NPR's Book of the Day

‘Book of the Day’ is NPR’s daily podcast that that keeps up with the books everyone's talking about. Naina helped produced the podcast, wrote web and digital copy for each episode, cut audio and mixed the podcast.

Two authors write about the importance of mental health and accessing feelings : NPR's Book of the Day

Two authors write about the importance of mental health and accessing feelings The two books featured in this episode focus on accessing feelings and mental health. First is a book of essays by spoken word artist, Bassey Ikpi. Ikpi tells Scott Simon that her book I'm Telling the Truth but I'm Lying chronicles the hard work it took to make a real life for herself after facing abuse at home. Then we hear from neurologist and physician Anna DeForest on her novel that questions a lot about existenc

Gaia Vince details how migration will help billions survive in new book : NPR's Book of the Day

Gaia Vince details how migration will help billions survive in new book The main argument Gaia Vince makes in her book Nomad Century is that in order for three to five billion people on Earth to survive, it will require a planned and deliberate migration of the kind humanity has never before undertaken. NPR's Scott Simon discusses this possibility with Vince as she explains how human kind has hampered the success of migration through "artificial bordering of nation states," and as she talks of

'Touch' is a love story with elements of mystery, time, and loneliness : NPR's Book of the Day

'Touch' is a love story with elements of mystery, time, and loneliness Olaf Olafsson's new novel Touch is a combination of mystery, memories lost, and love. It puts the idea of "the one that got away" front and center and explores how loneliness can be felt in many different ways. In an interview with Mary Louise Kelly, Olafsson shares why the pandemic was the perfect time to write this story.

'Path Lit by Lightning' showcases Jim Thorpe's resilience until the end of his life : NPR's Book of the Day

'Path Lit by Lightning' showcases Jim Thorpe's resilience until the end of his life In the book Path Lit by Lightning, author David Maraniss does more than just write Jim Thorpe's life story. He delves into what caused misconceptions and false narratives about the great athlete, examines how exploitation of Native Americans by the U.S. government helped shape Thorpe's resilience, and offers a different perspective on the last few years of Thorpe's life as something admirable. In conversation wi

'The Mamas' views parenting through the lenses of race, class, and gentrification : NPR's Book of the Day

'The Mamas' views parenting through the lenses of race, class, and gentrification When it comes to raising children, says Helena Andrews-Dyer, there are complicated dynamics connected to race and class – which she writes about in her book The Mamas. In an interview with Rachel Martin, Dyer details the trials and tribulations of being a first-time parent, attending social events with other moms and all the pressure put on her internally and externally to make sure her child turns out alright. Bu

In 'Electable,' Ali Vitali explores the glass ceiling for women in politics : NPR's Book of the Day

In 'Electable,' Ali Vitali explores the glass ceiling for women in politics In Electable: Why America Hasn't Put a Woman in the White House... Yet, author Ali Vitali explores why the glass ceiling separating women from the highest office is still intact. Vitali and Juana Summers talk about why it wasn't possible to elect a woman in 2020 – and the importance of female representation in politics for America's future.

Emma Donoghue revisits isolation and faith (with many birds) in new book 'Haven' : NPR's Book of the Day

Emma Donoghue revisits isolation and faith (with many birds) in new book 'Haven' Author Emma Donoghue "seem to enjoy the stimulus of going to an entirely new place." That's precisely what she does in her new book 'Haven'; it's about three Irish monks in the middle ages who choose to live a life of isolation on a rocky island. In an interview with Ari Shapiro, Donoghue explains why she has recurrent themes of isolation and faith in her stories.

'The Stolen Year' details how politics and pandemic magnified inequality in education : NPR's Book of the Day

'The Stolen Year' details how politics and pandemic magnified inequality in education Author Anya Kamenetzwas covering education for NPR when the pandemic started spreading in the U.S. She says she saw how political affiliation, divisions and distrust prevented leaders from putting kids first. Kamenetz sits down with Steve Inskeep to discuss her new book, The Stolen Year, and how the pandemic "magnified the inequality" that already existed among school children.

Abdulrazak Gurnah's 'Afterlives' highlights nuances of colonization in East Africa : NPR's Book of the Day

In Abdulrazak Gurnah's Afterlives, the characters centered in the novel offer different perspectives of ordinary people under German colonization in East Africa. In an interview with NPR's Scott Simon, the author goes into detail about how the "power and attraction of the victor" can lead to the conquered joining the conqueror and the impact it has on one's identity.

Paula Hawkins and Amanda Jayatissa highlight class inequality via mystery : NPR's Book of the Day

The two books in this episode are thrillers that center class as the theme of the narrative. First up is A Slow Fire Burning by Paula Hawkins that the author says, in an interview with Mary Louise Kelly, is a crime-murder-mystery in a setting where "the powerful and the powerless" are right next to each other. Next is You're Invited, authored by Amanda Jayatissa, about a wedding invite gone wrong – but, as Jayatissa shared with Ayesha Roscoe, is actually a backdrop to highlight Sri Lanka's prese

Sidik Fofana addresses how complicated gentrification is in debut story collection : NPR's Book of the Day

Sidik Fofana addresses how complicated gentrification is in debut story collection Sidik Fofana's short story collection can be best described as "addressing the notion that gentrification is complicated." Those were Fofana's words to NPR's Daniel Estrin as they talked about his debut book, Stories from the Tenants Downstairs. Fofana, who's also a public school teacher, uses the emotions he's felt growing up and situations of other people he's known, to ask: "How would I feel if this happened t

'The Scent of Burnt Flowers' uses fiction to explore a real, historical event : NPR's Book of the Day

'The Scent of Burnt Flowers' uses fiction to explore a real, historical event Blitz Bazawule directed the first Ghanaian original film to be released on Netflix, co-directed Beyonce's visual album 'Black is King', directed the upcoming film musical version of 'The Color Purple' and, now, has published his first novel – The Scent of Burnt Flowers. In this interview, he talks with Michel Martin about how and why he wrote this novel, which meshes real historical events with the supernatural.

Author weaves family history with fiction in debut novel : NPR's Book of the Day

Author weaves family history with fiction in debut novel In Belinda Huijuan Tang's debut novel, A Map For the Missing, readers can find parallels between Tang's personal history and her fiction. The book touches on family mystery, personal identity and connections between the end of China's Cultural Revolution in the 1970s up through the1990s. While talking with NPR's Ari Shapiro, Tang shares why she chose this moment in Chinese history for her novel.

Mohsin Hamid and Alora Young detail the impact of colorism in their stories : NPR's Book of the Day

Mohsin Hamid and Alora Young detail the impact of colorism in their stories The two books featured in this episode illustrate the impact of colorism in society. First up is The Last White Man by Mohsin Hamid. In conversation with Scott Simon, Hamid talks about his personal experience after 9/11 and how that helped shape the narrative of this novel. Next is Walking Gentry Home by Alora Young, which chronicles her family's history through nine generations of mothers in her life. Young shares with

Romance novelist pokes fun at genre while writing it, in 'Thank You for Listening' : NPR's Book of the Day

Romance novelist pokes fun at genre while writing it, in 'Thank You for Listening' Author and audiobook narrator Julia Whelan says narrating her own second book, Thank You for Listening, was "so meta, that it just spins off its axis." It's about a former on-camera actress who suffered a tragic event that ended her on-camera career. She's found work in narrating audiobooks and while she loves it, it isn't the same as being in front of the camera. Whelan chats with Mary Louise Kelly about how thi

In new memoir, Sen. Tim Scott details the second chances he's gotten : NPR's Book of the Day

In new memoir, Sen. Tim Scott details the second chances he's gotten In an interview with NPR's Juana Summers, Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina talks about the second chances he's been given by his mother and his constituents, which he also details in his new memoir America: A Redemption Story. Scott reflects on his struggles with self image growing up, the doubts he had as a young Black man in high school, and what he wished President Trump would have done during the Jan. 6 attack on the Capit

A daughter helps her mom finish her book 'Properties of Thirst' : NPR's Book of the Day

A daughter helps her mom finish her book 'Properties of Thirst' Marianne Wiggins had started to write her latest book Properties of Thirst when she had a stroke in 2016. So her daughter Lara Porzak, helped her finish it. Porzak described the experience as "hard, very difficult, but beautiful." Talking to Scott Simon, both authors share how their time in the hospital and the uncertainty of the future helped complete a story about new beginnings.

Criminal justice reform and resilience are central in Albert Woodfox's 'Solitary' : NPR's Book of the Day

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.

Chinese American culture, murder mystery, and Dostoyevsky in 'The Family Chao' : NPR's Book of the Day

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 be
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