Episodes
Former Vice President Mike Pence says he's been demeaned and misunderstood for his evangelical Christian values. In his new book, So Help Me God, he dives into how his religious views impact his personal life and his political ambitions, and why he feels he's experienced judgment as a result of both. In this episode, NPR's Steve Inskeep asks Pence about how the religious freedom legislation he championed can be seen as discriminatory towards LGBTQ communities, and how hostility and...
Published 12/07/22
Author and former dancer Meg Howrey knows about the world of ballet. It's at the center of her new novel, They're Going to Love You, which finds an adult choreographer reflecting on her childhood relationship with her estranged father and her father's partner. In this episode, Howrey talks to NPR's Scott Simon about becoming a writer and honing in on the power that ambition, forgiveness and the passing of time can hold.
Published 12/06/22
Published 12/06/22
Journalist and Nobel Prize winner Maria Ressa thinks the world is facing a sort of World War III – especially as it relates to information. Her new book, How to Stand Up to a Dictator, details the relationship between trust, truth and democracy, and how social media's pull to inflammatory falsehoods can threaten that delicate balance. In this episode, she tells NPR's Scott Simon how the Philippines have become "a testing ground for attacks against America," and how investigative reporting on...
Published 12/05/22
There is a common hurdle for many first generation immigrants: feeling out of place. Whether that's in school, speaking a different language, or living through parents' expectations. Today: two books about overcoming those feelings of inadequacy. First, Simu Liu, Marvel's first Asian superhero, discusses his memoir We Were Dreamers, where he talks about his complicated relationship with his parents and what he calls his "immigrant superhero origin story." Then, Cuban-American author Margarita...
Published 12/02/22
Bonnie Garmus' new novel Lessons In Chemistry has been getting a lot of buzz. Elizabeth Zott is a talented chemist but because it's the 1960s, she faces sexism in her quest to work as a scientist. So instead she has a cooking show that is wildly popular. Garmus told NPR's Scott Simon that the character of Elizabeth lived in her head for many years before she started writing this novel.
Published 12/01/22
Somali British poet Warsan Shire has had many projects, including running a popular Tumblr page and collaborating with Beyoncé. Now, she is out with a new collection of poems called Bless The Daughter Raised By A Voice In Her Head. That title is an ode to how she was raised, having to take on a lot of responsibility from a young age. But Shire told NPR's Sarah McCammon that it's also an ode to the children who are able to turn those voices into their friends instead of struggling with them as...
Published 11/30/22
Author Karen Joy Fowler thinks John Wilkes Booth craved attention – and that he's gotten his fair share of it. So her new novel, Booth, instead focuses on his family. Their history might surprise you, given how John turned out. His grandfather was a part of the Underground Railroad. Fowler told NPR's Scott Simon that because of all we know about Booth's family, the path that John took is one of life's great mysteries. And, no, she hasn't solved it.
Published 11/29/22
Author NoViolet Bulawayo's new novel Glory is quite openly based on Orwell's Animal Farm and the 2017 coup in Zimbabwe that ousted then president Robert Mugabe. Horses rule the country, dogs are the military, cows, goats, sheep, and pigs are the everyday people. The government that has been in control of the country Jidada for 40 years has fallen to rebellion. But, as these things go, it quickly turns sour. Bulawayo told NPR's Scott Simon that "it is simply an issue of the leadership kind of...
Published 11/28/22
Poet Franny Choi knows that marginalized communities have been facing apocalypses forever. But in her new book, The World Keeps Ending, and the World Goes On, she uses their survival as a way to look forward. In this episode, she tells NPR's Leila Fadel how understanding that pain and resilience can ultimately be a source of hope. Then, former U.S. poet laureate Billy Collins discusses his new collection of very short poems, Musical Tables, with NPR's Scott Simon – and gets into the...
Published 11/25/22
A lot of holiday tables will undoubtedly feature some kind of pie this year. But for food writer Rossi Anastopoulo, pies aren't just a baked dish – they're a throughline of how American society and values have changed over time. In this episode, Anastopoulo shares some notable pie recipes with NPR's Sacha Pfeiffer, and breaks down what they each represent about race, gender and economic opportunity in this country.
Published 11/24/22
Displacement, identity and the aftermath of warfare are themes running through today's episode on The Haunting of Hajji Hotak. Author Jamil Jan Kochai talks with Ari Shapiro about why he used elements of science fiction like video games and magical realism to tell a largely autobiographical story of his family's life in Afghanistan before and after the Soviet invasion.
Published 11/23/22
Adam Rutherford is a geneticist and author who just wrote a new book about the history of eugenics, and he tells NPR's Rebecca Ramirez that the political ideology is not just a relic of the past, but very much still relevant today. In this episode, Rutherford explains how anti-immigrant fear in the 19th century spurred popularity for an unscientific practice that was eventually embraced by Nazis – and has a complicated relationship with today's reproductive rights movement.
Published 11/22/22
Fat Joe's career spans three decades – but before he was performing on stages around the world, he was a little kid getting bullied in the Bronx. His new memoir, The Book of Jose, goes back to his childhood in New York and his early days rapping in the Diggin' in the Crates Crew. In this episode, he opens up to NPR's Ayesha Rascoe about why he's committed to his community and how becoming a "big boy, financially" might mean putting a pause on new music.
Published 11/21/22
In this episode, two nonfiction books explore the Russian invasion of Ukraine from two completely different experiences. First, 12-year-old Yeva Skalietska from Kharkiv reads one of her diary entries from the early days of the war to Here and Now's Deepa Fernandes. Then, former White House Russia expert Andrew Weiss speaks with NPR's Mary Louise Kelly about his new graphic novel biography of Vladimir Putin (illustrated by Brian "Box" Brown) – and why the Russian leader built a nefarious...
Published 11/18/22
Men in Blazers' Roger Bennett knows football – or soccer, as Americans call it. His new book, Gods of Soccer, lists 100 players who've made their mark on the sport one way or another. He tells Mary Louise Kelly about how he managed to compile that list, and why the book delves into the origin stories and cultural impact of a wide range of players – not just the Ronaldo and Messi household names, but the lesser-known figures who are iconic in their own right.
Published 11/17/22
Michelle Obama wants young people to know "going high" isn't about being complacent – it's about being strategic while pushing for change. In this episode, the former first lady sits down with NPR's Juana Summers to discuss her new book, The Light We Carry, and the toolkit she relies on to navigate the realities of partnership, parenthood and privilege.
Published 11/16/22
Now Is Not the Time to Panic is a novel, but the relationship at its core comes from best-selling author Kevin Wilson's own young adulthood. Two teens find each other, in a summer of boredom, and start making art together – but their collaboration spirals to unlikely places. In this episode, Wilson tells NPR's Scott Simon about the real-life friendship that sparked the story, and what those memories mean many years later.
Published 11/15/22
When Rabia Chaudry's family moved from Pakistan to the U.S., her parents fully embraced the processed foods lining the grocery store aisles. But as the author and attorney got older, she began to associate eating with shame and secrecy. Her new memoir, Fatty Fatty Boom Boom, recounts how her outlook on food changed as she understood her own mom's eating patterns. In this episode, Chaudry tells NPR's Ayesha Rascoe how she eventually started healing – so much so that she reclaimed her childhood...
Published 11/14/22
In this episode, two cookbook authors recount their relationship with food and how it's led them to unlikely places. First, actor and TikTok sensation Tabitha Brown tells NPR's Michel Martin about going vegan and connecting with an online audience through plant-based recipes. Then, restaurant owner Kardea Brown talks to Here & Now's Celeste Headlee about connecting with her family's roots in the kitchen and honoring the Gullah Geechee people's traditions.
Published 11/11/22
Blair Braverman knows the great outdoors. So it makes sense that the American adventurer and "Naked And Afraid" contestant's first novel, Small Game, takes place in the wilderness. She tells NPR's Ayesha Rascoe about some of her own fears while competing in the Discovery Channel series – and how they manifested themselves in her first foray into fiction.
Published 11/10/22
Isabella and Ha are twin sisters, but they grew up oceans apart. Isabella was adopted by a white American couple in Illinois, while Ha was raised by her maternal aunt in Vietnam. In this episode, journalist Erika Hayasaki discusses her reporting of over five years, which follows how the girls came back together and built a relationship.
Published 11/09/22
Bono probably needs no introduction at this point. In this episode, the U2 frontman, philanthropist and now author sits down with NPR's Rachel Martin to talk about his new memoir, Surrender. He explains how his connection to a higher spiritual power works with rock-and-roll across U2's discography, and why he's reached a point in his life where he just wants to "shut up and listen."
Published 11/08/22
Jonathan Escoffery's debut collection of short stories follows the American-born son of Jamaican immigrants finding his place in the world and within his own family. Inspired by some of his own life experiences, If I Survive You questions what it means to belong, how culture is shared across generations, and why people migrate in the first place. Escoffery tells Here & Now's Deepa Fernandes that he wanted to disrupt the American savior complex, and instead acknowledge U.S. imperialism's...
Published 11/07/22
The two books in today's episode explore how we construct meaning from the music we listen to. First, record producer Susan Rogers talks to WBUR's Robin Young about her book, This Is What It Sounds Like, which breaks down the science behind what draws different types of listeners to particular songs. Then, author Francesca Royster traces the relationship between Black identity and country music in her book, Black Country Music: Listening for Revolutions. She tells NPR's Juana Summers that as...
Published 11/04/22