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NPR's Book of the Day

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In need of a good read? Or just want to keep up with the books everyone's talking about? NPR's Book of the Day gives you today's very best writing in a snackable, skimmable, pocket-sized podcast. Whether you're looking to engage with the big questions of our times – or temporarily escape from them – we've got an author who will speak to you, all genres, mood and writing styles included. Catch today's great books in 15 minutes or less.

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United States

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NPR

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In need of a good read? Or just want to keep up with the books everyone's talking about? NPR's Book of the Day gives you today's very best writing in a snackable, skimmable, pocket-sized podcast. Whether you're looking to engage with the big questions of our times – or temporarily escape from them – we've got an author who will speak to you, all genres, mood and writing styles included. Catch today's great books in 15 minutes or less.

Language:

English


Episodes

Memoirs by Helen Rebanks and Crystal Wilkinson weave recipes with women's stories

3/1/2024
Today's episode features two books that capture how cooking, taking care of loved ones, and running a home has sustained women for generations. First, NPR's Scott Simon speaks with Helen Rebanks (who is joined by actor and comedian Nick Offerman) about The Farmer's Wife, which chronicles her life as a homemaker and farmer in England. Then, Here & Now's Celeste Headlee speaks with former Kentucky poet laureate Crystal Wilkinson about Praisesong for the Kitchen Ghosts, which stretches back into Wilkinson's family history to understand how Black women were the unsung heroes of Appalachia. To listen to Book of the Day sponsor-free and support NPR's book coverage, sign up for Book of the Day+ at plus.npr.org/bookoftheday Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoices NPR Privacy Policy

Duration:00:19:48

'Julia' revisits George Orwell's '1984,' from a new point of view

2/29/2024
With permission from the Orwell estate, Sandra Newman's latest novel takes place in the same world and with many of the same characters as 1984, but retold through the eyes of Winston Smith's love interest, Julia. It's a deep exploration of women's experiences under totalitarianism, and as Newman tells NPR's Scott Simon, an appreciation of the original that doubles down on some of Orwell's humor and ability to capture the psyche of fear — and unexpected comfort — under political tyranny. To listen to Book of the Day sponsor-free and support NPR's book coverage, sign up for Book of the Day+ at plus.npr.org/bookoftheday Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoices NPR Privacy Policy

Duration:00:09:15

Hala Gorani's memoir 'But You Don't Look Arab' is a journey of belonging

2/28/2024
Journalist and former CNN anchor Hala Gorani tells NPR's Leila Fadel that she has a whole paragraph queued up to answer a seemingly simple question: Where are you from? Gorani's memoir, But You Don't Look Arab, unpacks her many roots across Istanbul, Syria, France and the U.S. — and grapples with how her identity and its impact on her work have been scrutinized for decades. In today's episode, she opens up about why she had to change her name and add a photo of herself to her passport to land a job in journalism, and why constant movement can offer an odd sort of comfort for her. To listen to Book of the Day sponsor-free and support NPR's book coverage, sign up for Book of the Day+ at plus.npr.org/bookoftheday Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoices NPR Privacy Policy

Duration:00:07:54

'Ours' follows a woman in the 1830s who has the power to free enslaved people

2/27/2024
Phillip B. Williams' debut novel, Ours, is a sweeping story that takes place in the 19th century. It takes off with a conjuror named Saint who destroys plantations and enslavers, and creates a community of freed people, Ours, that grapples with mysticism, spirituality and liberation over the course of several decades. In today's episode, Williams speaks with NPR's Ari Shapiro about the different interpretations and experiences of freedom in the novel, and the importance of community in the story. To listen to Book of the Day sponsor-free and support NPR's book coverage, sign up for Book of the Day+ at plus.npr.org/bookoftheday Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoices NPR Privacy Policy

Duration:00:09:58

'Private Equity' analyzes the ethical and personal costs of a career in finance

2/26/2024
There's a moment in Carrie Sun's memoir, Private Equity, when she remembers trying to answer a text for her high-pressure hedge fund job while running on the treadmill. It ended poorly — and Sun says, looking back, it was a good metaphor for the toll her career was taking on her life. In today's episode, Sun speaks with Here & Now's Scott Tong about the moral, mental and physical sacrifices we normalize for work, and why maybe that's not such a good thing. To listen to Book of the Day sponsor-free and support NPR's book coverage, sign up for Book of the Day+ at plus.npr.org/bookoftheday Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoices NPR Privacy Policy

Duration:00:10:28

'Fierce Ambition' and 'The Lede' look inside the world of journalism

2/23/2024
Today's episode focuses on two books about legendary journalists, the business of reporting and the state of the industry today. First, NPR's Mary Louise Kelly speaks with Jennet Conant about Fierce Ambition, a biography of war correspondent Maggie Higgins – the first woman to win a Pulitzer for foreign correspondence, who also resented being defined by her gender. Then, NPR's Scott Simon asks The New Yorker's Calvin Trillin about The Lede, an introspection into the realities of being a reporter, the careers of Edna Buchanan and R.W. "Johnny" Apple, and so much more. To listen to Book of the Day sponsor-free and support NPR's book coverage, sign up for Book of the Day+ at plus.npr.org/bookoftheday Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoices NPR Privacy Policy

Duration:00:16:54

'Thank You Please Come Again' pays homage to Southern gas station food shops

2/22/2024
Photojournalist Kate Medley took a road trip across 11 states in the South, documenting the culture of convenience stores and gas stations that serve hot, delicious food. Her new book, Thank You Please Come Again, captures how these establishments serve as important community meeting points across class, ethnic and racial divides. In today's episode, Medley speaks to NPR's Debbie Elliott about how communities of color are playing an important role in this Southern tradition, and how it's manifesting in dishes like cajun banh mis and jollof rice. To listen to Book of the Day sponsor-free and support NPR's book coverage, sign up for Book of the Day+ at plus.npr.org/bookoftheday Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoices NPR Privacy Policy

Duration:00:09:50

In a new graphic novel, romance flourishes during the Lunar New Year

2/21/2024
Lunar New Year Love Story, the new graphic novel written by Gene Luen Yang and illustrated by Leuyen Pham, follows a teenage girl who believes she's been stuck with a generational curse for heartbreak. But during the festivity's traditional lion dance, a chance encounter gives her hope she can rewrite her fate — if she's willing to take a chance. In today's episode, Yang and Pham speak with Here & Now's Robin Young about writing romance for young readers, and what they say are the three essential elements to a good kiss. To listen to Book of the Day sponsor-free and support NPR's book coverage, sign up for Book of the Day+ at plus.npr.org/bookoftheday Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoices NPR Privacy Policy

Duration:00:10:40

'Fight Right' analyzes how to communicate and connect through relationship conflicts

2/20/2024
Julie Schwartz Gottman and John Gottman know their fair share about relationship troubles — they're clinical psychologists who specialize in couples' therapy, and they've been married for more than 30 years. Their new book, Fight Right, breaks down how to navigate conflict by understanding communication styles, assessing wants and needs, and looking for positivity in any approach. In today's episode, the authors offer NPR's Andee Tagle some step-by-step advice on finding connection through any argument. To listen to Book of the Day sponsor-free and support NPR's book coverage, sign up for Book of the Day+ at plus.npr.org/bookoftheday Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoices NPR Privacy Policy

Duration:00:10:48

Yangsze Choo's 'The Fox Wife' explores gender, murder and folklore in the 1900s

2/19/2024
Yangsze Choo says she doesn't thoroughly plan out her novels – her newest, The Fox Wife, blossomed from that core idea behind the title, of a woman who also happens to be a fox. But beyond that, it's a story about a mother avenging her child, about a murder investigation in early 20th century China, and about family curses. As the author tells NPR's Scott Simon, foxes hold a wide range of intrigue and mystery in Chinese, Korean and Japanese legends — and it's these traits that broke open a whole world of secrets for her characters. To listen to Book of the Day sponsor-free and support NPR's book coverage, sign up for Book of the Day+ at plus.npr.org/bookoftheday Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoices NPR Privacy Policy

Duration:00:08:23

Novels by C.L. Miller and Tracy Sierra find suspense in spooky, old houses

2/16/2024
Today's episode features two thrillers that unravel in the darkened halls of historic houses. First, NPR's Scott Simon speaks with C.L. Miller about The Antique Hunter's Guide to Murder, a whodunnit amongst antique collectors trapped in an English manor under very bizarre circumstances. Then, NPR's Mary Louise Kelly asks Tracy Sierra about her debut novel, Nightwatching, and how the author's own New England home inspired this terrifying tale about a mother hiding from an intruder during a blizzard. To listen to Book of the Day sponsor-free and support NPR's book coverage, sign up for Book of the Day+ at plus.npr.org/bookoftheday Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoices NPR Privacy Policy

Duration:00:17:57

Kunal Purohit's book examines Hindutva pop, social media and hate speech

2/15/2024
Pop culture can be a powerful tool for social and political activism – but what happens when it's used to incite discrimination, or even violence? That's the question at the heart of journalist Kunal Purohit's book, H-Pop: The Secretive World of Hindutva Pop Stars. In today's episode, Purohit speaks with NPR's Diaa Hadid about how influencers, pop songs and poems are promoting Hindu nationalist values in India, and how political propaganda on social media can legitimize hate towards minority groups. To listen to Book of the Day sponsor-free and support NPR's book coverage, sign up for Book of the Day+ at plus.npr.org/bookoftheday Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoices NPR Privacy Policy

Duration:00:13:46

GennaRose Nethercott's short stories expose the monstrosity of human longing

2/14/2024
Years ago, author GennaRose Nethercott promised herself she would sit at a cafe every morning and come up with three new creatures — beasts inspired by medieval bestiaries that combined scientific record with moral folk tales. The result, Fifty Beasts to Break Your Heart, is a collection of short stories that show the magical yet spooky nature of human affection. In today's episode, Nethercott speaks with NPR's Elissa Nadworny about some of the monsters she came up with, and why she cherishes writing about darkness. To listen to Book of the Day sponsor-free and support NPR's book coverage, sign up for Book of the Day+ at plus.npr.org/bookoftheday Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoices NPR Privacy Policy

Duration:00:09:11

'Toxic' looks back on Janet Jackson, Britney Spears and tabloid culture in the 2000s

2/13/2024
Author Sarah Ditum has an uncomfortable label for the late 90s and early 2000s: the upskirt decade. In her new book, Toxic, Ditum analyzes how digital cameras, the Internet and tabloid misogyny created a perfect storm to permanently alter the lives and careers of nine famous women. In today's episode, Ditum speaks with NPR's Scott Detrow about the infamous Britney Spears interview with Diane Sawyer, the growth of social media throughout that decade, and the way younger generations are now reclaiming autonomy over their public image. To listen to Book of the Day sponsor-free and support NPR's book coverage, sign up for Book of the Day+ at plus.npr.org/bookoftheday Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoices NPR Privacy Policy

Duration:00:09:27

'Welcome the Wretched' argues for the separation of immigration and criminalization

2/12/2024
Welcome the Wretched, a new book by legal scholar César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández, makes the case that the immigration and criminal legal systems in the U.S. have become way too intertwined over time – and they should be separated. In today's episode, Cuauhtémoc García Hernández walks Here & Now's Deepa Fernandes through the history of how we got to this point of criminalizing immigration. He also explains why he doesn't think immigrants should be deported for breaking the law, and how racism operates in immigration enforcement. To listen to Book of the Day sponsor-free and support NPR's book coverage, sign up for Book of the Day+ at plus.npr.org/bookoftheday Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoices NPR Privacy Policy

Duration:00:11:56

'The Forgotten First' and 'Parcells: A Football Life' chronicle NFL history

2/9/2024
It's Super Bowl weekend — so today's episode is all about football. First, a 2021 interview between NPR's A Martinez and former NFL wide receiver Keyshawn Johnson. Johnson's book The Forgotten First looks back at the racial politics of his beloved sport, and highlights four key players who desegregated the game back in the 1940s. Then, NPR's David Greene paid a visit to legendary coach Bill Parcells' home in 2015 and asked about his memoir, Parcells: A Football Life, and the coaching tree he left behind even after his retirement. To listen to Book of the Day sponsor-free and support NPR's book coverage, sign up for Book of the Day+ at plus.npr.org/bookoftheday Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoices NPR Privacy Policy

Duration:00:14:46

Sarah Cooper's memoir 'Foolish' is about her immigrant family, TikTok fame and comedy

2/8/2024
Comedian Sarah Cooper blew up when her TikTok videos making fun of then-President Donald Trump's statements in press conferences went viral. Her new memoir, Foolish, recounts that moment in her life — but it also expands on Cooper's larger trajectory, from learning she was Black as the daughter of Jamaican immigrants to working at Google as an adult. She tells NPR's Leila Fadel just how surreal her rise in comedy has been, and why HomeGoods home decor actually dishes out some pretty wise life advice. To listen to Book of the Day sponsor-free and support NPR's book coverage, sign up for Book of the Day+ at plus.npr.org/bookoftheday Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoices NPR Privacy Policy

Duration:00:08:18

'Not the End of the World' takes a solutions-based approach to climate change

2/7/2024
There are lots of reasons to worry about climate change: rising temperatures, rising sea levels, devastating natural disasters. But in her new book, Not the End of the World, data scientist Hannah Ritchie says there's actually a lot of factors trending in the right direction, like declines in poverty rates and carbon emissions per capita. In today's episode, Ritchie speaks with NPR's Andrew Limbong about why it's important to reframe our thinking on the future of the planet, and how our decisions can actually make a difference. To listen to Book of the Day sponsor-free and support NPR's book coverage, sign up for Book of the Day+ at plus.npr.org/bookoftheday Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoices NPR Privacy Policy

Duration:00:09:43

Ai Weiwei's graphic memoir 'Zodiac' recounts a life of art and activism

2/6/2024
Told through the 12 signs of the Chinese Zodiac, Ai Weiwei's new graphic memoir moves between the past, present and future with anecdotes from his childhood in a Chinese labor camp to his most recent moments, including flashing the middle finger in front of Trump Tower. In today's episode, Ai Weiwei speaks with NPR's Scott Simon about some of those memories, including the 81 days he spent detained by the Chinese government. To listen to Book of the Day sponsor-free and support NPR's book coverage, sign up for Book of the Day+ at plus.npr.org/bookoftheday Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoices NPR Privacy Policy

Duration:00:05:55

'Find Me the Votes' investigates Trump's efforts to overturn the 2020 election

2/5/2024
As Donald Trump runs for office in 2024, a new book by journalists Michael Isikoff and Daniel Klaidman details how Trump attempted to overturn the presidential election in 2020, and how Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis built a case against him. In today's episode, NPR's Mary Louise Kelly speaks with Isikoff and Klaidman about Find Me the Votes, the layers of intimidation behind Trump's bid for power, and the fast-moving allegations against Willis and her counsel. To listen to Book of the Day sponsor-free and support NPR's book coverage, sign up for Book of the Day+ at plus.npr.org/bookoftheday Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoices NPR Privacy Policy

Duration:00:09:26