The Book Show

Tuesdays, 3pm - 3:30pm; Thursdays, 8:30pm - 9pm

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. 

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

Gish Jen has spent much of her literary career writing about the experiences of Chinese-Americans. Her latest book, “The Girl at the Baggage Claim: Explaining the East-West Culture Gap,” makes the case for the sociological and cultural patterns that influence many aspects of identity.

If you knew the date of your death, how would you live your life? It is the question at the center of Chloe Benjamin’s new novel, “The Immortalists.”

Four siblings find out and keep the dates secret from one another, but their prophecies inform their next five decades.

In Tayari Jones’ new novel, “An American Marriage,” newlyweds Celestial and Roy, African-American professional who live in Atlanta, find their lives shattered when Roy is accused of a crime he didn’t commit and is incarcerated. The novel explores race, loyalty, and love that endures.

Colson Whitehead’s novel "The Underground Railroad," tells the story of a runaway slave and re-imagines the pre-Civil War South. It won the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book award and it is now out in paperback.

Tom Perrotta’s novel, "Mrs. Fletcher," is a provocative and very funny look at parenthood, the empty nest, and sex in the suburbs.

Perrotta is the author of eight works of fiction including "Election," "Joe College" and "Little Children." His novel "The Leftovers" was adapted into an HBO series. 

Nick Harkaway is the author of such novels as “The Gone-Away World” and “Tigerman.”

His latest, “Gnomon,” is set in a near-future, high-tech surveillance state that is equal parts dark comedy, detective story, and mind-bending philosophical puzzle.

The new book, “Modern Loss: Candid Conversation about Grief. Beginners Welcome,” is an examination into navigating grief and resilience in the age of social media, offering comfort and community for coping with the mess of loss through candid original essays from a variety of voices.

At a time when we mourn public figures and national tragedies with hashtags, where intimate posts about loss go viral and we receive automated birthday reminders for dead friends, it’s clear we are navigating new terrain without a road map.

Enter Rebecca Soffer and Gabrielle Birkner. Each having lost parents as young adults, they co-founded Modern Loss, responding to a need to change the dialogue around the messy experience of grief. They look to offer the insights of the Modern Loss community to help us cry, laugh, grieve, identify, and empathize.

Acclaimed writers Madeleine Thien and Peter Ho Davies join us this week to share their stories of Chinese heritage and the human experience. Thien’s latest work is “Do Not Say We Have Nothing” and Peter Ho Davies’ novel is “The Fortunes.”

Roz Chast has published more than a thousand cartoons in The New Yorker since 1978. Her frantic and disheveled characters have become icons of American humor. Her new book is "Going Into Town: A Love Letter to New York" – a graphic ode/guide/thank-you note to Manhattan.

Alexandra Fuller is best known for her memoirs about her African childhood and the family she left behind; she’s just written her debut novel, Quiet Until the Thaw.

The book brings us into the world of the Lakota Sioux in South Dakota and the fictional family she has imagined there. 

Arundhati Roy published her first novel, The God of Small Things, back in 1997 and now Roy is back with a new novel, The Ministry of Utmost Happiness.

In it, she weaves among other threads, the story of a transgender woman in Delhi and a Kashmiri freedom fighter while also shining a spotlight on modern India.

New York Times bestselling author of "The Martian" - Andy Weir’s new novel "Artemis," is a near-future crime caper where Weir introduces us to Jazz, a smart, directionless twenty-something who is dreaming of a better life in a small town. Except the small town happens to be named Artemis—and it’s the first and only city on the moon.

On July 17, 2014, a black man named Eric Garner died on a sidewalk after a police officer put him in what has been described as an illegal chokehold during an arrest for selling bootleg cigarettes.

In his new book, “I Can't Breathe: A Killing on Bay Street,” journalist Matt Taibbi writes about Garner's life, the police practices that contributed to his death and the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement.

“Manhattan Beach” is the latest from Pulitzer-Prize winning novelist Jennifer Egan. It is a haunting and propulsive WWII-era novel that tells the intertwined stories of Anna Kerrigan, a Brooklyn Navy Yard diver, her father Eddie Kerrigan, a longshoreman turned small-time gangster, and Eddie’s connected boss, Dexter Styles.

George Saunders is considered one of the great masters of the short-story. He’s now written his first novel, Lincoln in the Bardo – a novel that comes from the real-life death of Willie Lincoln, the 11 year-old son of Abe and Mary Lincoln in 1862. 

Marvin Kalb spent 30 years as an award-winning reporter for CBS News and NBC News. In 1956, Kalb was selected by the State Department to do translation work in Moscow.

He tells the story of that year in his new book: The Year I Was Peter the Great: 1956 - Khrushchev, Stalin’s Ghost, and a Young American in Russia.

Tyehimba Jess’ poetry serves as a bridge between “slam poetry” and other American verse traditions. His second collection Olio, which celebrates the unrecorded and largely unknown Black musicians and orators of the 19th and early 20th centuries, won the 2017 Pulitzer Prize.

In his new book, Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire: A 500-Year History, NYT bestselling author and co-creator of the Peabody-Award winning public radio show Studio 360, Kurt Andersen, provides a new and comprehensive understanding of our post-truth world and the American instinct in make- believe.

This interview was recorded at UAlbany as part of the New York State Writers Institute symposium: Telling the Truth in a Post-Truth World.

Sebastian Barry is one of the most prominent Irish writers of his generation. In his latest novel, Days without End, he explores America through the eyes of a young Irish immigrant fighting in the great wars of the mid-19th century.

It’s about war, immigration, and the violent making of America, but also a moving love story between two gay men. 

Once known as the largest ghetto in the U.S., the Bedford–Stuyvesant, Brooklyn of today is more notable for its headlines in the real-estate section. But as systematic racism converges with gentrification, the neighborhood again finds itself as the center of a cultural quandary in Brian Platzer’s debut novel, Bed-Stuy is Burning.

Adam Gopnik’s new memoir, At the Strangers’ Gate: Arrivals in New York, is a memoir that captures the romance of New York City in the 1980’s.

The book is essentially a prequel to Adam’s bestseller, Paris to the Moon, and documents his early adventures in the 1980’s in NYC with his wife. 

Salman Rushdie’s is best known for his novels Midnight's Children and The Satanic Verses, among others.

While those take place in India and the United Kingdom, his latest, The Golden House, is set in New York City against the backdrop of modern politics from Obama to Trump. 

WAMC/Northeast Public Radio is excited to announce a new season of guests and a re-brand of its popular syndicated program The Book Show. The change includes a new logo and new theme music.

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.

Dr. Atul Gawande helped transform the conversation about aging and death in his book, Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End.

He is a surgeon at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, a professor at Harvard Medical School, and a staff writer at The New Yorker.

Caroline Leavitt’s new novel, Cruel Beautiful World is about coming of age in 1969; about wild love, rebellion, and finding oneself in the time of Woodstock and the Manson murders.

The novel is a haunting, nuanced portrait of love, sisters, and the impossible legacy of family.   

Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich’s new book, The Fact of a Body: A Murder and a Memoir, is inspired by her time at a law firm in Louisiana working on the retrial defense of death-row convicted murderer and child molester Ricky Langley. She shows how ''the law is more personal than we would like to believe and the truth more complicated, and powerful, than we could ever imagine.''

Robert Thurman is a recognized worldwide authority on Indo-Tibetan Buddhism, and His Holiness the Dalai Lama. His new book - Man of Peace - presents the inside story of the Dalai Lama delving into his amazing life and vision, in the high tension of the military occupation of Tibet and the ongoing genocide of its people.

In her new novel, Touch, author Courtney Maum tells the story of a leading trend forecaster who suddenly finds herself in the position of wanting to overturn her own predictions.

Maum examines the issues of technology, family, and artificial intelligence in a sophisticated and very entertaining way. 

Colm Tóibín is the author of seven novels, his latest is House of Names. The book is his reimagining of one of the most famous Greek tragedies – the stories of Agamemnon, Clytemnestra, Iphigeneia, Electra, and Orestes.

  Best-selling historian Nathaniel Philbrick once again takes readers deep into the American Revolution, leading them into battles and illuminating the players on the field and behind the scenes.

His latest - Valiant Ambition: George Washington, Benedict Arnold, and the Fate of the American Revolution - is a complex, controversial, and dramatic portrait of a people in crisis and the war that gave birth to a nation. 

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