Literary Potpourri ~ August 29 and 30


“Barbarian Days” by William Finnegan
“Paper Towns” by John Green
“The Jezebel Remedy” by Martin Clark
“Wicked Charms” by Janet Evanovich and Phoef Sutton
“Crooked” by Austin Grossman
“Oregon Trail” by Rinker Buck
“Fatty O’Leary’s Dinner Party” by Alexander McCall Smith

Patrick Nolan, Associate Publisher and Editor in Chief, Penguin Books

A preview of the summer’s hottest books in wide range of genres: fiction, nonfiction, travel and occult. Elaine speaks with Patrick Nolan of Penguin Books about the publishing house’s distinguished 80 year anniversary.

Listen to The Book Report at your convenience. Go to, or at, click on Archived Shows


Books On Crooks ~ Show August 22 and 23


“Grandissimo” by David G Schwartz
“Blood Aces” by Doug Swanson
“Spam Nation” by Brian Krebs
“The Cartel” by Don Winslow
“The Marauders” by Tom Cooper
“Gangland New York” by Anthony DeStefano
“A Man Without Breath” by Philip Kerr

Doug Swanson, Author

Books on crooks offers up a literary look at the dons, godfathers and swindlers – from Vegas to the Big Apple – who made mob history. We’ll preview new nonfiction and fiction about flawed, fascinating men, including a riveting bio on Benny Binion by this week’s guest, Doug Swanson.

Listen to The Book Report at your convenience. Go to, or at, click on Archived Shows

Family At The Heart Of The Story ~ Show July 25 and 26


“Reconstructing Amelia” by Kimberly McCreight
“Accidents of Marriage” by Randy Susan Meyers
“The Theft of Memory: Losing My Father One Day at a Time” by Jonathan Kozol
“Our Souls at Night” by Kent Haruf
“Eight Hundred Grapes” by Laura Dave
“All the Single Ladies” by Dorothea Benton Frank
“Modern Romance” by Aziz Ansari and Eric Klinenberg

Randy Susan Meyers, Author

A look of new titles – thrillers, comedies and nonfiction – with family at the heart of the story. Elaine speaks with Randy Susan Meyers about her thought-provoking book, “Accidents of Marriage.”

Nonfiction Titles That Prove “Truth is stranger than fiction.” Show Aug 1 and 2


“The Billion Dollar Spy” by David E. Hoffman
“Once Upon A Time in Russia” by Ben Mezrich
“The Spy’s Son” by Bryan Denson
“Arms and the Dudes” by Guy Lawson
“God’s Bankers” by Gerald Posner
“Two Hours” by Ed Caesar
“The Coloring Book” by Colin Quinn

Ben Mezrich, Author

A preview of new nonfiction titles that prove “Truth is stranger than fiction.” Ben Mezrich returns to the program to introduce Elaine to his latest book about Vladimir Putin and the Russian oligarchs, “Once Upon a Time in Russia.”

Bill Gates Picks His Top Books Of The Year


In between running one of the world’s largest charitable agencies and acting as Microsoft’s technology advisor, Bill Gates manages to find a significant chunk of time to read books, both long and short. Now Gates — who has been labeled a voracious reader — has released a list of his favorite books of the year. Not all of them were released in 2014; some were published in past years, and one is still unreleased. Here are Bill’s top five picks for 2014:

1. “Business Adventures,” by John Brooks
Brooks’ collection was published in 1969 and remains one of Gates’ favorites. He re-read it again this year, labeling it the “best business book I’ve ever read.” He shared, “Shortly after we met, Warren Buffett loaned me this collection of New Yorker business articles from the 1950s and 1960s. I loved them as much as he did. Brooks’s insights about business have aged beautifully, and they are as true today as ever.”

2. “Capital in the Twenty-First Century,” by Thomas Piketty
Piketty’s novel sparked much discussion concerning income inequality throughout this year. Gates got to sit down with Piketty after reading the non-fiction work to discuss the topic. Gates believe inequality is a growing problem and governments should play a role in reducing it.

3. “How Asia Works,” by Joe Studwell
Studwell’s work addresses how countries such as Japan, Taiwan, South Korea and China have continued to achieve high growth, and why other countries have failed to do the same. The book left him thinking about whether parts of the Asian model can apply in Africa.

4. “The Rosie Effect,” by Graeme Simsion
The only fiction work to make Gates’ list is a follow-up to Simsion’s “The Rosie Project.” The novel will be released on Dec. 31 this year, but Gates snagged an advanced copy from the author. Gates called it a funny novel that made him think about relationships: what makes them work and how we have to keep investing time and energy to make them better.

5. “Making the Modern World: Materials and Dematerialization,” by Vaclav Smil
Smil’s books are a constant favorite of Gates. This title explores the global use of materials, from silicon to wood, and plastic. Smil shows how our ability to make things with less material — e.g., soda cans that need less aluminum — makes them cheaper, which actually encourages more production.

Listen to The Book Report at your convenience. Go to, or at, click on Archived Shows

Elaine Meets Francine Prose At Miami Book Fair International

Francine Prose is the author of twenty works of fiction. Her novel Blue Angel was a finalist for the National Book Award. Her most recent works of nonfiction include the highly acclaimed Anne Frank: The Book, The Life, The Afterlife, and Reading Like a Writer.

The recipient of numerous grants and honors, including a Guggenheim and a Fulbright, Prose, who graduated from Radcliffe, is a former president of PEN American Center, and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She is also a Visiting Professor of Literature at Bard College. Francine makes New York City her home.

Listen to the upcoming shows for Elaine’s interview with Francine Prose

Listen to The Book Report at your convenience. Go to, or at, click on Archived Shows

Non-Fiction Titles That Span Diverse Interests ~ Show Nov 22 and 23rd


“The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution” by Walter Isaacson
“Acid Test: LSD, Ecstasy and the Power to Heal” by Tom Shroder
“How We Got To Now: Six Innovations That Made the Modern World” by Steven Johnson
“Napoleon: A Life” by Andrew Roberts
“The Stranger: Barack Obama in the White House” by Chuck Todd
“All the Truth is Out: The Week Politics Went Tabloid” by Matt Bai
“Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She’s Learned” by Lena Dunham

Tom Shroder, Author

A first look at gift suggestions for those hard-to-shop-for folks on your list. This week’s Book Report focuses on new non-fiction titles that span diverse interests. Elaine speaks to Tom Shroder about his news-making new book, “Acid Test.”

This Fall’s Top Books


The editors at Publisher’s Weekly have made their selects for the books to look out for this fall.

Here’s the fiction list:
Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami
The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell
A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James
Lila by Marilynne Robinson
The Dog by Joseph O’Neill
The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher by Hilary Mantel
The Long Way Home by Louise Penny
The Forgers by Bradford Morrow
The Bishop’s Wife by Mette Ivie Harrison

And some nonfiction titles to watch for:
Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She’s “Learned” by Lena Dunham
My Heart is A Drunken Compass by Domingo Martinez
Watch Me by Anjelica Huston


Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch and Dan Fagin’s Toms River were among the winners of the 2014 Pulitzer Prizes, announced at Columbia University on April 14. The winner of each letters category took home a $10,000 cash prize.

Tartt’s novel, described by the Pulitzer jury as a “beautifully written coming-of-age novel” with “exquisitely drawn” characters, beat out fellow fiction finalists Phillipp Meyer (The Son) and Bob Shacochis (The Woman Who Lost Her Soul).

Fagin took home the general nonfiction award for his exposé of toxic waste dumping that was billed by the judges as “deftly” combining investigative reporting and historical research. Gary J. Bass (The Blood Telegram: Nixon, Kissinger and a Forgotten Genocide) and Fred Kaplan (The Insurgents: David Petraeus and the Plot to Change the American Way of War) were named as finalists in the category.

Other winners included The Internal Enemy: Slavery and War in Virginia, 1772-1832 by Alan Taylor (history); Margaret Fuller: A New American Life by Megan Marshall (biography or autobiography); and 3 Sections by Vijay Seshadri (poetry).


The American Library Association has shortlisted six books for the Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence. The medals are awarded each year to the best fiction and nonfiction books written for adults in the previous year and published in the U.S.

2014 shortlisted titles are, in Nonfiction: On Paper: The Everything of Its Two-Thousand Year History by Nicholas A. Basbanes; Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital by Sheri Fink; The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism by Doris Kearns Goodwin. In Fiction, the nominees are: Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.; Claire of the Sea Light by Edwidge Danticat; and The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt.

The medals will be awarded at a presentation event at the 2014 ALA Annual Conference in Las Vegas in June.