The Book Case

By ABC News | Charlie Gibson, Kate Gibson

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Are you stuck in a reading rut? The Book Case makes the case for books outside of your usual genre. Wander the aisles of your local bookstore with Kate and Charlie Gibson and meet fascinating characters who will open your appetite to new categories while deepening your hunger for books. This weekly series will journey cover to cover through the literary world, featuring interviews with best-selling authors, tastemakers, and independent bookstore owners. New episodes post every Thursday.

Episode Date
Ayana Gray Creates New Worlds
2340
Episode description: Ayana Gray doesn't just write books, she creates worlds. At 29 years old, she is already one of the best selling YA authors on the market (yes, it's ok to be jealous). Her series, which became Beasts of Prey and the more recently released Beasts of Ruin, presents a lush Pan-African fantasy world that will suck you in and won't let go. As page turners with mature themes, these books are the perfect way for The Book Case to start talking about fantasy. Books Mentioned in the podcast: Beasts of Ruin by Ayana Gray Beasts of Prey by Ayana Gray Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien The Twilight Series by Stephenie Meyer The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling The Maze Runner Series by James Dashner The Divergent Series by Veronica Roth Little Thieves by Margaret Owen How to Tell if Your Cat is Plotting to Kill You by The Oatmeal The Belgariad by David Eddings Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver Karabian Red by Ashley N. Silver
Jan 26, 2023
John Boyne Revisits The Past
2112
You may have noticed that most weeks in our ‘rapid fire’ questions to featured authors, we ask if they have a favorite author. Little secret: Sometimes we are looking for ideas. A few weeks ago, John Irving told us he would read anything John Boyne has written just because Boyne wrote it. So we got busy reading John Boyne. It turns out he has a new book released just this past November, All the Broken Places, that is a continuation of sorts of a book released many years ago that was made into a terrific movie, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, that we both saw and admired. All the Broken Places centers around a now 91 year old woman who deals with the shame she feels knowing her father was commandant of Auschwitz, having tried to hide her past for decades. How that haunts her makes for an engrossing read. Thank you to John! Our book store this week is Joseph-Beth Booksellers in Lexington, Kentucky and Cincinnati, Ohio.  Books Mentioned in the Podcast: The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne All the Broken Places by John Boyne The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne The Absolutist by John Boyne My Brother’s Name is Jessica by John Boyne A History of Loneliness by John Boyne Stay Where You Are and Then Leave by John Boyne The Boy At The Top Of The Mountain by John Boyne A Ladder to the Sky by John Boyne The House of Special Purpose by John Boyne The Echo Chamber by John Boyne The Book Thief by Markus Zusak The Cider House Rules by John Irving The Silver Sword by Ian Serraillier Snow by John Banville The Singularities by John Banville The Sea by John Banville Horse by Geraldine Brooks Clay’s Quilt by Silas House Southernmost by Silas House Lark Ascending by Silas House Not Your Average Hot Guy by Gwenda Bond The Date from Hell by Gwenda Bond Dhalgren by Samuel R. Delany
Jan 19, 2023
David Sedaris is Back in the Book Case
2407
This week it is David Sedaris part two - or David Sedaris redux. We loved our conversation with him and as we said last week, were we to limit the conversation to just one podcast, we’d have to cut out some of the good stuff. This week David talks about his empathy for those who come to hear him speak or who ask him to sign a book, his love for reading appearances, how he tries out new material on audiences, and how those audiences don’t seem to remember any of what he read. Listen to the end for a funny anecdote. Our bookstore this week is Arundel Books in Seattle - the store David said was his favorite ‘indie’ in the U-S. Books Mentioned in the Podcast: Happy-Go-Lucky by David Sedaris Calypso by David Sedaris Barrel Fever by David Sedaris Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris When You are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris Carnival of Snackery: Diaries (2003-2020) by David Sedaris SantaLand Diaries by David Sedaris Theft by Finding: Diaries (1997-2002) by David Sedaris Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk by David Sedaris Naked by David Sedaris Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls by David Sedaris The Best of Me by David Sedaris Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim by David Sedaris This Boy's Life by Tobias Wolff The Collected Short Stories of Tobias Wolff by Tobias Wolff The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne Pulp by Charles Bukowski Babel by R.F. Kuang Freshwater for Flowers by Valerie Perrin The Midnight Library by Matt Haig
Jan 12, 2023
David Sedaris Journals Gold
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David Sedaris is our guest this week and next. Our conversation with him was so delightful and insightful that we could find no way to edit our conversation to just one podcast without leaving out too much of the “good stuff’. David is unique. He writes marvelous essays of observation about modern life drawing much of his material from audiences who come to listen to him read and with whom he spends considerable time interacting. He writes about serious family issues he’s encountered with great humor. He writes about playing a Christmas elf at Macy’s, and how can that fail to draw a chuckle? “Happy-Go-Lucky” is his latest collection of essays. But there are many. We loved everything of his we read. You will too. Books mentioned in this podcast: Happy-Go-Lucky by David Sedaris Calypso by David Sedaris Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris Carnival of Snackery: Diaries (2003-2020) by David Sedaris SantaLand Diaries by David Sedaris Theft by Finding: Diaries (1997-2002) by David Sedaris Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk by David Sedaris Naked by David Sedaris The Best of Me by David Sedaris Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris Barrel Fever by David Sedaris Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim by David Sedaris
Jan 05, 2023
Esmeralda Santiago Dreams Her Reality
2385
It might seem a bit presumptuous to write a three volume autobiography about the first 29 years of your life, wouldn’t you think? But Esmerelda Santiago lived an almost unbelievable first thirty years and writes in such a personal fashion, that reading her story makes you feel as if you’re in the company of a good friend speaking just to you. The first volume, When I was Puerto Rican tells the story of growing up in abject poverty in Puerto Rico with no expectations of anything more. The second volume, Almost a Woman tells of her coming to the United States terrified about what life would be like and through the most improbable of circumstances finding herself in an esteemed school for the performing arts though speaking almost no English. The third volume, The Turkish Lover finds Esmerelda realizing she is a whole lot smarter than the man in her life - applying to Harvard and graduating Magna Cum Laude! How is that for 29 years? If you’re intimidated by three short volumes, just try the first volume and see if you don’t want to go on. And if you’d like to be charmed, listen to Esmerelda’s conversation with us. Books Mentioned in the Podcast: When I was Puerto Rican by Esmeralda Santiago Almost a Woman by Esmeralda Santiago The Turkish Lover by Esmeralda Santiago Conquistadora by Esmeralda Santiago América's Dream by Esmeralda Santiago The Iliad by Homer The Books of Jacob by Olga Tokarczuk Free Puerto Rico by Pedro Albizu Campos
Dec 22, 2022
The Holiday Gift Guide
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After you’ve bought Sister Sally the alpaca sweater, brother Billy his baseball bat, Mom her mixer and Dad his golf ball retriever, what small presents should you add? A book, of course! Everyone appreciates the thought that goes into giving just the right book. So have no fear, Kate and Charlie are here with what will be our annual “just the right book for everyone’s End-of-year book list.” If you can't find it here, you can’t find it anywhere. Mitchell Kaplan of Florida’s "Books and Books" gives us fiction selections. Bradley Graham of Washington’s "Politics and Prose" on non-fiction, Celia Sack of San Francisco’s "Omnivore Bookstore" on cookbooks, Justin Colussi-Estes of Decatur, Georgia’s 'Little Shop of Stores' on young adult books broken down by age groups, Otto Penzler from New York City’s The Mysterious Bookstore” on mysteries. And best for last, Kate and Charlie ourselves on coffee table books. Why us? Well, we each occasionally drink coffee and we each have a living room table. Oh yeah, and we didn’t want to feel left out. Enjoy! And if you want to give US a present, rate us and write a comment where you get your podcasts. We read ‘em. Happy Holidays listeners! We love you all! We love you all!Non-Fiction: (Bradley Graham) Books mentioned in this podcast: Non-Fiction: (Bradley Graham) Lost and Found: A Memoir by Kathryn Schulz Path Lit By Lightening: The Life of Jim Thorpe by David Maraniss The Great Air Race: Glory, Tragedy and the Dawn of American Aviation by John Lancaster Waging a Good War: A Military History of the Civil Rights Movement, 1954-1968 by Thomas E. Ricks Lady Justice: Women, the Law, and the Battle to Save America by Dahlia Lithwick Mysteries: (Otto Penzler) Desert Star by Michael Connelly A World of Curiosities by Louise Penny Death and the Conjuror by Tom Mead The Twist of a Knife by Anthony Horowitz Silent Nights: Christmas Mysteries Edited by Martin Edwards The Dark Hours by Michael Connelly Coffee Table Books: (Us) Football: Designing the Beautiful Game by James Bird, Sam Handy, Jacques Herzog, Thomas Turner, Eleanor Watson The Philosophy of Modern Song by Bob Dylan African Art Now by Osei Bonsu The Space Shuttle: A Mission-by-Mission Celebration of NASA’s Extraordinary Spaceflight Program by Roland Miller Cookbooks: (Celia Sack) Woks of Life: Recipes to Know and Love from a Chinese American Family by Bill Leung, Kaitlin Leung, Judy Leung, Sarah Leung What’s for Dessert by Claire Saffitz BUDMO! Recipes from a Ukrainian Kitchen by Anna Voloshyna Diasporican: A Puerto Rican Cookbook by Illyanna Maisonet The Bartender’s Guide to the World: Cocktails and Stories from 75 Places by Lauren Mote Children’s Books: (Justin Colussi-Estes) Three Billy Goats Gruff by Mac Barnett The Mouse Who Carried a House on His Back by Jonathan Stutzman Everything in Its Place: A Story of Books and Belonging by Pauline David-Sax A Rover’s Story by Jasmine Warga Thirteen Witches by Jodi Lynn Anderson The Sea of Always (Thirteen Witches Book 2) by Jodi Lynn Anderson Two Degrees by Alan Gratz The Star that Always Stays by Anna Rose Johnson Shuna’s Journey by Hayao Miyazaki
Dec 15, 2022
Barbara Kingsolver Grapples with Poverty and Addiction in America
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The book is Demon Copperhead , the author is Barbara Kingsolver. That should be enough said. If you read it and don’t come away thinking it is the best book you’ve read this year, it will be among the best. Her book is a prodigious feat on many levels. It is beautifully written. It gives you a sense of a part of America often ignored. It has wonderful characters. It is funny, and she writes it as a parallel to David Copperfield , Charles Dickens' most personal novel. She’s a great writer and a great talker. Give a listen. Our bookstore this week is Rainy Day Books in Kansas City, where the state line runs right through the center of town. Books mentioned in this podcast: The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver King Lear by Shakespeare A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley David Copperfield by Charles Dickens Animal Dreams by Barbara Kingsolver Cannery Row by John Steinbeck Middlemarch by George Eliot Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell Love & Saffron by Kim Fay 84 Chairing Cross by Road Helene Hanff Double Agent by Tom Bradby A Single Spy by William Christie I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes The River of Gods by John Speke River of Doubt Candice Millard Radical Kindness: The Life-Changing Power of Giving and Recieving by Angela Santomero
Dec 08, 2022
Nelson DeMille Keeps His Readers Guessing
2441
Nelson DeMille - to meet him you’d think of him as the prototypical grandfatherly guy, mild-of-manner with a gentle soul. And you’d be right. It would be most unlikely that you’d also spot him as a guy who has written dozens of murder mysteries, spy novels and thrillers that have gained him a devoted audience. He has devised lots of ways to bump off his characters. You must watch out for those grandfatherly types. With 23 books in circulation and over 50 million sold, DeMille still debuts on the bestseller list with each release, and his latest, The Maze, was no exception. The bookstore this week is also an American institution: The Faulkner House Bookstore in New Orleans. The store sells all kinds of books in a space that also happens to be a Faulkner landmark. Books mentioned in this podcast:  The Maze by Nelson DeMille The Gate House by Nelson DeMille The Gold Coast by Nelson DeMille The Panther by Nelson DeMille The General’s Daughter by Nelson DeMille The Charm School by Nelson DeMille The Quest by Nelson DeMille Night Fall by Nelson DeMille Plum Island by Nelson DeMille The Lion’s Game by Nelson DeMille The Lion by Nelson DeMille The Deserter by Nelson and Alex DeMille Radiant Angel by Nelson DeMille Wild Fire by Nelson DeMille The Sniper by Nelson DeMille The Hammer of God by Nelson DeMille Spencerville by Nelson DeMille Cathedral by Nelson DeMille By the Rivers of Babylon by Nelson DeMille The Cuban Affair by Nelson DeMille Mayday by Nelson DeMille and Thomas Block Superfudge by Judy Blume Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro Ashton Hall by Lauren Belfer As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner Absalom, Absalom! By William Faulkner The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner Some Go Home by Odie Lindsey Welcome to our Senses by Odie Lindsey Collected Stories by William Faulkner
Dec 01, 2022
Kate and Charlie Talk Turkey
2085
Let’s do the math. A human’s average life span: 80 years. Years after Similac and Gerbers: say 75 years. At approximately 1000 meals per year, that’s a lifetime of 75,000 meals. What if you had a different recipe for every one of those 75,000 meals? Celia Sack does. She is one of the owners of Omnivore Books in San Francisco. They sell nothing but cookbooks and books about food and drink. You don’t go into her store asking, “What should I be reading?” but instead, “What should I be cooking or baking?" We ‘drop’ this podcast on Thanksgiving Day when everyone is thinking about food. Celia thinks about it every day. And, of course, we’re all thinking about things to be thankful for, including our listeners. We’re thankful for our chance to talk with Celia. She is a delight. Books mentioned in this podcast: Small Victories by Julia Turshen Kitchen Simple: Essential Recipes for Everyday Cooking by James Peterson The Nutmeg Trail: Recipes and Stories Along the Ancient Spice Routines by Eleanor Ford The Joy of Cooking by Irma S. Rombauer The New Basics Cookbook by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins The Food of Morocco by Paula Wolfert The Art of Mexican Cooking by Diana Kennedy Mourad: New Moroccan by Mourad Lahlou Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child, Simone Beck, and Louisette Bertholle The Way to Cook by Julia Child Julia's Kitchen Wisdom: Essential Techniques and Recipes from a Lifetime of Cooking by Julia Child The Pat Conroy Cookbook: Recipes and Stories of My Life by Pat Conroy The Escoffier Cookbook: and Guide to the Fine Art of Cookery for Connoisseurs, Chefs, Epicures by Auguste Escoffier Nothing Fancy by Alison Roman Dining In: Highly Cookable Recipes by Alison Roman The Zuni Cafe Cookbook by Judy Rogers
Nov 24, 2022
Kate Goes to The Brooklyn Book Festival
2540
This week on the Book Case we have two more authors from the Brooklyn Book Festival. You can find Angeline Boulley's The Firekeeper's Daughter on the YA shelves of your local library or bookstore, but the book transcends the genre. She'll talk about how she approaches world-building and gives us a sneak preview of her highly-anticipated new novel coming out next spring. Kate also catches up with Book Case favorite Sidik Fofana and sits down with Jory Southurst, the manager of the bookstore at the Center for Fiction. This episode was recorded at The Center for Fiction. It's a beautiful part of the Brooklyn literary community with classes and events. Their bookstore shouldn't be missed! Books mentioned in this podcast; Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley Stories from the Tenants Downstairs by Sidik Fofana Crazy Horse’s Girlfriend by Erika T. Wurth A Lesson in Vengeance by Victoria Lee Murder on the Red River by Marcie R. Rendon The Last Time They Met by Anita Shreve The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline Sisters of the Neversea by Cynthia Leitich Smith Babel by R.F. Kuang A Little Life Hanya Yanagihara Lapvona by Ottessa Moshfegh Greenland by David Santos Donaldson A Novel Obsession by Caitlin Barasch The Violin Conspiracy by Brendan Slocumb Neruda on the Park by Cleyvis Natera The Turner House by Angela Flournoy
Nov 17, 2022
Cleyvis Natera Finds Joy Unexpectedly
2702
Cleyvis Natera took 15 years to write Neruda on the Park, and you can see why when you read the novel. There many pieces of the book that speak to Natera's life: navigating America with and on behalf of her parents, seeing gentrification slowly creep into the neighborhoods she has loved, the flawed and complex relationships between generations of women within one community. Kate had a chance to sit down with Cleyvis at the recent Brooklyn Book Festival and they talked about how Cleyvis' growth and maturity contributed to the growth and maturity of her novel. We then talk to Book Ends and Beginnings in Evanston, Illinois, a book lovers bookstore in a great college town. Books mentioned in this podcast: Neruda on the Park by Cleyvis Natera When I was Puerto Rican by Esmeralda Santiago The Candy House by Jennifer Egan The Street by Ann Petry The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats Matrix by Lauren Groff Marrying the Ketchups by Jennifer Close
Nov 10, 2022
John Irving is Back in the Book Case
2402
When this podcast was in its infancy, John Irving joined us to talk about his work and what he described as “his last big novel,” that was, at the time, still being written. It is now “in better bookstores everywhere” as they say. And “big” is something of an understatement. “The Last Chairlift” is close to 900 pages! Is it worth that much an investment of time? If you’re a John Irving admirer—how can you say no? And we are among John’s many admirers. The novel has all of John’s familiar themes: the search for an unknown father, sexual politics, a highly unusual family, ghosts as well as skiing, wrestling and Exeter Academy. John even includes a couple of screenplays as part of the story. Reading “The Last Chairlift” is a significant investment of time, but it is both moving and entertaining. This is our second conversation with John Irving, and he never fails to fascinate us. Books in this podcast: The Last Chairlift by John Irving Setting Free the Bears by John Irving The Water-Method Man by John Irving The 158-Pound Marriage by John Irving The World According to Garp by John Irving The Hotel New Hampshire by John Irving The Cider House Rules by John Irving A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving Trying to Save Piggy Sneed by John Irving A Son of the Circus by John Irving The Imaginary Girlfriend by John Irving A Widow for One Year by John Irving My Movie Business: A Memoir by John Irving The Fourth Hand by John Irving Until I Find You by John Irving Last Night in Twisted River by John Irving In One Person by John Irving Avenue of Mysteries by John Irving David Copperfield by Charles Dickens Moby Dick by Herman Melville Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy A Saint from Texas by Edmund White A Previous Life by Edmund White Original Prin by Randy Boyagoda Dante's Indiana by Randy Boyagoda The Absolutist by John Boyne The Heart's Invisible Furies by John Boyne A History of Loneliness by John Boyne The Way Home by Kardea Brown South of Broad by Pat Conroy Embassy Wife by Katie Crouch Neruda on the Park by Cleyvis Natera
Nov 03, 2022
Jon Meacham Rewrites Abraham Lincoln's Story
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A quick Google search will tell you there are over 15,000 books about Abraham Lincoln. Do we need another? Well yes, considering that none of them so far has been written by Jon Meacham who is one of America’s best biographers. “And There Was Light” has just been released. It is a most readable 420 page biography of our 16th President and it is timely. America is probably more divided now that at any time since Lincoln’s. Jon writes, “A President who led a divided country in which an implacable minority gave no quarter…has much to teach us in a twenty-first century moment of polarization.” Jon is a great conversationalist. At one point he says, "Some think I’m the love child of Mr. Rogers and Doris Kearns Goodwin.” How is that for a tease? Books mentioned in this podcast: And There was Light by Jon Meacham The Soul of America by Jon Meacham American Lion by Jon Meacham Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power by Jon Meacham Franklin and Winston by Jon Meacham His Truth is Marching On by Jon Meacham American Gospel by Jon Meacham The Hope of Glory by Jon Meacham Destiny and Power by Jon Meacham All the King's Men by Robert Penn Warren The Wise Men by Walter Isaacson and Evan Thomas Barchester Towers by Anthony Trollope The Prime Minister by Anthony Trollope The Warden by Anthony Trollope Emma by Jane Austen The Chain by Adrian McKintey Catch-22 by Joseph Heller The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick The Prince by Niccolò Machiavelli
Oct 27, 2022
Doug Bauer Steps Up to Bat
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Doug Bauer has written a love story, "The Beckoning World". A man and a woman. A father and son. A love for a more innocent time. A lovely homage to America’s midwest. And a love story about baseball. It’s a simple book really—until it’s not. Boy meets girl. Boy is a promising pitcher. Girl's father says, "You pick: my daughter or baseball." He picks the girl. But then the book veers back to baseball and the protagonist pitcher and his son are barnstorming across America with Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. Sound implausible? Doug makes it seem perfectly reasonable. The Beckoning World is evocative of the early 20th century, conjures up small town baseball parks (you can almost smell the peanuts), and makes you feel like you know the Babe and Lou. Especially the Babe. And speaking of small towns, this week’s bookstore is Fact and Fiction in Missoula, Montana. Give it all a listen. Books mentioned in this podcast: The Beckoning World by Douglas Bauer The Book of Famous Iowans by Douglas Bauer The Very Air by Douglas Bauer Dexterity by Douglas Bauer Great Expectations by Charles Dickens Sister Noon by Karen Joy Fowler Wild Kingdom by Vijay Seshadri War and Peace By Leo Tolstoy Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy The Beautiful and the Damned by F. Scott Fitzgerald Thrust by Lidia Yuknavitch Body Grammar by Jules Ohman Killing Custer by James Welch Penguin Problems Jory John Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin illustrated by Daniel Salmieri Mother Bruce Book Series by Ryan T. Higgins Winter in the Blood by James Welch Perma Red by Debra Magpie Earling The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster Once Sentence Journal by Chris La Tray
Oct 20, 2022
Angie Cruz Teaches How Not to Drown in a Glass of Water
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Once again it was a title that caught our eye, leading us to a the book that was even more intriguing than the title. The book is How Not to Drown in a Glass of Water. The author is Angie Cruz. The book is a fascinating character study of Cara Romero, a Dominican immigrant who came to this country more than 25 years ago. She needs a job. There are 12 chapters— each a transcription of one of Cara’s meetings with a professional job counselor. You come to know Cara - or do you really? As she talks to the counselor and tells her/him not just about herself but about the immigrant community of which she is a part? A reader, we believe, will thoroughly enjoy getting to know Cara. A listener to The Book Case will enjoy getting to know Angie Cruz. Instead of an independent bookstore this week we talk to each other about books we’ve read this year that we loved, but might not have been suited to a podcast. How Not to Drown in a Glass of Water by Angie Cruz Dominicana by Angie Cruz Let It Rain Coffee by Angie Cruz Soledad by Angie Cruz Widow Basquiat by Jennifer Clement Incidents in the Life of a Slave by Harriet Jacobs The City We Became by N. K. Jemisin The Lost Kings by Tyrell Johnson The Guest List by Lucy Foley Head Full of Ghosts by Paul G. Tremblay Full Throttle by Joe Hill and Stephen King The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson Robert E Lee: A Life by Allen C. Guelzo
Oct 13, 2022
Amy Sarig King Stands Up To Censorship
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We have expressed a desire to keep The Book Case non-political. But there is one issue we feel should not be a source of contention - and that is book banning and book challenges. We have been looking for a relatively safe way to approach the issue and think we’ve found it in a book by Amy Sarig King entitled Attack of the Black Rectangles. The "black rectangles" to which she refers are those black stripes that represent redactions of language. Amy writes for young people— target audience probably 11 to 16. But this book reads well for adults as well and addresses an important subject. It is a fictionalized account of an actual book redaction that her son discovered in a school assigned novel about the Holocaust. Amy argues, persuasively we feel, that young people don’t need this kind of ‘protection’ and that it’s a slippery slope from redactions to actual book bans. She has both a lovely book and a powerful argument. Afterwards we talk with Jonathan Friedman of PEN America who has written a thorough report about how the number of book challenges and bans are growing across the United States at an alarming rate. Books mentioned in the podcast: Attack of the Black Rectangles by Amy Sarig King (A.S. King) Me and Marvin Gardens By Amy Sarig King (A.S. King) The Devil's Arithmetic by Jane Yolen To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee Dig by Amy Sarig King (A. S. King) Ask the Passengers by Amy Sarig King (A. S. King) Reality Boy by Amy Sarig King (A. S. King) Everybody Sees the Ants by Amy Sarig King (A. S. King) God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater by Kurt Vonnegut Jr. The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut Jr. Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut Jr.
Oct 06, 2022
Richard Osman Writes Mysteries You Can Sink Your Dentures Into
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So you’re in your mid-50s, you’ve got a great career going as a television personality in Great Britain, so what might be enjoyable to do next? Why write a hugely successful series of mysteries of course. And that is what Richard Osman has done. His novel The Thursday Murder Club is about four bold septuagenarian friends who meet to discuss about unsolved crimes in their retirement village. The Man Who Died Twice and The Bullet That Missed are two riveting extensions of The Thursday Murder Club. Osman talks about casting the film adaptation of his novels and how his mother’s retirement village in England inspired his writing process. The independent bookstore this week is 27th Letter Books and we talk to Erin Pineda, the owner about their incredible story of survival. Books mentioned in the podcast: The Bullet That Missed by Richard Osman The Man Who Died Twice by Richard Osman The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie Mystic River by Dennis Lehane One Good Turn by Kate Atkinson I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou Scorpionfish by Natalie Bakopoulos Gag Reflex by Elle Nash Parker Looks Up: An Extraordinary Moment by Parker Curry, Jessica Curry and Brittany Jackson Crescenciana: An Art Book and Memoir by Crescenciana Tan + Kenneth Tan
Sep 29, 2022
Elizabeth Strout Hears her Characters' Voices
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Elizabeth Strout is our guest this week, and our conversation couldn’t be more timely. First, her novel, Oh William! has just been short listed for the Booker Prize - perhaps the most prestigious award for a writer of literary fiction. And second, her latest novel in the Lucy Barton series has just been published - Lucy by the Sea. For those who love her writing, and we are among her greatest admirers, you know that Lucy by the Sea represents a continuation of the series that includes Oh William! The book allows us to see the chaos of the last years through Lucy's eyes, and it's a tumultuous, beautiful journey. The independent bookstore this week is Tattered Cover and we talk to Jeremy Patlen, their head buyer. Books mentioned in the podcast: Amy and Isabelle by Elizabeth Strout Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout Olive, Again by Elizabeth Strout Abide with Me by Elizabeth Strout Lucy by the Sea by Elizabeth Strout Oh William! By Elizabeth Strout The Burgess Boys by Elizabeth Strout My Name Is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout Anything Is Possible by Elizabeth Strout This is Happiness by Niall Williams The Collected Stories of William Trevor War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy Pigeon Feathers and Other Stories by John Updike Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage by Alice Munro Woman of Light by Kali Fajardo-Anstine Upgrade by Blake Crouch Just Kids by Patti Smith We are the Light by Matthew Quick Less Is Lost by Andrew Sean Greer
Sep 22, 2022
Sue Miller Examines Marriage, Intimately
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Sue Miller is one of America’s finest and most admired authors. From the time of her first published novel in 1986, (The Good Mother), to her most recent, (Monogamy), Sue has developed a legion of devoted readers. Her plots often involve major events, but her greatest skill is the intimate understanding she has of her characters. She knows their head and their heart, or maybe it is that they know hers. How she writes, how she develops those characters, and what they mean to her are all subjects of our conversation. Sue Miller is one of our finest practitioners of literary fiction. We feel honored to have her in The Book Case.  This week, we also talk to the host of “Moms Don’t Have Time to Read," Zibby Owens. She invited us on her podcast, so we returned the invitation. Books mentioned in this podcast: The Good Mother by Sue Miller Family Pictures by Sue Miller While I Was Gone by Sue Miller Inventing the Abbotts and Other Stories by Sue Miller Monogomy by Sue Miller The Lake Shore Limited by Sue Miller The Senator's Wife by Sue Miller The Arsonist by Sue Miller The Distinguished Guest by Sue Miller The World Below by Sue Miller The Story of My Father: A Memoir by Sue Miller Lost in the Forest by Sue Miller For Love by Sue Miller Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak The Short Stories of Leo Tolstoy by Leo Tolstoy Slow Motion: A Memoir of a Life Rescued by Tragedy by Dani Shapiro Hourglass: Time, Memory, Marriage by Dani Shapiro Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love by Dani Shapiro
Sep 15, 2022
Nahid Shahalimi Gathers the Voices of Afghan Women
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It was just a year ago that the U.S. withdrew its troops from Afghanistan. On that date, Nahid Shahalimi, an Afghan female writer living in Germany, realized that she needed to hurry to record the stories of prominent Afghan women who soon would try to escape their country, or stay and risk death. She did so, and compiled their stories in “We Are Still Here.” The world’s attention has turned to the crisis in Ukraine, but Afghanistan is still there and should not be forgotten, particularly the stories of women oppressed by the Taliban. This week, a conversation with Nahid Shahalimi, as she writes, “Listen to these women. See them. See their commitment to freedom and to their rights." Books mentioned in this podcast: We are Still Here edited by Nahid Shahalimi The Book of Life by Jidda Krishnamurti The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood A Land of Permanent Goodbyes by Atia Abawi The Secret Sky: A Novel of Forbidden Love in Afghanistan by Atia Abawi The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini And The Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini A House Without Windows by Nadia Hashimi When the Moon is Low by Nadia Hashimi Sparks Like Stars by Nadia Hashimi One Half from the East by Nadia Hashimi The Sky at Our Feet by Nadia Hashimi The Pearl that Broke Its Shell by Nadia Hashimi
Sep 08, 2022
Stuart Gibbs Takes Kids on Wild Journeys
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Stuart Gibbs is this week’s guest and begins what we intend to be a periodic look at children's’ literature, or in the parlance of the day, “kids’ books”. Stuart has five different series of kids’s books in print - all successful, each aimed at the middle grades. His latest Spy School book is just out. Kate and I (grown-up who like to believe) loved it, as did our 12-year-old grandson and nephew, Lang (but then Stuart is his favorite author). To be a successful author of kids’ books we believe you have to be a good writer as well as a bit of a kid yourself. Stuart checks both boxes. Books mentioned in the podcast: Moon Base Alpha Series by Stuart Gibbs Once Upon a Tim by Stuart Gibbs Spy School Project X by Stuart Gibbs Spy School Series by Stuart Gibbs FunJungle Series by Stuart Gibbs Charlie Thorne Series by Stuart Gibbs The Last Musketeer Series by Stuart Gibbs Poached by Stuart Gibbs Encyclopedia Brown Series Donald J. Sobol The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin Bunnicula by James and Deborah Howe Superfudge by Judy Blume The Phantom Tollbooth Norton Juster The BFG by Roald Dahl
Sep 01, 2022
David Koepp Writes Thrillers Differently These Days
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Our author this week is David Koepp. You may not realize it, but you’ve been exposed to David’s writing. Probably many times. Did you see the first two Jurassic Park movies? Spider-Man? Indiana Jones? Mission Impossible? David has worked on the screenplays of some of the most successful movies ever. Indeed, movies he has written have sold almost $2.5 billion in tickets. He also writes novels. “Aurora” is his latest. It’s an enjoyable, and even thought-provoking read. Why write novels when you’re so successful with screen plays? How do the disciplines differ? Which is more rewarding? All good questions. We ask them. Our independent bookstore this week is Interabang Books in Dallas, Texas. Books Mentioned in the Podcast: Cold Storage by David Koepp Aurora by David Koepp The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton The Sirens of Titan by Kurt Vonnegut Jr. That’s Good! That’s Bad! by Margery Cuyler Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain A Queen to the Rescue: The Story of Henrietta Szold, Founder of Hadassah by Nancy Churnin A Girl Named Carrie: The Visionary Who Created Neiman Marcus and Set the Standard for Fashion by Jerrie Marcus Smith River of the Gods: Genius, Courage, and Betrayal in the Search for the Source of the Nile by Candice Millard Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus Trust by Hernan Diaz The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett Artemis Fowl series by Eoin Colfer The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling
Aug 25, 2022
Sidik Fofana Steps Out of the Classroom
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Sidik Fofana has written “Stories from the Tenants Downstairs.” This is his first novel and very much worth a reader’s time. His book is eight interrelated short stories written by residents of a fictional tenement in New York City in a neighborhood going through gentrification. You root for his characters. You identify with their aspirations. But for each of them it is so tough to realize their dreams. For each of them it is so tough to negotiate the realities of every day life. And Sidik knows from whence he writes—for years he has been a New York City public school teacher. Many of his stories, he tells us, come from his kids. “Stories from the Tenants Downstairs” is an excellent book. One small warning—a couple of the stories are written with the voice of the street, but were that not the case, it would not be as authentic. And every inch of this book is authentic. Our independent book store this week is Women and Children First in Chicago—we talk with one of its owners, Lynn Mooney. Books mentioned in the podcast: Stories from the Tenants Downstairs by Sidik Fafana The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz Birds of America by Lorrie Moore The Broken Earth Trilogy N.K. Jemisin “Harlem” by Langston Hughes from The Collected Works of Langston Hughes A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway The Odyssey by Homer A Separate Peace by John Knowles Native Son by Richard Wright Trombone Shorty by Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews Easy Beauty by Chloé Cooper Johnson Oh William! By Elizabeth Strout Set Boundaries, Find Peace: A Guide to Reclaiming Yourself by Nedra Glover Tawwab Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals by Oliver Burkeman
Aug 18, 2022
Jenny Lawson is Broken (In the Best Possible Way)
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Jenny Lawson is a funny writer, but that label doesn’t tell the whole story. In her three books, her "parenthetical ramblings" are hilarious glimpses into her razor sharp wit that keep you laughing long after you put the book down. At the same time, Jenny Lawson deals with deep depression that has her also writing about her struggles - sometimes just to stay alive. She writes of the “monster” that at times takes over her mind. That mind works in wonderous ways - not always helpful to her own well being - but wonderous just the same. Our bookstore this week? Well that’s Jenny Lawson’s too. We talk to Elizabeth Jordon, the general manager of Jenny Lawson’s bookstore, Nowhere Bookshop in San Antonio. Books mentioned in the podcast: Broken (in the Best Possible Way) by Jenny Lawson Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson Let's Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson Twice 22 by Ray Bradbury Pet Sematary by Stephen King Hurricane Girl by Marcy Dermansky Florida Woman by Deb Rogers Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado There, There by Tommy Orange A Visitation of Spirits by Randall Kenan Stories From the Tenants Downstairs by Sidik Fofana The Hakawati by Rabih Alameddine
Aug 11, 2022
Julia Glass Reimagines the Future
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Julia Glass burst on the writing scene in 2002 when her first novel, “Three Junes”, won the National Book Award for fiction. Her newest novel “Vigil Harbor” plots current problems such as worldwide virus infections, climate change and increasing political violence as they might increase over the next twelve years, and charts their impact on a small town in coastal Massachusetts. Set in 2034, the novel includes a touch of mystery and the supernatural, and is a most enjoyable read from almost any perspective. On the show, Julia speaks about the ways climate change has shaped the novel, her experience writing with a supernatural twist for the first time, and how the book changed with the Covid-19 pandemic started. Our independent book store for this podcast is Keplers, in Menlo Park, California.
Aug 04, 2022
Hernan Diaz Trusts His Characters
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Hernan Diaz is an author, essayist, and finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in fiction and the PEN/Faulkner Award. His newest novel, "Trust," has just this week been chosen as a finalist for the Booker Prize - one of the most prestigious of literary prizes. The head of the Booker judging panel said many of this year’s finalists involve “the elusive nature of truth”. That certainly would pertain to “Trust”. The book is intricately plotted, marvelously written, and insightful about the world of finance and the singular relationship Americans have with money. Diaz also talks about his writing process, writing a character with an "obnoxious" point of view, and the thrills and perils of releasing a book out into a world. Our conversation took place just before the Booker nominees were announced, but reading ’Trust" and listening to Diaz will leave you with no doubt that this novel deserves the high honor according it by the Booker judging committee. Our independent book store this week is Market Street Books in Mashpee, Massachusetts, a favorite vacation destination. Books mentioned in the podcast this week: Trust by Hernan Diaz In The Distance by Hernan Diaz A Backward Glance by Edith Wharton Portrait of a Lady by Henry James I am a Bunny by Richard Scarry Horse by Geraldine Brooks Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens The Old Man in the Sea by Ernest Hemingway Emma by Jane Austen
Jul 28, 2022
J. Ryan Stradal Writes From the Heart
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J. Ryan Stradal is one of America’s finest young authors. His two novels have been out for some time - both highly acclaimed. Another is releasing next year. “Kitchens of the Great Midwest” was his first with “The Lager Queen of Minnesota” following four years later. Publishers conducted a bidding war for ‘Kitchens' - how rare is that for a first work? And it’s been translated into more than a dozen languages. You can argue over which is the better of the two and we have. Both are excellent. Kate likes ‘Kitchens’. Charlie is partial to “Lager Queen”. While these titles may make them sound like food books, they aren't. For J. Ryan food serves as a way of explaining different aspects of humanity, largely around themes of forgiveness. J. Ryan and Kate have been good friends since their college days (we're talking the ‘90s here folks) and she says she loves to listen to him talk. And laugh. You will too.   Since J. Ryan’s books have a Midwest setting and flavor we’ve paired him with Ann Woodbeck, one of the owners of Excelsior Bay Books to be found in Excelsior Bay Minnesota, just outside Minneapolis. Books mentioned in this episode: Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal The Lager Queen of Minnesota by J. Ryan Stradal Elsewhere, California by Dana Johnson Jesus' Son by Denis Johnson Oh, the Thinks You Can Think! by Dr. Seuss Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brian Goodnight Loon by Abe Sauer Ficciones by Jorge Luis Borges Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald Craft in the Real World: Rethinking Fiction Writing and Workshopping by Matthew Salesses Shoulder Season: A Novel by Christina Clancy Four Dead Horses by K. T. Sparks Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus This Time Tomorrow by Emma Straub This is Happiness by Niall Williams The Boy and His Dog at the End of the World by C.A. Fletcher
Jul 21, 2022
Anna Quindlen Wants You to Write
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Anna Quindlen can write pretty much anything – years of insightful columns for the “New York Times,” wonderful fiction as evidenced by nine widely-read novels, and non-fiction as well. The latest is her plea for all of us to write. “Write for Your Life” is the book. It’s a small volume but it’s message belies its size. Anna Quindlen wants us writing for future grandchildren and great-grandchildren, for our current loved ones, and even for ourselves. Write letters, keep journals, record your own life history – it doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to be personal. She asks her readers: If you could have one piece of writing from someone in your life who’s gone, who would that be? When you answer that, you’ll know why writing is so important. As you write, she argues, it may even bring greater clarity about your own problems and thoughts. After our conversation with Anna, stay for Sharon Davis of Book Bound Bookstore in Blairsville, Georgia, population 616. Talk about an act of faith! Opening a tiny town independent bookstore. Talking to Sharon was at the suggestion of one of our listeners, and we appreciate it.  Books Mentioned: Write for Your Life by Anna Quindlen Alternate Side by Anna Quindlen The Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens Pioneer Women: The Lives of Women on the Frontier by Linda Peavy Object Lessons by Anna Quindlen The Holy Bible A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton Nanaville: Adventures in Grandparenting by Anna Quindlen Grandma Gatewood’s Walk: The Inspiring Story of the Woman Who Saved the Appalachian Trail by Ben Montgomery Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury  One Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseni The Gilded Wolves by Roshai Choksi The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein The Magnolia Palace by Fiona Davis Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal The Lager Queen of Minnesota by J. Ryan Stradal
Jul 14, 2022
Jennifer Egan Plays with Form
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Twelve years ago, Jennifer Egan won a Pulitzer Prize for her novel, “A Visit from the Goon Squad.” It was wildly successful and totally original. Now she has written a companion novel - a continuation, if you will - “The Candy House.” The premise is intriguing and while impossible, it lends itself to many opportunities for Jennifer to write in different styles. The premise is that it has become possible for a person to have every one of their memories, since birth, encapsulated in a box and every one of those memories can be recalled. In fact, a person can get access to someone else’s memories if willing to share their own. Every chapter is written in a different style - but all fit together nicely. Pulling that off, and she does, is literary, a feat of no small proportion. You need not have read “Goon Squad” to enjoy “Candy House.” But listening to Jennifer may well make you want to. This week we take a pause from talking to an independent bookstore. Kate and Charlie discuss what they’ve learned from their first ten podcasts. Books Mentioned: A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan The Keep by Jennifer Egan Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton Lavender's Blue: A Book of Nursery Rhymes by Kathleen Lines and Harold Jones Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt Happy For You by Claire Stanford A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving Charlotte's Web by E.B. White Preston & Child's Agent Pendergast Series The Power Broker By Robert Caro Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James (Yes, Charles Gibson read it. And yes, I am listing it. Sorry, dad.)
Jul 07, 2022
Claire Stanford is Happy For You
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What if an app could quantify exactly how happy you are? That's the premise for Clare Stanford's debut novel, "Happy For You," in which a philosopher leaves academia to work as a researcher for"the third-most popular internet company" where she struggles to find belonging as a biracial woman. "Happy For You,' is a funny story of a woman searching for her identity and a satirical commentary on today's h(app)iness-obsessed world. Plus, a conversation with Mitchell Kaplan at Books and Books. Other books mentioned in the pod: The Savage Detectives by Roberto Bolaño The Bernstein Bears Series by Stan and Jan Bernstein Year of Dangerous Days: Riots Refugees and Cocaine in Miami 1980 by Nicholas Griffin Big Trouble by Dave Barry Trust by Hernan Diaz
Jun 30, 2022
David Gergen Knows Politics
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David Gergen says it's time for new American leadership. As a political advisor who served four presidential administrations, Gergen has a perspective on the White House that's unrivaled in the political world. Gergen wrote his new book, "Hearts Touched with Fire," to advise the next generation of political leaders. Maybe that will include you! In President Truman's words, "Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers." List of books mentioned: Hearts Touched with Fire by David Gergen Lincoln at Gettysburg by Garry Wills The Hero's Journey by Joseph Campbell The March of Folly by Barbara Tuchman King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table by Roger Lancelyn Green Churchill: Walking with Destiny by Andrew Roberts To Marry and to Meddle by Martha Waters Flying Solo by Linda Holmes Maine Beer: Brewing in Vacationland by Josh Christie Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey One Morning in Maine by Robert McCloskey Letters of EB White by EB White (Revised) Charlotte's Web by EB White Stuart Little by EB White Sigh, Gone by Phuk Tron
Jun 23, 2022
Delia Ephron Falls In Love, Again
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Delia Ephron went through hell. Her leukemia almost killed her - so did the treatments to cure it. In “Left on Tenth”, her new book that is on many best seller lists, she writes about wanting to die - pleading with the doctors to let her die. However a doctor, who perhaps knew Delia better than she knew herself, wouldn’t let her. And a late in life, second love, sustained her through the most difficult of times. Delia’s book is inspiring and is testament to the strength of the human spirit and the healing power of love. Now, remarkably recovered, she talks about her ordeal. Listen to her answer of what she wants the rest of her life to be. It will make you smile.
Jun 16, 2022
Introducing 'Reclaimed: The Story of Mamie Till-Mobley'
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You may know the story of Emmett Till. But you might’ve never heard his story if it weren't for one woman: Mamie Till-Mobley. In a new three-part season of ABC News' "Reclaimed" podcast, host Leah Wright Rigueur explores who Mamie Till-Mobley was before she lost her son: a young girl growing up in Illinois. Rigueur traces Mamie's journey after Emmett’s death, and how she turned her grief into a movement that changed the course of American history. The first two episodes of "Reclaimed" are available now. To listen, follow the show on Apple Podcasts (https://apple.co/3zofsOC), Spotify (https://spoti.fi/3PSLBDU), Amazon Music (https://amzn.to/3tgHfNf), or wherever you like to listen.
Jun 11, 2022
Azar Nafisi Reads Dangerously
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Azar Nafisi offers you - a reader - a challenge. It is the title of her latest book - “Read Dangerously”. Azar comes with a unique perspective. She was teaching in Iran when the clerics took over, banned books, and eliminated many of the freedoms that Americans often take for granted. She caused something of a sensation when she wrote “Reading Lolita in Tehran” - contending that reading fiction can be a liberating and even subversive act. Now she teaches in the United States and worries that Americans aren’t reading enough - specifically aren’t reading works that take them outside their comfort zone. What freedoms could we lost if we don’t "Read Dangerously"? Her argument is an important one and very much worth a listen. 
Jun 09, 2022
Shelby Van Pelt Makes Her Debut
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Odds are you’ve never heard of Shelby Van Pelt. She is a new author, and as we spoke she was just a week away from the publication of her first novel “Remarkably Bright Creatures”. Strange to say but this is a novel novel and both of us loved it. A writing advisor once told Shelby to try writing from an unlikely point of view - and has she done just that! Her narrator is an octopus. But not just any octopus. Marcellus is a captive in an aquarium and from that vantage point is an observer of we humans. He doesn’t have much respect for what he sees, but his warm, funny and wary narrative will have you hooked from the first page. As in almost all our podcasts, you’ll also hear from an independent bookseller from somewhere in the country. We believe independent book stores are critical. In this podcast, Otto Penzler of The Mysterious Bookshop in New York talks about mysteries as literature. Believe us, Otto knows mysteries, and is acutely aware that we all love ‘em.
Jun 02, 2022
John Irving Reinvents The Classics
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John Irving has written fourteen novels, is working on a fifteenth, has been translated into more than thirty languages, and is one of America’s most popular and beloved authors. If you’ve never read a John Irving novel, how would John suggest you start? What great American writers does he loathe (spoiler alert, one is considered America’s greatest author) and why did John adopt a model for story telling that was more than a century old? And how does he draw readers into his novels so that they will read the whole book? Our conversation with John is a master class on writing, and how he tackles his craft might surprise you.
May 26, 2022
Dr. Carla Hayden is the Top Librarian
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Dr. Carla Hayden is the Librarian of Congress. In the 222 year history of the Library of Congress there has never before been a female Librarian of Congress, nor an African-American Librarian of Congress. Carla Hayden has broken many barriers. Dr. Hayden comes from a background of having run the Baltimore public libraries and from having a critical role in running Chicago’s libraries. On her first day in the job, what did she want to see, and hold, in the Library’s incredible collection? How can any citizen utilize the Library of Congress? And how can a library absorb 10,000 new items every single day? Carla Hayden holds the most important librarian’s job in the world - and she refers to librarians as the world’s “first search engines."
May 19, 2022
Mary Laura Philpott Writes About Parenting
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Calling all parents - you need to listen to Mary Laura Philpott and read her insightful essays that speak to everyone who ever raised a child. In the vein of Erma Bombeck and Nora Ephron, her new book is “Bomb Shelter” - something she wishes she could build around her two children as they prepare to leave home and begin adulthood. Like all of us, she struggles with the realization she can’t keep them safe. It’s hard to imagine a writer could say something totally original about parenting and yet she does. She is witty and wise and the angst she feels about wanting to keep her kids safe applies to all of us.
May 12, 2022
Niall Williams Tells Irish Tales
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Niall Williams is an Irishman who possesses the Irish knack for telling a great story, and he does this in lyrical prose that will take your breath away. He was living in America, participating in the infamous New York City rat race, when he and his wife decided 35 years ago they needed to go back to the land of their birth, Ireland, and find out if they could write. And can he ever. If you haven’t read “This is Happiness”, you must. Just for the pure beauty of Niall’s language. And if you have read it, you’ll love our conversation as his language and his gentle Irish lilt are delightful.
May 05, 2022
Oprah Shares Her Favorite Books
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How better to begin a weekly podcast on books than with Oprah Winfrey who has, in the last quarter century, done more to get Americans to read than almost any literacy program we can think of. However the beginning of her book club was something of an accident. Oprah tells us why she didn’t believe it had a chance. She tells us what is in her personal, extraordinary collection of books, what she finds the perfect reading environment, and Oprah even takes a suggestion from Kate about how she might change her reading habits. Oprah's enthusiasm for reading has proven infectious to the entire nation, and her enthusiasm for literature is addicting. After you hear our conversation, Oprah will have you wanting to immediately pick up a book. We guarantee it
May 02, 2022
Introducing 'The Book Case'
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Are you stuck in a reading rut? The Book Case, a new weekly series from ABC Audio launching May 2, makes the case for books outside of your usual genre. Wander the aisles of your local bookstore with Kate and Charlie Gibson and meet fascinating characters who will open your appetite to new categories while deepening your hunger for books. The Book Case will journey cover to cover through the literary world, featuring interviews with best-selling authors, tastemakers, and independent bookstore owners.
Apr 28, 2022