childhood. His first job was as a library assistant, during college he was a clerk at an independent book store and for the past 25 years he has been interviewing authors about their books on the radio.

He is also the host of The Roundtable on WAMC Northeast Public Radio, a 3-hour general interest talk show. Notable authors he has interviewed include: Kurt Vonnegut, John Irving, John Updike, Alice Walker, Toni Morrison, Arthur Miller, Stephen King, Amy Tan, Anne Rice, Philip Roth, E.L Doctorow, Richard Russo, David Sedaris and Maya Angelou. 

Joe  has won several awards for his interviews, including honors from the Associated Press, the Edward R. Murrow Awards, the New York State Association of Broadcasters, The Headliners, The National Press Club and the Scripps-Howard Foundation. 

E-mail The Book Show.

Twitter: @The_Book_Show

Book cover for "Foregone"
No Exit Press

Russell Banks, twice a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, joins us this week to discuss his new novel, “Foregone.” In the novel we meet Canadian-American leftist documentary filmmaker Leonard Fife, one of sixty thousand draft evaders and deserters who fled to Canada to avoid serving in Vietnam.

Fife, now in his late seventies, is dying of cancer in Montreal and has agreed to a final interview in which he is determined to bare all his secrets at last, to demythologize his mythologized life.

This show was recorded as part of a virtual author event with Northshire Bookstore.

Book cover for "Transient Desires"
Grove Atlantic

Donna Leon’s Guido Brunetti mystery novels explore myriad social issues facing the city of Venice, with Venetian architecture, language and food taking pride of place as the characters grapple with crime solving.

Her latest is “Transient Desires,” the thirtieth novel in the Brunetti series.

Author photo Imbolo Mbue and book cover for "How Beautiful We Were"
provided // Random House

New York Times best-selling novelist Imbolo Mbue’s new novel, "How Beautiful We Were," is a sweeping, wrenching story about the collision of a small African village and an American oil company.

Book cover - Dusk Night Dawn
Riverhead Books

In “Dusk, Night, Dawn,” best-selling author Anne Lamott explores the tough questions that many of us grapple with. How can we recapture the confidence we once had as we stumble through the dark times that seem increasingly bleak? We begin, Lamott says, by accepting our flaws and embracing our humanity.

Chang-rae Lee’s new novel “My Year Abroad” is the story about a young American life transformed by an unusual Asian adventure, and about the human capacity for pleasure, pain, and connection.  

Book cover for "Under a White Sky"
Crown

  Elizabeth Kolbert is the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of "The Sixth Extinction." In her new book, "Under a White Sky: The Nature of the Future," Kolbert again writes about humanity’s transformative impact on the environment, now asking: After doing so much damage, can we change nature, this time to save it?

Best-selling author Russell Shorto never thought to write about his own past. He grew up knowing his grandfather and namesake was a small-town mob boss but maintained an unspoken family vow of silence. Then an elderly relative prodded: "You’re a writer―what are you gonna do about the story?" The result is "Smalltime: A Story of My Family and the Mob."

Book cover (paperback) for The Four Winds
St. Martin's Press

Kristin Hannah is the number-one bestselling author of "The Nightingale" and "The Great Alone." 

Her latest, "The Four Winds," is an American epic about love and heroism and hope set during the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl.

Book cover for "The Prophets" By Robert Jones Jr.
Putnam

Robert Jones, Jr., creator of the Son of Baldwin online community, has written a debut novel, "The Prophets," about the forbidden union between two enslaved young men on a Deep South plantation, the refuge they find in each other, and a betrayal that threatens their existence. 

Book cover for "Land" by Simon Winchester
Harper Collins

Simon Winchester - author of "The Professor and the Madman" and "The Perfectionists" - examines what we human beings are doing - and have done - with the billions of acres that together make up the solid surface of our planet. His new book is "Land: How the Hunger for Ownership Shaped the Modern World."

Book cover for "Apeirogon"
Random House / Random House

National Book Award–winning and bestselling author Colum McCann’s latest, "Apeirogon," is an epic novel rooted in the unlikely real-life friendship between two fathers who recognize the loss that connects them and their attempt to use their grief as a weapon for peace.

Book cover for "A Swim In A Pond in the Rain"
Random House / Random House

For the last twenty years, George Saunders has been teaching a class on the Russian short story at Syracuse University. In "A Swim in a Pond in the Rain," he shares a version of that class with us where he pairs iconic short stories by Chekhov, Turgenev, Tolstoy, and Gogol, with essays intended for anyone interested in how fiction works and why it’s more relevant than ever in these turbulent times.

Book cover for Hieroglyphics
Provided: Algonquin Books

Jill McCorkle’s latest novel “Hieroglyphics” has been called a triumph, one that explores the physical and emotional imprints that make up a life. It reveals the difficulty of ever really knowing the intentions and dreams and secrets of the people who raised you.

Bookcover artwork for "Perestroika in Paris"
Knopf / Knopf

Jane Smiley is the author of numerous novels, including "A Thousand Acres," which was awarded the Pulitzer Prize, and most recently, The Last Hundred Years Trilogy: "Some Luck," "Early Warning," and "Golden Age." Her latest novel is: "Perestroika in Paris: A Novel" - it's about a racehorse who escapes and takes on the streets of Paris.

Joe Donahue: Emily St. John Mandel is the award winning author of “Station 11”. Her new novel, “The Glass Hotel” is set at the glittering intersection of two seemingly disparate events, a massive Ponzi scheme collapse and the mysterious disappearance of a woman from a ship at sea. In the story of crisis and survival, Mandel takes readers through often hidden landscapes, campgrounds for the near homeless, underground electronica clubs, the business of international shipping service and luxury hotels, and life in a federal prison. “The Glass Hotel” is a portrait of greed and guilt, love and delusion, ghosts and unintended consequences and the infinite ways we search for meaning in our lives.

Joe Donahue: Glennon Doyle is the author of the number one New York Times bestseller “Love Warrior” an Oprah's Book Club selection as well as the New York Times bestseller “Carry On, Warrior.” An activist, speaker, and thought leader, she is also the founder and president of Together Rising, an all women-lead nonprofit organization that has revolutionized grassroots philanthropy, raising over $20 million for women, families and children in crisis.

Her latest, “Untamed” is both a memoir and a wakeup call. It offers an examination of the restrictive expectations women are issued from birth, shows how hustling to meet those expectations leaves women feeling dissatisfied and lost, overwhelmed and underwhelmed, and reveals that when we quit abandoning ourselves and instead abandon the world's expectations of us, they become women who can finally look at themselves in the mirror and recognize there she is. 

Welcome to the Book Show, a celebration of reading and writers, I'm Joe Donahue. Anne Tyler is one of America's very best living novelists, and one of the world's most loved. She has written 23 novels, sold more than 11 million copies. Her 20th book “A Spool of Blue Thread” was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. Her 11th, “Breathing Lessons” won the Pulitzer Prize. Her other bestsellers include “The Accidental Tourist”, “Say Maybe”, “Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant” and most recently, “Vinegar Girl” and “Clock Dance”.

The themes she continues to return to involve marriage, family dynamics, sibling relationships, growing old, and dying. She sets her stories where she lives in Baltimore, Maryland. Her latest titled “Redhead by the Side of the Road” is no exception. The novel focuses on routine-obsessed 44 year-old Micah Mortimer, whose life is about to be thrown out of whack. The novel is about misperception second chances and the sometimes elusive power of human connections. Again, the new novel is “Redhead by the Side of the Road” and it is a great thrill to welcome Anne Tyler to The Book Show.

Book covers for 3 recent James Patterson Books
provided - assorted publishers / provided - assorted publishers

James Patterson is the world's bestselling author. The creator of Alex Cross, he joins us this week to discuss his three latest books - "The Last Days of John Lennon," "Deadly Cross" and "NYPD Red 6."

This program was recorded via zoom in an Off the Shelf event presented by Northshire Bookstore and WAMC.

Book cover for "The Kingdom"
Knopf / Knopf

Jo Nesbo's dark, gripping new standalone thriller, "The Kingdom," tells the story of two brothers, and a homecoming that turns deadly bringing long-buried family secrets to the surface. Nesbo is one of the world's bestselling crime writers, with his Harry Hole novels.

Book cover for "The Wonder Boy of Whistle Stop"
Random House / Random House

33 years ago, Fannie Flagg wrote the New York Times bestseller "Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café" and she is now back with a sequel that traces the “what happened to” of the original’s main characters and brings them into the present.

The new novel is "The Wonder Boy of Whistle Stop."

Lydia Davis is a writer whose originality, influence, and wit are beyond compare. Best known for her masterful short stories and translations, Davis’s gifts extend equally to her nonfiction. In “Essays One” Davis has, for the first time, gathered a selection of essays, commentaries, and lectures composed over the past five decades.

Book cover for "Love" by Roddy Doyle
Viking Publishing / Viking Publishing

In Roddy Doyle's latest novel, "Love," Joe and Davy are two old friends who meet at a Dublin pub for a night of reconnecting and hard drinking. Joe has a burning secret; Davy has a concealed sorrow. Doyle is the Booker Prize-winning author of "Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha" and "The Commitments."

Book cover and artwork for "The Searcher" by Tana French
Penguin/Random House / Penguin/Random House

Tana French’s first novel to feature an American protagonist and to be told in the third person, "The Searcher," brings all of French’s atmospherics and characterization to a story that plays with the traditions of suspense fiction and does not fail to keep readers guessing. The New York Times has proclaimed, “she is in a class by herself.”

Book cover for "Monogamy" by Sue Miller
Harper Collins / harpercollins.com

  New York Times bestselling author Sue Miller's insightful new novel, focuses on marriage, love, family, happiness and sorrow.  "Monogamy" is the story of Annie and Graham, happily married for 30 years. But after Graham dies suddenly, Annie discovers he was having an affair.

Book cover title artwork for "Homeland Elegies"
Little Brown / littlebrown.com

Ayad Akhtar is a novelist and playwright, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. His latest work is novel, "Homeland Elegies," a deeply personal work about identity and belonging in a nation coming apart at the seams. It blends fact and fiction to tell an epic story of longing and dispossession in a world that 9/11 made.

Book cover for "His Very Best" by Jonathan Alter
simonandschuster.com

Journalist Jonathan Alter’s new book, "His Very Best: Jimmy Carter, A Life," is the first full-length biography of Jimmy Carter, the thirty-ninth president of the United States and Nobel Prize–winning humanitarian. He tells the epic story of an enigmatic man of faith and his improbable journey from barefoot boy to global icon.

Ken Follett has sold more than 170 million books, including the acclaimed novel "The Pillars of Earth." Now, Follett is out with a prequel titled "The Evening and the Morning," a historical epic about the world emerging from the Dark Ages.

Sigrid Nunez’s first book since “The Friend,” winner of the National Book Award, looks back to a precarious, pre-pandemic world. "What You Are Going Through" is a story of death and companionship, loneliness and obligation and as she writes: “Messy life. Unfair life. Life that must be dealt with.” 

Vanessa Veselka’s new novel, "The Great Offshore Grounds," tells the story of sisters Livy and Cheyenne as they set out to claim an unusual inheritance from their estranged father. The book explores how individuals begin to navigate ethics and emotions until they find where in the world they belong.

As a native Floridian, author Carl Hiaasen has worked his entire adult life for the Miami Herald, for which he writes an award-winning column. In his latest, very funny, novel "Squeeze Me," Hiaasen takes on The Palm Beach social scene - complete with Presidential shenanigans, a missing woman named Kiki Pew, and enormous pythons. 

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