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the book show

From his rapid-fire stand-up comedy riffs to his starring roles in "Mork and Mindy" and "Good Will Hunting," Robin Williams was an innovative and beloved entertainer -- but as New York Times culture reporter Dave Itzkoff shows in his new biography, "Robin," Williams' comic brilliance masked a deep well of conflicting emotions and self-doubt.

Rachel Kadish’s new novel The Weight of Ink is set in London. It is the interwoven tale of two women of remarkable intellect – one an emigrant from Amsterdam who is permitted to scribe for a blind rabbi, just before the plague hits the city; the other an ailing historian with a love of Jewish history.

As host of “The Lead” and “State of the Union” on CNN, Jake Tapper spends his days bringing attention to some of the biggest political headlines.

Tapper has now brought Washington intrigue and the “swampiness” on this city to his first novel. “The Hellfire Club,” is a political thriller that takes place during the days when Senator Joe McCarthy was carrying out his Communist “witch hunt.”

Kirk Walla Johnson and Book cover "The Feather Thief
Marie-Josee Cantin Johnson

Kirk Wallace Johnson’s new book, “The Feather Thief: Beauty, Obsession and the Natural History Heist of the Century,” is a true story which explores the 2009 theft of rare Victorian-era bird feathers from a British museum by American music student Edwin Rist who was obsessed with using the feathers for exotic fishing lures.

Sue Halpern is the author of seven books of fiction and nonfiction. Her new novel, “Summer Hours at the Robbers Library,” tells us about a little New England library that has become the heart of a small town. In the book, we meet an unlikely trio who are drawn to each other and who come to terms with how their lives have unraveled and how they finally can reclaim their stories.

Bestselling YA author Andrea Buchanan lost her mind while crossing the street one blustery March morning. The cold winter air triggered a coughing fit, and she began to choke.

She was choking on a lot that day. A sick son. A pending divorce. The guilt of failing as a partner and as a mother. When the coughing finally stopped, she thought it was over. She could not have been more wrong. Her new memoir is "The Beginning of Everything: The Year I Lost My Mind and Found Myself."

Larry Ruhl’s new book, “Breaking the Ruhls,” is a profoundly personal account of the impact of complex trauma on a man’s life. Larry’s father sought comfort from his only son, blurring critical boundaries that would prove deeply debilitating. Larry’s mother, with her spiraling, ever-changing mental illness kept the family in a constant state of anxiety.

It's been more than two decades since award-winning author Charles Frazier had wild success with his debut novel, "Cold Mountain."

Frazier’s 4th novel, "Varina," returns to that era with the story of Varina Howell - the second wife of Jefferson Davis.

This is an Off The Shelf edition of The Book Show, presented by Northshire Bookstore and taped live in front of an audience.

Stefan Merrill Block and book cover for "Oliver Loving"
Author Photo: Beowulf Sheehan

Stefan Merrill Block frequently covers bleak territory in his novels, and his latest, “Oliver Loving,” is no exception.

Block takes us inside the mind of a comatose West Texas teen who has been hit in the head during a mass shooting on the night of his high school prom.

Kristin Hannah’s best-selling novel “The Nightingale” illuminated the women of the French resistance in World War II. Her new novel “The Great Alone” focuses on fiercely independent women in extraordinarily difficult circumstances in Alaska who must fight each day to survive.

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.

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.

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.”

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.

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