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. 

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Twitter: @The_Book_Show

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. 

In his new book "Evil Geniuses: The Unmaking of America: A Recent History," Kurt Andersen asks the question: When did America give up on fairness? The bestselling author of "Fantasyland" tells the history of how America decided that big business gets whatever it wants, only the rich get richer, and nothing should ever change and charts a way back to the future.

One of the best-loved fiction writers of her generation, Jhumpa Lahiri fell completely in love with Italian language and literature beginning in 2012. She recently edited and published "The Penguin Book of Italian Short Stories," a collection of short works of fiction— nearly half appearing in English for the first time.

Bestselling author Caroline Leavitt’s latest, "With or Without You," tells the story of Stella. When she wakes from a coma she develops an uncanny ability to draw and identify everyone’s innermost feelings. Her husband and best friend, who bonded during her illness, may have formed a new relationship as she lay sleeping.

Joe Donahue: Emma Donoghue's new novel "The Pull of the Stars", brings us to Dublin 1918, in a maternity ward at the height of the great flu. With the country doubly ravaged by war and disease, Nurse Julia Power works at an understaffed hospital in the city center where expecting mothers who have come down with influenza are quarantined together. Into Julia's regimented world steps two outsiders: Dr. Kathleen Lin, a rumored Rebel on the run from the police, and a young volunteer helper, Bridie Sweeney. Over three days, these women change each other's lives in unexpected and profound ways. Emma Donoghue is the author of several novels including "Akin", "Landing", "The Wonder", and the international best-seller "Room", in which her screen adaptation was nominated for four Academy Awards. 

Chris Wallace is a veteran journalist and anchor of Fox News Sunday. His new book, "Countdown 1945: The Extraordinary Story of the 116 Days That Changed the World," a behind-the-scenes account of the secret meetings and lead up to the world's first use of the atomic bomb in wartime-the American attack on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. 

An Ocean Without a Shore" from the best-selling, critically acclaimed author Scott Spencer, known for "Endless Love" and "Man in the Woods", is an exploration of that timeless of human dilemmas the one in which your love is left unreturned. Since their college days, Kip Woods has been infatuated with Thaddeus Kaufman, who, years later, is a married father of two children and desperately trying to revive a failing career. Kip’s devotion to Thaddeus has been life-defining and destiny-altering, but it has been one that Thaddeus has either failed to notice or refused to acknowledge. Scott Spencer is the author of 12 novels, including "Endless Love", "Waking the Dead", "A Ship Made of Paper" and "Willing". 

Kelly Braffet is the author of three previous novels, her latest - "The Unwilling" is a high stakes coming-of-age tale full of enchantment and political turmoil.

The narrative is set against a backdrop of court intrigue and ancient magic featuring an unforgettable heroine with no name and no history, who discovers there's more to her story than she ever imagined.

The new book, The Deportation Machine, traces the long and troubling history of the US government's systematic efforts to terrorize and expel immigrants over the past 140 years. Professor of History and Latin American and Latino Studies at the University of Illinois and author Adam Goodman examines how federal, state, and local officials have targeted various groups for expulsion.

Joe Donahue: Amity Gaige's new novel “Sea Wife” is a swift and thrilling literary page turner about a young family who escaped suburbia for a year-long sailing trip that up ends all of their lives. "Sea Wife" is told in dual perspective. Juliet's first-person narration after the journey, as she struggles to come to terms with the life-changing events that unfolded at sea. And Michael's Captain's log which provides a slow motion account of these same inexorable events, a dialogue that reveals the fault lines created by personal history and political divisions. Amity Gaige is the author of three novels, "O My Darling", "The Folded World", and "Schroder", which was shortlisted for the Folio Prize in 2014.

Joe Donahue:  Veteran political journalist and 60 Minutes Correspondent John Dickerson's new book "The Hardest Job in the World: The American Presidency", is a deep dive into the history, evolution and current state of the American presidency, and how we can make the job less impossible and more productive.

In the book, Dickerson writes about presidents in history, such as Washington, Lincoln, FDR and Eisenhower, and in contemporary times from LBJ and Reagan and Bush, Obama and Trump, to show how a complex job has been done, and why we need to reevaluate how we view the presidency, how we choose our presidents and what we expect from them once they're in office. John Dickerson is a 60 Minutes correspondent, prior to that he was a co-host of CBS This Morning, the anchor of Face the Nation. And CBS News' Chief Washington correspondent. The new book, "The Hardest Job in the World: The American Presidency".

Joe Donaue: Megha Majumdar's debut novel "A Burning" is about three characters whose lives become entwined after a terrorist attack in India. It is taut, electrifying, and dazzling. Jivan is a Muslim girl from the slums determined to move up in life who is accused of executing a terrorist attack on a train because of a careless comment on Facebook. PT Sir is an opportunistic gym teacher who hitches his aspirations to a right wing political party, and finds that his own ascent becomes linked to Jivan's fall. Lovely is an irresistible outcast who has the alibi that can set Jivan free, but it will cost her everything that she holds dear. Megha Majumdar grew up in Kolkata, India and studied social anthropology at Harvard and Johns Hopkins. She is currently an editor at Catapult. This is her first novel. 

Joe Donahue:  In an isolated estate on the Atlantic coast storms are brewing, waters are rising, and the world as we know it is inexorably shifting. This is the reality of Lydia Millet’s new novel, “A Children's Bible”, where a pack of kids and their middle aged parents are coexisting at this summer estate. The novel turns steadily darker as climate collapse and societal breakdown encroach. Millet is a senior editor at the Center for Biological Diversity, who regularly tackles environmental issues in her op-eds for the “New York Times”. She has long foregrounded the costs of climate change in her fiction, and “A Children's Bible” with scenes of quarantine and societal breakdown is no different. She has written 12 works of fiction including “Sweet Lamb of Heaven”, “Mermaids in Paradise” and “Love in Infant Monkeys”. 

Book Cover for How to be an Antiracist and photo of Ibram X. Kendi
Author photo by Jeff Watts

Joe Donahue: Racism intersects with class and culture and geography and even changes the way we see and value ourselves. In his new book “How to Be an Antiracist”, Professor Ibram X. Kendi takes readers through a widening circle of antiracist ideas that look to help us see all forms of racism clearly understand their poisonous consequences and work to oppose them in our systems, in ourselves. Ibram X. Kendi is the founding director of the Antiracist Research and Policy Center at American University. He's also a columnist at the Atlantic and author of “Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America”, which won the National Book Award for nonfiction. His latest is “How to Be an Antiracist”. 

What would have happened if Hillary Rodham had never married Bill Clinton? In real life, Bill Clinton proposed to Hillary Rodham twice and she said no, until the third time. In author Curtis Sittenfeld's new novel, "Rodham," she says no the third time, too. And she goes her own way to become a law professor, and then a politician. 

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