The B&N Podcast

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Every author has a story beyond the one that they put down on paper. The Barnes & Noble Podcast goes between the lines with today's most interesting writers, exploring what inspires them, what confounds them, and what they were thinking when they wrote the books we’re talking about. Subscribe to discover intriguing new conversations every week.

Episode Date
Dean Atta on The Black Flamingo

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Jun 22, 2020
Mike Birbiglia & J. Hope Stein on The New One

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Jun 16, 2020
Megha Majumdar on A Burning

Our guest today is Megha Majumdar, debut author of A Burning—our June Discover Pick of the Month.

A Burning is an astonishing, heartbreaking story about power—who has it, who doesn’t, and what some will do to get it. In a deceptively slim package like Colson Whitehead’s The Nickel Boys and There, There by Tommy Orange, this is an unforgettable debut by a magnificent new voice. Megha Majumdar, a book editor by trade, never takes the reader for granted, and her writing is full of the contradictions and surprises she looks for in a great novel. We could not get over the complexities, distinct characters and timely messages throughout this amazing story, and we're not the only ones who were completely enchanted by its language and universal themes: Yaa Gyasi, author of Homecoming raved about how "Megha Majumdar writes about the ripple effects of our choices, the interconnectedness of our humanity, with striking beauty and clarity.” We couldn't agree more. We can’t wait for you to devour this cinematic story and get to know Megha Majumdar here as she discusses art and politics, various forms of storytelling, and alternative endings.

Jun 09, 2020
Brit Bennett on The Vanishing Half

Our guest today is Brit Bennett, author of our June Barnes & Noble Book Club selection The Vanishing Half.

[ean1]The lives of identical twin sisters diverge when they leave their tiny hometown in this indelible story of identity, family and home. As the narrative cuts across the country and across decades, we follow the aftermath of trauma and the events that follow difficult, often unimaginable choices. The Vanishing Half is the kind of book you never want to end; Brit writes her characters with such understanding and love that you wish you could follow them forever. There’s a lot to unpack in this incredible novel, which is why it’s the perfect choice for our June B&N Book Club pick. We’re excited to get the conversation going and for readers to discuss a story that asks big questions about who we are and where we’re headed. As you ready yourself for this not-to-be-missed event and novel, be sure to also check out Brit Bennett’s acclaimed novel, The Mothers and listen to Brit here as she brilliantly discusses the inspiration for the community at the center of this story and the characters she chose to leave out.

Join us Tuesday, July 7, at 7PM ET when Brit Bennett will be with us live on B&N Facebook for a discussion of her novel The Vanishing Half. We hope to see you there!

Jun 02, 2020
Emma Straub on All Adults Here

Our guest today is Emma Straub, author of our May Barnes & Noble Book Club selection All Adults Here.

All Adults Here is a sharp, yet sincere look at how we define our lives and the profound effects we have on those we love most. This deeply fulfilling story of sibling relationships, aging parents, hard truths, and second chances is chockfull of heady topics ripe for discussion, so it should come as no surprise it’s been selected as our BN Book Club pick for May. Reading an Emma Straub novel is essentially like hanging out with your smartest, most insightful friend – it’s life-affirming, wisdom-giving, and something you’ll look back on fondly – so we know you’re going to love it! As you get ready for what’s sure to be a lively conversation around a great book, due yourself the favor of checking out her other bestselling novels, The Vacationers  and Modern Lovers , and listen to Emma here as she brilliantly talks about her love of bookstores, personal ambitions, and the atmospheric small-town vibe of her new novel – secretly inspired by Gilmore Girls!

Join the conversation on social media using #BNBookClub. Then on Tuesday, 6/2 at 7 PM ET, join the author for a virtual #BNBookClub event on our Instagram!

May 11, 2020
Elizabeth Gilbert on City of Girls

Our guest today is Elizabeth Gilbert, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Big Magic and Eat Pray Love here to discuss her latest bestseller City of Girls.

With City of Girls, beloved author Elizabeth Gilbert returns to fiction with a unique love story set in the New York City theater world during the 1940s. Told from the perspective of an older woman as she looks back on her youth with both pleasure and regret (but mostly pleasure), City of Girls explores themes of female sexuality and promiscuity, as well as the idiosyncrasies of true love.


May 04, 2020
N.K. Jemisin on The City We Became

Our guest this week is the three-time Hugo Award-winning and New York Times bestselling author N.K. Jemisin.

She joins us today to discuss her latest novel, The City We Became. A story of culture, identity, magic, and myths in contemporary New York City.

Apr 20, 2020
Monica Hesse on They Went Left

In this episode, we dive into They Went Left, A tour de force historical mystery from Monica Hesse, the bestselling and award-winning author of Girl in the Blue Coat.

They Went Left is also our Barnes & Noble YA Book Club selection for the month of May.

The Barnes & Noble YA Book Club Edition features an author Q&A and an annotated chapter.

Apr 17, 2020
Wes Moore on Five Days

Our guest this week is Rhodes Scholar, bestselling author, decorated combat veteran, former White House fellow, and CEO of Robin Hood, one of the largest anti-poverty nonprofits in the nation, Wes Moore.

He joins us to talk about his latest book, Five Days: The Fiery Reckoning of an American City; a kaleidoscopic account of five days in the life of a city on the edge told through eight characters on the front lines of the uprising that overtook Baltimore and riveted the world.

Apr 13, 2020
Lisa Wingate on The Book of Lost Friends

Our guest today is Lisa Wingate, bestselling author of Before We Were Yours.

Lisa joins us to discuss her new historical novel The Book of Lost Friends. A dramatic story of three young women searching for family amid the destruction of the post–Civil War South, and of a modern-day teacher who learns of their story and its vital connection to her students’ lives.

Apr 10, 2020
Afia Atakora on Conjure Women

Our guest today is Afia Atakora, author of our April Barnes & Noble Book Club selection Conjure Women

Conjure Women is a sweeping story that brings the world of the South before and after the Civil War vividly to life. Spanning eras and generations, it tells of the lives of three unforgettable women: Miss May Belle, a wise healing woman; her precocious and observant daughter Rue, who is reluctant to follow in her mother’s footsteps as a midwife; and their master’s daughter Varina. 

Join the conversation on social media: #BNBookClub. Then on Tuesday, 5/5 at 7:00 PM ET, join the author for a virtual #BNBookClub event! 


Apr 07, 2020
Elizabeth Wetmore on Valentine

Our guest today is Elizabeth Wetmore here to discuss Valentine, an astonishing debut novel that explores the lingering effects of a brutal crime on the women of one small Texas oil town in the 1970s.

Valentine is our April Discover Pick of the Month. The Discover program finds unforgettable stories from up-and-coming authors. Be the first to know about these amazing new voices!

Apr 03, 2020
Sarah Watson on Most LIkely

Our guest this week is Sarah Watson, creator of the hit TV series, The Bold Type. 

Sarah joins us to discuss Most Likely, our Barnes & Noble YA Book Club pick, an empowering and heartfelt novel about a future female president's senior year of high school.

The Barnes & Noble YA Book Club Edition features a bonus epilogue and a list of book club discussion questions.

Be sure to follow us on Instagram @barnesandnoble for more Barnes & Noble YA Book Club news


Mar 30, 2020
Abi Daré on The Girl with the Louding Voice

Our guest today is Abi Daré here to discuss her debut novel The Girl with the Louding Voice.

A powerful, emotional debut novel told in the unforgettable voice of a young Nigerian woman who is trapped in a life of servitude but determined to fight for her dreams and choose her own future.

The Girl with the Louding Voice was recently named a Most Anticipated Book of 2020 by the New York TimesMarie ClaireVogueEssence, PopSugar, Daily Mail, Electric LiteratureRed Magazine, Stylist, Daily Kos, Library JournalThe Every Girl, and Read It Forward!

Mar 23, 2020
Therese Anne Fowler on A Good Neigborhood

Our guest today is Therese Anne Fowler, here to talk with us about her latest novel, A Good Neighborhood.

Fowler has penned a gripping contemporary novel that examines the American dream through the lens of two families living side by side in an idyllic neighborhood, over the course of one summer that changes their lives irrevocably.

Our Barnes & Noble Exclusive Edition of A Good Neighborhood includes a discussion guide and a personal essay from Therese Anne Fowler.

Mar 16, 2020
Hilary Mantel on The Mirror & The Light

Our guest today is Hillary Mantel the two-time winner of the Man Booker Prize.

Hillary joins us to talk about her latest novel The Mirror & The Light, a triumphant close to the trilogy she began with her peerless, Booker Prize-winning novels, Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies.


Mar 10, 2020
James McBride on Deacon King Kong

Our guest today is non-other than James McBride, author of the National Book Award-winning The Good Lord Bird.

James is with us to discuss his latest book Deacon King Kong, a captivating novel about what happens to the witnesses of a shooting in a Brooklyn housing project.

Listen in as we go in-depth with James on what it was like to pen Deacon King Kong.


Mar 03, 2020
Erik Larson on The Splendid and The Vile

Our guest today is Erik Larson, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Devil in the White City and Dead Wake joins us to discuss his newest work, The Splendid and The Vile, where he delivers a fresh and compelling portrait of Winston Churchill and London during The Blitz.

Feb 25, 2020
Holly Jackson

Our guest today is Holly Jackson, who joins us to talk about her new YA crime thriller A Good Girl's Guide to Murder.

The book plays well for readers of Kara Thomas and Karen McManus, an addictive, twisty crime thriller with shades of Serial and Making a Murderer about a closed local murder case that doesn't add up, and a girl who's determined to find the real killer—but not everyone wants her meddling in the past. 

A Good Girl's Guide to Murder has been chosen for our March Barnes & Noble YA Book Club event! Mark your calendars to join us for a discussion on Friday, March 13th at 7:00 PM!

Feb 11, 2020
Jason Reynolds

We revisit our podcast interview with celebrated novelist for young readers Jason Reynolds, recently named National Ambassador for Young People's Literature, and the author of Look Both Ways.  He joined B&N's Miwa Messer in our studio on the occasion of his powerful novel Long Way Down.

Jan 24, 2020
Jeanine Cummins

Lydia Pérez is an ordinary bookseller in Acapulco, Mexico, when an article by her journalist husband makes her family a target for a drug cartel. In an instant, Lydia and her family become migrants, fleeing for their lives. Their story at the center of American Dirt is a powerful and often harrowing story of love, sacrifice, and hope. John Grisham, Stephen King, and Oprah Winfrey are all talking about this timely novel that features an unforgettable mother and son at its heart. Our booksellers can't stop thinking about American Dirt either, which is why we've made it our February 2020 Barnes & Noble Book Club Pick. The author sat down with B&N's Miwa Messer to take us behind the making of this propulsive story.

Jan 17, 2020
Abigail Hing Wen

Our guest today is the novelist Abigail Hing Wen, who joins us to talk about her new YA novel Loveboat, Taipei, a coming-of-age story about taking risks, finding your voice, and discovering yourself in places you never would have predicted. Ever's Chinese-American parents have planned every aspect of her future: but one summer in Taiwan -- a trip they've sprung on their daughter as a not-very-welcome surprise might change everything. The result is an absolutely sparkling story that's based in part on the author's own young experience and a program that's still going on today, and it's B&N's latest YA Book Club selection. Abigail Hing Wen sat down with Bill Tipper in the B&N studio to talk about the real summer-in-Taiwan experience that was the genesis for the story of Loveboat, Taipei.

Jan 06, 2020
Ann Napolitano

Our guest on today's episode of the B&N Podcast is the novelist Ann Napolitano, who joins us to talk about her heart-stopping new novel Dear Edward.  When his survival in a terrible accident transforms a twelve-year-old boy's life forever, Edward Adler sets out on a confrontation with challenges both more subtle and more daunting -- grief, confusion, and the strangest kind of fame. We found Ann Napolitano's richly told, emotionally devastating novel one of the most compelling books of the season, and we asked the author to join B&N's Miwa Messer in the studio for a discussion about Dear Edward and how Napolitano brought its characters to vibrant, unforgettable life.

Jan 06, 2020
Voices of 2019: Elizabeth Strout

In celebration of some of the most fascinating authors we spoke with in 2019, we're re-sharing our conversation with Pulitzer Prize winning writer Elizabeth Strout, who joined us to talk about her new novel Olive, Again. Since she published her first novel Amy and Isabelle, Elizabeth Strout has been known to readers for her subtle, sidelong portrayals of what Alice Munro, praising Strout's fiction, described as "the bravery and hard choices of what is called ordinary life." Strout's novels have all been populated with brilliantly illuminated characters, but one resident of the fictional town of Crosby, Maine has crackled with an especially powerful charge. The star of Strout's Pultizer winning 2008 novel Olive Kitteridge — an abrasive, unfiltered, and wincingly honest former schoolteacher — proved a voice that echoed in readers' heads long after the last page of that wry and winning story concluded. So Strout's return to Crosby and to this unforgettable personality in novel Olive, Again, has been hailed by readers and critics alike as one of the best things to happen this year. Elizabeth Strout sat down in the B&N Podcast studio earlier this fall for a talk with Bill Tipper about storytelling, overheard conversations, and Olive's triumphant return.

Dec 24, 2019
Voices of 2019: Colson Whitehead

To mark the end of 2019 we're re-sharing some of our favorite conversations from our year in reading. Among the standouts: our chat with Colson Whitehead, the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award-winning author of The Underground Railroad , who returned to the B&N Podcast for a conversation about his novel The Nickel Boys. It's a riveting story of injustice, friendship, resistance and survival that turns on the experience of two boys incarcerated in a Florida institution, and its reverberating effects on their lives. Whitehead joined B&N's Miwa Messer for a talk about the true story that was the inspiration for the novel -- a 2019 Barnes & Noble Book Club selection  -- the battle between optimism and pessimism in his own worldview, and how he learns from the characters he brings to life.

Dec 20, 2019
Alice Hoffman

Today's episode is a conversation with the prolific, bestselling author Alice Hoffman, who joins us to talk about her engrossing new novel The World That We Knew.  Hoffman is the author of more than thirty works of fiction, including The Rules of Magic, The Marriage of Opposites, Practical Magic, The Red Garden, and 1997's Here on Earth, which was an Oprah's Book Club selection, and she's written multiple works for young adults and children. In her novels Hoffman has drawn boldly on both historical fact and myth, folktale and legend, to create stories in which mystery and magic often suffuse an otherwise familiar world. For The World That We Knew, which follows a group of Jewish refugees struggling to survive and resist the unfolding terror of the Holocaust, Hoffman links ancient traditions of Jewish magic to the stories of hidden children she researched for her book. When she joined us in the studio,  B&N's Bill Tipper asked her to talk about the alchemy of her storytelling, and how she was able to connect the traumas of the 1930s and 40s to tapestry of legends that spans centuries.

Dec 12, 2019
Charlie Mackesy: B&N's Book of the Year

In this episode we're so pleased to be joined via phone by the artist and author Charlie Mackesy, whose wonderful new book The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse has just been selected by Barnes & Noble Booksellers as our Book of the Year. Mackesy, who lives and works in the United Kingdom, is a lifelong artist and illustrator whose works in both pen and ink and paint can be found in the British magazine The Spectator and in many books. But when Mackesy posted to Instagram a deceptively simple drawing of a boy atop a large horse, engaged in a dialogue and about courage, the internet took notice, and the artist found his work reaching an audience he'd never expected. That single drawing grew into a charmingly illustrated story in which a young boy and three animals wander through a beautifully rendered English countryside, and talk about life, love, acceptance, and, not to be forgotten, cake. There's a quiet grace about Macksey's work that has found the place in the hearts of readers around the world. Bill Tipper spoke to Mackesy by phone from his home studio, where he told us about the conversations that led to his work, and an unexpected visit from one of his book's wild counterparts.

Dec 06, 2019
Brian K. Vaughan

Today on the podcast we're bringing you a conversation that features the wildest science fiction story in the galaxy -- one that's not been playing out not on television on a movie screen, but on the colorful pages of a comic book since 2012. Aptly named Saga, this expansive and unclassifiable outer space epic, co-created by writer Brian K. Vaughan and artist Fiona Staples, is many things: a story of star-crossed love between warring alien species, a soap opera featuring larger than life scenarios and stranger-than-human characters, a gritty war drama, a political satire, and the coming-of-age of one very special little girl. After 7 years, the series recently reached its halfway point, with the first 54 issues collected in the massive Saga: Compendium One. To mark the occasion, Barnes & Noble editor Joel Cunningham recently sat down with Vaughan to discuss the story’s genesis, his collaborative relationship with Staples, and what the future holds

Dec 04, 2019
Michael Eric Dyson

Our guest on today's episode is the writer, thinker and teacher Michael Eric Dyson, who joins us to talk about his new book Jay-Z: Made in America. Dyson is the author of a wide array of books, including the bestsellers Tears We Cannot Stop and What Truth Sounds Like: Robert F. Kennedy, James Baldwin and Our Unfinished Conversation About Race in America, and has become one of the most incisive and eloquent voices speaking about race and the black experience. And among the subjects he's written about memorably is the poetry and meaning of hip hop, with works on rap superstars like Tupac Shakur advancing our understanding of hiphop as an art form with unparalleled global impact. In his  new book Jay-Z: Made in America, Dyson takes on one of the most influential personalities working not only in hip hop but in business and on the world stage -- he sat down in our studio with Miwa Messer to give us a taste of how he sees this moment in our nation's life through the lyrics and life of an icon.

Nov 26, 2019
Bill Bryson

Our guest today is bestselling writer Bill Bryson, whose books on travel, history and science celebrate our endless curiosity, our drive to discover and understand the mysteries of our world and of the universe itself. Readers followed Bryson's questing intelligence and wry humor in books about explorations like A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail and Notes from a Small Island. With 2003's wildly ambitious A Short History of Nearly Everything, Bryson followed his desire to overcome his dissatisfaction with his own early education in science. The result ranges from the birth of the universe to the evolutionary history of humankind, in under 600 pages.  He's gone on to write about everything from Shakespeare to Jazz Age America, but in his latest book The Body: A Guide for Occupants, Bryson returns to a set of mysteries at once everyday and profoundly elemental. It's an exploration of our inner universe in the company of a guide whose fascination about the secrets of the human organism is utterly infectious -- and as delightfully witty as any of his tales of wandering the globe, as B&N's Bill Tipper found our when he sat down with the author to talk about The Body and the multiple mysteries that lie within.

Nov 21, 2019
Eva Chen

Welcome back to the B&N podcast. Our guest on today's episode is author, editor, fashion maven, and social media star Eva Chen, who joins us to talk about her latest marvelous book for kids, Juno Valentine and the Fantastic Fashion Adventure. Her career has been nothing short of a fantastic adventure itself, highlighted by her work at Elle and Teen Vogue before she became Lucky magazine's youngest ever editor in chief. She joined the social media platform Instagram in 2015 where she became Head of Fashion Partnerships — and an Insta star in her own right with over 2 million followers. But she's also a parent, and that experience led her to create picture books starring her young heroine Juno Valentine, whose exploits celebrate self-discovery with a touch of sass and style. Eva Chen joined B&N's Amanda Cecil in our studio to talk about being a late bloomer, literary heroes, and raising readers.

Nov 15, 2019
Erin Morgenstern

Our guest on today's episode is the novelist Erin Morgenstern, who joins us to talk about her new novel The Starless Sea. Every now and again a writer comes along with a story that seems to want to resist classification — a book that slips between the subjects and genres we tend to slot our fiction into, and there's no better example than Erin Morgenstern's best-selling 2011 debut The Night Circus, in which a deadly contest between two magicians is played out between their talented proteges, who fall in love despite their mentors schemes. Dreamlike, yet firmly grounded in its characters, heartbreaking yet funny, and manifestly unique, The Night Circus defied any classification other than addictive. It's no surprise that readers were eager to learn what its author would choose for her next act, and with The Starless Sea we finally get to return to a world created Morgenstern's thrilling imagination. She joined B&N's Miwa Messer by phone to talk about her new story, in which a strange volume leads a student into a labyrinth of discovery.

Nov 12, 2019

Our guest on today's episode of the B&N Podcast is the musician and author Flea, famous as the bassist for the iconic, sometimes outrageous band the Red Hot Chili Peppers, who built a fervent fan base in their Los Angeles hometown before exploding as rock superstars with 1991's Blood Sugar Sex Magik.  He joins us to talk about his new memoir Acid for the Children, a nakedly honest and deeply tender account of his years growing up in 1970s Los Angeles, enamored of both the possibilities of art and the lure of the streets. Acid for the Children chronicles in appropriately electric style the life of a self-described "street kid" who was also a devoted reader and aspiring punk musician. Candid about both the drug use central to the scene and the vital friendships that buoyed him through those years, Flea delivers a true story with an emotional punch that matches its tough-minded revelations.  He joined B&N's Josh Perilo for a conversation about what it meant to revisit a time in his life marked by exuberant excess, joy, and tragedy.

Nov 08, 2019
Lisa Jewell

We're joined on today's episode by Lisa Jewell, the author of a host of suspenseful, psychologically twisty novels that include I Found You, The Girls in the Garden, and the New York Times bestseller Then She Was Gone. She's been called "a master of bone-chilling suspense" and she joins us today to talk about her riveting new novel The Family Upstairs, a fascinating story in which a young woman's lifetime quest to discover her real identity turns dark when she finds herself the inheritor of a London mansion with a terrible history. And Libby's story is only one path in the beguiling labyrinth Lisa Jewell leads us down in The Family Upstairs. We were so transfixed by her storytelling that we chose The Family Upstairs as the latest selection in the Barnes & Noble Book Club — and Lisa Jewell joined B&N's Miwa Messer by phone to talk about the creation of this enthralling tale.

Nov 04, 2019
Stephen Chbosky

Happy Halloween! On today's episode of the B&N Podcast we're joined by the novelist and filmmaker Stephen Chbosky, for a conversation about his spine-tingling new novel Imaginary Friend. Many readers and moviegoers alike know Chbosky as the author of the acclaimed coming-of-age story The Perks of Being a Wallflower, a novel whose early devoted audience grew substantially following Chbosky's deft and memorable 2012 film adaptation of his own work starring Emma Watson and Ezra Miller. His long-awaited second work of fiction is now finally here: Imaginary Friend is the story of a seven year old boy named Christopher and his mother Kate, their arrival in a small town with a strange past, and what happens when Christopher disappears into the woods for nearly a week — only to return terribly changed, and obsessed with the knowledge that the fate of the world is in his hands. The chilling tale that follows takes in the secret lives and hidden shames of a community, a cosmic clash between mysterious forces, and the deep love between parent and child. We spoke to Stephen Chbosky in our podcast studio about his excursion into nightmare, and what drove him there.

Oct 31, 2019
Elizabeth Strout

Our guest on today's episode is the bestselling, Pulitzer Prize winning writer Elizabeth Strout, who joins us to talk about her new novel Olive, Again. Since she published her first novel Amy and Isabelle, Elizabeth Strout has been known to readers for her subtle, sidelong portrayals of what Alice Munro, praising Strout's fiction, described as "the bravery and hard choices of what is called ordinary life." Strout's novels like Amy and Isabelle, My Name is Lucy Barton and Anything Can Happen have all been populated with brilliantly illuminated characters, but one resident of the fictional town of Crosby, Maine has crackled with an especially powerful charge. The star of Strout's Pultizer winning 2008 novel Olive Kitteridge — an abrasive, unfiltered, and wincingly honest former schoolteacher — proved a voice that echoed in readers' heads long after the last page of that wry and winning story concluded. So Strout's return to Crosby and to this unforgettable personality in her latest novel Olive, Again, has been hailed by readers and critics alike as one of the best things to happen this year. We were lucky enough to get Elizabeth Strout in the B&N Podcast studio for a talk about storytelling, overheard conversations, and Olive's triumphant return.

Oct 30, 2019
Joe Hill

With Halloween only a few days away we're thrilled that our guest on this episode is the writer Joe Hill, here to talk about his engrossing and often hair-raising new collection Full Throttle. Two of the short stories included here were written in collaboration with his father, Stephen King, but Full Throttle's range of invention shows that the author of bestsellers like NOS4A2, The Fireman, and Horns works from a spell book of his own devising. From a tale that fuses big-game hunting with a classic work of fantasy to a story that draws us into a diabolic circus via the means of an all too familiar social media app, the stories of Full Throttle offer pleasures heartfelt and horrifying in equal measure. Hill prefaces Full Throttle with a marvelous introduction that stands as a great story of its own, a story of Hill's experience growing up as a writer in an extraordinary family, and with an extraordinary literary force as a father and mentor. When he joined us in the studio, we talked about his journey as a writer, and the obsessions behind these fantastic dark tales.

Oct 28, 2019
Saeed Jones

Our guest on today's episode is celebrated poet and memoirist Saeed Jones, who joins us to talk about his new book How We Fight for Our Lives. The author of the award-winning poetry collection Prelude to a Bruise, Jones has made wry, cutting and often laugh out loud hilarious commentary on contemporary culture his hallmark on Twitter and in online venues like Buzzfeed's beloved AM to DM web series, which he launched with co-host Isaac Fitzgerald in 2017. In How We Fight for Our Lives, Jones delivers a revelatory, incendiary, page-turning true story: it's both a richly rendered portrait of the artist as a young man growing up gay and black in 1980s Texas, and a chronicle of confrontation with deadly challenges that emerge from both within and without. One of the most keenly anticipated books of the fall, How to Fight for Our Lives is a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection, and Miwa Messer, Director of the Discover program, spoke to author via phone recently about what it meant to put his story down on paper.

Oct 23, 2019
Rick Riordan

Today's guest has turned thousands of 21st century kids into passionate, intensely knowledgable fans of ancient mythologies. When Rick Riordan published The Lightning Thief in 2008, his story of modern tweens magically connected to a hidden world of gods and monsters taken from Greek myths was an instant sensation — but it was no flash in the pan. Across multiple blockbuster series including Percy Jackson and the Olympians, the Kane Chronicles and Magnus Chase, Riordan has taken his fans on thrill rides through fantasy worlds that draw up on Greek, Roman, Egyptian and Norse mythos, mixing anachronistic humor and page-turning thrills to make figures from Poseidon to Loki come alive as friends or foes to his young adventurers. In his latest series, The Trials of Apollo, Riordan has taken a fresh twist, following the travails of a god trapped in a human body. Book four in the series, The Tyrant's Tomb, is just out, and Riordan joined B&N's Melissa Albert — who frequently hosts our YA podcast — to talk about his new book and his groundbreaking new imprint Rick Riordan Presents, which has tapped authors from diverse backgrounds to tell stories from myth traditions around the world.

Oct 21, 2019
Julie Andrews with Emma Walton Hamilton

We're joined on this episode of the B&N podcast by Julie Andrews and her daughter and co-author Emma Walton Hamilton, for a conversation about Home Work: A Memoir of My Hollywood Years. Julie Andrews is the sort of guest for whom the phrase "needs no introduction" was invented, but here's one thing worth mentioning at the start: if you didn't know that the singer, actor and Academy Award-winning star of Mary Poppins, The Sound of Music, Victor/Victoria and many other films was also the author of an absolutely wonderful memoir of growing up singing and traveling the vaudeville circuit in postwar Britain, do yourself a favor and go and get her 2008 memoir Home. But in the meantime, you can savor the wealth of stories in Home Work, which brings us in just as Andrews, a young mother and stage star, arrives in Hollywood, ready to start her career in movies with Walt Disney and Mary Poppins. It's a scintillating story that unfolds not just Andrews' fascinating career and often tumultuous family life, but a keen observer's inside view of moviemaking on some cinematically legendary sets. B&N's Bill Tipper had the chance to speak with Julie Andrews and Emma Walton Hamilton together via phone, and he wanted to know what it was like to work both as mother and daughter, and co-authors of this splendid true story.

Oct 18, 2019
Kate DiCamillo

Our guest on today's episode is the award-winning writer Kate DiCamillo, whose books include contemporary classics like Because of Winn Dixie, The Tale of Despereaux, The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane and Flora and Ulysses. DiCamillo is one of a handful of writers to win American Library Association's prestigious Newbery Medal twice, and in 2104 was named National Ambassador for Young People's Literature. DiCamillo writes books for young readers across many age ranges, and she's the rare writer who can both sweep a family away into a world of fantasy, like that inhabited by the mouse Despereaux, or precisely render an American small town like the Naomi, Florida of Because of Winn-Dixie. Her new novel Beverly, Right Here is the story of a young girl who sets out in search of a new life, and it's part of a triptych of moving, funny and absolutely memorable stories set in the small-town south that began with Raymie Nightingale and continued with Louisiana's Way Home. It was a privilege to sit down in the studio with Kate DiCamillo for a talk about the wellsprings of her fictional worlds.

Oct 16, 2019
Shea Serrano

Our guest on today's episode of the B&N Podcast is the journalist and bestselling author Shea Serrano, whose unconventional, hilarious and insightful works put the writer's obsessions with sports, movies, and music into a dialogue with big issues like race, class, gender — who gets to take center stage and who wields cultural power. In books like The Rap Year Book and Basketball (and Other Things), Serrano proved that when you're in the hands of the right writer, a subject can come alive for super fans and newbies alike. Serrano is back with Movies (and Other Things), in which he takes on everything from defining the Mean Girls expanded universe to what it means for marginalized people to see themselves represented on screen. He sat down just before the book's publication with B&N's Miwa Messer for a wide-ranging conversation about the movie moments he loves — and why they matter.

Oct 11, 2019
Leigh Bardugo — Ninth House

Today's guest is the bestselling writer Leigh Bardugo, whose works of boldly imagined and intricately plotted fantasy like Shadow and Bone, Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom have made her one of the superstars of YA fiction — and now she's expanding her territory in her new novel for adults with Ninth House. In Bardugo's Grishaverse novels the author has rewritten the templates for 21st-century fantasy, building worlds inspired by Tsarist Russia and the 17th-century Dutch Republic, and weaving quite modern, witty stories of espionage and crime into tales of sorcery and myth. To the delight of her fans, Netflix has announced that a new series based on Shadow and Bone and Six of Crows is about to begin filming. But the author has fresh wonders in store: Ninth House retains Bardugo's gift for fantasy and magic but departs from YA and sojourns into a version of our world. It's a darkly conceived world of Ivy League secrets, power, privilege, and yes, magic. Bardugo joins B&N's Miwa Messer by phone to talk about mixing fantasy with real-world issues in Ninth House.

Oct 07, 2019
King of the Dark Episode 17: The Dark Tower

On this episode of the B&N Podcast we're bringing you our final installment of our special podcast series King of the Dark, one devoted to a project that has been woven through most of Stephen King's career, the multi-volume fantasy epic The Dark Tower. The Dark Tower began with King's 1982 novel The Gunslinger, and unfolded over the course of seven numbered books and 22 years, a sprawling saga of wild west outlaws and powerful sorcery, of a quest through ages and a tower that spans universes. That would be a massive creation for any author, but King's Dark Tower is unique in that it's a world that keeps bleeding into and crossing over with his other stories in ways large and small, so that the Dark Tower's Mid-World begins to look like a secret network of passageways that interlink King's entire body of work. Liz Braswell, Louis Peitzman and Bill Tipper are joined for this conversation by B&N Science Fiction and Fantasy blog editor Joel Cunningham, who has spent more time in the Dark Tower world than any of the rest of us.

Oct 04, 2019
Jonathan Van Ness

Our guest on the B&N podcast today is none other than Queer Eye star Jonathan Van Ness.  Van Ness's brand new new memoir is titled Over the Top and that title resonates with the dramatic, witty, and scene-stealing persona that fans of the show have come to know — but it's the subtitle, A Raw Journey to Self-Love — that really says volumes about this engaging and revealing new book. Van Ness charts the tumultuous course of a life growing up in a small town, navigating the world of a queer teen without role models, and finding a way forward — first as a hairstylist, and then as a performer, comedian, podcast host and TV star. In Over the Top, Van Ness is absolutely candid about abuse and addiction and talks openly about living with HIV — it's a book that's dead set against a culture of silence and shame about the facts of life. And when Jonathan Van Ness joined us in the studio — just as Over the Top was being published — he was just as forthcoming in person as he is on the page.

Oct 02, 2019
Margaret Atwood

The Testaments is Margaret Atwood's long-awaited return to the world and characters of her 1985 classic The Handmaid's Tale, a dystopian novel set in a fictional near-future theocracy called Gilead, a nation in which religious fundamentalists wield absolute power, and which organizes itself chiefly around the subjugation of women. Atwood's literary career has been among the most prolific and wide-ranging among novelists of her generation — a short sampling of her notable works includes Cat's Eye, Alias Grace, The Blind Assassin, The Robber Bride and the MaddAddam Trilogy — The Handmaid's Tale and the story of its narrator Offred has resonated with readers through decades. It's acquired a fresh generation of readers since becoming the basis for a television adaptation on the streaming platform Hulu. So it's no exaggeration to say that readers worldwide were exultant to learn that this fall Atwood would return to Gilead and to some of its characters in her new novel The Testaments. And the resulting book is no disappointment, a story of intrigue and struggle to survive that both reflects our fears for how close our future might be to the dangers Atwood signals — and offers a vision of the humanity that is not only capable of endurance, but resistance. Atwood spoke with B&N's Miwa Messer about what it meant to return to the dark and compelling world she's brought into life in a book we've been thrilled to name a Barnes & Noble Book Club selection.

Oct 01, 2019
King of the Dark Episode 16: Short Stories

On this episode of King of the Dark, Louis Peitzman, Liz Braswell and Bill Tipper turn from the grand scale of Stephen King's dark epics to the supremely concentrated pleasures of his short fiction. King has published over 200 works of short fiction, most of which have been collected in volumes including Night Shift, Skeleton Crew, Everything's Eventual and others. In many of these — especially some of the earlier stories collected in Night Shift and Skeleton Crew — the master is at his elemental best, spinning tales that take just a few pages to cast a spell that lasts long after the short, sharp shock of the ending has been delivered. So we decided it was time to devote an episode to the glorious — and some times a little gory — work in miniature that is the classic King short story.

Sep 27, 2019
Ann Patchett

Today our guest is the spellbinding storyteller Ann Patchett, joining  us to talk about her new novel The Dutch House.  Patchett is the author of a treasure trove of fiction including 2011's State of Wonder, and 2016's Commonwealth, but she may be most widely known for her award-winning 2002 novel Bel Canto, which crafted a symphonic and deeply humane multi-character story amid an embassy hostage crisis.  She's also the author of the widely lauded memoir Truth and Beauty, a wide-ranging essayist, and a bookseller, the co-founder of Parnassus Books in Nashville, where she lives.  In The Dutch House, Patchett plunges readers into the story of Danny and Maeve, a brother and sister whose lives are bound up in the memory of the house they once lived in and the splintering of their family. Patchett joined B&N's Miwa Messer by phone to talk about composing on her feet, sibling bonds, and what it means to find a home.

Sep 25, 2019
King of the Dark Episode 15: The Institute

Welcome to episode fifteen of King of the Dark, our special series on the B&N Podcast devoted to the worlds of Stephen King. It's big week for us — Louis Peitzman, Liz Braswell and Bill Tipper started with King's 1974 bestseller Carrie and now we've arrived at his latest novel, The Institute, which was published just last week, on September 10th. It's a story packed with themes that will be familiar to King's fans — the story concerns a group of children who possess psychic talents, a drifter who finds a fresh start in a small town, and a government conspiracy willing to stop at nothing. But it's also about kids banding together against grotesque forces, about uncertain journeys across America, the ease with which the powerful exploit human weakness, and the unheralded strength in the bonds of friendship, shot through with humor, horror, incredible tension and an eye for workaday cruelties and unexpected moments of beauty. In other words, vintage Stephen King. A quick warning: Spoilers Ahead! If you haven't read The Institute yet, definitely pause and devour before listening.

Sep 20, 2019
Randall Munroe

Our guest on this episode is author and cartoonist Randall Munroe, author of the new book How To: Absurd Advice for Common Real-World Problems. Munroe became an internet legend via his webcomic XKCD, a daily feature published since 2005 in which a cast of stick figures take on the conundrums of 21st-century living via a mixture of scientific analysis, wry humor, and absolutely unpredictable creativity. It's inspired flash mobs, taught lessons in radiation exposure and password security, and coined the immortal phrase "someone is wrong on the internet." Munroe's scientific background is no joke — he's a former NASA roboticist — and he became a bestselling author in 2014 with his book What If, which used science to answer readers' wild questions like "could you make a jetpack out of machine guns." In How To, Munroe applies science to the everyday — but uses Rube Goldberg concepts to find the most unnecessarily complicated, difficult, and expensive way to do everything from charging your phone to making friends. But as he explains to B&N's Bill Tipper sometimes it's the long way around that gets you where you need to go.

Sep 18, 2019
King of the Dark Episode 14: Doctor Sleep

Welcome back to King of the Dark, our special series on the B&N Podcast, a journey through the gloriously shadowy fiction of Stephen King. On today's episode, we're not quite caught up to the author's brand new release The Institute — we'll be talking about that one next week. This week, we're looking at 2013's Doctor Sleep — a marvelous novel that is both a sequel to his classic The Shining and a bewitching tale all on its own. Danny Torrance, the psychically gifted little boy of The Shining, is now an adult, tormented by some of the same addictions that plagued his father, but working to fight his demons in every sense of the word. Dan uses his abilities — his Shining, you might recall — is to help the dying find peace, but when he meets a young girl named Abra with talents like his, he also discovers the plot of a terrifying secret society called The True Knot — and they have plans for Abra and all children like her. If you didn't think that The Shining would lead us to a page-turning thriller about psychic vampires, alcoholism and recovery, and one of the most compelling villains ever to put on a top hat, well, when did Stephen King ever fail to surprise?

Sep 13, 2019
Malcolm Gladwell

On today's episode of the B&N Podcast we were joined by one of the most influential writers in the world, whose books examine how humans think and behave in ways large and small. As a staff writer for the New Yorker and in his books The Tipping Point, Blink, Outliers, and David and Goliath, Malcolm Gladwell, as well as in his podcast Revisionist History, Gladwell has marshaled the tools of an array of sciences to challenge conventional wisdom about everything from how to spot an art forgery to what makes a basketball team succeed. His new book Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know About the People We Don't Know is his first in six years, and its origin, Gladwell writes, was in the author's confrontation with the perplexing, tragic and infuriating events that led to the death of Sandra Bland in a Texas jail in 2015. When author joined B&N's Bill Tipper in the studio, he explained how his outrage over Bland's story led to the questions raised in Talking to Strangers.

Sep 10, 2019
King of the Dark Episode 13: 11/22/63

Welcome back to King of the Dark, our special series on the B&N Podcast, celebrating and exploring the fictional worlds of Stephen King. Every week for this limited series Liz Braswell and Louis Peitzman join Bill Tipper as they ready through many of King's most fascinating, enduring, and sometimes enigmatic creations, including Carrie, The Shining, It, Misery and many more, talking along the way about their adaptations and the connections between them. We've arrived this week at 2011's bestselling 11/22/63 — a take on the perennial question: if you could travel back in time and change one thing, what would it be? In 11/22/63, King wraps his imagination around the assassination of JFK and creates an almost literal doorway into the past. The result is a love letter to midcentury America and King's unique twist on an enduring theme in speculative fiction. In this episode Liz, Louis and Bill talk about 11/22/63's link between domestic abuse and political violence, the story's surprising connection with the world of It, and one character's ingenious use of time travel to keep his diner open.

Sep 06, 2019
Mary H.K. Choi

Today on the B&N Podcast our guest is the New York Times bestselling author Mary H.K. Choi, who in two razor sharp novels — 2018's Emergency Contact and her brand-new Permanent Record — captures the lives, anxieties and loves of young people crossing that fraught and fractured border between teen life and the big world of adulthood. Her novels are shelved in that increasingly varied category we call "YA fiction," But as a culture journalist with credits that range from the New York Times and The Atlantic to Wired and HBO's Vice News Tonight, Choi infuses her stories with wit, pathos, and a sensibility that speaks to the anxieties and possibilities that come with life in an electronically mediated world — and that combination has brought her devoted readers across generations. Mary H.K. Choi joined B&N's Miwa Messer in the studio to talk about the obsessions that drive her fiction, and Permanent Record's story of 21st century love meeting 21st century fame.

Sep 04, 2019
King of the Dark Episode 12: Lisey's Story

Welcome back to King of the Dark, our special series on the B&N Podcast devoted to the fictional creations of Stephen King.  Every week, Liz Braswell and Louis Peitzman join B&N's Bill Tipper for a deep dive into some of the most arresting works from the enormous Stephen bookshelf. This week we've arrived at King's 2006 novel Lisey's Story. Stephen King has worked aspects of his personal life -- the places he has lived, his personal obsessions and struggles -- into so many of his novels that it feels tough to call out any one of them as especially personal. But the origin of Lisey's Story is, according to the author himself, deeply connected to a critical event in King's life, the aftermath of his brush with death after being struck by a van. It's the imagined story of an acclaimed writer's widow -- the Lisey of the title -- reluctantly confronting the strange circumstances or her late husband's gift. Magic, madness and nightmarish horror all play a role, but there's an unusually elegiac note that runs through Lisey's Story, the novel that the writer has called his favorite. Early on, Liz and Louis and Bill decided that they had to try to discover what set this one apart for the novelist.

Aug 30, 2019
Lorenzo Carcaterra

Our guest on the podcast today is Lorenzo Carcaterra, whose work in both fiction and nonfiction has often been wrapped up with the mean streets of New York City. Carcaterra first came to the attention of readers with two works of nonfiction, A Safe Place: The True Story of a Father, a Son and a Murder and Sleepers, which became a major motion picture directed by Barry Levinson and starring Robert Deniro, Brad Pitt, Kevin Bacon and Jason Patric. He's followed that up with bestselling works of fiction including Apaches, Street Boys, and 2014's The Wolf. He joins us in the studio to talk about his life growing up in Manhattan's Hell's Kitchen neighborhood, his career in tabloids and the early days of reality TV, and his new book Tin Badges, a thriller set among New York City ex-cops on the trail of a cold case that turns red-hot.

Aug 27, 2019
King of the Dark Episode 11: Richard Bachman and The Dark Half

Welcome back to King of the Dark, our special summer series on the B&N Podcast exploring the strange alternate reality that is Stephen King's fiction. Louis Peizman, Liz Braswell and Bill Tipper started with Carrie and have been reading their way up to the present day, but this is something of an unusual episode, because today they're talking about some books that didn't have Stephen King's name on them when they were published — and one that did. Around the same time that King's career was taking off, several potent works appeared by a writer named Richard Bachman, including the novels The Running Man, Thinner, and The Long Walk. As shrewd readers later discovered, the connections between King and Bachman were close — and it was a connection that King would explore fully in his 1989 novel The Dark Half. So today on King of the Dark: the strange case of Richard Bachman, and the question of what happens when a writer imagines his own double.

Aug 23, 2019
Ibram X. Kendi

Our guest on the podcast today is Ibram X. Kendi, here to talk about his new book How to Be an Antiracist.  Kendi is a professor of history and international relations, and the founding director of American University's Antiracist Research and Policy Center.   In 2016, his book Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America appeared, a galvanizing new look at racism that posited, in the author's words, a dual phenomenon — the simultaneous evolution of both racial progress and the advancement of racist ideas.  Engrossing and provocative, Stamped from the Beginning took among a number of laurels the 2016 National Book for nonfiction, and in the crisis-crowded years since its analysis has only come to seem more urgent.  Ibram X. Kendi joined us in the studio to talk about his powerful new work, a book that combines memoir and history, essayistic reflection and forceful propositions.

Aug 20, 2019
King of the Dark Episode 10: Dolores Claiborne

Welcome back to King of the Dark, our special summer series on the B&N Podcast, a journey across the incredible spectrum of Stephen King's fictional creations. Every week this summer, the writers Liz Braswell and Louis Peitzman join B&N's BIll Tipper in a quest to take on as many of Stephen King's most intriguing books as we can fit into a single thrill-packed season. Last week we talked about 1992's trapped-in-handcuffs fever dream, Gerald's Game. The same year, King published a very different story in the novel Dolores Claiborne, but one that maintained some peculiar connections with the story told in Gerald's Game. Dolores Claiborne was a formal departure by King — a long monologue told in the unique voice of the title character. Dolores is a 65-year-old widow, a resident of a tiny island community off the coast of Maine, and she's the suspect in the death of her employer. The story she unfolds is part crime thriller and part family mystery, and intersects unexpectedly with a solar eclipse that has some... extra effects. Dolores is one of Stephen King's most arresting and completely drawn characters, and one thing Liz, Louis and Bill agreed on — her narrative makes for a work of undeniable power.

Aug 16, 2019
Tea Obreht

Today on the B&N Podcast, the author of the critically acclaimed debut novel The Tiger's Wife joins us to talk about her new book, Inland, which brings together two stories set in 19th century Texas and Arizona to produce a braided tale as rich and strange as the landscape in which it unfolds. As in The Tiger's Wife, Obreht has fused history, myth and a sense of enchantment, but Inland fully embraces the form of the Western and invites readers to sit down by the campfire for a story of privation and survival, immigrant dreams and American illusions, ghosts and money, camels and murder. Tea Obreht sat down with B&N's Miwa Messer in our studio to talk about her epic new novel.

Aug 12, 2019
King of the Dark Episode 9: Gerald's Game

Welcome back to King of the Dark, our special summer series on the B&N Podcast devoted to the shadowy fictional universe of Stephen King. Last week, we did our best to scale the mountain of King's epic The Stand. This week, we're at the other end of the spectrum, reading a story set on as compact a stage as possible. Two episodes back, we talked about King's trapped-in-a-cabin thriller Misery — this week, we're taking on a novel with echoes of that 1986 classic, and some big differences. We're talking about 1992's Gerald's Game, and though it contains no Pennywise, Wendigo or other cosmic monster, we found in it horror aplenty. The plot is bracingly simple: Jessie and her husband Gerald have gone to their lakeside cottage for some secluded time away — but when play in bed with handcuffs turns into something more aggressive, Jessie kicks Gerald in self-defense, he suffers a heart attack and dies. Jessie is left in a nightmarish situation, unable to escape the handcuffs or communicate with the outside world — unless she takes truly desperate measures. Isolation and extremity also force Jessie to confront with abuse in her own history that is as wrenching to confront as anything the author has ever dreamed up, the toxic heart of this powerful and unsettling story. A note of caution for listeners: this conversation includes some mentions of scenes containing disturbingly graphic imagery and issues of sexual abuse raised in the story.

Aug 09, 2019
Kiese Laymon and Shane Bauer

Today's episode is a fascinating and timely conversation that comes to us courtesy of Barnes & Noble's Discover Great New Writers program, featuring Kiese Laymon the author of Heavy: an American Memoir, and Shane Bauer, the author of American Prison: A Reporter's Undercover Journey into the Business of Punishment. Heavy and American Prison were, respectively, the first and second place recipients of the 2018 Discover Great New Writers Award for Nonfiction, and both are works that urgently grapple with the state of America today, winning deep praise from critics and readers alike. In Heavy, Laymon takes readers with him on an unforgettable journey from his Mississippi childhood to life as a university professor and acclaimed writer - an odyssey in which racism, sexual violence, trauma and other monstrosities of 21st-century America are challenged by love and a spirit of questing intelligence. And in American Prison, investigative journalist Shane Bauer sought out the real experience of Americans living in incarceration by taking an entry-level job in a private Louisiana prison - and bringing what he found onto the page with eloquence and painstaking care. In a moment when the issues that these books address seems more urgent in our nation's life than ever, we asked the authors to sit down with Miwa Messer, director of B&N's Discover Great New Writers program, to talk about their work, and how they see its meaning against the backdrop of America in 2019.

A note for listeners: at points in this conversation, some strong language does come up, which may not be appropriate if you have young children in earshot.

Aug 07, 2019
King of the Dark Episode 8: The Stand

Welcome back to King of the Dark, our special summer series on the B&N Podcast devoted to the imagined worlds of Stephen King. Every week this summer Liz Braswell and Louis Peitzman join Bill Tipper on this odyssey through an American master's bookshelf. We're taking on some of his biggest books — more or less in the order they were published, and we've arrived at week eight of our journey, and what may be the most monumental of our destinations so far. In 1978, Stephen King published a post-plague-thriller-adventure-epic titled The Stand; it drew on his longstanding ambition to write his own, American-set fantasy epic in the vein of The Lord of the Rings, and the sprawling plus work took in a huge cast of characters, a story that combined science fiction and fantasy to stage a battle between the forces of light and darkness, playing out in a decimated American west. It was a hit — But King's original manuscript was hundreds of pages longer — and in 1990, the "Complete and Uncut" edition was published, followed by a star-studded 1994 miniseries adaptation. We sat down with the thousand-plus page edition for a confrontation with the super flu, the villain Randall Flagg, and King's riff on America's dreams of apocalypse.

Aug 02, 2019
Karl Marlantes

Our guest on today's episode is the writer Karl Marlantes who burst onto the literary scene in 2010 with his critically acclaimed, bestselling novel Matterhorn, the story of a company of soldiers who build, abandon and retake a firebase in Vietnam. He followed that with a work of nonfiction, also a bestseller, titled What It is Like to Go to War. Now, Marlantes has returned to fiction with Deep River, drawing on his family's own history as political refugees from their native Finland who made their way in the logging community of the Pacific Northwest at the turn of the 20th century. Deep River is a story of siblings, of family and survival, love and ambition set in a natural world of mythic grandeur. Marlantes talked via phone with B&N's Miwa Messer about the true stories that inspired this epic work — but first, she asked him to go back in time to his unusual arrival on the publishing scene, after years of writing, with Matterhorn.

Jul 31, 2019
King of the Dark Episode 7: Misery

Welcome back to King of the Dark, our special summer series on the B&N Podcast devoted to Stephen King's monumental career. Every week this summer, Liz Braswell, Louis Peitzman and Bill Tipper pick one of King's bestsellers for a deep dive. King famously sets much of his fiction in his home state of Maine, but that's not true of this week's book, 1987's bestselling, award-winning Misery, which unfolds in a small house in a remote area in Colorado.  Bestselling writer Paul Sheldon has finally shaken himself free of the long-running, saccharine character -- Misery Chastain -- who has powered his successful career.  Paul has killed off his beloved heroine in the pages of his last novel, and written the bracing literary work he's dreamed of. But an auto wreck in the mountains leaves him badly wounded, and he wakes up in the house of Annie Wilkes, a nurse who has pulled him from his car. She says she's Paul's "number one fan" -- but what happens when she finds out Misery is dead will change everything. The result is a game of wits that revolves around obsession, addiction, manipulation and sheer madness as gripping as anything Stephen King is ever written -- and gave Kathy Bates an Oscar-winning role as Annie in the 1990 screen adaptation. It's a novel that many King fans rate among his very best. And as Liz Braswell remarked at the beginning of our conversation, it's also one that makes readers wonder about the intersection between fiction and reality.

Jul 26, 2019
Writing a World on Fire — the BN Podcast at SDCC

Today's episode features an overflowing cornucopia of amazing voices from the worlds of fantasy and science fiction, all gathered up in live recordings at this year's San Diego Comic Con, just a few days ago. Our main event is an all-star panel of writers talking about the increasingly unstable boundaries between the news and the worlds they dream up -- and the equally strange borderlands between writers and fans. B&N's science fiction and fantasy expert James Killen is joined by writers Charlie Jane Anders , Cory Doctorow, Sarah Gailey, Seanan McGuire and Annalee Newitz for a everything from writing in a world on fire, handling the wild energy of fandom and more. But before we get there, were going to take a brief stop on the convention floor as , B&N's Joel Cunningham talks with novelists Ann Leckie and Rebecca Roanhorse, both of whom are experiencing the madness of Comic Con for the first time. (And we're just going to tell you now: you need to stick around to the end to hear Seanan McGuire explain just what she was doing in the swamp).

Jul 25, 2019
Griffin McElroy and Carey Pietsch – LIVE from San Diego Comic Con

Today we've got the first of two special podcast episodes we recorded live at this year's San Diego Comic Con, amid the costumes, the new-movie hype, and the overwhelming euphoria of thousands of fans coming together to collectively geek out. And there is perhaps no one thing that represents the unlikely, hilarious and often beautiful spirit of SDCC than The Adventure Zone. The Adventure Zone, simply put, is a hit podcast which began when three brothers -- Justin, Travis and Griffin McElroy -- convinced their father, Clint, to join them in a freewheeling game of Dungeons & Dragons. The subsequent campaign has spun out over multiple seasons of the podcast and a hilarious epic was born. Last summer, the McElroys teamed up with comics artist Carey Piestch to release the first graphic novel adaptation of The Adventure Zone: Here There Be Gerblins. Now, they're back with the second installment: Murder on the Rockport Limited. Yes, it's a murder mystery set on a train. Yes, it's still Dungeons and Dragons. How? That's the magic of the Adventure Zone. Joel Cunningham, editor of the B&N Science Fiction and Fantasy blog, sat down with Griffin McElroy and Carey Pietsch for a conversation about how they've wrestled this monstrous comic saga onto the page.

Jul 24, 2019
King of the Dark Episode 6: It

Welcome back to King of the Dark, our special summer series on the B&N Podcast devoted to the strange alternate universe created by Stephen King. Every week this summer, Liz Braswell, Louis Peitzman and Bill Tipper dive into one of King's bestsellers -- some of us are reading for the first time, and some of us are revisiting well-known places. This week, we're stopping in the fictional town of Derry, Maine, home to the  tale Stephen King has given his shortest title. But as a book, It is anything but short. First published in 1986, it's a miniature epic of friendship and peril, forgetting and remembering, terror and courage. The evil force that a group of kids who call themselves the Losers has to face down takes as many shapes and forms as they have fears, but the signature character of It is, of course, Pennywise -- a monstrous clown whose first appearance, in a Derry storm drain, is surely one of the signature moments in horror. When we sat down, Bill asked Liz and Louis if they thought IT was the reason so many people raise their hands if you mention coulrophobia -- a fear of clowns.

Jul 19, 2019
George Takei

Today on the B&N Podcast George Takei joins us to talk about They Called Us Enemy, the harrowing true story of the author's childhood experience of imprisonment, along with his family, in the infamous prison camps in which thousands of Japanese-Americans were incarcerated during the second World War. Takei is of course known to millions of fans worldwide for his portrayal of Mr. Sulu in the legendary TV series Star Trek as well as the series of films that followed; but he's know to many others for his presence on social media, where he mixes humor and activism. He's made the awareness of the story of Japanese Americans in the camps a particular cause -- and in this new book, collaboration with illustrator Harmony Becker and co-writers writers Justin Eisinger and Steven Scott, Takei takes readers with devastating directness into the experience of a child whose world is about to be transformed by nightmarish events. It's a powerful, immediate work, and as George Takei  noted when he joined us in the studio, its importance is not only in remembering the past, but in helping us recognize the events of the present.

Jul 17, 2019
Colson Whitehead: The Nickel Boys

The Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award-winning author of The Underground Railroad returns to the B&N Podcast for a conversation about his brand new novel The Nickel Boys, a riveting story of injustice, friendship, resistance and survival that turns on the experience of two boys incarcerated in a Florida institution, and its reverberating effects on their lives. It's a story that has never been more timely, from a bestselling writer with a unique ability to bring hidden, painful aspects of America past and present into new focus. Colson Whitehead joins B&N's Miwa Messer to talk about the true story that was the inspiration for the novel, the battle between optimism and pessimism in his own worldview, and how he learns from the characters he brings to life.

Jul 15, 2019
King of the Dark Episode 5: Pet Sematary

Welcome to King of the Dark, our summer-long road trip through Stephen King's America. We've arrived at Episode Five, and Louis Peitzman and Liz Braswell are back, this time to talk with Bill Tipper about what may be the most potent misspelling in horror, Stephen King's 1983 novel Pet Sematary, a book that the author himself has called one of his darkest. Pet Sematary was inspired, King has said, by his own experience living near a dangerous highway, which raised fears for his young son's safety and caused the local kids, who had lost beloved pets to speeding trucks, to created a homemade graveyard that was the basis the more sinister one in the book. What he delivered to readers was a story of grief, loss -- and an absolutely bone-chilling master class in horror.

We also hear from our special guest, award-winning TV critic Emily Nussbaum, who told us about discovering the allure of Stephen King by accident, and her own young attempt at writing fiction in his style. Nussbaum recently dropped in on the B&N Podcast for a conversation about her new book I Like to Watch: Arguing My Way through the TV Revolution.

Jul 12, 2019
Marjorie Liu

Many readers know Marjorie Liu from her New York Times bestsellers in the Hunter Kiss series and the Dirk and Steele urban fantasy series, but she is also a prolific and masterful writer of comics, including X-23, Black Widow and the Star Wars Han Solo miniseries.  But it's with Monstress, created in partnership with the artist Sana Takaeda, that Liu has brought her readers into an extraordinary new world, a massive and lush epic fantasy to rival anything in prose, covering topics like slavery, war and race, set against a background of monsters and mythology.  She joins B&N's James Killen in this episode to talk about her award-winning comic and the obsessions behind her magnificent imagination.

Jul 10, 2019
King of the Dark Episode 4: Different Seasons

Welcome to Episode 4 of King of the Dark, our ongoing weekly series of excursions into the parallel universe that is the world of author Stephen King.  Every week Bill Tipper, Liz Braswell and Louis Peitzman tour some of Stephen King's most astounding creations, moving in a not-quite-straight line from his early bestsellers like Carrie and The Shining, through the 1980s and 1990s and right up to the present day.  For today's episode, we're talking about King's 1982 collection of four novellas, Different Seasons.  If that title doesn't ring a bell, consider that three out of the four were adapted as feature films: "Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption" became the Academy Award-nominated 1994 film The Shawshank Redemption. "The Body" became Rob Reiner's 1986 film Stand By Me, starring a young River Pheonix and Will Wheaton.  And "Apt Pupil" was adapted into a dark suspense film of the same name featuring Sir Ian MacKellan.  Different Seasons might be one of King's less well known titles — but its stories have proved as enduring as any of his books.  Discussed in today’s episode: Men who have to lie to their wives, what makes a good yarn, the word “gooshy,” and a pizza-related apology.

Jul 05, 2019
Linda Holmes

On today's episode we're joined by Linda Holmes, the host of NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour to talk about her sparkling new novel Evvie Drake Starts Over. Evvie has lost her husband unexpectedly— but what she finds herself mourning is something very different from what friends and family understand; and when a baseball star struggling with his own demons arrives in her small Maine town, what unfolds between the two of them is as unexpected, authentic, and delightful as the voice that Holmes brings to her public radio audience. She joined us in the studio just as Evvie Drake Starts Over hit the bookshelves — and instantly became one of the summer’s must read books — to talk about her unusual career arc, the nature of the yips, and why Moonlighting matters.

Jul 04, 2019
Emily Nussbaum

With the golden age of television has come a golden age of great writing about television. As Emily Nussbaum points out in her new book I Like to Watch: Arguing My Way, through the TV Revolutions, television has always had a uniquely intimate role in our homes and lives, since the technology was first introduced. And the television of the last two decades has become steadily more artistically ambitious and technologically enabled to permeate our culture, it's seemed all the more necessary to talk about it: what did that last cut to black mean? Is the character we've been following since the beginning of this series turning into the villain instead of the hero? As Pulitzer-prize winning TV critic for the New Yorker, Nussbaum has entered into that conversation with a kind of joyful aplomb, making her regular columns — and her presence on Twitter — less a courtroom where judgment is rendered and more like an arena in which the competing and conflicting impressions and emotions raised by last night's episode (or the season just binged) can fight it out. She sat down with us in the studio just before this challenging, provocative and, yes, highly entertaining new collection was published to talk about the state of the screen, and why it matters to us.

Jul 03, 2019
King of the Dark Episode 3: The Dead Zone
Welcome to episode 3 of King of the Dark, our special series celebrating and exploring the worlds of Stephen King.  Every week on this summer-long series we're opening a different door in the haunted mansion of Stephen King's imagination.   This week on the program our regular guests Liz Braswell and Louis Peitzman join B&N's Bill Tipper to talk about King's 1979 novel The Dead Zone. It's the story of Johnny Smith, whose strange clairvoyant abilities bring him into a confrontation with a threat to the fate of the entire world — a threat only he can perceive.  We'll talk about its political obsessions, including a cameo by a future U.S. President, the way it looks to nuclear war as the ultimate horror, and how it once again takes us into the territory of a classic horror short story.  
We're also joined by special guest Linda Holmes, the host of NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour and author of the new novel Evvie Drake Starts Over: she dropped in to talk about her affection for Stephen King's short stories, when he's at his most "I wonder what would happen if..."
Jun 28, 2019
Neal Stephenson

When you are reading a Neal Stephenson novel you know you're going to get two kinds of experience in one book. Whether it's in a work like his revolutionary science fiction novel Snow Crash, his era-jumping adventure-slash-code epic Cryptonomicon, or his swashbuckling historical trilogy The Baroque Cycle, Stephenson brings high-wire thought experiments about the nature of technology and human society to life via engrossing, turn-off-your-phone-until-it's over feats of storytelling. Stephenson's books can look intimidatingly hefty on arrival — and his new novel, Fall: Or, Dodge in Hell — is no exception. But I'm not only speaking for myself when I say that for many readers, a few pages in is all it takes to make the ending of a Stephenson novel come all too soon. Fall is vintage Stephenson, a book stuffed with ideas about death and the afterlife, about real and virtual realities, the way social media-driven information is fragmenting our world. It's also a tale of gods and monsters, shape shifters and heroes, where Dungeons and Dragons and a children's book of Greek myths meet. Neal Stephenson joined us in the studio to talk about Fall and the endless power of story.

Jun 27, 2019
Bobby Hundreds

Entrepreneur, Artist, Tastemaker, and now author Bobby Hundreds — AKA Bobby Kim joins us to talk about This is Not a T-Shirt, his electric new memoir about growing up in Southern California, loving punk and skate culture, his turn from law school to the street wear that he loved, and how celebrating artists and creators became the calling card for The Hundreds, the now iconic street wear business that has made its commitment to "having something to say" and "people over product" the flag Bobby Hundreds proudly flies. This is Not a T-Shirt is also a candid look at how street wear thrives by crossing boundaries of race and class — making it a business that is constantly engaging with the most significant issues of the moment — and one that has, among other things, spawned a fascinating and wildly successful book club. Bobby Hundreds sat down in our studio with Miwa Messer to talk about art, commerce, and his passage from rebellious teen to steward of a classic business and brand.

Jun 25, 2019
King of the Dark Episode 2: The Shining

We're back with Episode 2 of King of the Dark, our special summer series exploring the worlds of Stephen King. We started our journey last week with King's iconic debut novel Carrie. This week, Liz Braswell, Louis Peitzman and Bill Tipper have packed up for a trip to the Overlook Hotel, and try to answer quite a few questions, including: does a haunted resort pick its victims selectively, or will it settle for anyone who books a room? Are psychic children fascinating or just spooky? And what's the scare factor in being attacked by topiary animals? Plus, a conversation with Melissa Albert, author of The Hazel Wood, about being exposed to a great writer... a little too early.

Jun 21, 2019
Elaine Welteroth

As the groundbreaking editor in chief of Teen Vogue, Elaine Welteroth reinvented the fashion magazine, putting the big issues of the moment — class, race, equality, opportunity, and the changing political scene — at the heart of how her publication spoke to young readers. This bold approach brought Welteroth and her magazine a legion of passionately engaged fans, and a reputation as one of the most intriguing voices of her generation. Her powerful new book, More than Enough: Claiming Space for Who You Are (Not Matter What They Say) draws on her own life experiences to serve as inspiration, guide, and reflection for those who are undervalued and underestimated. She joined B&N's Miwa Messer in the studio for a talk about what it takes — and what it means — to fight to make one's own voice heard.

Jun 19, 2019
King of the Dark Episode 1: Carrie

If you've listened to the B&N Podcast  you know that every episode we take a kind of a deep dive into one writer's book -- the world they explore, the story they have to tell, and how their own experiences and struggles have fed their story.

But there are some writers whose effect on us is so big that talking about a single book seems like it just cracks the door open into a world that's begging to be explored in real depth. Writers whose creations have escaped the boundaries of any one story, or even the world of a series, and whose imaginations have become tangled up a little with our own.

When Stephen King's Carrie arrived in 1974 readers couldn't have known that the creator of that gripping story of small-town cruelty and unspeakable revenge would go on to be the single most influential fiction writer of his time. But from 2019 that impact is unmistakeable.
It's not just that books like Carrie, The Shining, It and Misery became both blockbuster books and enduring stories on the screen. King uses tales of horror and often the supernatural to take us on journeys into the emotional and material everyday lives of his characters -- and the style and atmosphere that we've grown to find characteristically Stephen King now seems like it's part of our cultural DNA.

With a new Stephen King novel The Institute coming in the fall, we thought, why not spend time this summer going back to the beginning, and working our way through the amazing bookshelf filled with worlds that King has given us over the years. We asked two wonderful writers and Stephen King fans -- the novelist Liz Braswell and the journalist Louis Peitzman -- to join us on a quest into the heart of King's own magical shadow country. We'll be releasing episodes of KING OF THE DARK as a special weeky series within the B&N Podcast, working chronologically through Stephen King's biggest books all summer long. And along the way we're going to be talking with special guests who have stories to tell about how their own voyages into King Country have shaped them as writers and as people.

To begin, we had to start at the beginning. And we had to go back to the scariest place that I can imagine having return to. High school. And Carrie.


Jun 14, 2019
Ocean Vuong

"Writing your own story is perhaps the truest enactment of the American dream." Today on the B&N Podcast, we're talking with Ocean Vuong, the author of the remarkable new novel On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous. It's the debut work of fiction from a writer already celebrated for his work as a poet, but this poignant novel, written in the form of a young man's letter to his mother, has captivated readers and critics, making it one of the most talked-about books of 2019. He joined B&N's Miwa Messer for a conversation about this unique story of family, loss, survival, and falling in love.

Jun 12, 2019
Jennifer Weiner

In her many bestselling novels, from Good in Bed to Who Do You Love and In Her Shoes, Jennifer Weiner's characters are wildly various in background and temperament, but there's one feature  -- besides the author's wry humor -- they share:  they tell the truth, willingly or otherwise, to the people they love.  In Weiner's sparkling new novel Mrs. Everything, she traces the lives of Detroit sisters Jo and Bethie from their 1950s childhood to the present day, and their divergent paths are connected by the undeniable truth of their bond with one another.  The author joined B&N's Miwa Messer in the studio to talk about her own family, what it means when your mother might see herself in your fiction, and her determination to tell stories that reflect the truth of women's experience.

Jun 10, 2019
George Will

In today's episode we're joined by a writer who has come since his early days in journalism become one of the signature voices of American conservative opinion. For more than thirty years, George Will's views — framed in reference to works of 18th century philosophy and the action on the modern baseball diamond — appeared in a biweekly Newsweek column that became part of the reading life of millions. The recipient of a 1977 Pulitzer prize for political commentary, Will has like many of his peers made the leap from newsprint to small screen, but he's also the prolific author of books on politics and philosophy such as Statecraft as Soulcraft, and The Pursuit of Virtue and Other Tory Notions, but also multiple books on the sport he loves, most notably his bestseller Men at Work: the Craft of Baseball. But Will's new book The Conservative Sensibility is, he told us, something of his life's work, and he sat down a few weeks before the publication of The Conservative Sensibility to talk with us about what, exactly, he means by that imposing phrase.

Jun 07, 2019
Jared Diamond

On today's episode we're joined by the polymathic writer Jared Diamond for a conversation about his new book Upheaval: How Nations Cope with Crisis and Change. Diamond is a professor of geography at UCLA, and the author of bestsellers including Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies, Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail and Succeed and The World Until Yesterday. Diamond began his academic career in the field of physiology, studying the biology of membranes, but he went on to author studies in ecology and ornithology, specializing in the birds of New Guinea. But it's in his third career — studying environmental history and the forces that shape human societies — that has brought him worldwide attention. He joined us in the studio for an talk about his new book, which takes a novel approach to the question of how modern countries have faced moments of identity crisis — and what brought them through to the other side.

Jun 05, 2019
Rick Atkinson

Today on the podcast, we've asked the writer Rick Atkinson to take us with him on a journey back almost two and a half centuries into the past — to Lexington and Concord, the ride of Paul Revere, the Battle of New York, and George Washington's Crossing of the Delaware. These are names and places we know from grade school history, famous paintings, or even Schoolhouse Rock. But to revisit the events of the Revolutionary War through the eyes of Rick Atkinson's painstaking research and bold storytelling is a revelation. If you've read Atkinson's bestselling, award-winning Liberation trilogy, which traced in three books the fight against the Axis in Europe, you've experienced Atkinson's unique talent for weaving together the experiences of soldiers on the battlefield and ordinary people caught in the terror of war with the strategies of generals and diplomats. With The British Are Coming: The War for America, Lexington to Princeton, 1775-1777, his opening volume of a Revolutionary War trilogy, Atkinson brings that same deft hand to the clash between George III and the newly formed Continental Army. Rick Atkinson joined in the studio to talk about this wonderful new book, and what he thinks we have to learn from that foundational conflict.

May 31, 2019
Mark Manson

In 2016 blogger and writer Mark Manson published a book based on some of the advice he'd been giving on his blog, and he gave it the eye-catching title The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck . And if you haven't read it or seen in a bookstore, you can fill that last bit of the title pretty easily. This unexpectedly brash guide to living a radically honest life became an instant New York Times Bestseller and a global phenomenon. And no wonder, since behind that attention-getting title Manson authored a potent meditation on a society defined by anxiety and the mirage of contemporary happiness. Now, Manson returns with a new book that offers a familiar approach but a new wrinkled. With Everything is F*cked: A Book About Hope, Manson looks more deeply at the sources for modern discontent and takes readers on a tour of ideas both ancient and strikingly modern, ideas that add up to nothing less than a philosophy of life. Mark Manson spoke to us recently by phone about finding himself in possession of most writers dreams — a wildly successful book — and the surprise of what happened next.

May 29, 2019
Chelsea Handler

If you've read one of Chelsea Handler's many bestselling books — Are You there Vodka, It's Me, Chelsea, or My Horizontal Life, or Lies That Chelsea Handler Told Me — or seen her irreverent take on talk show hosting on shows like Chelsea Lately, Netflix's Chelsea, or on her recent documentary series Chelsea Does — you might think you know what you're getting with comedian and cultural commentator Chelsea Handler. Boundary-smashing, can-she-say-that jokes, a withering and unapologetic focus on the illusions around which we construct our lives, and a commitment to deflating pretension wherever she finds it. But in her new book Life Will Be the Death of Me... and You Too!, Handler shatters expectations again, with a memoir touched off by a sense of emotional crisis that leads to a journey of self-discovery, and a reconsideration of everything she thought she knew about herself and how to live her life. In it, Handler talks openly about the trauma of losing a beloved family member as a child, her long struggles with intimacy, and her newfound commitment to empathy and connecting to the present. And if you're wondering, the jokes are still there. We spoke with Chelsea Handler the other day by phone, and asked her to talk about what it was like trying to get this journey chronicled on the page.

May 29, 2019
David Baldacci

That's the bestselling author David Baldacci, joining us to talk about his latest thriller, Redemption, the fifth novel featuring Detective Amos Decker and his astonishing powers of memory. I'm Bill Tipper and today on the podcast we're joined by one of masters of the art of the thriller, who has been enthralling readers since his 1996 debut Absolute Power. The author of dozens of bestsellers and multiple series, Baldacci has taken readers from the mean streets to the Oval Office and back again, but there's a special place in readers' heart for his returning hero Amos Decker, a detective whose tragedy-haunted life and dogged sense of duty mean that each of his cases takes on a deeply personal dimension -- and that's never been more the case than in Redemption, as Decker's visit to a loved one's graveside is transformed by an encounter with a case out of his past. David Baldacci spoke with us about his latest twist-filled novel, and how his childhood in a storytelling family shaped the writer he is today.

May 24, 2019
Admiral William McRaven

Admiral William McRaven is the former commander of US Special Operations and the author of the new memoir Sea Stories. I'm Bill Tipper, and today on the B&N podcast, we're talking with the author of two books that have brought to life the stories and lessons from a fascinating career as a Navy Seal and leader of special operations forces around the world. In the bestselling Make Your Bed, Admiral McRaven unveiled lessons in leadership and success harvested from critical moments in his education, training and experience in the crucible of warfare. Now, with his new book Sea Stories, the Admiral looks back over his action packed life, from thrill-seeking outings as an irrepressible child to his career where an ordinary workday might include a hostage rescue or the takedown of a terrorist cell. We were lucky enough to have the Admiral himself drop into our studio a short while before Sea Stories published, and it wasn't too hard to get him to tell us one or two in person.

May 22, 2019
Tony Horwitz

f you've ever heard the name Frederick Law Olmstead, it's probably because of his work as  the co-creator of New York City's Central Park. But long before that career a young Olmstead was a journalist, and in 1852 he was hired by a still-young New York Times to tour the American South -- to meet and interview people, write up his impressions of cities, towns and slave-labor plantations -- and to write dispatches for readers about the part of the country that was coming to represent the other side of a political divide from northeastern readers.

Enter journalist and author Tony Horwitz, and his new book Spying on the South. In books like his groundbreaking Confederates in the Attic and Midnight Rising: John Brown and the Raid that Sparked the Civil War, Horwitz has already mapped our national obsession with the conflict that tore the U.S. in two. When Horwitz rediscovered Olmstead's writings, he decided to set out on his own journey --one that takes us back into the fraught 1850s that Olmstead chronicles, and juxtaposes it with travels that Horwitz takes in the present day --visiting historical sites, taking part in solemn ceremonies and raucous festivals -- and mostly talking with the people he meets. Inventive, bold, ever-curious and always good company for his readers, Horwitz joined us in the studio to talk about this ambitious project.

May 16, 2019

In this special bonus episode we chat with rapper, actor, activist and author Common about his new memoir, Let Love Have the Last Word.  As a celebrated and Grammy winning hiphop artist, Common's musical career has woven together his message-driven lyrics with a wide-ranging musical palette. His work onscreen has brought him into memorable roles in films including Selma, American Gangster, The Hate U Give and Jennifer Fox's The Tale.  Common's lyrics — as well as his previous memoir, the bestseller One Day It'll All Make Sense — have always taken on self-examination as a key subject matter, and Let Love Have the Last Word takes this theme even further, writing in a spirit of vulnerability and directness about the challenges of being the parent and partner he wants to be, his responsibilities to others around him, and what it means to be a working artist while also living a life guided by love.  He also opens up about a painful episode of childhood abuse — an episode he only recent came to confront in his own memory.  He spoke to us this week via phone, as his new book hit the bookstores.

May 10, 2019
David McCullough

Since his marvelous 1968 book The Johnstown Flood, and through National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize winning works like The Path Between the Seas, Mornings on Horseback, and John Adams, McCullough has brought his brilliantly illuminated pieces of the American story together like segments of a stained glass window. At 85 years old, David McCullough could be expected to want to rest on his laurels. But his brand new book The Pioneers is bursting with the energy and curiosity of its subjects. It's the story of the early settlers of the then freshly-acquired piece of America called the Northwest Territory, in the era just after the War of Independence had been won. It's the story of courage and community, risk and determination, and how the pioneers made a critical decision about the nature of the place they were going to build — a decision that would have enormous effects on the country in the decades to come. To talk about The Pioneers, we asked if we could visit David McCullough at his home in Massachusetts, where he works and writes, and he was kind enough to invite us to bring our microphones along.

May 06, 2019
Sarah Blake

 Today on the podcast we're joined by bestselling novelist Sarah Blake for a conversation about family, secrets, money and the power of the past over the present. The bestselling author of The Postmistress returns with her dazzling new epic The Guest Book, a story of three generations of the Milton clan, a decision on one night in 1936 that reverberates down the decades, and a history that threatens to unravel the myths that have sustained them over the years. Sarah Blake joins Barnes & Noble's Miwa Messer in the studio to talk about her novel, her cast of compelling characters -- and the stories, real and imaginary, we use to hold families together.

May 06, 2019
Kristen Roupenian

In this episode we're joined by the writer Kristen Roupenian for a conversation about her haunting, scary, funny, and incisive collection of short stories You Know You Want This. In a dozen potent tales, Roupenian conjures both visceral horror and the laughter of revelation in works which often walk the line between wickedly dark fantasy-- and clear-eyed examinations of sexuality, gender, power and obsession in a world that is unmistakably and often uncomfortably our own. The result is an absolutely thrilling debut and the arrival of a dynamic new voice in fiction. Many readers were first introduced to Roupenian through her story "Cat Person" which appeared in the New Yorker in December 2017 and immediately became a viral sensation. That story now takes its place among the twelve in this collection, where it feels entirely and freshly at home. The author spoke to Bill Tipper by phone about her inspirations, the connection between humor and horror, and what it was like to have her fiction light up the Internet.

May 01, 2019
Melinda Gates

Today we have a bonus episode of the podcast with a very special guest. Many of the writers we speak with on the podcast are people who have made their names in the worlds of fiction, journalism or memoir, but today we're speaking with a writer who was working on changing the world long before she started thinking in terms of books. Philanthropist, businesswoman and global advocate for women and girls, Melinda Gates is the co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation and the founder of Pivotal Ventures, a company working to drive social progress for women in the United States. She joined us on the phone to talk about her new book The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World. It combines a memoir of Gates's work to address the challenges that face ordinary women around the globe and an audacious analysis of how a change in the way we think about advocacy and women's rights can unlock startling possibility for change. She spoke to us on the phone from her office in Seattle just before The Moment of Lift was published. 

Apr 26, 2019
Ian McEwan

Ian McEwan is the author of such celebrated novels as Atonement, The Children Act, Saturday, and On Chesil Beach and the Man Booker prize-winning Amsterdam. His fiction regularly engages with complex scientific and ethical issues, and 2008 Time Magazine named him one of "The 50 greatest British writers since 1945." His new novel Machines Like Me takes place in a re-imagined 1980s England, one in which rapid technological advances have created artificial people — fully resembling living humans, but available to have their personalities set by their owners. It's a story with echoes of works like Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and Philip K. Dick's Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, and even Shakespeare's The Tempest — and one that engages deeply with the life and work of the computing pioneer Alan Turing. Ian McEwan took some time just before his novel's American publication to talk with Bill Tipper from his home in the UK. We asked him to begin by talking about the seed of this audacious new work.

Apr 23, 2019
David Brooks

On this episode we're joined by New York Times columnist, radio and television commentator and bestselling author David Brooks, talking about his new book The Second Mountain: The Quest for a Moral Life. Brooks is the bestselling author of books including Bobos in Paradise, Patio Man, The Social Animal and The Road to Character. In his past works, he has unfolded observations on the state of contemporary society that draw simultaneously on social science, philosophy and a journalist’s daily charting of the cultural scene; and with his previous book The Road to Character he put a particular emphasis on the nature of virtue in 21st century America. With The Second Mountain, Brooks has offered what may be his most personal work to date, discussing his own struggles with personal relationships and religious faith, and his belief that in order to find fulfillment, we have to turn radically toward community. He joined us in the studio to talk about the difference between happiness and joy, the challenge of writing about faith, and the weekly gathering that's changed his life.

Apr 17, 2019
Damon Young
Today on the B&N Podcast Damon Young joins us to talk about his new book What Doesn’t Kill You Make You Blacker a reflection on life as a black man in 21st-century America that's by turns arrestingly honest, deeply incisive, and wonderfully funny.  Young came to prominence as a commentator on culture and society through his role as the cofounder and editor in chief of the website VerySmartBrothers; since then he's become a senior editor at The Root, as well a writer for many print and online publications. What Doesn’t Kill You Make You Blacker is Damon Young's first book, and he sat down with Barnes & Noble's Miwa Messer to talk about the stories that he uses to shape a memoir that's already one of the year's most significant publishing events.  
**A note for listeners about the language in today's interview: At points, Damon Young quotes strongly offensive language used by others. Parents may find those sections inappropriate for children.**
Apr 12, 2019
Martha Hall Kelly — The Barnes & Noble Book Club

Martha Hall Kelly's runaway 2016 bestseller Lilac Girls captivated the world with the braided stories of three women -- one American, one German, one Polish -- who witness the tumultuous events of the 1940s and 1950s. Readers who dove into that story will be overjoyed to return to Martha Hall Kelly's fiction with her new book Lost Roses, the latest Barnes & Noble Book Club selection. Lost Roses introduces Eliza Ferriday, mother to Caroline Ferriday from Lilac Girls, and travels back a generation in time to tell the story of Russian emigres and New York Society during the First World War -- as only Martha Hall Kelly can. In this episode, Kelly joins Miwa Messer in the studio to talk about the inspiration behind her sweeping new novel.

Apr 08, 2019
Clive Thompson

Today on the podcast we're taking a look into the still-young language of coding — and into the people who speak it and use it to build the digital world that is increasingly meshing with our daily lives.  Clive Thompson has been walking the border between high technology and social change for years, in his writing for publications like Wired and the New York Times Magazine, and in his widely insightful 2013 book Smarter than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better.  Now, in Coders: The Making of a New Tribe and the Remaking of the World, Thompson draws on wide-ranging reporting, dozens of interviews, and his own experience trying to use code to solve the headaches of ordinary life. He explores the way in which programming has evolved from its infancy, feeding cards into machines, and created a world with its own deeply-held mores, and its own powerful effects on our culture, economy, and even our politics.  Clive Thompson sat down with us in the studio for a talk about what he discovered — and about the breakthrough that might be the most significant piece of coding in history.

Apr 05, 2019
John Lanchester
Today on the B&N Podcast, we talk with the author of such fascinatingly varied works as Capital, Fragrant Harbor, The Debt to Pleasure and IOU. With The Wall, John Lanchester looks into a startlingly near but radically altered future, one in which a nameless island nation has built a mighty barrier to keep out both would-be immigrants and rising waters. It's a fable of both exploration and warning, one that pushes its readers to join its author in trying to imagine a tomorrow whose conditions may soon be a matter of headlines rather than fiction.  When he sat down with us in the studio, John Lanchester explained how was the first time a book idea had ever grown so directly out of his unconscious mind.
Apr 03, 2019
Patrick Rothfuss

The premise is simple:  what happens when the stars of the anarchic Cartoon Network hit Rick and Morty dive head-on into the world of hit points, armor classes, saving throws, and spell slots?  But here's what isn't simple: the fictional wizardry of award-winning fantasist Patrick Rothfuss. The author of the bestselling Kingkiller Chronicle novels, Rothfuss took on the task of bringing these two beloved universes together with an ambition that can only be described as epic.  He spoke via phone with B&N Science Fiction and Fantasy Blog editor Joel Cunningham about Rick and Morty vs. Dungeons and Dragons — as well as his enduring love for D&D, and how he sold his comics collaborators on pages in iambic pentameter.

Mar 29, 2019
Preet Bharara
Preet Bharara has had an almost unique career — As U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, he served one of the nation's most zealous prosecutors fighting public corruption, civil rights violations and terrorism.  Then after leaving that office in 2017, Bharara launched what became a meteorically popular podcast, Stay Tuned with Preet — talking legal, political and cultural issues with a fascinating array of guests and bringing a blend of serene, clarifying rigor and gentle humor to listener questions about the law.  
Now he's added bestselling author to his resume with the publication of Doing Justice: A Prosecutor's thoughts on Crime, Punishment and the Rule of Law — a book that's not so much a memoir as it is a fascinatingly detailed, wide-ranging reflection on how lessons and stories from the world of the courtroom can shed light on the challenges we face as a nation and a community.  Just before Doing Justice released, Preet Bharara sat down with Barnes & Noble's Miwa Messer for a conversation about the book, and why for Bharara "justice" is not a noun, but a verb.
Mar 27, 2019
Laurie Halse Anderson

In this episode of the podcast we talk with the groundbreaking writer Laurie Halse Anderson about her new book, Shout, a blazing work of memoir in free verse. Anderson's 1999 novel Speak brought readers with unforgettable vividness not the life of high school freshman Melinda Sordino after she is raped by another student. Speak went on to be nominated for a national book award; Anderson followed with a series of equally audacious novels for young adults and younger readers, including a set of award-winning historical novels set during the early days of the American republic. Anderson has spent much of the two decades following the publication of Speak traveling and talking with students about the realities of sexual violence, but in 2017, as the #MeToo movement was surfacing a renewed wave of women's stories, Anderson realized that she needed to return to writing directly about her own experiences. The result, she told me when we spoke recently, was a very unusual way to start a new book.

Mar 22, 2019
Harlan Coben

If the bestselling, award-winning novelist Harlan Coben has a secret to enthralling readers, it's that his characters aren't, for the most part globetrotting spies, cops on the edge, elite special forces agents or heroic defense attorneys. Coben creates suspense by putting ordinary people into extraordinary circumstances, situations which take them with appalling and gripping velocity straight from the office, the coffee shop or the classroom into nail-biting, plot-twisting territory. His latest, Run Away, opens with a simple concept: a man in Manhattan's Central Park looks across a clearing a spies, to his astonishment, the daughter who ran away from home. This being Coben, what follows feels both inevitable and absolutely unpredictable. The New Jersey based novelist joined us in the studio to talk about where his stories come from -- and the surprising tale of how he came to be a novelist.

Mar 20, 2019
Alex Kotlowitz
Alex Kotlowitz has made a career out of mapping the lives of those who live in what he has called "the other America," in works like his award-winning 1992 bestseller There Are No Children Here, his documentary film The interrupters, and his wide-ranging reporting for newspapers, magazines and radio.  His revelatory, heartbreaking new book An American Summer: Love and Death in Chicago takes up the problem of gun violence with a portrait of a single city over the course of one murder-wracked season.  It probes the nature of the crisis where it tears most persistently into the lives of ordinary Americans placed by poverty and racism into a daily struggle with the aftermath of violence and the fear of more to come. But An American Summer is a tapestry of story – a work about the Chicagoans who opened up their lives and hearts to Kotlowitz; the result is a powerful evocation of grief and endurance, love and loss.  We caught the author in New York, just as An American Summer was being released. He sat down in the studio with B&N's Miwa Messer to talk about how this book started – and what it became.
Mar 13, 2019
Danielle Steel

Today we're talking with a novelist who doesn't just get described as "bestselling" and "prolific" – she's a person whose name defines both, and at a scale that very few other writers approach.  Since she began her publishing career with 1973's Going Home, Danielle Steel has published over 170 books and sold over 650 million copies, making her one of the most-read writers of all time.  This unparalleled output has been driven by a writer who works in a suitably legendary fashion – late into the night, on her vintage typewriter.  Danielle Steel's latest novel is Silent Night, the story of a child actor and a professional woman brought together by a sudden tragedy.  With a setting informed by the careful research that is one of Steel's trademarks, it's a story about an unexpected bond with echoes of Helen Keller and Annie Sullivan.  Danielle Steel agreed to spend a few minutes away from her work to talk with us, and even though it was actually the middle of the afternoon when we reached her on the phone, it felt like the kind of middle-of-the night conversation you have with a friend who is working at all hours, on another all-consuming project.

Mar 08, 2019
Lisa See — The Barnes & Noble Book Club

Our guest this week is the bestselling novelist Lisa See, whose works include Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane, and the classic memoir On Gold Mountain-- works that cross oceans and eons to tell the stories of female friendships and family bonds.  Set on a small island off the coast of Korea, See's new novel    The Island of Sea Women is the latest selection of the Barnes & Noble Book Club. In its pages, See follows the lives of two young women through the Japanese occupation, two wars, and the arrival of the dramatic changes of the modern era.  Like all of her books, it's tailor-made to spark conversation, and so we were delighted to have Lisa See on the podcast to talk with Miwa Messer about the inspiration behind The Island of Sea Women.


Mar 05, 2019
Gita Trelease

In this episode we're featuring a crossover with our sibling podcast the B&N YA Podcast as we welcome debut novelist Gita Trelease, whose sparking new novel Enchantée has critics and readers buzzing alike. Trelease weaves a suitably enchanting adventure of 18th-century France that journeys from the gutters of Paris to the gilded halls of Versailles, on the eve of Revolution. Gifted with a magical talent, Trelease's heroine Camille transforms herself from hungry child of the streets to a glamorous aristocrat -- and that change is only the beginning in Trelease's gloriously original blend of history and fantasy. The author joins B&N's Miwa Messer to talk about how she built the glittering world of this beguiling novel.

Feb 27, 2019
Stephanie Land

"I'd become a nameless ghost."  Today on the B&N Podcast, our guest is Stephanie Land, the author of the New York Times bestselling memoir Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother's Will to Survive.  In this riveting debut, a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection for Spring 2019, Land chronicles her journey across the invisible line that separates "middle class" from "working poor" in America; the world of exhaustion, neglect and invisibility experienced on the other side; and how she nurtured her own dreams for her writing and for her daughter as she navigated a world of uncertain employment, byzantine bureaucracy, and the constant threat of the wolf at the door.  The result is an electric read that stands next to Barbara Ehrenreich's Nickel and Dimed and Matthew Desmond's Evicted with its deeply personal view of the everyday struggles of millions.  In this episode, Stephanie Land talks with Miwa Messer about how she turned her experience into this poignant true story.

Feb 20, 2019
Julie Gaines

Today on the B&N Podcast we're talking about a place where business, family, and an iconic New York City institution meet.  Our guest is Julie Gaines, the co-founder of the groundbreaking store Fish's Eddy — where vintage plates, bowls and cups salvaged from a vanishing America find a new life in the kitchens and dining rooms of New Yorkers . She joined us to talk about her new book Minding the Store: A Big Story about a Small Business.  It's a story about putting your dreams into action, about what happens when you take a completely original idea and make it a reality.  It's also about what happens when you can't extricate your family life from your business, for better or for worse.  True to her nature, Julie Gaines put a family member to work in creating this unique book, which takes the form of a Graphic Memoir charmingly illustrated by her son Ben Lenovitz.  When she joined us in the studio, we started by talking about a subject that the author may know better than anybody: the surprising appeal of dishes.

Feb 14, 2019
Gary Sinise

In September 1993 actor Gary Sinise, fresh off of the triumph of directing his film adaptation of Of Mice Men, was being fitted for a long-haired wig to shoot scenes as the disabled veteran Lt. Dan Taylor in the movie Forrest Gump. The film’s runaway success, both at the box office and the Academy Awards of course brought Sinise acclaim as a performer, but he found that when he visited veteran’s groups they naturally identified him with the inspiring figure of the wounded Marine officer.   Less than ten years later, in the aftermath of the 9-11 attacks, Sinise cast around for a way to connect to and contribute to the sacrifices of US fighters on the front lines — and the journey into a thoroughgoing commitment to the work of supporting veterans and active duty service people is the through line of Sinise's brand new memoir Grateful American: A Journey from Self to Service.  He sat down with us on the eve of publication to talk about the path from founding Chicago’s Legendary Steppenwolf Theater Company to his career in film and television — and his current work helming the many projects of the Gary Sinise Foundation.

Feb 12, 2019
Marlon James

When the Jamaican writer Marlon James announced his intention to follow his Man Booker Prize-winning novel A Brief History of Seven Killings with — in his words — an “African Game of Thrones” the excitement in the book world was nothing short of electric.  Now the first volume in a planned series has arrived, and what James has produced is nothing short of a brave new world of fantasy. Black Leopard, Red Wolf is an exuberantly original recasting of African myth and magic in which a band of questionable characters are brought together on a mission that will take them across a landscape littered with foes, monsters, seduction and shattering discovery. It's an adventure that's magical not just in the details of sorcery and shapeshifting, but in the wildly original world, both timeless and particular, in which Marlon James sets his characters loose.  He joined Bill Tipper in the studio to talk about daylight vampires, ancient sexuality, and what he had to learn to create a fantasy world with African roots.

Feb 06, 2019
Tara Conklin — The Barnes & Noble Book Club

On today's episode of the B&N Podcast, Tara Conklin joins us to talk about her brand-new novel The Last Romantics. It's a sweeping epic of an American family, in which the bonds between four siblings, forged in one idyllic summer, will be tested in a way that makes plain the power of the stories they tell one another. The Last Romantics is the latest selection of the Barnes & Noble Book Club, and to talk about her novel and its inspiration, author Tara Conklin spoke with Barnes & Noble's Miwa Messer. 

Feb 05, 2019
Benjamin Dreyer

On this episode we're joined by Benjamin Dreyer, the copy chief for Random House on the occasion of his new book Dreyer's English: An Utterly Correct Guide to Clarity and Style.  If your memories of 8th grade English class have left you with nightmares about diagramming sentences and getting your book reports marked up with gallons of red pen, the witty, the approachable and entertaining voice with which Dreyer writes about English is just what you need to start recovery from that experience.   Dreyer guides us through the thickets of easily confused words, myths about grammar and the controversies over how and when to use – or not use – one more comma.  And as anyone who follows him on Twitter knows, there's no more humane mentor for a journey through the sometimes labyrinthine twists and turns of our language.  When Dreyer sat down with us in the studio, we asked him first to talk about what made him decide to change seats from editor to writer.

Feb 01, 2019
Howard Schultz

The year was 1983, and the director of marketing for a Seattle-based coffee roasting company was visiting Milan, Italy for the first time.  It was there that Brooklyn-born entrepreneur Howard Schultz says he fell in love with the bold flavors of espresso and caffe latte, and the lively, theatrical culture of Italian cafes. That journey became the inspiration behind the eventual transformation of Starbucks, as helmed by Schultz, into a multibillion dollar company with stores worldwide – and the addition to the American vocabulary of the Italian words "grande" and "venti.”  Schultz’s new book, From the Ground Up, weaves that story among others that go back to his rough-and-tumble youth in Brooklyn housing projects, his fraught relationship with his father and his mother's own special role in setting him on the path to becoming one of the most influential figures in American business.  But Schultz is also using his book and accompanying book tour to advocate his view of our political situation, and to explore the possibility of his own bid for the presidency.  We sat down with Howard Schultz for a talk on location, just before his recent event at the flagship Barnes & Noble store in Union Square.

Jan 29, 2019
David Treuer

Today on the podcast, we look at the myths and the realities of Native American life, as seen through David Treuer's fascinating, eloquent, deeply researched and groundbreaking new book, The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee. Treuer looks at the stories we're offered about the nature of Native American life in the era after the closing of the frontier, and argues that we have accepted a poetic and misleading story of tragedy and defeat in place of a much more complex reality – a story that includes injustice, suffering and loss, but also endurance, ingenuity, and the living presence of Native America as part of the modern U.S.A. He draws on history, journalism, and his own stories from his family and community to create an unclassifiable, illuminating book.  David Treuer joins us in the studio to talk about why this project meant so much to him.

Jan 23, 2019
Ottessa Moshfegh

With her 2015 novel Eileen, the writer Ottessa Moshfegh married brooding suspense and dark humor in a story that drew readers into the heart of a disturbingly arresting mystery.  That book was shortlisted for the Man Booker prize. 2018 brought Moshfegh’s critically acclaimed, bestselling novel My Year of Rest and Relaxation, in which the story of a young woman's unorthodox plan for self-care is the occasion for a surprising, brilliantly funny look at our anxious new century.  Moshfegh joined us in this episode on the occasion of a new paperback edition of her first book, an award-winning novella titled McGlue, after the Massachusetts-born century sailor. His troubled story, Moshfegh says, came to her almost immediately when she stumbled upon a headline in a 19th century newspaper in a library archive.  In this episode, she talks about the sources of her fiction and how late nights watching comedians on television may be one source for her razor-sharp sense of humor. 

Jan 16, 2019
Marie Benedict — The Barnes & Noble Book Club

Most people know Hedy Lamarr as one of the stars of Hollywood's Golden Age, billed by MGM as "the most beautiful woman in the world."  What many people don't know is that the Austrian émigré was also a brilliant scientist and inventor who worked to develop radio technologies to help defeat the Axis powers in World War II – and that her innovations have been incorporated into many devices familiar to us today.  Marie Benedict's new novel The Only Woman in the Room is a bold new re-imagining of this fascinating figure, and it's the Barnes & Noble Book Club selection for January 2019.  In this episode, Marie Benedict joins Miwa Messer for a discussion of Lamarr's extraordinary true story, and how she crafts her fiction out of the lives of women often left out of the history books.

Jan 08, 2019
Beth Comstock

To kick off 2019, Beth Comstock, the author of Imagine it Forward: Courage, Creativity and the Power of Change, joins us for conversation perfect for sparking fresh ideas, taking on new challenges in life and work, and getting creative in the New Year.  Comstock tells the story of how her early dreams of being a science journalist led her into an unexpected career taking one of the world's biggest and most powerful corporations, General Electric, into a new era of technology innovation  --  in the process landing her on both the Fortune and Forbes lists of the World’s Most Powerful women. In her fascinating book, Comstock examines the power of creativity in the workplace, the very real difficulties corporations have with seeing things differently, and the ways each of us can change the direction of our lives to do the work that we find inspiring. The author joined us in the studio to talk about what she's learned – and why not all her lessons have come from success.

Jan 02, 2019
Maris Kreizman: Talking Great Reading in 2018

We're getting close to the end of 2018, and whether you're doing last-minute gift-buying, looking for a great book for holiday down time, or maybe just stocking up your bookshelf for the coming year, this is the perfect time to be reminded about some of the books that stood out in a year full of wonderful reading. So we invited one of the internet's most beloved critics and book recommenders, Maris Kreizman, to join us for a conversation about her year in reading. Maris is the author of the groundbreaking literary-TV mashup Slaughterhouse 90210, and is one of the most widely read observers of the literary scene, contributing to Buzzfeed, New York magazine, and most recently on Twitter (@mariskriezman) making very personal book recommendations for all who ask: and she gave us some of her favorites in the studio.

Dec 21, 2018
Barbara Kingsolver

In book after book, bestselling author Barbara Kingsolver brings all the pleasure of a sweeping fictional landscape to novels that engage fearlessly with vexing social issues.  In her new novel Unsheltered, the struggles of a 21st-century family wrestling with potential financial ruin is woven together with the story of their family's fascinating past and a lost Utopian experiment.  Kingsolver joins Miwa Messer to talk about her timely new book, and our urgent need for stories in an age of anxiety.

Dec 13, 2018
Kate Morton

On this episode we sit down with Kate Morton, the author of international bestsellers including The House at Riverton and The Lake House.  Morton is a writer who weaves her fascinations with the past and her love of the mysterious into engrossing sagas of family secrets, atmospheric historic settings, and unexpected revelations. The Australian novelist joins us to talk about her latest book, The Clockmaker's Daughter, a story that turns on the events of one summer in 1862, as a group of talented and headstrong artists gather in an English mansion with a peculiar legacy — but the outcome is tragedy and an enigmatic disappearance, with echoes that will travel down the decades to come.

Dec 07, 2018
Liane Moriarty

Today we're joined by Australian novelist Liane Moriarty for a talk about where the stories that enthrall us come from.  Moriarty is perhaps best known for her wildly popular novel Big Little Lies, a story of secrets, scandal and potential murder among a set of elementary school parents, which became a celebrated HBO series starring Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman.  But readers of her multiple bestsellers have relished the author's razor wit and storytelling genius since her debut novel, Three Wishes.  With her latest book, Nine Perfect Strangers, Moriarity once again proves that humor, a fascinating setting – in this case a secluded resort – and some cunningly wrought surprises yields the kind of reading that earns the description addictive.  We were eager to hear just how she does it, so B&N's Miwa Messer caught Moriarty on the phone in between stops on her tour for Nine Perfect Strangers, for a talk about what inspired her new book.

Dec 03, 2018
Adriana Trigiani
Nobody tells a story quite like the author of Big Stone Gap, Milk Glass Moon, Lucia Lucia and many others — and there are few authors who create characters so beloved as hers are.  Whether she's crafting a contemporary story for young adults or a weaving a family saga that stretches back decades, Adriana Trigiani draws deeply on her Italian-American family life and small-town Appalachian roots to deliver stories of ordinary people whose quests for fulfillment in love, work, and art deepen into epics of the everyday.  Trigiani sat down in our studio with Barnes & Noble's Miwa Messer just before the publication of her brand new novel Tony's Wife, to talk about her fiction, her education work in her native Appalachia, and the books that inspire her.
Nov 28, 2018
Markus Zusak

After Markus Zusak's award-winning 2005 novel The Book Thief became an international bestseller, his legions of readers were eager for the next book from the Australian novelist. Their patience has finally been rewarded with Bridge of Clay, the epic-scale story of an Australian family wrestling with inherited traumas and unpredictable tragedy, a clan of brothers as thick as thieves and as prone to fighting as — well, any household of young men. And when we say "epic scale" by the way, we mean it: Bridge of Clay is a book steeped in the stories of Achilles, Hector, Paris and Odysseus. When he joined us in the podcast studio, Markus Zusak talked about the challenge of writing a novel with a structure he calls "tidal."

Nov 21, 2018
Ina Garten

It's hard to believe that The Barefoot Contessa cookbook was published as recently as 1999, because its author, Ina Garten, has become so indispensable to home cooks around the country and the world. Garten brings together devotion to brilliant flavor, a natural and profoundly personal elegance, and an understanding of that special sustaining community that emerges around a shared meal. If there's one thing that sets Ina Garten's books apart from others, it's their savvy sense of what kind of gentle guidance will let those of us struggling along at home feel ready to leap into new cooking challenge, and in her new book Cook Like a Pro she offers insights into the methods and tricks that she and others use to make the most out of every item in the refrigerator and every tool in the kitchen. So, with Thanksgiving just around the corner, what better time, we thought, then to sit down with the master herself?

Nov 19, 2018
James Mustich

This episode features a very special conversation, as the podcast's former Executive Producer James Mustich takes a turn in the guest chair, joining us to talk about the marvelous work he spent years – mostly nights and weekends – composing. 1000 Books to Read Before You Die is, as its subtitle notes, a life-changing list, but it's a lot more than that. Each entry gets its own gemlike mini-essay, a quick peek at why Mustich thinks a particular book deserves your time, and from Absalom, Absalom! to Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, the subjects, styles and moods are all over the map. In this episode we take a look inside this celebration of reading and the endless universes the bookshelf offers us to explore.

Nov 14, 2018
Megan Mullally and Nick Offerman

Heloise and Abelard, Beatrice and Benedick, Catherine and Heathcliff: move over, famous lovers of history and literature, and make way for Megan Mullally and Nick Offerman.  The stars of hit TV shows like Will & Grace and Parks and Recreation are maybe the most passionate  — and almost certainly the funniest — real-life couple in Hollywood.  The secrets of their partnership are unfolded with the sort of deadpan hilarity their fans have come to expect from their performances in their new book The Greatest Love Story Ever Told.  But here’s something you may not know:  Mullally and Offerman are both passionate readers as well, and so we asked them to record a special episode of the B&N Podcast in which they interview one another about their mutual love affair with books.  The result is a meeting of a very unique book club, with only two members — and we get to listen in.

Nov 12, 2018
Lee Child

This week on the B&N Podcast, the bestselling author Lee Child returns to our studio to talk about his 23rd adventure with Jack Reacher, one in which Child's hero finds himself in a rural New England town that looms large in his own family's past. But nothing about Laconia, New Hampshire is exactly as its seems, and what Reacher encounters here takes him into some very creepy territory, as Past Tense provides a few chills along with familiar thrills – nothing that Reacher can’t, in the end, handle. When Lee Child joined us to talk about his remarkable run of page-turners, beloved by fans and critics alike, he revealed why part of the fun of writing Reacher stories is the confounding oddness of his hero – and why a single three-word sentence that crops up again and again is a theme that his readers have learned to look for.

Nov 06, 2018
Jill Lepore

Jill Lepore has illuminated the life of Benjamin Franklin's sister Jane and uncovered the revolutionary origins of Wonder Woman in her bestselling, award-winning works of history.  With her new book These Truths the historian and staff writer at The New Yorker takes on the whole enchilada — the story of America from Columbus to… just about now, telling the stories along the way of the people who struggled to make their voices heard and their votes count.  She joins us in the studio to talk about what drove her to try to capture  a restless nation between two covers — and what she thinks we can learn from studying it.

Nov 02, 2018
Joseph Fink

Happy Halloween! On today’s appropriately spooky episode we talk with Joseph Fink, who has introduced millions of listeners and readers to the delightfully eerie goings-on in a very strange southwestern town through the hit podcast Welcome to Night Vale, and the bestselling book of the same name.  In his thrilling new novel Alice Isn't Dead, Joseph Fink has given us a story outside of the Night Vale universe but fully partaking of its spirit, a work that combines horror and fast-paced suspense in the story of a woman searching for her wife, whose disappearance seems disturbingly connected to news reports of major tragedies across the country.  Fink joined B&N Science Fiction and Fantasy blog editor Joel Cunningham in our studio, to talk about his love of horror films, the books of his childhood, and what he sets out to do for listeners — and readers — with every creation.

Oct 31, 2018
Jane Leavy

If you're writing about the titans of baseball there's one figure both daunting and irresistible: the Babe, the Big Bam, the Sultan of Swat.  The Bambino.  Babe Ruth was one of was one of 20th century America's first real media stars;, but his young life has resisted biographers. With The Big Fella, Babe Ruth and the World He Created, the bestselling writer Jane Leavy has blown away the myths surrounding the Babe, and in the process brought into focus not just his greatness on the baseball diamond, but his similarly outsize role in the making of the world of fame, celebrity, and mass media that we still inhabit today.  She joined us in the podcast studio to talk about the singular challenge of writing about the Big Fella.

Oct 26, 2018
Rupi Kaur

As a teenager, Rupi Kaur discovered performance poetry as a way of expressing her emotional life, but it was when she began to move her autobiographical verse to Instagram, her poems about coming of age, trauma, abuse, broken relationships, body image and coming to love oneself resonated powerfully with readers around the globe. Her two bestselling collections to date  -- have been translated into more than 30 languages and sold more than 4 million copies worldwide, and her Instagram following is 2.7 million strong and growing -- making her one of the most-read poets of our time. Rupi Kaur joins Miwa Messer in the B&N Podcast studio on the occasion of a new B&N Exclusive Edition of the sun and her flowers to talk about her family and background, the strange experience of unexpected fame, and writing at the intersection of the deeply personal and unabashedly political.

Oct 24, 2018
Nicholas Sparks

In the early 1990s, a young pharmaceutical salesman in Washington DC sent a to a literary agent a manuscript about a pair of lovers separated by class and by war.  Picked out of the slush pile by the agent, the book was published in 1996 and immediately leapt to the top of the New York Times bestseller list. The Notebook — later adapted for film — launched the literary career of Nicholas Sparks, whose stories of love, loss, long-kept secrets and buried longing have made him one of the most widely-read authors of our time.  The author of 20 bestselling novels joined us in the podcast studio to talk about his latest work of fiction, Every Breath, a story that crosses the ocean from Africa to North Carolina, and which hinges on a very unusual and quite real place — a mailbox in the middle of nowhere.  

Oct 17, 2018
Michael Beschloss
Michael Beschloss is one of the most  acclaimed writers on the American presidency, the author of multiple bestsellers including The Conquerors: Roosevelt, Truman and the Destruction of Hitler's Germany, 1941-1945, Presidential Courage: Brave Leaders and How they Changed America, 1789-1989, and Jacqueline Kennedy: Historic Conversations on Life with John F. Kennedy.  A frequent commentator on the PBS NewsHour and the NBC News Presidential Historian, Beschloss joined us in the studio to talk about his new book Presidents of War: The Epic Story from 1807 to Modern Times — and what his look at the most fraught aspect of presidential power can teach us today.
Oct 12, 2018
Kate Atkinson

Kate Atkinson is the internationally bestselling author of eleven books including the award-winning international bestseller Life After Life, the Whitbread-award winning Behind the Scenes at the Museum, and four sublime novels featuring the cases of private investigator Jackson Brodie.  Atkinson's storytelling abilities are like no other writer's — her novels combine curl-up-in-an-armchair transporting pleasure with a penchant for unexpected revelations and disjunctions that keep the reader ever more transfixedly wondering what new shift in perspective is coming.  Her latest novel, Transcription, is an almost perfect marriage of writer and subject,  a story of spies and teacups, Nazi traitors and double agents, sexism in the workplace and secrets that lie dormant for decades before returning to life.  The result is an exploration of loyalty and identity, a meditation on the stories we tell ourselves about who we are — and a great deal of fun.  We sat down with Kate Atkinson to talk about Transcription, her dive into of the archives of the MI5, and the magic of fiction.  

Oct 10, 2018
Jodi Picoult

Readers of the bestselling novelist Jodi Picoult know that her specialty lies in telling stories that examine ethical and social issues of deep complexity and great urgency, in a tradition that stretches back to Louisa May Alcott and Charles Dickens. She joins us in this episode to talk about her riveting new novel A Spark of Light, the nail-biting story of a hostage situation in a clinic that provides reproductive health services to women — among them, abortions.  She talked with us about the novel's unusual structure, how she researched one of the most hotly contested issues that divides Americans — and what she learned about the issue along the way.

Oct 03, 2018
V.E. Schwab

The prolific writer V.E. Schwab is a storyteller and world builder, the author of the celebrated, bestselling Shades of Magic series, an enthralling saga of multiple Londons, inter-world intrigue, princes and pirates, and danger at every turn that begs to be binge-read.  But her first novel for adults was a Vicious, a novel of superheroes that upended conventions and offered a story of antiheroes and revenge that proved anything but comic-book flat.  This month she returns to the world of Vicious with the eagerly-awaited Vengeful.  She spoke via phone with James Killen about the addictively inventive worlds she creates, and why villains make the most interesting characters.

Sep 28, 2018
Hank Green — The Barnes & Noble Book Club

The latest selection of the B&N Book Club is the highly anticipated debut novel from Hank Green.  Green is the co-creator (with his brother John) of the YouTube sensation "Vlogbrothers" and the podcast "Dear Hank and John," as well as the founder of Vidcon and many other creative initiatives. What all of his endeavors have in common is the goal of telling stories that matter. With An Absolutely Remarkable Thing, Green offers a different kind of story -- a suprise-laden tale about a group of friends whose encounter with a strange new artifact catapults them -- for better or for worse -- into global celebrity. The result is an unclassifiable, exuberant novel about 21st-century fame, the ambitions and fears of a generation coming into stewardship of a troubled world, and what might happen if a group of really smart young people encounter something potentially world-changing. Hank Green joins B&N's Miwa Messer in our studio for a (spoiler-free!) conversation about his new novel and what he wants readers to experience.

Sep 24, 2018
Doris Kearns Goodwin

Doris Kearns Goodwin is one of the most celebrated chroniclers of the lives of American presidents, the author of multiple bestsellers including The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism and Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln, the basis for Stephen Spielberg's Academy Award-winning film Lincoln. Leadership in Turbulent Times is something different, though: an attempt to extract vital lessons from her many hours spent immersed in the lives of four presidents: Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, FDR and Lyndon Johnson, in whose White House she served. In this book, the historian tries to understand how these four men dealt with some of the most overwhelming challenges faced by this country and its government. She joins Bill Tipper in our podcast studio to talk about what she took away from this journey into America's moments of crisis.

Sep 21, 2018
Sally Field

With In Pieces, Sally Field has delivered an amazingly rare thing:  a memoir of growing up to become world-famous that isn't really, much about fame at all.  It's about the search for love and acceptance, her devotion to her beloved mother and the damage of an abusive stepfather, the peculiarities of growing up in a 1950s show business family, and the high-wattage straitjacket of her early fame in the television roles of Gidget and The Flying Nun.  It's about her quest, in her work with Lee Strasberg and the Actors Studio, to find that moment of focused sharpness again, in films which would bring her Academy Awards for her roles in Norma Rae and Places in the Heart.  It's about the roadblocks – put up by directors, boyfriends, writers and others – thrown in the way of a woman determined to follow her own vision, and to put the pieces of her life together for herself.    The result is eloquent, tough-minded, and as singular as the author's career.  She joined us in the studio just before the publication of In Pieces, for an in depth conversation about this extraordinary book and her extraordinary life.

Sep 19, 2018
Neil deGrasse Tyson

The astrophysicist, author and champion of science Neil deGrasse Tyson is more than comfortable taking on the very biggest of subjects. The director New York City’s Hayden Planetarium and host of the 21st-century edition of the documentary series Cosmos, Tyson is the author of a raft of bestsellers that unveil the mysteries of the universe, from the Higgs Boson to black holes. Now, in Accessory to War, Tyson and co-author Avis Lang ask a big question: where does astrophysics end and military research begin? To find out, we visited Tyson in his offices for a talk about telescopes, spy satellites, and the future of science.

Sep 12, 2018
Jacqueline Woodson

Critically acclaimed and prizewinning author Jacqueline Woodson joins us to talk about her career making unforgettable fiction out of the lives of ordinary young people.  She's author of more than 30 books for children, young adults and adults, and among her many honors is the National Book Award for her bestselling book Brown Girl Dreaming and is currently serving as the National Ambassador for Young People's Literature.  She sat down in the studio to talk with Miwa Messer about her extraordinary body of work and her latest novel for young readers, Harbor Me.

Sep 05, 2018
Andy Weir LIVE from San Diego Comic Con

Multitudes of readers now know the story of Mark Watney, the astronaut stranded in the massively popular novel The Martian, by today's guest Andy Weir. When Weir was a young reader, however, he had his own science fiction addiction with authors like Larry Niven and Robert A. Heinlein. And like in Heinlein's popular "juvenile" books Red Planet and Have Spacesuit, Will Travel, Andy Weir expertly mixes the science of space travel with addictive fantasy. The B&N Sci-Fi and Fantasy Blog's editor, Joel Cunningham, sat down at this year's San Diego Comic Con to talk with Andy Weir about his follow up novel Artemis (available now in paperback), his early influences, and what it's like to see something you have written adapted for the big screen.

Aug 29, 2018
Cory Doctorow LIVE at San Diego Comic Con

Science fiction author, activist, blogger, and journalist Cory Doctorow is one of the most lucid and fascinating thinkers when it comes to the question of how technology and society shape each other. He writes a kind of science fiction that frequently takes place in a future very much like an extension of our present, and which resists classifications like “dystopia” or “utopia.” Cory sat down with Barnes & Noble Sci-Fi and Fantasy Blog editor Joel Cunningham at this year’s San Diego Comic Con and discussed his most recent novel Walk Away, along with a retrospective of his past work.

Aug 22, 2018
Temple Grandin

If you're a parent who has ever had to think about limiting what we've come to call "screen time" with your child, you have an ally in the scientist and inventor Temple Grandin.  She's the author of 12 books on animal behavior and on autism, including the national bestsellers Thinking in Pictures and Animals in Translation.   She lectures to parents and teachers on her experiences as a scientist with Autism, and she was recently named one of Time magazine's 100 most influential people of the year.  She joined us on this episode to the podcast to talk about her new book Calling All Minds:  How to Think and Create Like an Inventor, and why she's determined to reach out to a new generation of kids and encourage them to make, experiment, and "tinker" with their own inventions.

Aug 15, 2018
The Adventure Zone LIVE at San Diego Comic Con

The Adventure Zone began life as a podcast with an irresistible premise: three brothers, sitting down for a game of Dungeons & Dragons with their dad. It was a lark that grew into a phenomenon, spinning out a years-long, partially improvised fantasy saga that grew increasingly complex, attracted a fervent fan following, and spun off into side quests and live shows. Now, the first part of the story has become a graphic novel, The Adventure Zone: Here There Be Gerblins, adapted by podcast co-host Clint McElroy (he’s the dad) and artist/co-writer Carey Pietsch. We caught up with Clint and Carey at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con to talk about adapting the show to a new medium while keeping its spirit of irreverence and, yes, adventure alive.

Aug 08, 2018

Ahmir Thompson, better known as Questlove, has been known to music lovers for years as the drummer and co-leader of The Roots, and since 2014 to millions more since the Roots became the house band for The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. He's also the author of multiple bestselling books including an unconventional memoir Mo' Meta Blues: The World According to Questlove, Soul Train: The Music, Dance, and Style of a Generation, and Something To Food About: Exploring Creativity with Innovative Chefs. He joins Jim Mustich on this episode to the podcast to talk about his latest book,Creative Quest, and the intersection between life, listening, and making of art.

Aug 01, 2018
Daniel Silva

Daniel Silva’s eighteen bestselling thrillers featuring art restorer and Israeli spymaster Gabriel Allon share DNA with the works of classic espionage writers like Grahame Green, Eric Ambler and John Le Carre. His latest novel The Other Woman begins when a carefully planned operation involving a Russian courier goes fatally awry on the streets of Vienna.  In the aftermath of disaster, Allon begins to unravel a plot that intersects with the real-world case of an infamous spy, and spans generations.  Daniel Silva joined us in the podcast studio to talk about his long obsession with the story behind The Other Woman.

Jul 25, 2018
Emily Giffin

The novelist Emily Giffin has been hailed by Vanity Fair as a "modern day Jane Austen."  Books like Something Borrowed, First Comes Love, and The One and Only have brought her endearingly flawed characters through the trials of modern adulthood -- love, marriage, children -- with humor, empathy and insight. Emily Giffin recently joined Barnes & Noble's Amanda Cecil in our podcast studio to talk about her new novel All We Ever Wanted and its story of three characters who have to reconcile unexpected conflicts between the things they believe and the people they love.

Jul 18, 2018
Anne Tyler — The Barnes & Noble Book Club

Anne Tyler is the bestselling author of more than twenty novels including Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant and A Spool of Blue Thread.  She's the winner of the Pulitzer Prize, a favorite of critics, readers, and book clubs everywhere. Her new novel Clock Dance is a story of family, resilience, second chances, and self-discovery, in which a wife and mother longing to be a grandmother, finds herself in uncharted territory after a phone call from a stranger and her own impulsive decision. Anne Tyler joins Miwa Messer from her home in Baltimore to talk about the writing of Clock Dance — our latest B&N Book Club selection.

Jul 09, 2018
Nassim Nicholas Taleb

In this episode our guest is the fascinating writer and thinker Nassim Nicholas Taleb, author of the bestsellers The Black Swan and Antifragile.  Taleb has been a hedge fund manager, a mathematician and professor of engineering, but he's found his widest influence as a thinker about risk, randomness and how they influence our lives from the boardroom to the street.  He was joined in our podcast studio by our executive producer Jim Mustich for a conversation about His latest book, Skin in the Game: Hidden Asymmetries in Daily Life, and about Taleb's unique point of view on how we make our way in a fundamentally uncertain world.

Jul 03, 2018
Gabrielle Union: Live in Cleveland!

The film actor and star of BET’s critically acclaimed drama Being Mary Jane became a New York Times bestselling author with the publication of her memoir in essays We’re Going to Need More Wine: Stories That Are Funny, Complicated, and True.  In this special live episode of the podcast, Gabrielle Union is joined by two NBA stars: her husband Dwayne Wade their friend Channing Frye, who hosts the conversation.  Join us for a wide-ranging conversation that is both laugh-out-loud funny and thought-provoking and features Union's takes on writing, basketball, race, gender, stardom, and family life.

Jun 27, 2018
Ruth Ware

Ruth Ware's bestselling novels — including The Lying Game and The Woman in Cabin 10 — bring the aura of classic works of gothic fiction into cinematically rendered modern settings, yielding tightly wound tales of paranoia, mystery and suspense.   But for all of the perfectionistic care the author seems to take with her plots, her characters lead messy, all-too-human lives.  She joins us in this episode of the podcast to talk about her latest, The Death of Mrs. Westaway, in which a mysterious inheritance leads a young woman down a path of deception.

Jun 22, 2018
Lidia Bastianich

On this episode we welcome chef, restaurateur and television star Lidia Bastianich, the author of more than a dozen bestselling cookbooks which have introduced a generation to the flavors, ingredients and methods of traditional Italian regional cuisines.  She joins Jim Mustich to talk about her new memoir My American Dream, which shares the story of her family's journey to America, through displacement and struggle, perseverance and ultimately a career that has  — deliciously — helped shape how we eat

Jun 20, 2018
Alexander Chee

How does a young person take the raw material of their life experiences — painful, funny, exhilarating, confusing — and make them into lasting art? The writer Alexander Chee drew deeply on his own childhood experiences in his riveting debut novel Edinburgh — and then turned to his fascination with masks, artifice and reinvention for his second work, the historical epic The Queen of the Night.  Along the way he's made his mark as a master of the personal essay, and his new collection How to Write an Autobiographical Novel takes us with him on wonderful brief journeys — into a young man's experience of drag, into the homes of the rich and famous, and into confrontations with the most painful aspects of memory.  In this episode, Alexander Chee joins us for an in-depth conversation about those journeys and where he finds himself now.

Jun 13, 2018
Marcia Gay Harden

The Academy Award-winning actor Marcia Gay Harden has created indelible characters for the stage (Angels in America, God of Carnage) and screen (Pollock, Miller's Crossing, Mystic River). On this week's episode she talks with us about her lyrical and multifaceted new book, The Seasons of My Mother: A Memoir of Love, Family and Flowers. In it, she combines a poignant tribute to her mother's creative genius with a thought-provoking investigation into Alzheimer's disease, and reflects on the role memory plays in a big question: how, exactly, do we know who we are?

Jun 08, 2018
James Patterson on The President is Missing

When James Patterson sets out to write a thriller, he doesn’t take half measures.  With his latest novel, The President is Missing, the creator of Alex Cross, the Women’s Murder Club, and countless page-turners proves once again that nobody knows more about how to keep readers’ pulses racing.  But for this project, he couldn’t go it alone: he needed the kind of inside knowledge only his co-author, former President Bill Clinton, could provide.  In this special episode of the B&N Podcast, recorded on the eve of publication, James Patterson sits down with B&N’s James Mustich to talk about how he and President Clinton collaborated, and the very serious message he hopes readers will take away once the thrill ride is over.

Jun 05, 2018
Rumaan Alam
Rumaan Alam's new novel That Kind of Mother is a story about the making of a family in the wake of a loss, one that that upends comfortable ideas about our responsibility to each other, and raises issues about race and class in America that couldn't be more timely.  The author joins Miwa Messer on this episode to talk about how writing the story of an uneasily blended family is a way of writing about nothing less than America.
May 30, 2018
Mark Bittman

Journalist, author, environmental and nutrition advocate — none of these labels adequately captures the impact of Mark Bittman's career across 21 books, countless articles and his work on multiple television series.  The author of the now-classic guide How to Cook Everything and award-winning Food Matters has become one of the voices we turn to to help us make sense of the sometimes bewildering choices that face us in the store, in the restaurant, or in the kitchen.  And now, over an open flame:  his latest is the eye-poppingly illustrated and backyard-barbecue inspiring new book How to Grill Everything.  He joined us in the studio, to talk about the art of the grill — and how he developed his unique approach to writing about food.

May 25, 2018
Jon Meacham

Historian, journalist, editor and biographer Jon Meacham has never shied away from challenging subjects.  American Lion, his study of the presidency of Andrew Jackson, captured one of America's most controversial and consequential figures for the 21st century, and brought its author the Pulitzer Prize.  He joins us on this episode to talk about The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels, a study of the urgent moments, from Reconstruction through early 20th century battles over immigration, McCarthyism, racism and equal rights, that have tested the national character — and give us, he writes, an opportunity to better understand what we can be in the here and now. 

May 23, 2018
John Scalzi

For a writer who has spent so many books imagining the future, for the novelist John Scalzi there’s no time like the present.  The award-winning author of the celebrated Old Man’s War series joins B&N’s Jim Killen to talk about his new book Head On, which returns readers to the near-future America of his novel Lock In, which introduced FBI agent Chris Shayne and the fascinating world of the Haydens.  In this episode, John Scalzi talks about the ideas behind his latest novel, as well as his influences, his childhood, and why right now may be the greatest time yet to be a fan of science fiction.

May 16, 2018
Paula McLain

Paula McLain’s luminous bestseller The Paris Wife swept readers away into Jazz Age Paris, as imagined through the eyes of Hadley Richardson, whose marriage to Ernest Hemingway buckled under the pressure of fame and infidelity.  McLain didn’t expect to return to Hemingway’s life for another story — but in the great journalist Martha Gellhorn, whose volatile and passionate relationship with Hemingway became the stuff of literary legend, she found a character she couldn’t resist.  McLain joins B&N’s Miwa Messer to talk about the exclusive B&N edition of her captivating new novel Love and Ruin.

May 11, 2018
Christopher Moore

As a reviewer once memorably said of the comic novelist Christopher Moore, "Less may be more, but it isn’t Moore."  From the supernatural hijinks of books like Practical Demonkeeping to his upside-down takes on the likes of Shakespeare (Fool) or the Bible (Lamb) , Moore's combination of sly wit, literary remixing and Looney-Tunes action mean that his bestselling works of fiction are crammed with delights.  His new novel, Noir takes readers to a version of 1940s San Francisco in true Christopher Moore style.  The author joins us to talk about his latest book, and why he took up writing to prove an editor wrong.

May 09, 2018
Christine Lahti

The Academy Award winning actor Christine Lahti has captivated audiences in films like Swing Shift, in Broadway plays such as The Heidi Chronicles and God of Carnage, and in her Emmy-winning turn as Dr. Kathryn Austin on the CBS drama Chicago Hope. Her new book True Stories from an Unreliable Eyewitness: A Feminist Coming of Age -- which began as a set of staged monologues taken from episodes in her life -- resists the usual form of the performer's memoir to instead deliver a constellation of reflections that map her journey as a woman and an actress that couldn't be more timely. She sat down in our studio with B&N's Amanda Cecil to talk about what she wanted to accomplish with this unconventional new book.

May 04, 2018
Michelle Dean

Award-winning critic and journalist Michelle Dean's new book Sharp: The Women Who Made an Art of Having an Opinion is a group portrait of a set of nonfiction writers from Dorothy Parker and Mary McCarthy to Joan Didion and Nora Ephron — who Dean finds connected by the way each made powerful intelligence and a rapier wit a calling card. Dean joins us in the podcast studio to talk about how these women turned argument into art — and why we should learn from their razor-edged example.

May 02, 2018
Brent Gleeson

After serving on a Navy SEAL team deployed in Iraq and other global conflicts, decorated veteran Brent Gleeson returned to civilian life as an entrepreneur and businessman with a passion for great management.  In his new book Taking Point, Gleeson brings insights that emerged from his experience in the unpredictable, high-pressure crucible of modern combat to business leaders facing the challenges of a rapidly transforming marketplace.  In this episode, Gleeson joins Jim Mustich to talk about how his service still informs the work he loves.

Apr 27, 2018
Sloane Crosley

With her keenly observed, winningly self-aware forays into the adventure of the everyday, Sloane Crosley makes her essays the voice of an ideal friend on a long journey – thoughtful, charming, and ready to turn any misfortune into a hilarious and beloved memory. Readers first discovered Crosley's irresistible voice in her bestselling collections I Was Told There Would Be Cake and How Did You Get This Number.  She joined us recently to talk about her new book, Look Alive Out There, which pits her razor wit against everything from nightmarish neighbors to family secrets to a trip up an Andean volcano that ends in a fiasco.  Our conversation began with a classic question: can you judge a book by its cover?

Apr 25, 2018
Leslie Odom, Jr.

If Americans in the 21st century know about the role Aaron Burr played in the founding of our country, it's likely that it's because of the electrifying performance by Leslie Odom, Jr. in the Broadway smash Hamilton.  Now, the multi-talented actor and singer draws on his own fascinating life and career in his new book for younger readers, Failing Up: How to Take Risks, Aim Higher, and Never Stop Learning.  He joins us on the podcast to talk about his commitment to mentoring students and young performers, his own struggles with uncertainty, and his belief that in order to stand, you've got to be ready to fall.

Apr 20, 2018
Lisa Scottoline

For Lisa Scottoline, writing — whether in her Rosato & DiNunzio series of legal thrillers, her standalone works of suspense, or the humor columns she co-authors with her daughter Francesca Serritella —is personal, and the courtroom cases behind her bestsellers are all deeply rooted, she says, in her experiences or the issues she’s come to care about.  On this episode, the author sat down with us to talk about her new novel After Anna, in which a shocking case of abuse and murder gives way to a mystery that gets at deep questions about love and identity.  And, true to form for Scottoline’s work, there’s a twist: Francesca Serritella also joins us for some real talk about what it’s like to co-write with her mom.  

Apr 18, 2018
Michio Kaku

Human colonies on Mars, laser beams shooting digital copies of ourselves into space, and freezing your age at thirty: does it sound like fantasy?  Not at all, says the physicist and author Dr. Michio Kaku. The co-founder of string field theory joins Jim Mustich in the studio, to talk about his new book The Future of Humanity, why he's an optimist about the world of tomorrow, and what you should do if you're abducted by an alien.

Apr 13, 2018
Sean Penn

The Academy Award-winning actor and director Sean Penn has in his long film career brought to the big screen figures from bestselling books like Mystic River and Into the Wild.  Now, with his debut novel Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff, Penn offers a darkly comic vision of  21st-century America for readers.  When septic tank salesman Bob travels to Iraq in search of Bagdad waste-management business, he's kidnapped and recruited into a bizarre and lethal international scheme.  On this episode of the podcast, Sean Penn sits down in our studio with Bill Goldstein to talk about the making of a book with flavors of Vonnegut, Pynchon, and the high-wire work of David Foster Wallace.  

Apr 11, 2018
Meg Wolitzer — The Barnes & Noble Book Club

The Barnes & Noble Book Club launches this week with its inaugural pick, and we couldn't be more excited. Meg Wolitzer, the bestselling author of The Interestings and the razor-sharp contemporary classic The Wife (soon to be a major motion picture starring Glenn Close) joins us to talk about The Female Persuasion, the story of how an ambitious young woman’s life is transformed when she is taken under the wing of a famous feminist. In this episode, Meg Wolitzer joins Miwa Messer to talk about her wide-ranging career and her timely, engrossing new novel.

Apr 02, 2018
Uzodinma Iweala

When Uzodinma Iweala’s first novel Beasts of No Nation was first published, readers were astonished to discover such a powerful rendering of the world of a West African child soldier could come from a writer making his debut. He followed with Our Kind of People, an equally unpredictable nonfiction work about the global AIDS crisis. Now, Uzodinma Iweala has returned to fiction with the story of a Nigerian-American teen who takes a friend into confidence — setting off life-changing consequences for them both. Speak No Evil is being called one of the must-reads of 2018; in this episode, the author talks with Miwa Messer about this shattering new tale.

Mar 30, 2018
A.J. Finn

With his bestselling novel The Woman in the Window, author A.J. Finn proved that our appetite for twisty works of psychological suspense is boundless.  This week on the podcast, he joins Miwa Messer to talk about the joy he took writing a work which begins with “four walls and this woman” — and about the day his main character walked into his imagination.  

Mar 28, 2018
Ernest Cline

What happens when you turn your childhood obsessions with science fiction, fantasy and video games into a novel that contains them — and then that story itself becomes a touchstone for a new generation of fans?  That's what happened with Ernest Cline and Ready Player One, the bestselling story of a lone gamer in a dystopian future who has to use his knowledge of 80s pop culture to defeat an evil corporation — in both the virtual and real worlds. In this episode, recorded live at the 2017 San Diego Comic Con, Cline talks with B&N’s Joel Cunningham about his novel and his excitement to see it turned into a film by Steven Speilberg.

Mar 23, 2018
Hoda Kotb

The television journalist Hoda Kotb is not only familiar to millions of viewers who join her every morning as the anchor of The Today Show, but she’s also the author of multiple bestselling books, including Hoda: How I Survived War Zones, Bad Hair, Cancer, and Kathie Lee and Ten Years Later: Six People Who Faced Adversity and Transformed Their Lives.  But her new book I’ve Loved You Since Forever is a departure, a children’s book celebrating the arrival of her daughter Haley Joy. Not only has it become a publishing sensation, it's been adapted as a song by The Voice’s Kelly Clarkson.  In this episode, Hoda Kotb sits down with Jim Mustich to talk about becoming a mother the inspiration for her new book.

Mar 21, 2018
Roma Downey

With her role as a heavenly creature on the long-running television drama Touched by an Angel, the actor Roma Downey became an icon to fans, and she became a Hollywood power as the co-producer of the hit miniseries The Bible.  With her new book Box of Butterflies, Downey opens up about her childhood in Northern Ireland, her early losses of both her beloved parents, and the joy of her close relationship with costar Della Reese.  She joined us in the studio to talk about how she finds inspiration in life’s struggles.

Mar 16, 2018
Brad Meltzer

When you read a Brad Meltzer novel, the author tells us, he's not looking to give readers a passive experience.  The author of twelve bestselling thrillers is playing a game with you, and he’s going to give you just enough clues to make sure you know he’s playing fair.  But make no mistake: he’s playing to win.  Brad Meltzer joins us on this episode to talk about Houdini, history, misdirection, the hero who inspired his latest, The Escape Artist — and, yes, his award-winning work in the world of comics, too.

Mar 14, 2018
Kristin Hannah

In Kristin Hannah's 2015  bestseller The Nightingale — set in WWII France — her narrator tells us "In love we find out who we want to be: in war we find out who we are."  With her latest novel The Great Alone, Hannah's characters come to a similar awareness — not via the crucible of combat, but the challenge of making a life "off the grid" in a homesteading community in the Alaskan wilderness.  In this episode of the podcast, the author talks about her long family connection to Alaska, and why its grandeur  made the right backdrop for a story about survival of perils close to home.

Mar 09, 2018
Tara Westover
In her riveting memoir Educated, Tara Westover describes her childhood on an Idaho mountainside, in a family in which “home-schooling” meant no lessons, but determined isolation from the modern world Tara’s parents turned away from.  The author — who left that insular life behind to earn her PhD in History at Cambridge — joins Miwa Messer on this episode of the podcast to talk about her improbably journey, and what she’s learned along the way.
Mar 07, 2018
Steven Pinker

Harvard psychology professor and award-winning author Steven Pinker has been named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time magazine, and his specialty is books that challenge our preconceptions about human nature and human history.  On this episode, the author of The Language Instinct and The Blank Slate joins Jim Mustich to talk about his new book Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress, and how the advances of the 18th century are still powerfully at work in the 21st.

Mar 02, 2018
Robert Harris

The novelist Robert Harris has made a specialty out of flash points in history: the explosion of Mt. Vesuvius in ancient Rome, the cracking of the WWII Enigma code, or intrigue surrounding the Dreyfus Affair in 19th-century France.  In his latest thriller, Munich, Harris turns to the infamous 1938 meeting between Neville Chamberlain and Adolf Hitler.  Spinning a tale of brooding suspense around the true story of those four days in September, Harris offers a dramatic and thought-provoking new perspective on Chamberlain’s “appeasement” of the Nazi regime.  In this episode, Robert Harris talks about the strange alchemy required to turn a historical moment into page-turning thrills.

Feb 28, 2018
Steve Coll

The seemingly endless war in Afghanistan is both a recurrent headline and a perpetual mystery: the longer America's shadowy conflict with the Taliban drags out, the less we understand about who and why we're fighting.  Fortunately for us, journalist and author Steve Coll's deep reporting – which earned him a Pulitzer Prize for his 2004 book Ghost Wars – brings readers vital understanding about this monumental but mysterious struggle.  He joined us in the studio to talk about his bestselling new book Directorate S: The CIA and America's Secret Wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan, 2001-2016, and what its revelations tell us about a war we usually glimpse only in fragments.

Feb 23, 2018
Laura Lippman

Laura Lippman's new novel Sunburn begins with the arrival in a Delaware town – the kind of town most people pass through on their way to the beach without even noticing – of a woman who's definitely going to be noticed. But for all it's film noir atmosphere and slow-kindling unease, in this story of ill-starred lovers, readers of the author's addictive and unique works of mystery and suspense will find all the hallmarks of a Lippman classic: a precise sense of place, a love for certain aspects of the past, and a wry, captivating voice. The author joins us on the podcast to talk about Sunburn, and how the work of James M. Cain inspired this intoxicating tale.

Feb 21, 2018
Reginald Hudlin

In 2005 writer, director and producer Reginald Hudlin added comic book author to his resume, picking up the mantle of the first black superhero, the Stan Lee/Jack Kirby creation Black Panther.  Hudlin's run writing one of Marvel’s most iconic characters deepened and expanded the world of T’Challa’s family and kingship, and the history of his nation, Wakanda.  This week, as moviegoers everywhere flock to see Black Panther make the leap from page to screen, B&N’s comics expert James Killen talks with Reginald Hudlin about his part in the history of the hottest character in comics.

Feb 15, 2018
Morgan Jerkins

With her bracing, witty, and incisive reflections on her experience as a young black woman in 21st-century America, Morgan Jerkins has arrived as one of the essential voices of our moment, discussing racism, sexism, and the paradoxes that she encounters in her career as a writer and editor.  She joins Miwa Messer in the studio for an animated chat about her bestselling new collection This Will Be My Undoing: Living at the Intersection of Black, Female, and Feminist in (White) America.

Feb 14, 2018
Melissa Albert

It's been more than 200 years since the Grimm Brothers first defined the "fairy tale" as we now know it, but its atmosphere of enchantment, peril, hunger, desire and transformation still fascinates.  In her bestselling debut novel The Hazel Wood, YA author Melissa Albert deploys humor, thriller-level excitement, and a head full of bewitching tales to fashion a coming-of-age story for the haunted teenager inside us all.  She joins Bill Tipper on this episode to talk about her love of the uncanny and the strange adventure of 17-year-old Alice Proserpine. More details at

Feb 09, 2018
Tayari Jones

An American Marriage is Tayari Jones's extraordinary fourth novel, a page-turning love story with a powerful political undercurrent. It's as much a novel about family and race, expectation and desire, loneliness and loyalty as it is a story about how readily the American Dream can be derailed on the basis of skin color.  The writer of one of the season's most talked-about new books joins Miwa Messer in the studio to talk about writing a story that's page-turning and thought-provoking in equal measure.

Feb 05, 2018
James Dashner

As readers we love to get lost in stories -- but as fans, we've become addicted to "world building" -- the excitement of exploring the terrain of a magical continent or alternate future.  In this episode of the podcast, James Dashner, author of the Maze Runner series, joins us as The Death Cure, the third of his books to be adapted for the screen, arrives in theaters.  He talks with us about his lifelong love of movies, and using fiction to wrestle with the questions that perennially trouble us.

Jan 31, 2018
Michael Wolff

Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House is the book of the week, the month, and most likely the year.  Its intimate look at the personalities of the administration makes for riveting reading -- and has fueled its own conflagration of debate and speculation across the political spectrum.  In this episode of the podcast, Michael Wolff sits down to talk with Jim Mustich about how he got his story -- and what he believes it tells us.

Jan 25, 2018
Patrisse Khan-Cullors and Asha Bandele

Perhaps no social movement of the 21st century has had the impact of Black Lives Matter.  Born as an online outcry in 2013, it became a fully-fledged vehicle for nationwide protests that have called for for criminal justice reform and a reckoning with racism's continuing force.  In this episode, Patrisse Khan-Cullors and asha bandele join Miwa Messer in the studio to talk about their stirring new book When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir.

Jan 24, 2018
Daniel Pink

Ask almost anyone you know about how their mood changes during the course of the day, and you’ll get evidence that the way our minds and emotions respond to the clock is no small matter.  But to according bestselling author Daniel Pink, the power of "chronobiology" is like an iceberg — we see only the small piece of its monumental role in shaping our days, our careers and our lives.  He joins us in the studio to talk about his new book When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing.

Jan 17, 2018
Kelly Corrigan

The bestselling memoirist Kelly Corrigan joins us in this episode to talk about Tell Me More, her thought-provoking new book, built around twelve brief phrases – like "I Was Wrong" or "It's Like This" – that provide the essential lexicon for meaningful communication in our lives.  It's a meditation on life and meaning told through stories – funny, revealing, and in places raw with emotion – unfolded in a voice like that of a friend, sitting across from you at a table, telling you about her day in a way that invites you to talk about your own.

Jan 10, 2018
James Lee Burke

James Lee Burke’s literary triumph was long in coming — but once he introduced New Orleans detective Dave Robicheaux in the 1987 novel The Neon Rain, he quickly became both one of the most acclaimed American crime writers, and an irreplaceable chronicler of the Crescent City’s unique culture and history. His latest novel, titled simply Robicheaux, returns his beloved but battled-scarred hero to a murky world where business, politics and crime intersect. In this episode, James Lee Burke talks with Bill Tipper about his love of New Orleans and the long strange road to becoming an American classic.

Jan 03, 2018
Gretchen Rubin

Calendars change every twelve months, but resolutions  — and how to keep them —  are a perpetually urgent question.  And as we're just about to step into a brand new year, it’s the perfect time to share a conversation we recorded earlier this year with The Happiness Project author Gretchen Rubin, about the hidden factors that influence how we keep (or break) promises to ourselves.  In this episode she talks with Bill Tipper about her new book The Four Tendencies, and how understanding your personality can be key to making resolutions that stick.

Dec 27, 2017
Katy Tur

In this episode, NBC news correspondent Katy Tur joins Jim Mustich to talk about her experience on the Trump campaign trail in 2016 — including her frequent role as a target of the future President’s taunts —   as chronicled in her recent book Unbelievable: My Front Row Seat to the Craziest Campaign in American History.   She tells us about how as a foreign correspondent she “fell face first” into an unlikely job covering what would become one of the most astonishing, exhausting, and consequential events in American political history.

Dec 20, 2017
Cory Doctorow/Will Schwalbe

Authors are, without exception, readers, and behind every book there is... another book, and another. In this episode of the podcast, we're joined by two writers for conversations about the vital books and ideas that influence inform their own work. First, Cory Doctorow talks with B&N's Josh Perilo about his recent novel of an imagined near future, Walkaway, and the difference between a dystopia and a disaster. Then we hear from Will Schwalbe, talking with Miwa Messer, about the lifetime of reading behind his book Books for Living: Some Thoughts on Reading, Reflecting, and Embracing Life.

Dec 15, 2017
Debbie Macomber

When Debbie Macomber decided to become a novelist in the late 1970s, she rented a typewriter and worked away at a kitchen table while raising four children at the same time.  Four manuscripts and five years later, she sold her first romance — which would become the novel Heartsong — and started a career that would lead to a raft of bestsellers and over 200 million books in print, including the Cedar Cove and Rose Harbor novels, the knitting-themed series that began with The Shop on Blossom Street and many others.  On this episode, Debbie Macomber talks with Amanda Cecil about her special love for the holidays and her latest heartwarming story, Merry and Bright.

Dec 13, 2017
Kevin Young/Jeffrey Eugenides

Today we're bringing you a pair of conversations that are all about invention, and about the lies that reveal the truth.  First Kevin Young joins Bill Tipper for a conversation about America’s love affair with frauds and his new book Bunk: the Rise of Hoaxes, Humbug, Plagiarists, Phonies, Post-Facts and Fake News.  Then, the Pulitzer-winning writer Jeffrey Eugenides walks with us through the stories in his new collection Fresh Complaint and reveals the places where fragments of his own experience took on strange new life in his fictional creations.

Dec 08, 2017
Isabel Allende

Ever since her sweeping family and political epic The House of the Spirits was published to acclaim in 1982, the Chilean-born writer Isabel Allende has been weaving the output of her apparently limitless imagination into stories that engage deeply with the struggles of ordinary people.  Allende is the author of internationally bestselling novels such as Of Love and Shadows, Eva Luna, and Daughter of Fortune, and in 1994 she published the acclaimed memoir Paula, which chronicled with heartbreaking candor the loss of her adult daughter.  This week, the author joined us in the studio to talk about her timely new novel In the Midst of Winter (and to tell us a bit about what it’s like to get a Presidential Medal of Freedom).

Dec 06, 2017
Andre Aciman/Amor Towles

In this episode, Miwa Messer interviews two novelists about the power of memory and imagination.  First, Andre Aciman joins us in the studio to talk about his elegant, atmospheric love story Call Me By Your Name – recently adapted as a critically acclaimed film by Luca Guadagnino – and the meeting point between his works of memoir and fiction.  Then she sits down with Amor Towles, author of the bestsellers Rules of Civility and A Gentleman in Moscow for a conversation about the art of making the past come to almost magical life.

Dec 01, 2017
Krysten Ritter/Jason Reynolds

In this episode of the podcast, we talk with two very different writers about how one kind of art can fuel another.  First, the actor and writer Krysten Ritter talks with our interviewer Josh Perilo about her psychological thriller Bonfire – whose main character shares some character traits with the detective Ritter plays on the Netflix series Jessica Jones.  Then, Miwa Messer is joined by the award-winning young adult author Jason Reynolds in a conversation about his new novel Long Way Down, and how Reynolds uses poetry to make a page-turning story sing.

Nov 29, 2017
Lee Child

For the creator of Jack Reacher, writing a thriller is an act of improvised discovery — a suitable method for the writer whose beloved hero has, through twenty-two books, chosen to surprise both readers and the bad guys he goes up against through his unpredictable, unstoppable life-in-the-moment.  On this episode, Lee Child talks about his new book The Midnight Line, how he went from the world of television to becoming one of the world's most widely read authors, and what makes a hero in the 21st century.

Nov 24, 2017
Massimo Bottura

Massimo Bottura is the chef and proprietor of the celebrated Osteria Francescana in Modena, Italy, a restaurant that was named the best in world in 2016 and highlighted in an episode of Netflix's Chef's Table series.  He joins Jim Mustich on this episode to talk about his new book Bread is Gold, and his ambitious globe-spanning efforts to bring a sense of social justice and environmental responsibility to the world of cooking.  

Nov 22, 2017
James Patterson

In 1976, a 29-year-old writer published a debut book called The Thomas Berryman Number that went on to capture the Edgar Award for Best First Novel. But James Patterson didn't quit his day job until two decades later — after he'd launched his series starring detective Alex Cross, and set out to work full time as the architect of the modern blockbuster.  More than 350 million books sold later, he's now indubitably one of the most widely read fiction writers on the globe, writing and co-writing a vast array of propulsive stories  — not only thrillers but middle-grade humor, dystopian fantasy, and even picture books for the youngest readers.  On the occasion of his new thriller The People vs. Alex Cross, James Patterson sat down with Bill Tipper to talk about where his astonishing career started.

Nov 17, 2017
Annie Leibovitz/The 2017 National Book Awards

In this episode we talk first with the world-renowned photographer Annie Leibovitz, about her new collection, Portraits: 2005-2016.   There is perhaps no photographer whose distinctive style is so familiar — but her latest collection, which takes in Barack Obama in the White House, the singer Rihanna in a romantic Havana setting, and Kim Kardashian and Kanye West in a homemade hall of mirrors — offers a catalog of surprises.  She spoke with us about the challenge of shaping the story of a decade out of these individual moments.  Later in the episode Lisa Lucas, Executive Director of the National Book Foundation, joins us to celebrate a special day we’ve been waiting for— the arrival of the 2017 National Book Awards.  

Nov 15, 2017
Ta-Nehisi Coates

There may be no writer closer to the center of our national conversation about race, equality, justice, and how racism divides and disorders our society than Ta-Nehisi Coates.  His 2015 book Between the World and Me, an anatomy of the ongoing power of racism in America in the form of a letter to his teenage son, brought him global acclaim, a National Book Award for Nonfiction, and a Macarthur fellowship.  In this episode of the podcast, Ta-Nehisi Coates talks with Bill Tipper about his new book, We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy.  Knitting together some of the most vital essays the author has published over the past decade —  including a profile of President Barack Obama,  a searing indictment of destruction of the black family via the justice system, and Coates's landmark "The Case for Reparations,” We Were Eight Years in Power takes readers along with Coates into a deep consideration of nothing less urgent than the fate of the nation.  

Nov 13, 2017
Lawrence O’Donnell

If you’re one of those people who thinks of 2016 as a uniquely tumultuous and unpredictable year in American politics, the writer and MSNBC host Lawrence O’Donnell would like to draw your attention to a presidential contest not quite half a century ago.  His new book Playing with Fire: The 1968 Election and the Transformation of American Politics takes a dramatist’s approach to history, revisiting the year in which President Johnson declined to run again, assassins cut down two of the most iconic leaders of the moment, and fight for one party’s nomination pitted protestors against the police in an American metropolis.  The result, says the author, permanently altered the state of American politics.  In this episode, Lawrence talks with Bill Tipper about how he melded memoir and history to render a portrait of a year that he believes is still shaping our society.

Nov 08, 2017
John Hodgman

When you're talking with the writer and performer John Hodgman, it doesn't seem like any page, or chapter or volume, could contain his restlessly inventive mind.  It’s impossible to find a subject that Hodgman isn't curious about, eloquent about, or really funny about – sometimes all within the same sentence.  And a conversation with him is like being part of a piece of improv comedy in which you had better be on your toes if you want to keep up.  While you might know John Hodgman best from his appearances on The Daily Show or elsewhere on television and film, the former literary agent has his roots in books: he’s the author of three bestselling works of absolutely, hilariously not-true anti-facts, including The Areas of My Expertise, More Information than You Require, and That Is All.  He joins Bill Tipper on this episode to talk about his quite different new book, Vacationland: True Stories from Painful Beaches.  He spoke about what it’s like setting aside the ”expert” character he's made so famous, to speak more directly — though with characteristic wit — about growing up, growing older and (could it be?) growing wiser.

Nov 03, 2017
Michael Connelly

If you’re one of the writer Michael Connelly’s friends — especially if you’re connected to the world of law enforcement — you might find yourself fielding requests for information at just about any time of day.  That’s because, as the creator of the dogged detective Harry Bosch explains, Connelly never knows when a research question will pop up.  Fortunately for readers, the award-winning, bestselling writer takes his training as a reporter and folds it into addictively propulsive and painstakingly detailed stories of crime and punishment.  On this episode, Bill Tipper caught up with Michael Connelly to talk about his new novel Two Kinds of Truth, in which the writer explores the human cost of the opioid epidemic, and Harry Bosch finds himself facing the sort of legal jeopardy he usually reserves for his quarry.

Nov 01, 2017
Scary Story

Think of one of the first times you encountered the pleasure of a truly spine-tingling story: the kind of book you felt uneasy about reading after dark, but it compelled you to keep turning pages in that way only scary fiction does. Maybe it was Stephen King, or Bram Stoker, or one of the legions of paperback horror-scribes of the 1980s. On this special pre-Halloween episode, we talk with authors about writing — and reading — the books that turn fear and dread into pleasure and (sometimes) enlightenment.  Sarah Schmidt, author of the chilling new novel See What I Have Done, tells Miwa Messer about her stay overnight in the house where Lizzie Borden’s family was murdered. And Benjamin Percy (The Dark Net) and Victor LaValle (The Changeling) talk about writing into darkness — and their early encounters with a certain clown in the sewer.  

Oct 27, 2017
Mohsin Hamid

"Everybody is a migrant," says the novelist Mohsin Hamid.  In this episode, Miwa Messer interviews the award-winning author of pathbreaking works of fiction like Moth SmokeThe Reluctant FundamentalistHow to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia, and his celebrated new novel Exit West, which combines a modern love story, a quirky fable, and a wryly hopeful look at the possibilities for a world in which borders are not walls.  They begin the conversation with a lesson from Douglas Adams, about the secret of flying.

Oct 25, 2017
Walter Isaacson

Readers who had followed Walter Isaacson from his life of Benjamin Franklin to his record-setting biography Steve Jobs could already discern a pattern – a fascination with personalities who embody the spirit of irreverent and unpredictable creativity. Is it any wonder, then, that Walter Isaacson now delivers the sumptuously illustrated and provocatively structured Leonardo Da Vinci – a portrait of the Renaissance genius highlighting the childlike curiosity and wonder that may, according to his biographer, may be the key to Leonardo's bewitching works of art and invention. In this episode, he talks with Bill Tipper about what we can learn from this restless mind.

Oct 20, 2017
Ron Chernow

Ron Chernow had already written multiple award-winning biographies of figures like George Washington and J.P. Morgan when he decided to take up the life of the Founding Father least understood today. One bestselling book and one world-famous musical adaptation by Lin-Manuel Miranda later, the subject of his biography Alexander Hamilton has been reborn as the fascinating, dynamic figure whose career inspires schoolchildren and captivates millions.  What historian could be prouder?  But rather than sit on his Broadway laurels, the author has  returned with an epic-scale life of another American whose misunderstood genius transformed his country.  This week on the podcast, Ron Chernow talks with Bill Tipper about his sweeping new book, Grant (and — yes — about Hamilton, too).

Oct 18, 2017
Hannah Tinti

Sometimes inspiration arrives by accident.  As the novelist Hannah Tinti explains to Miwa Messer in this episode, that was particularly true in the case of the author’s second novel, The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley, a literary page-turner that follows her prize-winning 2008 bestseller The Good Thief.  Tinti joins us to talk about the unlikely circumstances that propelled her into the story of a parent whose good intentions clash with his life story  — and the strange New England ritual that introduced her to the book’s title character. 

Oct 13, 2017
Dan Brown

There’s no place better place to meet up with a voracious reader than in a bookstore, and if there’s one thing we learned from Dan Brown, it’s that he never stops reading.  So we decided to leave the studio and get out among the shelves at a nearby Manhattan Barnes & Noble, where we met up with the author whose breakout book — remember The Da Vinci Code? — took on the impossible task of making the most famous painting in the world seem even more mysterious and fascinating. In no particular order, Dan Brown talked with Bill Tipper about the following: Charles Darwin, modern art, musical inspiration, and Brown’s latest Robert Langdon thriller, Origin.  Spoiler alert: there are no spoilers.

Oct 11, 2017
Roxane Gay

Whether Roxane Gay is writing fiction or essays and memoir, it often seems as if there’s no territory she can’t make her own, turning her sharp insight and wry humor from feminism and gender politics and sex to literary criticism and television and movies and other points of pop culture.  The title of her acclaimed, bestselling essay collection, Bad Feminist, started as a joke for her  but soon became something of a badge of honor, and a touchstone for a generation of readers. In her work she uses candor to pull into the light of day a familiar but often repressed jumble of desires, insecurities, anxieties, fears, and feelings — the messy stuff of life that some might prefer to shove in a box under the bed.  She joined Miwa Messer on the podcast to talk about what drove her to write her first book-length memoir, Hunger.

Oct 06, 2017
Masha Gessen

Perhaps no writer is better suited to help us grapple with the tumultuous and unexpected recent history of Russia — a history that has enormous impact on the rest of the world — than the journalist and author Masha Gessen.  Her new book, The Future is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia is a panoramic, magisterial, and even page-turning look at the end of one era and the beginning of another, and the effect of decades of trauma on a nation.  With her book just named a finalist for the 2017 National Book Award for Nonfiction, Masha Gessen joins Bill Tipper on the podcast for a deep dive into a society that many Americans are fascinated by — but which few of us understand.

Oct 04, 2017
Jenny Zhang

The short stories in Jenny Zhangs debut collection Sour Heart started out as separate tales, but soon the young author found herself in possession of the story of a community — told through  moments in the lives of Chinese-American children growing up in a New York City neighborhood.   Insightful and wry, ferocious and beautiful, these interlinking stories earned Sour Heart a spot in Barnes and Noble’s Discover Great New Writers program. In this episode, the author joins Miwa Messer to talk about her book, navigating family, and coming of age in America.

Sep 29, 2017
Claire Messud

Claire Messud may be best known to most readers as the author of the 2006 bestseller and Booker-prize nominated novel The Emperor's Children, a diamond-sharp satire of wealth, privilege, power and self-deception set just before and after the events of September 11th, 2001.  But her new novel the Burning Girl explores the haunted terrain of a lost childhood friendship and follows two young women into a confrontation with adulthood fraught with perils both familiar and enigmatic. This week, Claire Messud joins Bill Tipper to talk about her new book, and the stories we tell ourselves in order to explain the inexplicable.

Sep 27, 2017
Frank Miller

If you’ve read a comic book in the last 30 years—or even if you’ve only been to the movies—you've felt the impact of Frank Miller’s work. One of the most influential comics creators of his era, Miller’s work for DC and Marvel comics in the 1980s helped redefine superheroes, bringing a dark, often dystopian sensibility to beloved characters.  Nowhere was that more earthshaking than in 1986's The Dark Knight Returns, Miller's story of an aging Batman battling not just the Joker  but his own failing body, a corrupt government and a collapsing social order.  In this episode of the podcast, Miller talks with Joel Cunningham about his return to that grimly exciting Gotham with Batman: The Dark Knight: Master Race.

Sep 22, 2017
Tom Perrotta

Tom Perrotta can be hard to pin down: in Election, he wickedly sent up American politics with a dark comedy of high school ambition; his treatment of suburban couples in 2004’s bestseller Little Children earned him a comparison to Chekhov in the New York Times.  And in 2011’s The Leftovers, he pushed the boundaries of realism and fantasy to create a haunting meditation on loss.  But his latest novel, Mrs. Fletcher, breaks new ground again, with the story of a middle-aged single mother who finds herself exploring a new identity – one in part defined by her sudden exposure to the world of internet pornography.  Simultaneously, the novel tracks Eve's son Brendan as he arrives at college, full of ideas and desires that have been influenced by the same online sources.  In this episode, the author talks with Bill Tipper about his eyes-wide-open confrontation with American sexuality in forms virtual and otherwise.

Sep 20, 2017
Celeste Ng

In the summer of 2014, Celeste Ng's debut novel Everything I Never Told You became a nationwide bestseller and was tagged on multiple best-of-the-year lists as the story of a teenage girl gone missing from her 1970s middle-class household became a container for a novel of big ideas about prejudice and privilege.

Now class, race, and motherhood take center stage in her new novel, Little Fires Everywhere.  The author sat down with Miwa Messer to talk about how she turned a tale of scandal in an affluent Midwestern suburb into a map of 21st-century American discontents.

Sep 13, 2017
Jesmyn Ward

Jesmyn Ward’s writing marries a devastating realism with a unique sensitivity to the long echoes of violence and trauma.  Her National Book Award-winning novel Salvage the Bones brought mythic resonance to the ordeal of a family from a town on the Mississippi Gulf Coast during the days just before and after the devastation of hurricane Katrina.  Her new novel Sing, Unburied, Sing nods to William Faulkner and Toni Morrison with a tale of addiction, imprisonment, love and struggle —  told by the living, the dying and by ghosts.  In this episode, Miwa Messer talks with Jesmyn Ward about her electric fiction.

Sep 07, 2017
Yaa Gyasi

Yaa Gyasi's moving novel Homegoing begins with the divergent fates of two half-sisters in 18th Century Ghana, and weaves in the stories of their descendants across eight generations and three hundred years of history.  In this episode of the podcast,  the author talks with Miwa Messer about how a visit to a slave-trading castle on the West African coast inspired her ambitious and critically acclaimed debut.

Sep 01, 2017
Jennifer Finney Boylan

The author of 15 works of fiction and nonfiction, Jennifer Finney Boylan may be known to most readers via her bestselling memoir She's Not There.   As she told Miwa Messer in this episode of the podcast, her new book Long Black Veil also draws on events from her life, but here Boylan weaves them into a droll, offbeat thriller in which the unexpected consequences of one night kick off a tale about secrets and lies, silence and truth, and the triumph of love and friendship.

Aug 30, 2017
Christina Baker Kline
Christina Baker Kline's fiction draws us with subtle and irresistible power into the lives and hearts of her characters, from the abandoned children of her bestselling novel Orphan Train to the enigmatic heroine of her latest book.  In this episode of the podcast, the author talks with Miwa Messer about A Piece of the World, in which she investigates and re-imagines the story behind Andrew Wyeth’s iconic and yearning painting "Christina's World.”
Aug 25, 2017
Sherman Alexie

"The primal need for stories is the most important thing in anybody’s life… we’re all still children being read to.”  Over an astonishing 26 books in 25 years, Sherman Alexie has devoted himself to what he calls the “sacred” task of telling the truth through stories.  In this episode of the podcast, Miwa Messer talks with Alexie about his new memoir You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me, a viscerally funny, tragic, and honest rendering of the author's childhood, his mother Lillian’s life, and the way her outsized persona shaped the storytelling wizard her son would become.

Aug 22, 2017
Dennis Lehane

Sitting down to talk with the writer Dennis Lehane, one of the biggest challenges is how not to stumble into spoilers. The author of novels like Mystic River and Shutter Island is dedicated to the art of keeping his reader off balance, as his complex and frequently troubled characters are brought to face uncomfortable and sometimes terrifying truths: the result is a kind of suspense that far outstrips the machinations of an ordinary thriller. On this episode of the podcast, Miwa Messer sits down with Dennis Lehane to talk – spoiler-free! – about latest novel, Since We Fell, and his career writing heart-stopping fiction. 

Aug 17, 2017
Jo Nesbo

For many writers, the word “vampire” conjures visions of immortal beings of vast powers and romantic destinies.  For Jo Nesbo, it meant research into the annals of abnormal psychology, into a world of delusion and obsession more disturbing than any supernatural fable.  In this episode of the podcast, the bestselling Norwegian writer talks with Bill Tipper about the stranger-than-fiction cases that inspired The Thirst, Nesbo’s latest novel to feature the world-weary and painfully honest Oslo detective Harry Hole.

Aug 08, 2017
Imbolo Mbue

You never know where the idea for a great story is going to come from.  For the writer Imbolo Mbue, a scene glimpsed as she strolled through a bustling New York City neighborhood offered the inspiration for her first novel. Ten years later, her novel Behold the Dreamers was tapped as the latest Oprah’s Book Club pick. In this episode the Cameroonian-American author talks with Bill Tipper about how her moving, timely tale of two very different families was born.

Jul 31, 2017
Peter Gethers

When a stroke left celebrated cook and food writer Judy Gethers unable to work in the kitchen, her son, editor and novelist Peter Gethers, wanted to cook her ideal meal – an epic attempt at haute cuisine he chronicles in his new memoir, My Mother's Kitchen: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, and the Meaning of Life.  In this episode, Gethers talks with Amanda Cecil about the moment in the kitchen when he realized he'd bitten off more than he could chew.

Jul 17, 2017
Paula Hawkins

A blockbuster debut like Paula Hawkins's psychological thriller The Girl on the Train might seem a hard act to follow, but Into the Water — with its nod to a classic Agatha Christie whodunit — is even more intense, claustrophobic and ambitious than its predecessor.  In this episode, Paula Hawkins talks with Miwa Messer about the origins of her haunting new story.

Jul 17, 2017
J. Courtney Sullivan

Get thee to a nunnery: to research her new novel Saints for All Occasions, bestselling writer J. Courtney Sullivan found herself investigating the unseen lives of cloistered nuns. In this episode, the author talks with Amanda Cecil about how events from her own family life inspired her tale of secrets and lies in an Irish-American clan's past.

Jul 17, 2017
John Grisham

John Grisham's latest page-turner leaves behind the courtroom but keeps the crime: Camino Island turns on the theft of a rare manuscript. In this episode, John Grisham talks with Jim Mustich about how his first audience for fiction was an unintended one: a law school professor who read with a distinctly critical eye.

Jul 17, 2017
Colson Whitehead

From elevator inspectors to championship poker to an epic of escape from bondage, Colson Whitehead likes to write about outsiders. In this episode the author talks with Miwa Messer about his incredibly varied career (don't forget the zombies!) and how his award-winning bestseller (and 2016 Oprah's Book Club pick) The Underground Railroad went from idea to the page.

Jun 29, 2017