The Book Show

Tuesdays, 3pm - 3:30pm; Thursdays, 8:30pm - 9pm

Each week on The Book Show, host Joe Donahue interviews authors about their books, their lives and their craft. It is a celebration of both reading and writers. 

As the son of a librarian, Joe has been part of the book world since childhood. His first job was as a library assistant, during college he was a clerk at an independent book store and for the past 25 years he has been interviewing authors about their books on the radio.

He is also the host of The Roundtable on WAMC Northeast Public Radio, a 3-hour general interest talk show. Notable authors he has interviewed include: Kurt Vonnegut, John Irving, John Updike, Alice Walker, Toni Morrison, Arthur Miller, Stephen King, Amy Tan, Anne Rice, Philip Roth, E.L Doctorow, Richard Russo, David Sedaris and Maya Angelou. 

Joe  has won several awards for his interviews, including honors from the Associated Press, the Edward R. Murrow Awards, the New York State Association of Broadcasters, The Headliners, The National Press Club and the Scripps-Howard Foundation. 

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Bestselling author Anne Lamott’s work looks to help guide us through the confusion of the world, the complexities of our own hearts, and the complications of understanding relationships with others – children, partners, friends, neighbors, the stranger at the clothing store.

Her latest is: Hallelujah Anyway: Rediscovering Mercy. 

Harlan Coben’s latest Myron Bolitar mystery, Home, centers around a kidnapping of two young boys from wealthy New Jersey families a decade earlier. The kidnappers demanded ransom then never contacted the families again. When one of the boys, now a teenager, is found in London not only is everyone stunned, they learn life-changing details of the fate of his friend as well.

Greg Iles’ Natchez trilogy has been compared to Faulkner and Conroy – the greatest Southern Gothic writers.

The themes in the trilogy include race issues in the south, past and present, the legacy of a father, small town relationships and unattainable love. The culmination of the trilogy, Mississippi Blood, is now out. 

  Louis Begley, best known for his masterful observations of life in New York City’s upper crust, made his thriller debut with Killer Come Hither.

That book told the story of former Marine Corps officer turned novelist and Yale Alum, Jack Dana. Now Begley continues Jack’s story in the sequel, Kill and Be Killed.

In Madame President: The Extraordinary Journey of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist and bestselling author Helene Cooper tells the harrowing and triumphant story of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, leader of the Liberian women’s movement, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, and the first democratically elected female president in African history.

At the end of Mark Twain’s masterwork, Huckleberry Finn declares that he plans to “light out for the Territory” to avoid getting “sivilized.”

For 130-plus years, readers have been left guessing about the adventures in the West. But now, Huck is back, thanks to prize-winning novelist Robert Coover. His novel is Huck Out West.

George Saunders is considered one of the great masters of the short-story. He’s now written his first novel, Lincoln in the Bardo – a novel that comes from the real-life death of Willie Lincoln, the 11 year-old son of Abe and Mary Lincoln in 1862. 

This year marks the 30th Anniversary of one of crime fiction’s greatest characters, John Rebus, created by one of the world’s leading crime writers, Ian Rankin.

Rebus’s anniversary coincides with the release of Rather Be the Devil, Rankin’s 21st Rebus novel. Ian Rankin joins us to talk about one of Crime Fiction's great curmudgeons.

Neil Gaiman has long been inspired by ancient mythology in creating the fantastical realms of his fiction – including his classics The Sandman and American Gods.

Now he turns his attention back to the source in his new book: Norse Mythology, where he fashions these primeval stories into a novelistic arc.

Sebastian Barry is one of the most prominent Irish writers of his generation. In his latest novel, Days without End, he explores America through the eyes of a young Irish immigrant fighting in the great wars of the mid-19th century.

It’s about war, immigration, and the violent making of America, but also a moving love story between two gay men. 

  Pulitzer-Prize winning novelist Richard Russo is one of America’s most celebrated fiction writers, as well as an acclaimed screenwriter and memoirist.

His new novel, Everybody’s Fool, is a sequel to his novel Nobody’s Fool, which revisits the upstate New York setting and characters of that highly-praised novel. 

  Writer Tracy Chevalier spins fiction from history. Her new novel, At the Edge of the Orchard, takes us back to the Gold Rush era to tell the tale of a pioneer family on the American frontier.

When Stéphane Gerson’s eight year old son, Owen, died in a rafting accident, he found himself in uncharted territory. In the weeks that followed, he started to write about life without his son. Eventually, those writings took shape as the new book, Disaster Falls: A Family Story. 

Caroline Leavitt’s new novel, Cruel Beautiful World is about coming of age in 1969; about wild love, rebellion, and finding oneself in the time of Woodstock and the Manson murders.

The novel is a haunting, nuanced portrait of love, sisters, and the impossible legacy of family.   

Alice Hoffman has written more than thirty works of fiction, including The Museum of Extraordinary Things, The Dovekeepers and Practical Magic. Her latest novel is Faithful. It tells the story of a young woman struggling to redefine herself and the power of love, family, and fate.

Bestselling author Wally Lamb’s latest, I’ll Take You There, tells the story of film professor Felix Funicello who is visited by the ghost of a trailblazing director from the silent era who invites Felix to revisit – and in some cases re-live – scenes from his past.  

  Annie Proulx is the author of ten books, including the novel, The Shipping News and the short story, Brokeback Mountain.

Her new novel, Barkskins, imagines the forging of a new world through humanity’s insatiable appetite for timber and through two families intertwined in the early onslaught of modern global deforestation.

Fannie Flagg is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Daisy Fay and the Miracle Man, Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café and A Redbird Christmas.

Her latest novel, The Whole Town’s Talking, tells the story of Lordor Nordstrom, his Swedish mail-order bride and their neighbors and descendants as they live, love, die and carry on in mysterious and surprising ways.

Following on the heels of his New York Times bestselling Telegraph Avenue, Michael Chabon – who won the Pulitzer Prize for The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay – delivers his latest, Moonglow, a novel of truth and lies, family legends, and existential adventure. 

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Tracy Kidder's new book, A Truck Full of Money, chronicles the life of Paul English, a kinetic and unconventional inventor, philanthropist and entrepreneur suffering from bipolar disorder, who co-founded the travel website Kayak, which sold for almost 2-Billion dollars.

Howard Frank Mosher is one of America’s most acclaimed writers. His fiction set in the world of Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom chronicles intertwining family histories of the natives, wanderers, outcasts, and fugitives.

His eleventh novel is God’s Kingdom.

  Pulitzer Prize winning author Elizabeth Strout’s bestselling novels Olive Kitteridge  and The Burgess Boys  have illuminated our most tender relationships.

Now, in My Name Is Lucy Barton, she shows how a simple hospital visit becomes a portal to the most tender relationship of all—the one between mother and daughter.

Imbolo Mbue’s debut novel is Behold the Dreamers. It chronicles a young Cameroonian couple making a new live in New York just as the great recession of the 2000s upends the economy. The novel explores marriage, immigration, class, race, and the trap-doors in the American Dream. 

Jonathan Safran Foer is the author of Everything Is Illuminated and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. His latest novel, Here I Am, is set in present-day Washington, D.C., where a Jewish family goes through a domestic crisis, while at the same time, a geopolitical crisis unfolds on the other side of the world.

It was 1987 when the “Doonesbury” comic strip first imagined a Donald Trump presidential run. Since then, Trump has been a recurring character in cartoonist Garry Trudeau’s Pulitzer Prize-winning comic.

Over the years “Doonesbury” has taken on everything from Trump’s hair to his ego to his rampant use of insults. Those cartoons have just been collected in a new book titled Yuge!: 30 Years of Doonesbury on Trump.

Alan Cumming is an award-winning actor, writer, activist, and photographer.

In his new book, You Gotta Get Bigger Dreams, he shares real life stories of late-night parties; backstage anecdotes; cross-country road-trips with his dog, Honey; and poignant memories of his life, loves, family, fellow actors, and friends. 

  B. A. Shapiro brilliantly captured the world of art-theft and forgery in her critically acclaimed best-selling novel, The Art Forger.

Shapiro’s latest is The Muralist, a story about the birth of abstract-impressionism set against the backdrop of The Great Depression and the eve of World War II.

With his break-out debut novel, Rules of Civility, Amor Towles established himself as a master of absorbing, sophisticated fiction.

His latest, A Gentleman in Moscow, tells the story of a Russian aristocrat who was sentenced by the Bolsheviks during the revolution to a lifetime of house arrest in Moscow's ​Metropol hotel. 

The co-founder of The Omega Institute Elizabeth Lesser’s new book Marrow tells her story of sisters who in the face of a bone-marrow transplant – one the donor, one the recipient – begin a quest for acceptance, authenticity, and – most of all – love.

Joyce Carol Oates has won the highest honors in American fiction, ranging from the National Book Award to being awarded the National Humanities Medal from President Obama in 2010. She is also a 5-time finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. She has a pair of new books out – one a memoir, one a meditation on writing. 

We spoke to Joyce Carol Oates her as part of The Creative Life: A Conversation Series at The University at Albany. Our conversation was taped in September before a live audience in the University’s Performing Arts Center. 

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