book show | WAMC

book show

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.

In the new book, “The Founding Fortunes,” historian Tom Shachtman reveals the ways in which a dozen notable Revolutionaries deeply affected the finances and birth of the new country while making and losing their fortunes.

In Gish Jen’s latest “The Resisters,” we meet Gwen who has a Golden Arm and her teens find her happily playing in an underground baseball league. The novel is the story of an America that seems ever more possible. It is also the story of one family struggling to maintain its humanity and normalcy in circumstances that threaten their every value as well as their very existence.

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 "Outside Looking In" and author photo of T.C. Boyle
Author Photo - Jamieson Fry

T.C. Boyle's novel, "Outside Looking In," takes readers back to the 1960s and to the early days of LSD.

The book tells the story of Harvard Ph.D. students whose lives veer out of control after they are drawn into the orbit of renowned psychologist and LSD enthusiast Timothy Leary.

Archer Mayor is the author of the critically-acclaimed series of police novels feature Lt. Joe Gunther of the Brattleboro, Vermont, police department.  In Mayor’s latest Joe Gunther novel “Bomber’s Moon,” the murder of a small-time drug dealer snowballs into the most complex case ever faced by Joe Gunther and his Vermont Bureau of Investigation team. 

In the pages of his new book, "Medallion Status," John Hodgman explores the strangeness of his career, speaking plainly of fame, especially at the weird, marginal level he enjoyed it. He says he was a “famous minor television personality.” His essays offer a thoughtful examination of status, fame and identity.

Renowned astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson is the author of the New York Times best-selling book, “Astrophysics for People in a Hurry.” His new book, “Letters From An Astrophysicist,” shares his correspondence with people who have sought his perspective on questions about science, faith, philosophy and, of course, Pluto.

Terry Tempest Williams is renowned for her singular body of literature on the environment and our experiences of home.  Her new book “Erosion: Essays of Undoing,” explores this connection, particularly to her home state of Utah, as an evolutionary process and how our undoing of the self, self-centeredness, extractive capitalism, fear, tribalism can also be our becoming, creating room for change and progress.

Book Cover for "On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous" and author photo of Ocean Vuong
Author photo by Tom Hines

Brilliant, heartbreaking, tender, and highly original - poet Ocean Vuong’s debut novel, “On Earth, We’re Briefly Gorgeous,” is a sweeping and shattering portrait of a family, and a testament to the redemptive power of storytelling written as a letter from a son to a mother who cannot read. 

Sharon Olds is renowned for poetry that examines marriage, motherhood, intimacy, and the human condition. She is the author of 13 books of poetry and received both the Pulitzer Prize and England’s T. S. Eliot Prize.

Her new collection, “Arias,” explores political conscience, race and class in poems delivered with operatic passion, anguish and solo force.


New York Times columnist Gail Collins has written a new book on a subject that is timelier than ever: women and aging in America. Author of the acclaimed New York Times bestsellers “When Everything Changed” and “America’s Women,” Collins was the first woman to serve as the editorial page editor on the New York Times.

Her new book is “No Stopping Us Now: The Adventures of Older Women in American History.”

Olive Kitteridge, the funny, wicked, remorseful and gruff woman who was the propelling force in Elizabeth Strout’s book of short stories “Olive Kitteridge” – which won the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for fiction – is back in Strout’s new collection, “Olive, Again.”

This episode was recorded at an event presented by Oblong Books and Music.

Pulitzer Prize winner Rick Atkinson, who wrote the best-selling “Liberation” trilogy about the American effort in Europe during the Second World War, has now written the first book in a new trilogy to tell the story of the war that made America.

It’s called “The British Are Coming: The War for America, Lexington to Princeton, 1775-1777.”

Sean Penn won Academy Awards for Best Actor for his performances in “Mystic River” and “Milk.” He is also a novelist. His debut novel was “Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff” and he’s followed it up with the sequel “Bob Honey Sings Jimmy Crack Corn,” where he follows the exploits of Bob Honey, a septic tank entrepreneur turned international mallet-wielding assassin.

Alice Hoffman’s latest book is a bittersweet parable about the costs of survival and the behaviors that define humanity. “The World That We Knew” is set in Berlin in 1941. It follows the lives of three women who become intertwined in order to survive the dangers of the Nazi regime.

This is an Off The Shelf edition of The Book Show, recorded in Saratoga Springs in an event presented by Northshire Bookstore.

Janis Joplin has passed into legend as a brash, impassioned soul doomed by the pain that produced one of the most extraordinary voices in rock history. But in her new biography, “Janis: Her Life and Music,” Holly George-Warren provides a deep portrait of a woman who wasn’t all about suffering.

“Imaginary Friend” is the new novel, a horror story, by Stephen Chbosky. It comes 20 years after he wrote the bestselling coming-of-age novel "The Perks of Being a Wallflower." The new book raises questions about faith, parenting, friendship and what it means to protect those you love most in an increasingly complex and dangerous world.

For seven years, journalist and New Yorker writer Eliza Griswold reported and wrote the story of how fracking in southwestern Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale forever altered the lives of Stacey Haney, her daughter, Paige and her son, Harley. Griswold’s book, “Amity and Prosperity: One Family and the Fracturing of America,” just received the Pulitzer Prize for general nonfiction.

Author photo of Jacqueline Woodson and book cover for "Red at the Bone"
Author photo by Tiffany A. Bloomfield

Jacqueline Woodson is the New York Times-bestselling and National Book Award-winning author of "Another Brooklyn" and "Brown Girl Dreaming."

Her latest novel, "Red at the Bone," tells how an unexpected teenage pregnancy pulls together two families from different social classes, and exposes the private hopes, disappointments, and longings that can bind or divide us from each other.

Edwidge Danticat author photo and book cover for "Everything Inside"
Lynn Savarese

Edwidge Danticat’s new book “Everything Inside” is a collection of stories about community, family, and love.

Set in locales from Miami and Port-au-Prince to a small unnamed country in the Caribbean, “Everything Inside” is at once wide in scope and intimate as it explores the forces that pull us together and drive us apart.

Malcolm Gladwell and the book cover for "Talking to Strangers"
Author photo by Celeste Sloman

Malcolm Gladwell’s books bestselling books include “The Tipping Point,” “Blink” and “Outliers.”

In his first book in six years, “Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know About the People We Don’t Know,” Gladwell offers an examination of our interactions with strangers and why they often go so terribly wrong.

Book cover for "Quichotte" and author photo of Salman Rushdie
salmanrushdie.com

Salman Rushdie is one of the world’s most renowned authors. “Midnight’s Children” is considered one of the greatest novels of the 20th century. It was “The Satanic Verses” that brought him notoriety. His latest, “Quichotte,” is a modern, very American retelling of “Don Quixote.”

This episode was recorded at The Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College in Annondale-On-Hudson, New York in an event co-prestented by Oblong Books and Music

The majority of celestial space is inactive and will remain forever unruffled. But when cosmic violence does unfold, it changes the very fabric of the universe, with mega-explosions and ripple effects that reach the near limits of human comprehension. In his new book “Earth-Shattering,” astronomy writer Bob Berman investigates these instances of violence both mammoth and microscopic.

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

Ibram X. Kendi is the founding director of the Antiracist Research and Policy Center at American University. He is 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 book is “How to Be An Antiracist.” 

In Richard Russo’s latest, “Chances Are…,” a reunion on Martha's Vineyard reopens old mysteries and wounds for three Vietnam-era college friends. Russo is the author of eight novels, most recently “Everybody’s Fool” and “That Old Cape Magic;” two collections of stories; and the memoir “Elsewhere.” In 2002 he received the Pulitzer Prize for “Empire Falls.”

This “Off the Shelf” edition of “The Book Show” was recorded at the Zankel Music Center on the campus of Skidmore College in partnership with Northshire Bookstore in Saratoga Springs, New York.

Pages