the book show | WAMC

the book show

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. 

Joe Donahue: In the new thriller “The End of October” from the Pulitzer Prize winner and bestselling author Lawrence Wright, Dr. Henry Parsons an unlikely but appealing hero, races to find the origins and cure of a mysterious new killer virus as it brings the world to its knees. The novel has a virus that starts in Asia, sweeps across continents, cripples the healthcare system wrecks the economy and kills scores of people worldwide. Yes, eerily prescient. And Lawrence Wright is a Pulitzer Prize winning author, screenwriter, staff writer for The New Yorker magazine and fellow at the Center for Law and Security at the New York University School of Law. 

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. 

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: Welcome to The Book Show, a celebration of reading and writers. I'm Joe Donohue. In Sue Monk Kidd's, new novel, "The Book of Longing", she imagines a young woman named Ana, who becomes the wife of Jesus. The novel explores many of the signature themes in Kidd's fiction: feminism, the search for self, the quest for one's voice and purpose, and the power of female community. In particular, this novel explores the longings and virtuosities in women, as well as their silencing and marginalization within Western religion. The story evokes a seminal question: how would the world be different if Jesus had had a wife? Sue Monk Kidd's debut, "The Secret Life of Bees" spent more than 100 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, it has sold more than 6 million copies. Her other novels include "The Mermaid Chair" and "The Invention of Wings". Again, the latest is "The Book of Longings". 

Joe Donahue: Welcome to The Book Show, a celebration of reading and writers. I'm Joe Donahue. Robert Reich is Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy at Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley. He has served in three national administrations, including Secretary of Labor from 1993 to 1997. He's also the bestselling author of "Saving Capitalism" and "The Common Good". His latest book is "The System: Who Rigged It, How To Fix It". It's an analysis of how the rigged systems of American politics and power operate. How this status quo came to be and how average citizens can enact change.

"Afterlife" is the first adult novel in almost 15- years by Julia Alvarez - the bestselling author of In the "Time of the Butterflies" and "How the García Girls Lost Their Accents." "Afterlife" is a compact yet deeply felt novel that speaks to grief, our broken society, and the questions of what we owe to each other, ourselves, and our larger community.

Rahm Emanuel is a former two-term mayor of Chicago and White House Chief of Staff for President Barack Obama. In his new book, "The Nation City: Why Mayors Are Now Running the World," he offers a firsthand account of how cities, rather than the federal government, stand at the center of innovation and effective governance. 

James McBride is the author of the National Book Award winning "The Good Lord Bird" and the modern classic "The Color of Water." His new book is "Deacon King Kong," a wise and witty tale about what happens to the witnesses of a shooting. 

Jenny Offill's new novel, "Weather," is about a family, and a nation, in crisis.

Lizzie Benson slid into her job as a librarian without a traditional degree, but this gives her a vantage point from which to practice her other calling: she is a fake shrink which sees her advice grow increasingly apocalyptic and unhinged.

Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman is one of the most recognizable and trusted voices on economics and policy today. His new book "Arguing with Zombies: Economics, Politics and the Fight for a Better Future” explains the complexities of health care, housing bubbles, tax reform, Social Security, with his trademarked clarity and precision.

Patrick Radden Keefe, a staff writer for the New Yorker, is the author the best-selling: “Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland.” In it, Keefe looks at the disappearance of Jean McConville, a widowed young mother of ten children and explores the broader context of the terrorism and counterterrorism campaigns in Northern Ireland over the course of the Troubles, and what happened to the perpetrators and the victims of this crime.

Renowned radio host Diane Rehm joins us this week to discuss her new book, “When My Time Comes,” which addresses the urgent, hotly contested cause of the Right-to-Die movement, of which she is one of the most inspiring champions.

Erik Larson is known for expertly transporting readers to past worlds; even stories we think we know come to life in a different way in his hands.

His latest, “The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz,” takes us into the heart of war-torn England for the period of May 10, 1940, through May 10, 1941, which was Winston Churchill’s first year as prime minister.

Pages