In need of a good read? Or just want to keep up with the books everyone's talking about? NPR's Book of the Day gives you today's very best writing in a snackabl...
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Anne Enright's 'The Wren, The Wren' is a family story about poetry and betrayal
Phil McDaragh is a great Irish poet; he was also a lousy husband and father, abandoning his family to pursue his writing. In Anne Enright's new novel, The Wren, The Wren, three generations of women in the McDaragh family contend with the absent patriarch's complicated legacy. Enright spoke with NPR's Scott Simon about writing fiction about a great writer, and how the poet's bad behavior in his personal life impacts the McDaragh women's own passions, years down the road.
'Foreign Bodies' traces the history of pandemics and vaccine hesitancy
Historian Simon Schama's new book, Foreign Bodies:Pandemics, Vaccines, and the Health of Nations, recounts the pain and panic caused by smallpox, cholera and the Bubonic plague over the past two centuries. But he also examines how vaccines were developed for each disease – and how understanding science and our bodies brings humans closer together. In today's episode, Schama speaks with NPR's Scott Simon about how the history of mass disease and immunization is still relevant to today's global health, especially when it comes to political messaging around COVID-19.
Two books examine the lives of Afghans in the aftermath of American withdrawal
Today's episode is all about the lives of women in Afghanistan, before and after the U.S. armed forces occupied the country. First, Here & Now's Scott Tong speaks with journalist Mitchell Zuckoff about his new book, The Secret Gate, chronicling how activist Homeira Qaderi engineered her escape out of Kabul at the very last minute. Then, Here & Now's Deepa Fernandes asks Sola Mahfouz and Malaina Kapoor about Defiant Dreams, which tells of Mahfouz's upbringing under Taliban rule.
Why Matthew McConaughey wrote a children's book about the "paradox of living"
Matthew McConaughey has a new children's book out, full of couplets with a pretty mature message. Just Because is all about the contradictions in life – like "just because I lied doesn't mean that I'm a liar." In today's episode, the Academy Award winner speaks with NPR's A Martinez about how this idea that our actions don't necessarily define our character can be pretty complex, but it can also spark really fruitful conversations from a young age.
'Roaming' is a graphic novel about friendship and travel
It's one thing to be friends with someone, but going on a trip together? Totally different story. A new graphic novel by Jillian Tamaki and Mariko Tamaki captures that dissonance: Roaming follows two friends from high school reuniting on a trip to New York City during college. But there's a new, third pal in the mix – and pretty soon, it's clear the vibes are off. The Tamiko cousins spoke with NPR's Ayesha Rascoe about how the way a person travels reveals a lot about their character, and why that experience was much different in 2009 – the year the book is set – than it is now.
In need of a good read? Or just want to keep up with the books everyone's talking about? NPR's Book of the Day gives you today's very best writing in a snackable, skimmable, pocket-sized podcast. Whether you're looking to engage with the big questions of our times – or temporarily escape from them – we've got an author who will speak to you, all genres, mood and writing styles included. Catch today's great books in 15 minutes or less.