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.
Criminal justice reform and resilience are central in Albert Woodfox's 'Solitary'
In an interview with the author of Solitary, the issue of criminal justice reform is central. Alfred Woodfox, who served 43 years in prison – most in solitary confinement, for a crime he says he didn't commit – died in August. He told NPR's Scott Simon that after his release, he struggled with claustrophobia because of the decades he spent in prison. This is an encore episode from February 2022.
Nikole Hannah Jones and Adam Rubin work to make kids' books more approachable
Today's interviews center on children's books with wildly different topics, but they both aim to make reading more accessible for kids. Nikole Hannah Jones, working with Renee Watson, turned the 1619 Project into a picture book called Born On The Water. They told NPR their goal was "to say to young people - to young Black Americans, you belong here." Next, Adam Rubin has on his collection of short stories that are all different but share the same title: The Ice Cream Machine. Rubin told NPR's Rachel Martin that there are so many ways to tell a story. This is an encore episode from March 2022.
'South To America' shows how southern history shaped our nation
Author Imani Perry is a child of the South. In her newest book South to America: A Journey Below the Mason-Dixon to Understand the Soul of a Nation, she gives the reader a look at the South's complicated history, interwoven with her own personal anecdotes. Even though the South has a difficult history, Perry contends, it provides important context for America today. Perry told NPR's Mary Louise Kelly that in order to write this book she had to stop romanticizing the place she calls home – and, instead, look at it starkly. This is an encore episode from January 2022.
Chinese American culture, murder mystery, and Dostoyevsky in 'The Family Chao'
Patriarch Leo Chao is murdered at his restaurant at the beginning of Lan Samantha Chang's new novel The Family Chao. Eventually family secrets and bitterness reveal themselves — much like a Dostoyevsky novel, from whom Chao took a lot of inspiration. But NPR's Scott Simon points out that even though this novel is about a murder, it's quite funny. Chang told Simon that she just enjoyed writing it so much that humor became a natural part of it. This is an encore episode from February 2022.
Devon Price on self-acceptance and expression for people with autism
For people with autism, navigating a neurotypical world can be exhausting. Many deploy strategies to fit in with others, a tactic often referred to as masking. Social psychologist Devon Price spoke to Eric Garcia, author of Unmasking Autism, on Life Kit about the freedom that comes from unmasking. Price says neurodivergent people can find greater self-acceptance by getting in touch with the person they were before they started trying to fit in. Price and Garcia, who both have autism, talk about how unmasking means progress for disability justice. This is an encore episode from May 2022.
Failure motivates Olympic medalist Lindsey Vonn
The 2022 Winter Olympics are right around the corner, so to prepare we are bringing you a conversation with skier Lindsey Vonn. Her new memoir, Rise, looks at her road to becoming a ski champion and Olympic medalist. Spoiler alert: it was not all sunshine and roses. Vonn told NPR's A Martinez that she's lucky she is wired in a way that makes negativity a driving force because she has seen the pressure and stress of being an Olympic athlete derail other people's careers.
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.