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.
Two poetry collections find beauty in unexpected places
Poet Franny Choi knows that marginalized communities have been facing apocalypses forever. But in her new book, The World Keeps Ending, and the World Goes On, she uses their survival as a way to look forward. In this episode, she tells NPR's Leila Fadel how understanding that pain and resilience can ultimately be a source of hope. Then, former U.S. poet laureate Billy Collins discusses his new collection of very short poems, Musical Tables, with NPR's Scott Simon – and gets into the complexities of how sometimes saying less can offer so much more.
In 'Sweet Land of Liberty,' pie recipes show how American values transform over time
A lot of holiday tables will undoubtedly feature some kind of pie this year. But for food writer Rossi Anastopoulo, pies aren't just a baked dish – they're a throughline of how American society and values have changed over time. In this episode, Anastopoulo shares some notable pie recipes with NPR's Sacha Pfeiffer, and breaks down what they each represent about race, gender and economic opportunity in this country.
Sci-fi elements help a family's story before and after warfare
Displacement, identity and the aftermath of warfare are themes running through today's episode on The Haunting of Hajji Hotak. Author Jamil Jan Kochai talks with Ari Shapiro about why he used elements of science fiction like video games and magical realism to tell a largely autobiographical story of his family's life in Afghanistan before and after the Soviet invasion.
'Control' chronicles the dark history of eugenics and its ongoing impact
Adam Rutherford is a geneticist and author who just wrote a new book about the history of eugenics, and he tells NPR's Rebecca Ramirez that the political ideology is not just a relic of the past, but very much still relevant today. In this episode, Rutherford explains how anti-immigrant fear in the 19th century spurred popularity for an unscientific practice that was eventually embraced by Nazis – and has a complicated relationship with today's reproductive rights movement.
In 'The Book of Jose,' Fat Joe remembers his rise in hip-hop
Fat Joe's career spans three decades – but before he was performing on stages around the world, he was a little kid getting bullied in the Bronx. His new memoir, The Book of Jose, goes back to his childhood in New York and his early days rapping in the Diggin' in the Crates Crew. In this episode, he opens up to NPR's Ayesha Rascoe about why he's committed to his community and how becoming a "big boy, financially" might mean putting a pause on new music.
Two books cover the Russia-Ukraine war from opposite perspectives
In this episode, two nonfiction books explore the Russian invasion of Ukraine from two completely different experiences. First, 12-year-old Yeva Skalietska from Kharkiv reads one of her diary entries from the early days of the war to Here and Now's Deepa Fernandes. Then, former White House Russia expert Andrew Weiss speaks with NPR's Mary Louise Kelly about his new graphic novel biography of Vladimir Putin (illustrated by Brian "Box" Brown) – and why the Russian leader built a nefarious political image for himself that may not be entirely factual.
The beauty of dusk episode
I like the show a lot but I wanted to bring to the attention of the producers that a comment from the author in the beauty of dusk episode was offensive to me. I am an autistic adult and the authors comment about the struggles of a parent because their kid has autism was upsetting to me. I understand that it was not meant to be offensive but the kid having autism should not be viewed as the problem or a struggle. Having autism does not make you a problem.
Warmth of Other Suns
The Warmth of Other Suns is not a novel! Please change in blurb for Isabell Wilkerson and her book Caste.
Really enjoying this show. It’s a must listen for 2022! Great for discovering new books to add to my reading list.