The Book Review

The Book Review

The world's top authors and critics join host Gilbert Cruz and editors at The New York Times Book Review to talk about the week's top books, what we're reading and what's going on in the literary world. Listen to this podcast in New York Times Audio, our new iOS app for news subscribers. Download now at


June 2, 2023 20 mins

For readers, a book’s meaning can change with every encounter, depending on the circumstances and experiences they bring to it each time. On this week’s podcast, Gilbert Cruz talks to Salamishah Tillet, a Pulitzer-winning contributing critic at large for The Times, about her abiding love for Toni Morrison’s novel “Beloved” — in which a mother chooses to kill her own daughter rather than let her live in slavery — and about the ways ...

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The writer Martin Amis, who died last week at the age of 73, was a towering figure of English literature who for half a century produced a body of work distinguished by its raucous wit, cutting intelligence and virtuosic prose.

On this week’s podcast, Gilbert Cruz talks with The Times’s critics Dwight Garner (who wrote Amis’s obituary for the paper) and Jason Zinoman (who co-hosts a podcast devoted to Amis’s career, “The Martin Chro...

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Are you ready to dive in to the work of the prolific and inventive fantasy writer Neil Gaiman? On this week’s episode, the longtime Gaiman fan J.D. Biersdorfer, an editor at the Book Review, talks with the host Gilbert Cruz about Gaiman’s work, which she recently wrote about for our continuing “Essentials” series.

Also this week, Cruz talks with the Times critic Dwight Garner about “The Death of the Author,” a murder mystery that th...

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May 12, 2023 34 mins

The Pulitzer Prizes were announced on Monday, bestowing one of America’s most prestigious awards in journalism and the arts on writers across a range of categories. Among the winners were three authors who had also appeared on the Book Review’s list of the 10 Best Books of 2022: the New Yorker staff writer Hua Hsu, for his memoir “Stay True,” and two novelists who (in a first for the Pulitzers) shared the prize in fiction, Barbara ...

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May 5, 2023 26 mins

Book-banning efforts remain one of the biggest stories in the publishing industry, and on this week’s episode of the podcast, our publishing reporters Alexandra Alter and Elizabeth Harris chat with the host Gilbert Cruz about the current state of such attempted bans and how they differ from similar efforts in the past.

“It is amazing to see both the upward trend in book bans but also the ways that the process of getting bans has evo...

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April 28, 2023 33 mins

Eleanor Catton’s new novel, “Birnam Wood,” is a rollicking eco-thriller that juggles a lot of heady themes with a big plot and a heedless sense of play — no surprise, really, from a writer who won Britain’s prestigious Man Booker Prize for her previous novel, “The Luminaries,” and promptly established herself as a leading light in New Zealand’s literary community.

On this week’s podcast, Catton tells the host Gilbert Cruz how that e...

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David Grann is one of the top narrative nonfiction writers at work today; a staff writer at The New Yorker, he has previously combined a flair for adventure writing with deep historical research in acclaimed books including “The Lost City of Z” and “Killers of the Flower Moon.” His latest, “The Wager,” applies those talents to a seafaring tale of mutiny and murder, reconstructing the fate of a lost British man-of-war that foundered...

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It’s been more than 50 years since the publication of Judy Blume’s middle-grade novel “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret,” a coming-of-age tale that has become a classic for its frank discussion of everything from puberty to religious identity to life in the New Jersey suburbs. Despite its grip on generations of readers, though, the book has never been adapted for film — until now, in a screenplay written by the director Kelly F...

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April 7, 2023 27 mins

As you might guess, the folks who work at the Book Review are always reading — and many of them like to juggle three or four books at once. In this episode, Gilbert Cruz talks to the editors Tina Jordan and Greg Cowles about what they’ve been reading and enjoying, and then, in honor of National Poetry Month, interviews Cowles — who, in addition to about a million other things, edits the Book Review's poetry coverage — about how he ...

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After a spate of more or less contemporary horror novels set in and around New York, Victor LaValle’s latest book, “Lone Women,” opens in 1915 as its heroine, Adelaide Henry, is burning down her family’s Southern California farmhouse with her dead parents inside, then follows her to Montana, where she moves to become a homesteader with a mysteriously locked steamer trunk in tow.

“Nothing in this genre-melding book is as it seems,” C...

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March 17, 2023 23 mins

It should come as no surprise that writers and editors at the Book Review do a lot of outside reading — and, even among ourselves, we like to discuss the books that are on our minds. On this week’s episode, Gilbert Cruz talks to the critic Jennifer Szalai and the editors Sadie Stein and Joumana Khatib about what they’ve been reading (and in some cases listening to) recently.

For Szalai, that includes a novel she’s revisiting some tw...

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March 10, 2023 20 mins

The 95th Academy Awards will be presented on Sunday evening in Hollywood, with top contenders including “Tár,” “Women Talking” and “Everything Everywhere All at Once.” For readers, it’s a perfect excuse to revisit two recent books about the Oscars.

On this week’s episode, the host Gilbert Cruz talks to our critic Alexandra Jacobs about “The Academy and the Award,” by Bruce Davis, a former executive director of the Academy of Motion ...

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It's been 50 years since Michael Lesy's influential cult classic "Wisconsin Death Trip" was published. A documentary text of found material, the book gathered prosaic historical photos of Wisconsin residents from the turn of the 20th century and paired them to haunting effect with fragmentary newspaper archives from the same time period reporting on often garish deaths — what our critic Dwight Garner, evaluating the book for its an...

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February 24, 2023 19 mins

Some books find us at the right age and in the right frame of mind to lodge an enduring hold on our imagination; these are the books we turn to again and again, which become the cherished classics of our personal canon.

On this week's episode, the Book Review's thriller columnist and writer at large Sarah Lyall talks to the host Gilbert Cruz about Madeleine L'Engle's 1962 novel "A Wrinkle in Time," in which the protagonist and her y...

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At a time when public libraries and librarians are facing budget headwinds and sometimes intense political scrutiny for the roles they play in their communities, the Times photo editor Erica Ackerberg last fall dispatched photographers to seven libraries in cities, suburbs and rural areas across the country to document what daily life in those public institutions really looks like in today's world. The resulting photographs, publis...

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Admit it: It's fun to look at other people's marriages — and all the more fun if those marriages are messy. In a new group biography, "Lives of the Wives: Five Literary Marriages," the author Carmela Ciuraru peers into some relationships that are very messy indeed: the tumultuous marriages of Kenneth Tynan and Elaine Dundy; Roald Dahl and Patricia Neal; Kingsley Amis and Elizabeth Jane Howard; Radclyffe Hall and Una Troubridge; and...

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February 3, 2023 21 mins

How do you define a "big book"? It might be a new offering from a beloved author or a deep dive into a timely subject or a story that has generated unusual enthusiasm among editors and other early readers: One way or another, these are the books that build "buzz" and create momentum in the weeks and months before their publication. On this week's podcast, the Book Review's editor, Gilbert Cruz, talks with Tina Jordan, the deputy ed...

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December 9, 2022 29 mins

Last week’s podcast featured members of The New York Times’s Books staff discussing the Book Review’s picks for the best books of 2022. The paper’s staff book critics participated in that selection process — but as readers inevitably do, they also cherished a more personal and idiosyncratic set of books, the ones that spoke to them on account of great characters or great writing, surprising information or heartfelt vulnerability or...

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December 2, 2022 56 mins

Heads up! The Book Review podcast returns with a new episode this week, recorded Tuesday during a live event in which several of our editors and critics discussed the Book Review’s list of the year’s 10 Best Books. (If you haven’t seen the list yet and don’t want spoilers before listening, the choices are revealed one by one on the podcast.)

In addition to the 10 Best Books, the editors discuss on this episode some of their favorite...

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November 24, 2022 43 mins

For the next few months, we’re sharing some of our favorite conversations from the podcast’s archives. This week’s segments first appeared in 2019 and 2020, respectively.

In their best-selling book “She Said” — the basis for the Maria Schrader-directed film of the same title, currently in theaters — the Times reporters Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey recount how they broke the Harvey Weinstein story, work that earned them the Pulitzer ...

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