Madame Bovary, one of the most celebrated novels ever written, defined the novel as an art form when it was published in 1875. Lydia Davis’s landmark translation of Flaubert’s work breathes new life into it. When it was first published, Madame Bovary was embraced by bourgeois women who felt it illuminated the frustrations of their lives. It tells the story of Emma Rouault, whose dreams of a passionate life crumble when she marries a dull, provincial doctor Charles Bovary. She struggles to escape the tedium of her days as a wife and mother. She has a series of disappointing affairs and spends money getting into debt, with tragic consequences for her husband and daughter.
Our habits—good and bad—shape our lives, and understanding how habits work is key to losing weight, being more productive, exercising regularly, and achieving success.
Joyce Carol Oates has been called one of the most quintessentially American writers. She’s also one of the most prolific, with more than 70 books to her name. The Leonard Lopate Show has selected her 2007 novel "The Gravedigger’s Daughter" for the next Book Club read.
The author of The Bonfire of the Vanities and the new novel Back to Blood sings a little, praises Michael Lewis, and cringes at the word issues. Listen to his conversation about The Bonfire of the Vanities, our November Book Club pick.
Tom Wolfe’s bestselling novel The Bonfire of the Vanities is a portrait of New York in the late 1980s—a city seething with racial tension in Harlem and the Bronx while traders were raking in huge profits on Wall Street. Wolfe’s sharp observations skewer New York society’s greed and arrogance, and highlight the simmering resentment between the haves and have nots. The New York Times Book Review called it “A big, bitter, funny, craftily plotted book that grabs you by the lapels and won’t let go.” Read it now and get your lapels grabbed!
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The author of Cloud Atlas (and The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, Black Swan Green, among others) talked about his favorite words and a few of his favorite authors.
David Mitchell, two-time finalist for the Booker Prize, joins us to talk about his 2004 novel Cloud Atlas. The story is told through six separate but related narratives, each set in a different time and place, and written in a different style. Novelist Michael Chabon called it “not just dazzling, amusing, or clever but heartbreaking and passionate, too.”
If you have a question for David Mitchell, leave a comment below!
Julia Child is widely credited with single handedly teaching America about the pleasures of good cooking with her groundbreaking cookbook Mastering the Art of French Cooking and her television show The French Chef. She would have turned 100 years old on August 15, and to celebrate her contributions to cooking and culture, the Leonard Lopate Show Book Club selection for August-September is her memoir, My Life in France, written with her grand-nephew Alex Prud’homme. He joins us to talk about her life, how she learned to cook in France, and how she became a brilliant teacher and writer. When she passed away in 2004, she and Alex were working on the book, about what Julia Child described as the best years of her life, and Alex finished it and published it in 2006.
Join the conversation—leave your comments and questions below!
The monthly newsletter fills you in on our Book Club selections, author interviews, and links to literary news and events. When you sign up for the newsletter now through February 14, you'll be registered for a drawing to receive a 3-month membership to Audible.com! Sign up now!
Middlesex won the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, and it’s the Leonard Lopate Show Book Club’s selection for July! It tells the story of Calliope Stephanides and three generations of the Greek-American Stephanides family who travel from a tiny village overlooking Mount Olympus to Detroit, then to the tree-lined streets of suburban Grosse Pointe. Calliope is not like other girls—she has to uncover a family secret and piece together her genetic history in order to reveal who she truly is. Jeffrey Eugenides joins us to discuss the novel.
Get the conversation started now by leaving a comment or question about the book!
Chad Harbach’s novel The Art of Fielding is the next pick for the Leonard Lopate Show Book Club! It was named one of 2011’s best books by the New York Times and The New Yorker. Set at a midwestern college where a star shortstop has transformed the school’s baseball team, it follows five characters grappling with the consequences of one wild throw.
Get the conversation started now—leave a comment or question below!
Teju Cole's debut novel, Open City, is about a young Nigerian doctor who wanders around Manhattan reflecting on his relationships, recent breakup, and his past. Although it's set in busy, crowded New York City, the novel explores themes of isolation, dislocation, and identity. The New Yorker called Open City "Beautiful, subtle—and original...A prismatic debut," and it was awarded the 2012 PEN/Hemingway Award.
And start reading his novel Open City and leave a comment or question for our Book Club discussion on May 7.
Marilynne Robinson explores themes of love, loneliness, and survival in her debut novel Housekeeping. Published in 1980, it tells the story of Ruth and Lucille, two sisters growing up with only each for emotional support as they live with various relations in a remote town in the Far West.
Share your thoughts and comments below to join the conversation and watch a video of Marilynne Robinson discussing her favorite authors, writing habits and more!
Daniel Okrent was here in March to talk about his book Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition for the Book Club. He talked about his favorite writers and why he urges reporters—and everyone else—to avoid the word "indeed."
Daniel Okrent, former Public Editor for the New York Times, examines how and why we came to outlaw alcohol in this country, what life under Prohibition was like, and how it changed the country forever. In Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition , he shows how diverse forces came together to bring about Prohibition: the growing political power of the women’s suffrage movement, which allied itself with the antiliquor campaign; the fear of small-town Protestants that they were losing control of their country to the immigrants in the cities; the anti-German sentiment stoked by World War I; and a variety of other factors, ranging from the rise of the automobile to the advent of the income tax.
Pick up a copy and start reading! Daniel Okrent will be here on March 6 to talk about the book. Leave your questions and comments below to join the conversation!
Téa Obreht tells us that her absolute favorite book is The Master and Margarita, by Mikhail Bulkagov, and that she's very superstitious.