The Book Review

The Book Review

The world's top authors and critics join host John Williams 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

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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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 m...

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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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September 10, 2022 36 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 2010 and 2020, respectively.

Jennifer Egan’s latest novel, “The Candy House,” is a follow-up to her Pulitzer-winning novel “A Visit From the Goon Squad,” which came out in 2010. That year she appeared on the podcast and told the host Sam Tanenhaus how she had gone about organizing the book’s c...

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September 2, 2022 19 min

For the next few months, we’re sharing some of our favorite conversations from the podcast’s archives. This one was originally published on June 2, 2017.

The essayist and humorist David Sedaris started keeping diaries nearly half a century ago, and in 2017 he published a broad selection of entries from them in his book “Theft by Finding: Diaries (1977-2002).” On the podcast, he talked about how the diaries evolved, the kinds of deta...

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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 2011 and 2021, respectively.

The actor John Lithgow has been nominated for 13 Emmy Awards and has won six times, for roles as varied as the British prime minister Winston Churchill (on “The Crown”) and the extraterrestrial high commander Dick Solomon (on “3rd Rock From the Sun”). In 2011 he ta...

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August 19, 2022 43 min

For the next few months, we're sharing some of our favorite conversations from the podcast's archives. This one was originally published on April 19, 2019.

Eagerly awaiting the fifth volume in Robert A. Caro’s epic biography of Lyndon Johnson? You’re part of a big club. In the meantime, Caro published “Working,” a collection of pieces about how he writes his prizewinning books.

On the podcast, Caro talked about his methods an...

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Mark Braude’s new biography, “Kiki Man Ray,” visits a place of perennial interest — Left Bank Paris in the 1920s — through the life of the singer, model, memoirist and muse. On this week’s podcast, Braude says that his subject thoroughly captured the spirit of her age, “a mix of deep pain and a very deep love of life” that emerged after the First World War.

We’re used to reading about this age, Braude says, through the eyes of Ameri...

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August 5, 2022 43 min

Elisa Gabbert, the Book Review's On Poetry columnist, visits the podcast this week to discuss writing about poetry and her own forthcoming collection of poems, her fourth, “Normal Distance.”

“When I’m writing what I would call nonfiction or an essay or just pure prose, I’m really trying to be accurate,” Gabbert says. “I’m not lying, I’m really telling you what I think. There’s very minimal distance between my persona on the page...

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Dan Fesperman’s 13th thriller, “Winter Work,” is set just after the fall of the Berlin Wall. The Stasi, East Germany’s brutal Cold War intelligence service, was busy destroying evidence. The C.I.A. was just as busy trying to learn the enemy organization’s secrets.

“The C.I.A., initially, had people calling ex-Stasi agents,” Fesperman says on this week’s podcast. “They got a hold of a directory with home phone numbers of some of thes...

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