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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Twitter: @The_Book_Show

    In her followup to the best-selling Loving Frank, Nancy Horan recounts the improbably love affair between Scottish author, Robert Louis Stevenson and his American wife, Fanny Osbourne.

In The Wide and Starry Sky, Horan invites us to explore The Stevensons unusual relationship and the ways they changed the literary and artistic landscape around them.

  Based on one of the great unsolved murders in mob history, and the rise-and-fall of a real-life hero, The Big Crowd tells the sweeping story of Charlie O’Kane. He is the American dream come to life, a poor Irish immigrant who worked his way up from beat cop to mayor of New York at the city’s dazzling, post-war zenith. Famous, powerful, and married to a glamorous fashion model, he is looked up to by millions, including his younger brother, Tom. So when Charlie is accused of abetting a shocking mob murder, Tom sets out to clear his brother’s name while hiding a secret of his own.

Kevin Baker is a novelist, historian, and journalist.

    Walter Mosley is the author of more than 43 books, most notably 13 Easy Rawlins mysteries.

His latest, Rose Gold, continues Mosley’s ongoing and unique achievement in combining the mystery/PI genre with a rich social history of post war Los Angeles.

  In 1981 Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Alison Lurie published The Language of Clothes, a meditation on costume and fashion as an expression of history, social status and individual psychology. Amusing, enlightening and full of literary allusion, the book was highly praised and widely anthologized.

Now Lurie has returned with a companion book, The Language of Houses, a lucid, provocative and entertaining look at how the architecture of buildings and the spaces within them both reflect and affect the people who inhabit them.

    Joe Gannon is a writer and spoken word artist. He was also a freelance journalist during the Sandinista Revolution, writing for the Christian Science Monitor and the San Francisco Examiner.

In his new novel, Night of the Jaguar, he takes readers to the land of Nicaragua in the mid-eighties, a place recovering from one conflict and descending into another.

      Simon Winchester, The New York Times bestselling author of Atlanticand The Professor and the Madman delivers his first book about America.

The Men Who United the States is a fascinating history that illuminates the men who toiled to discover, connect, and bond the citizenry and geography of The United States of America.


   On this week’s Book Show we’ll meet the two recipients of this year’s Maurice Sendak Fellowship - established as a residency program for artists who tell stories with illustration.

Harry Bliss is a New Yorker cartoonist and cover artist for the magazine. Nora Krug is the illustrator of the children’s book, My Cold Went on Vacation.

  Lydia Davis is renowned in literary circles for perfecting the craft of the “extremely short short story.” She is the winner of the 2013 Man Booker International Prize, one of world literature’s most prestigious prizes.

Her latest collection is can’t and won’t - stories.

    Bob Berman is considered one of America's top astronomy writers. He is currently a columnist for Astronomy and the science editor of The Old Farmer's Almanac.

In his latest book, Zoom: How Everything Moves, From Atoms and Galaxies to Blizzards and Bees, Berman explores how motion shapes every aspect of the universe. 

  James Howard Kunstler is a prominent social critic drawing attention through his writing and speaking to the global oil crisis, climate change, and other converging catastrophes of the twenty-first century.

His latest novel is A History of the Future – the third installment of his World Made By Hand series.

    For years, there were rumors that filmmaker Henry Jaglom had taped hours of his conversations with Orson Welles but that the tapes had been lost. They weren't.

Now the transcripts have been released in a new book, edited and introduced by Peter Biskind. The new book is My Lunches with Orson: Conversations between Henry Jaglom and Orson Welles.

    At twenty-three, after leaving graduate school to pursue her dreams of becoming a poet, Joanna Rakoff moved to New York City and took a job as assistant to the storied literary agent for J. D. Salinger. She was tasked with answering Salinger’s voluminous fan mail.

Her memoir of that time is called: My Salinger Year.

  Set on a small, fictional island off the coast of Maine, Alexi Zentner's second novel, The Lobster Kings, is a nod to Shakespeare’s King Lear.

It introduces a fiery and unforgettable heroine, Cordelia Kings. The Lobster Kings is the story of Cordelia’s struggle to maintain her island’s way of life.

    Owen King’s new novel, Double Feature, is about a young man coming to terms with his life in the process and aftermath of making his first film.

Owen King joins us to talk about his novel, writing in the shadow of his father, Stephen King and the knack of being moving AND funny.

    Joseph Ellis is the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Founding Brothers. His portrait of Thomas Jefferson, American Sphinx, won the National Book Award.

His new book, Revolutionary Summer, tells an old story in a new way about the summer months of 1776 and how they witnessed the most consequential events in the story of our country’s founding.

    Francine Prose's new novel is about a cross-dressing French racecar driver who collaborates with the Nazis and is recounted by various alternating voices.

Prose has written more than a dozen novels dating back to 1973 to her latest opus, Lovers at the Chameleon Club, Paris 1932.

  Publishers Weekly says Kelly Braffet’s new novel, Save Yourself, is “Captivating and realistically creepy,” adding that “she uses graceful prose, astute dialog, and vivid characters to carry the plot to an unexpected and believable finale.”

The story is a layered tale of a group of characters each seeking their own warped version of peace.

    Teddy Roosevelt described the power of the presidency to shape public opinion as “The Bully Pulpit”. That's also the title of the new book from presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, in which she writes about William Howard Taft and Teddy Roosevelt and explains the unique relationship forged with reporters.

This is an Off the Shelf edition of The Book Show in partnership with Northshire Bookstore in Saratoga Springs, NY and recorded before a live audience.


  In 2011, Greg Iles suffered life-threatening injuries in an automobile accident that took his right leg and made him question his return to writing.

It ultimately became his path to recovery. He poured himself into an epic trilogy about the Civil Right abuses in the South that begins with the new Natchez Burning.

    In her bestseller Room, writer Emma Donoghue imagined what life would be like for a little boy born into captivity, to a mother who'd been kidnapped and sexually assaulted.

And in her new novel, Frog Music, she's imagined a possible solution to a very real murder, one that took place in California in 1876. That crime was never solved. But Emma Donoghue has gone through historical records to write what might have happened.

    In his 2007 memoir, A Long Way Gone, Ishmael Beah wrote of being a teenager when his town became engulfed in Sierra Leone's civil war in the mid-1990s.

He has now written a novel, Radiance of Tomorrow, in which he imagines a shattered community struggling to rebuild itself after war.

    Rachel Urquhart's debut novel, The Visionist, is based in real life: the Visionists were young Shaker girls who began to suffer mysterious fits, thought to be in communication with the spirit world.

The Visionist tells the story of 15-year old Polly Kimball who kills her abusive father in a fire. Her mother leads them to seek shelter in The City of Hope, a nearby shaker Settlement. She is anointed a visionist upon her arrival, where she is - by turns - worshipped and questioned.


  In 1872 the American merchant vessel Mary Celeste was discovered adrift off the coast of Spain. Her cargo was intact and there was no sign of struggle, but the crew was gone. They were never found.

This maritime mystery lies at the center of an intricate narrative branching through the highest levels of late-nineteenth-century literary society in Valerie Martin's novel, The Ghost of the Mary Celeste.

    Dinaw Mengestu’s work, including his first two novels, have earned him incredible critical acclaim as well as a MacArthur Foundation genius grant and selection by the New Yorker as one of their “20 Under 40” young writers central to their generation. And writing about his new novel, All Our Names, Kirkus Reviews calls Mengestu, “among the best novelists now at work in America.”


  For years, P.J. O’Rourke has trained his wit and critical eye on institutions ranging from the U.S. Government and the global economy to the automobile industry and American politics.

In his new book, The Baby Boom: How it Got That Way – And it Wasn’t My Fault…And I’ll Never Do it Again, he trains his eye on his own generation. He leads readers on an expedition into the world of the boomer psyche.

He has written 16-books, including the bestsellers, Parliament of Whores and Give War a Chance


  New Yorker staff writer and best-selling author Elizabeth Kolbert offers a startling look at the mass extinction currently unfolding before us in her new book – The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History.

Over the last half billion years, there have been five major mass extinctions – we’ll learn more about the sixth with Elizabeth Kolbert.

  Armistead Maupin first introduced readers to the cast of 28 Barbary Lane, including the beloved transgender landlady, Anna Madrigal, in the 1970’s with a groundbreaking newspaper serial. Now, 35-years years after Tales of the City was published, Maupin takes us back to San Francisco for the ninth and final book in the series.

    Amy Tan has a new novel for the first time in seven years. Her newest is The Valley of Amazement.

Like many of works by the author of The Joy Luck Club, it deals with China's history and also tense mother-daughter relationships.

    Playwright, author and activist Eve Ensler traces many paths of reconnection in her memoir, In the Body of the World.

It is the path of reconnection with her body, after she is diagnosed with cancer; with the people of the world, in the face of injustice and abuse; and with the earth.

    Pulitzer Prize-winning author Paul Harding returns with a follow-up to 2009's Tinkers. This time, Harding builds his story around the grandson of Tinkers protagonist, George Crosby.

In Enon: A Novel, Harding follows a year in the life of Charlie Crosby as he tries to come to terms with a shattering personal tragedy.