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.

Episodes

March 17, 2023 23 min

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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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 min

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 min

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 min

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 min

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 min

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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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 2017, respectively.

Taffy Brodesser-Akner's debut novel, “Fleishman Is in Trouble” — a best seller when it was published in 2019 — is back in the public eye, as the source material for Hulu’s new mini-series of the same name. The show, like the novel, follows a man’s life as his marri...

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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 2021 and 2019, respectively.

In his first two books, “Pictures at a Revolution” and “Five Came Back,” the entertainment journalist Mark Harris offered an ensemble look at Hollywood history, focusing first on five seminal movies and then on five wartime directors. But for his third book, in 202...

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For the next few months, we’re sharing some of our favorite conversations from the archives. This week we turn the mic over to our sibling podcast “The Ezra Klein Show,” for a discussion that aired last month between Klein and the novelist N.K. Jemisin.

The novelist and former Book Review columnist N.K. Jemisin is one of the most celebrated science-fiction and fantasy writers at work today: The winner of multiple Hugo Awards — inclu...

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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 2017 and 2018, respectively.

The longtime New York Times comedy critic Jason Zinoman is the first person ever to hold that position at the paper, and he’s a natural fit for it: In 2017, when his biography of the late-night host David Letterman was published, he explained on the podcast that hi...

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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 2016 and 2018, respectively.

Since winning the Pulitzer Prize in general nonfiction for his first book, “The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer,” in 2011, the physician and professor Siddhartha Mukherjee has gone on to write two more sweeping studies of medical and scientific subje...

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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 2017 and 2019, respectively.

The writer George Saunders has long been acclaimed for his short stories, which he has collected into five books since 1996 (including this year’s “Liberation Day”). But in 2017 he showed he was comfortable with longer narratives as well when he released his first ...

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October 7, 2022 43 min

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 1965, James Baldwin, by then internationally famous, faced off against William F. Buckley Jr., one of the leading voices of American conservatism, in a debate hosted by the Cambridge Union in England (and currently being dramatized as a stage show at the Public ...

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September 30, 2022 25 min

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 2017 and 2015, respectively.

Before “Little Fires Everywhere” was a hit series streaming on Hulu, it was a best-selling novel by Celeste Ng, who is also the author of the novels “Everything I Never Told You” and, most recently, the dystopian “Our Missing Hearts.” Ng came on the podcast in 2017...

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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 2017 and 2019, respectively.

Jann Wenner, the co-founder and longtime editor of Rolling Stone magazine, has a new memoir out — but it’s not the first book to tell his life story: In 2017, the journalist Joe Hagan published a biography, “Sticky Fingers,” that Wenner authorized and then repudiat...

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September 16, 2022 28 min

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 2017 and 2015, respectively.

Andrew Sean Greer won a Pulitzer Prize in 2018 for his comic novel “Less,” about a down-on-his-luck novelist named Arthur Less who embarks on a round-the-world trip to forget his sorrows. (Greer’s new novel, “Less Is Lost,” continues Less’s adventures in the same c...

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