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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.

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Talking About the 10 Best Books of 2020

On a special episode of the podcast, taped live, editors from The New York Times Book Review discuss this year's outstanding fiction and nonfiction.

1hr 9mins

27 Nov 2020

Rank #1

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Newt Gingrich and the Start of an Era

Julian E. Zelizer talks about "Burning Down the House," and Lacy Crawford talks about "Notes on a Silencing."

1hr 5mins

17 Jul 2020

Rank #2

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10 Best Books of 2019

On a special episode of the podcast, taped live, editors from The New York Times Book Review discuss this year’s outstanding fiction and nonfiction. Read more details about the books discussed on this episode here.

1hr 14mins

26 Nov 2019

Rank #3

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Leslie Jamison on Jenny Offill’s ‘Weather’

Jamison talks about Offill’s new novel, and Courtney Maum talks about “Before and After the Book Deal.”

1hr 9mins

7 Feb 2020

Rank #4

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The 10 Best Books of 2016

Stefan Hertmans talks about "War and Turpentine"; editors at the Book Review talk about the year's best books; and Ian McGuire discusses "The North Water."

50mins

9 Dec 2016

Rank #5

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Chang-rae Lee on His New Novel: ‘It’s Kind of a Crazy Book.’

Chang-rae Lee’s new novel, “My Year Abroad,” is his sixth. On this week’s podcast, Lee says that his readers might be surprised by it.“It’s kind of a crazy book, and particularly I think for people who know my work,” Lee says. “I’m sure my editor was surprised by what she got. I didn’t quite describe it the way it turned out.” The novel follows a New Jersey 20-year-old named Tiller, who is at loose ends, as he befriends a very successful Chinese entrepreneur. “They go traveling together,” Lee says. “They have what we might call business adventures, but those adventures get quite intense.”Maurice Chammah visits the podcast to talk about his densely reported first book, “Let the Lord Sort Them,” which is a history, as the subtitle has it, of “the rise and fall of the death penalty.”“One of the fascinating parts of researching this book was revisiting a time that I kind of dimly remembered when the death penalty had a role in the culture war pantheon, along with gun control and abortion,” Chammah says. “Starting around the year 2000, it feels like that was a high-water mark where something broke, and over the 20 years since, the death penalty has declined, both in the number of people who support it, but I think more importantly, in relevance. It’s less of a thing that people feel matters to their daily lives.”Also on this week’s episode, Tina Jordan looks back at Book Review history during this year of its 125th anniversary; Elizabeth A. Harris has news from the publishing world; and Tina Jordan and John Williams talk about what people are reading. Pamela Paul is the host.Here are the books discussed in this week’s “What We’re Reading”:The books of John le Carré“Read Me” by Leo Benedictus“Nine Perfect Strangers” by Liane Moriarty“Dear Child” by Romy Hausmann“Winterkeep” by Kristin Cashore

1hr 7mins

5 Feb 2021

Rank #6

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David Sedaris Talks About His Diaries

Sedaris discusses "Theft by Finding," and Christopher Knowlton talks about "Cattle Kingdom: The Hidden History of the Cowboy West."

43mins

2 Jun 2017

Rank #7

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Tara Westover on 'Educated'

Westover discusses her best-selling memoir, and Mark Weinberg talks about "Movie Nights With the Reagans."

1hr 7mins

6 Apr 2018

Rank #8

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Inside The New York Times Book Review: ‘Fates and Furies’

This week, Lauren Groff talks about her new novel, “Fates and Furies”; Alexandra Alter has news from the publishing world; Scott Shane discusses “Objective Troy”; feedback from listeners; and Gregory Cowles has best-seller news. Pamela Paul is the host.

41mins

11 Sep 2015

Rank #9

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Inside The New York Times Book Review: ‘Barbarian Days’

This week, William Finnegan talks about “Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life”; Alexandra Alter has news from the publishing world; Peter Moore discusses “The Weather Experiment”; questions from readers; and Gregory Cowles has best-seller news. Pamela Paul is the host.

41mins

17 Jul 2015

Rank #10

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Inside The New York Times Book Review: ‘Stalin’s Daughter’

This week, Rosemary Sullivan talks about “Stalin’s Daughter”; Alexandra Alter has news from the publishing world; Eugenia Cheng discusses “How to Bake Pi”; Judd Apatow on his reading habits; questions from listeners; and Gregory Cowles has best-seller news. Pamela Paul is the host.

43mins

12 Jun 2015

Rank #11

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Al Franken on Life in the Senate

Franken discusses his new political memoir; Thomas E. Ricks talks about “Churchill and Orwell”; and Dav Pilkey on the movie adaptation of “Captain Underpants” and more.

55mins

9 Jun 2017

Rank #12

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George Saunders on Lincoln and Lost Souls

George Saunders talks about “Lincoln in the Bardo”; Alan Burdick on “Why Times Flies”; and Maria Russo discusses Laura Ingalls Wilder and the “Little House” books.

46mins

10 Feb 2017

Rank #13

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Barry Jenkins and Meg Wolitzer on Two of This Season's Novels on Screen

Jenkins talks about his adaptation of James Baldwin's "If Beale Street Could Talk," and Wolitzer discusses the adaptation of her novel "The Wife."

51mins

16 Oct 2018

Rank #14

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Times Critics Talk About Their Year-End Lists

Dwight Garner, Parul Sehgal and Jennifer Szalai on the top books of 2019.

41mins

20 Dec 2019

Rank #15

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'The Boy Who Loved Too Much'

Jennifer Latson talks about “The Boy Who Loved Too Much”; Daniel Menaker discusses two new books about how to understand others and make ourselves understood.

43mins

23 Jun 2017

Rank #16

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Inside The New York Times Book Review: When I Grow Up

This week, Heather Havrilesky and Meghan Daum discuss new books about bringing up children and redefining adulthood; Alexandra Alter has news from the publishing world; Vendela Vida talks about her new novel, “The Diver’s Clothes Lie Empty”; questions from readers; and Gregory Cowles has best-seller news. Pamela Paul is the host.

39mins

19 Jun 2015

Rank #17

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Inside The New York Times Book Review: Colson Whitehead and Jeffrey Toobin

This week, Colson Whitehead discusses his new novel, “The Underground Railroad,” and Jeffrey Toobin talks about “American Heiress,” his new book about Patty Hearst. Pamela Paul is the host.

52mins

12 Aug 2016

Rank #18

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Inside The New York Times Book Review: ‘The Life of Saul Bellow’

This week, Sam Tanenhaus talks about Zachary Leader’s new biography of Saul Bellow; Alexandra Alter has news from the literary world; Emily Bazelon discusses Jon Krakauer’s “Missoula”; and Gregory Cowles has best-seller news. Pamela Paul is the host.

46mins

1 May 2015

Rank #19

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Inside The New York Times Book Review: “Reagan: The Life”

This week, Jeff Shesol discusses H. W. Brands’s new biography of Ronald Reagan; Alexandra Alter has notes from the publishing world; Charlotte DeCroes Jacobs talks about her new biography of Jonas Salk; questions from readers; and Gregory Cowles has best-seller news. Pamela Paul is the host.

36mins

5 Jun 2015

Rank #20