NPR's Book of the Day 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.

NPR's Book of the Day

From NPR

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.

Most Recent Episodes

Penguin & Pan Macmillan

Tap dancing Twizzlers, cockroach warriors, and fairy tales! Oh my!

Two collections of short stories, both alike in playfulness in our fair podcast. The first is with Gwen Kirby whose debut collection of short stories is called, hilariously, Shit Cassandra Saw. It ranges from radioactive cockroaches to tapdancing Twizzlers. Kirby told NPR's Mary Louise Kelly that writing this book was a cathartic experience. The second interview is with Helen Oyeyemi about her collection of short stories, What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours. The stories are fairy tales, though not traditional ones. Oyeyemi told NPR's Steve Inskeep that she likes fairy tales because they endure.

Tap dancing Twizzlers, cockroach warriors, and fairy tales! Oh my!

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1074066224/1074793320" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
NYU Press

Former California prosecutor details how she helped take down sex trafficking site

Maggy Krell is a former California prosecutor who was on the team that took down the infamous sex trafficking site Blackpage back in 2018. Now, she's out with a new book about how they were able to get the website shuttered – and the challenges the team on the case now faces going forward. Reflecting on her time as a prosecutor, Krell told Morning Edition's Rachel Martin that this is the case she's proud of: "This was a case that shifted the national narrative and certainly sent a message to survivors that this shouldn't be normalized, that their experiences matter."

Former California prosecutor details how she helped take down sex trafficking site

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1074066038/1074791976" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
Hachette Books

Country star Merle Haggard is larger than life in 'The Hag'

Author Marc Eliot has written a new biography of country music icon, Merle Haggard. The Hag details Haggard's quite extraordinary life; from breaking into a restaurant (that turned out to be open) and subsequent jail time to his many broken marriages and everything in between. Haggard turned his past failures into songs, writing and singing about his inner turmoil. Eliot told NPR's Steve Inskeep that he thinks the Hag deserves a little more respect: "I think if he were played on the same radio stations that, say, play Frank Sinatra ... he'd be just as accepted. I think he was that good."

Country star Merle Haggard is larger than life in 'The Hag'

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1074065951/1074790364" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group

Hanya Yanagihara grapples with pandemics in 'To Paradise'

Author of the wildly popular and, at times, controversial A Little Life, Hanya Yanagihara, is out with a new novel. To Paradise is an epic – in three parts – sprawling over 700 pages and 200 years about a make-believe New York City. Yanagihara was mostly through writing her story, which features pandemics prominently, when COVID-19 first hit in early 2020. But Yanagihara told NPR's Scott Simon that she was able to keep her story and her fears about the pandemic in reality separate.

Hanya Yanagihara grapples with pandemics in 'To Paradise'

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1074065652/1074789159" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Rise: My Story HarperCollins Publishers hide caption

toggle caption
HarperCollins Publishers

What motivates you? For Olympic medalist Lindsey Vonn, it's failure.

The 2022 Winter Olympics are right around the corner, so to prepare we are bringing you a conversation with skier Lindsey Vonn. Her new memoir, Rise, looks at her road to becoming a ski champion and Olympic medalist. Spoiler alert: it was not all sunshine and roses. Vonn told NPR's A Martinez that she's lucky she is wired in a way that makes negativity a driving force because she has seen the pressure and stress of being an Olympic athlete derail other people's careers.

What motivates you? For Olympic medalist Lindsey Vonn, it's failure.

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1074065463/1074787397" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
Random House Publishing Group/Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group

Ghosts and the sea take lead roles in Violet Kupersmith and Edwidge Dantica's novels

The first interview today, Build Your House Around My Body, is by debut novelist Violet Kupersmith and it's about a young Vietnamese woman who disappears; ghosts are involved. She told NPR's Ari Shapiro that she was "attracted to the ghost as a way of getting revenge." The second novel is also about a young woman's disappearance, this time in Haiti. Award winning author Edwidge Danticat's Claire of The Sea Light involves the sea instead of ghosts, though. Danticat told NPR's Rachel Martin that the sea is very important in Haitian Creole.

Ghosts and the sea take lead roles in Violet Kupersmith and Edwidge Dantica's novels

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1071371224/1074101760" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
Anchor

'Twilight of Democracy' chronicles the rise of authoritarianism

Today marks one year since Joe Biden was sworn in as president. It's no secret that politics have become — well...messy in the U.S. — so we thought today would be a good opportunity to take a deep dive into democracy. How much staying power does it have, and why has it started to crumble in countries around the world? Author Anne Applebaum looks at how the world has changed over the past 20 years in her book, Twilight of Democracy: The Seductive Lure Of Authoritarianism. She told NPR's Steve Inskeep in 2020 that authoritarianism isn't outside the realm of possibility for the U.S.

'Twilight of Democracy' chronicles the rise of authoritarianism

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1071370604/1074217942" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group

'The Engagement' looks at the complicated history of marriage equality

Journalist and author Sasha Issenberg has written a book about the history of marriage equality in America. The Engagement details how messy and complicated this fight was at times. Issenberg told NPR's Danielle Kurtzleben that within the LGBT community, there were, and are, many different policy concerns that didn't always gel. Marriage ended up being a top priority for some but not everyone agreed it should be.

'The Engagement' looks at the complicated history of marriage equality

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1071370438/1073242337" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
Flatiron Books

In 'Of Women And Salt,' women weave the future out of scraps

"We are force." This line is originally from a Victor Hugo letter to Cuban independence fighters, but it's also found throughout Gabriela Garcia's novel, Of Women And Salt. The book, new in paperback, is about generations of Cuban and Salvadoran women navigating patriarchal societies. She told NPR's Sarah McCammon that she was especially inspired by this phrase because she "was thinking about all of the multitudes within women - how they're more than just immigrants or mothers or any of these other labels that are sort of imposed on them."

In 'Of Women And Salt,' women weave the future out of scraps

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1071369684/1073241056" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
Flatiron Books

'The Three Mothers' who paved the way for three extraordinary men

This Martin Luther King Jr. day we focus on the woman who raised Dr. King, his mother, Alberta. His mother and those of two of his contemporaries take center stage in Anna Malaika Tubbs' book, The Three Mothers: How the Mothers of Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, and James Baldwin Shaped A Nation. Tubbs told 1A's Jenn White that history is often told by and about men, but knowing these women's stories - "taking their lives from the margins and putting them in the center" - is just as important. As Tubbs notes, "If they'd never had these famous sons, they still were worthy of being seen."

'The Three Mothers' who paved the way for three extraordinary men

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1070931315/1073240303" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
or search npr.org