Fully Booked by Kirkus Reviews

Get the ultimate insider's scoop on the best new books. The editors at Kirkus Reviews interview your favorite authors, tell you whether or not the books on the bestseller list are worth the read, give you behind-the-scenes insights, and introduce you to great books you may otherwise never find.


Robert Harris and Leni Zumas

Robert Harris is one of the most revered historical novelists writing today. His new novel, MUNICH, is about old friends who reunite in hopes of derailing Hitler's war machine. The author of POMPEII and numerous other bestsellers, Harris joins us on the podcast this week. We also talk to Leni Zumas, whose novel RED CLOCKS is about the lives of five women in a small Oregon town who are affected by the outlawing of abortion and an imminent ban on single parenthood. And our editors share their thoughts about this week's bestselling books. 
00:57:00 1/16/2018

Past Episodes

Debut writer A.J. Finn's thriller THE WOMAN IN THE WINDOW has been sold in 37 countries and Fox 2000 picked up the film rights. The story of an agoraphobic woman who swears she sees a violent act in the brownstone across from hers in Manhattan, the novel is rife with references to classic films and "crackles with tension," our reviewer says. Violence also is at the heart of Christopher J. Yates' psychological thriller, GRIST MILL ROAD, which our reviewer writes in a starred review is, "mesmerizing and impossible to put down." And our editors weigh in with their thoughts about which bestsellers are worth your time.
00:56:00 1/9/2018
Bestseller James Lee Burke is one of America's most beloved crime writers, with 36 novels and two short story collections to his name. The latest novel in his Dave Robicheaux series, ROBICHEAUX, is "another 15 rounds of high-fatality crime, alcohol-soaked ruminations, and heaven-storming prose," according to our reviewer. And the authors of CAN I TOUCH YOUR HAIR? POEMS OF RACE, MISTAKES AND FRIENDSHIP, Irene Latham and Charles Waters, both join the podcast to talk about their unique collaboration on this children's book. We also welcome our new Young Adult Editor, Laura Simeon, as the editors talk this week about the publishing trends they hope disappear in 2018! 
01:06:00 1/2/2018
Earlier this fall, Kirkus Reviews announced the 18 finalists of the 2017 Kirkus Prize. The three winners of the Prize each received $50,000 in November. Five of the finalists attended the Kirkus Prize panel at the Texas Book Festival: Jack E. Davis (THE GULF); Karen English (IT ALL COMES DOWN TO THIS); Patricia Lockwood (PRIESTDADDY): Madeleine Stratford (ME TALL, YOU SMALL); and Laura Dassow Walls (HENRY DAVID THOREAU: A LIFE). In this episode, we hear from these excellent writers as they talk about the ideas behind their latest books. 
00:53:00 12/26/2017
This week, we put a spotlight on some of the most (unfairly!) overlooked books of 2017, books we think deserve your attention. We talk to Ladee Hubbard about her sharp, insightful novel about a family with peculiar superpowers, THE TALENTED RIBKINS. Julie Buntin also joins the podcast to talk about her novel, MARLENA, which our reviewer calls "as unforgettable as it is gorgeous." And our editors weigh in with some of their favorite overlooked books of the year.
00:56:00 12/19/2017
This week, we talk to bestselling film historian Scott Eyman, whose new book, HANK & JIM, is about the 50-year friendship of actors Henry Fonda and James Stewart. We also ask Ivy Pochoda about her latest novel, WONDER VALLEY. And our editors let you know which bestselling books are worth your time and which you might want to avoid! 
01:03:00 12/12/2017
This week, we interview Paul Kix, a debut writer whose new nonfiction book THE SABOTEUR is one of the most thrilling nonfiction reads of 2017. It's about French aristocrat Robert de la Rochefoucauld, who could've sat through World War II but instead became a resistance commando sabotaging the Nazis. And we also catch up with British novelist Fiona Mozley, whose new novel ELMET was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. Lastly, our editors divulge their picks for bestsellers they think you ought to read and the bestsellers you don't need to spend you time on. 
00:58:00 12/5/2017
Welcome to the Texas Book Festival episode of Fully Booked! The Texas Book Festival is one of the nation's largest and oldest book festivals and the Fully Booked crew had a lot of fun there a few weeks ago. In this episode, you'll first hear the interview Kirkus editor Clay Smith did with Walter Isaacson in the House Chamber of the Texas State Capitol during the Festival. Isaacson is the author of the number one New York Times bestselling new bio of Leonardo da Vinci. Then Megan sits down with Roger Hodge, whose new nonfiction book, TEXAS BLOOD, is about his family's life along the Texas-Mexico border. And at the end of this episode, Megan and Clay gather some interesting responses from people attending the Festival. 
01:04:00 11/28/2017

You know who Anne Rice is and that her son Christopher Rice is a bestselling novelist too. But they've never collaborated together until this week, when they publish RAMSES THE DAMNED: THE PASSION OF CLEOPATRA, the sequel to THE MUMMY (1989). We catch with both of them during this episode. And Joan Silber's brand-new novel IMPROVEMENT has critics raving, including this starred review from our critic: "There is something so refreshing and genuine about this book." She tells us about creating the novel. Our children's and teen editor Vicky Smith talks about a few of her picks of the Best Picture Books of 2017 and our editors tell you which bestsellers are worth your time.

00:59:00 11/21/2017
In this weeks episode, we ask MAD MEN creator Matthew Weiner about entering the world of publishing as he debuts his first novel, HEATHER, THE TOTALITY, in which the difficulties created for a Manhattan family by the renovation of the apartment upstairs include a homicidal stalker. And science writer Juli Berwald joins us to talk about SPINELESS, her fascinating new book about jellyfish (and what its like to grow a spine while studying animals who don't have one). And our editors talk about this week's bestsellers, with our fiction editor Laurie Muchnick focusing on the Best Fiction Books of 2017!
00:58:00 11/14/2017
We gave a rare starred review to Peter Wohlleben's new book THE INNER LIFE OF ANIMALS Wohlleben is also the author of the bestselling book, THE HIDDEN LIFE OF TREES. Wohlleben joins us from Germany to answer our questions about the emotional lives on animals and how we are treating them well or wrongly. And we also catch up with Anne Fadiman, whose new memoir, THE WINE LOVER'S DAUGHTER, is "not unlike imbibing several equally felicitous glasses of wine, their salutary effects leaving one pleasantly sated," according to our reviewer. And our editors speak up with their choices of which bestsellers you ought to read and which you can safely skip.
01:00:00 11/7/2017
Happy Halloween! Joe Hill, the best-selling author of the long novel THE FIREMAN, has a new book of four creepy novellas, STRANGE WEATHER, that each feature some decidedly hostile, freaky weather incidents. We catch up with Hill in this week's episode. But how about some real-world horror? We ask Lindsey Fitzharris about her new nonfiction book of medical history, THE BUTCHERING ART: JOSEPH LISTER'S QUEST TO TRANSFORM THE GRISLY WORLD OF VICTORIAN MEDICINE. And our editors recommend three spooky reads!
00:58:00 10/31/2017
Wait, what? The great Lakota chief Sitting Bull and the force behind the famous Wild West show, Buffalo Bill (who also slaughtered Native Americans), were friends? In this week's episode, we talk to one of America's most insightful writers about the West, Deanne Stillman, whose book BLOOD BROTHERS: THE STRANGE FRIENDSHIP BETWEEN SITTING BULL AND BUFFALO BILL, is just out this week. Then we talk with death expert (your heard us right), Caitlin Doughty, as we ask her about FROM HERE TO ETERNITY: TRAVELING THE WORLD TO FIND THE GOOD DEATH. And our editors stop by to tell us which bestsellers this week are worth your time!
00:52:00 10/24/2017
Scott Kelly is the American who has spent the longest amount of time in space and this week, he's on Fully Booked talking about what life up there is like and about writing his new memoir, ENDURANCE. We talk to another American hero, Khizr Khan, whose new book, AN AMERICAN FAMILY, offers insight into what it was like for Khan to become a star at the Democratic National Convention. And our editors stop by to give you their thoughts about this week's bestsellers!
01:00:00 10/17/2017
This week, we check in with beloved New Yorker cartoonist Roz Chast, whose new book of cartoons, GOING INTO TOWN, is a funny, and even practical, love letter to New York City. Carmen Maria Machado's entrance to the world of books may be the dramatic of the year: her debut short story collection, HER BODY AND OTHER PARTIES, is a finalist for the 2017 Kirkus Prize and a finalist for the National Book Award. We ask her about it all in this episode. And our editors pipe up with their thoughts about this week's bestsellers.
00:58:00 10/10/2017
This week's episode is a special live taping of Celeste Ng's recent event at BookPeople in Austin, Texas. Ng's new novel, LITTLE FIRES EVERYWHERE, has just hit the New York Times bestseller list and is hard to put down. "As in EVERYTHING I NEVER TOLD YOU, Ng conjures a sense of place and displacement and shows a remarkable ability to see -- and reveal -- a story from different perspectives," our critic writes in a starred review. We also check in with a few of BookPeople's booksellers about which new books they're loving.
01:01:00 10/3/2017
Does a writer have a duty to be moral? And what happens when a writer tries to be wise? We talk to National Book Award-winning writer James McBride on this week's episode about his new story collection, FIVE-CARAT SOUL, and those vexing questions. And were also joined by Attica Locke, whose new thriller, BLUEBIRD, BLUEBIRD, is a "deftly-plotted whodunit" according to our reviewer in a starred review. And our editors talk about the newly named 2017 Kirkus Prize finalists!
01:00:00 9/26/2017
When did Americans come to shun reality? If your answer is "recently," Kurt Andersen, the author of the entertaining book FANTASYLAND: HOW AMERICA WENT HAYWIRE: A 500-YEAR HISTORY, wants you to reconsider. We delve into the book in this week's episode. We also talk to Rene Denfeld, author of the new novel, THE CHILD FINDER, in which a gifted investigator combs Oregon's snowy mountain forests for a missing girl. And our editors reveal which bestsellers this week they think you ought to try out!
01:04:00 9/19/2017
We travel to ancient Greece in this week's episode with Daniel Mendelsohn, author of AN ODYSSEY: A FATHER, A SON, AND AN EPIC, in which Mendelsohn's 81-year-old father asks to sit in on the seminar about THE ODYSSEY his son is teaching (complications ensue). We also catch up with Eleanor Henderson, whose new novel, THE TWELVE-MILE STRAIGHT, is an ambitious novel set in the South in 1930. And our editors check in with their latest recommendations!
01:12:00 9/12/2017
Salman Rushdie joins us this week on Fully Booked to talk about his new novel, THE GOLDEN HOUSE, a sort of GREAT GATSBY for our time: everyone is implicated, no one is innocent, and no one comes out unscathed, no matter how well padded with cash, as our reviewer puts it in a starred review. And if the widening gap between rich and poor in America concerns you, check out our interview with John Freeman, the editor of TALES OF TWO AMERICAS. Lastly, our editors weigh in with their recs for some excellent new books to read!
00:58:00 9/5/2017
This week, we talk to debut novelist Cherise Wolas about THE RESURRECTION OF JOAN ASHBY. "Can you be a mother and also be an artist -- or, by extension, pursue any serious ambition at all?" our reviewer asks in our starred review of the novel. "This is the question taken up with urgency and all due complexity in lawyer and film producer Wolas' debut novel." And our editors speak up with their recommendations of what to read, and what to skip!
00:31:00 8/29/2017
Gabrielle Zevin is best-known for her bestseller from a few years ago, THE STORIED LIFE OF A.J. FIKRY; today we ask her about her new novel, YOUNG JANE YOUNG, which is funny, insightful, and a real pleasure to read. We also catch up with debut YA writer F.C. Yee, whose humorous debut novel, THE EPIC CRUSH OF GENIE LO, is just out. And our editors pipe up with their suggestions of which bestsellers to read and which to avoid!
00:55:00 8/22/2017
Who knows more about the Amish than almost anyone? A bestselling thriller writer who lives in Amarillo, Texas named Linda Castillo. This episode, we ask Castillo about the latest in her Kate Burkholder series, DOWN A DARK ROAD. Debut novelist Ayobami Adebayo also joins us to talk about her affecting novel, STAY WITH ME. And children's-teen editor Vicky Smith takes the stage to highlight an excellent new novel and one you can safely avoid.
00:52:00 8/15/2017
We gave a rare starred review to bestselling thriller writer Karin Slaughter's new novel THE GOOD DAUGHTER. Slaughter talks to us on todays episode about why she sets all of her novels in Georgia, what it's like being a continual bestseller, and where she gets her ideas from. And pioneering tech worker and writer Ellen Ullman also joins us to talk about her new memoir, LIFE IN CODE: A PERSONAL HISTORY OF TECHNOLOGY, which our critic calls, "a sharply written, politically charged memoir of life in the data trenches." Our editors talk about which bestsellers they think are worth your time and which you can safely skip!
01:09:00 8/8/2017
Tom Perrotta - the author of THE LEFTOVERS (which became the HBO series), LITTLE CHILDREN, and ELECTION, among others - has a funny, brand-new novel, MRS. FLETCHER, that our reviewer says is "more spot-on satire with heart and soul from a uniquely gifted writer." We also talk to memoir writer Heather Harpham about her honest new memoir, HAPPINESS. And if you're looking for a few good summer reads, our editors are here to help you out!
00:58:00 8/1/2017
This week, we catch up with bestselling thriller writer Ace Atkins and ask him about the latest in his series of crime novels starring detective Quinn Colson, who's on the trail of bank robbers and sex traffickers in THE FALLEN. We also talk to Jardine Libaire, whose new novel WHITE FUR has been picked up for development by Amazon Studios. And our editors pipe up with their latest recommendations!
00:58:00 7/25/2017
We talk to the author of one of the most intriguing summer novels published this year, SPOONBENDERS, by Daryl Gregory, the story of a family of people gifted with psychic abilities. And Monica Hesse joins us to talk about her new nonfiction book, AMERICAN FIRE, about a series of odd arsons in Virginia. That book is turning out to be a great summer read, too. Our editors also join us to give their takes on which bestsellers are worth your time.
01:01:00 7/18/2017
You may not have heard of Gin Phillips since she's a debut writer but we think her thriller FIERCE KINGDOM has the potential to be a huge summer hit. We also talk to Joshua Cohen, whose insightful and funny new novel MOVING KINGS packs a lot into a short amount of pages. And we ask our senior editors which bestsellers out this week are worth the read!
01:02:00 7/11/2017
Nina George is the mega-bestselling author of THE LITTLE PARIS BOOKSHOP; she's in our studio this week to answer our questions about her brand-new novel, THE LITTLE FRENCH BISTRO. We also catch up with Matthew Klam, whose anticipated, funny new novel, WHO IS RICH?, is just out. And thriller and Edgar Award winner Meg Gardiner stops by the studio to talk about UNSUB, her new thriller loosely based on the Zodiac killings. Find out which bestsellers our editors think you ought to race out and buy and which you can safely avoid!
01:11:00 7/4/2017
Samantha Irby's essays (some of which originated from her popular blog Bitches Gotta Eat) are both hilarious and moving. As she's working on producing an FX series based on her work, we talk to Irby about her new, best-selling collection of essays, WE ARE NEVER MEETING IN REAL LIFE. And who says long-haul truckers cant be writers too? Finn Murphy's new memoir THE LONG HAUL is a fascinating glimpse into life on the American road. And our senior editors call in with recommendations about which bestsellers are worth your time.
00:58:00 6/27/2017
Roxane Gay may be best known for her essay collection, BAD FEMINIST, but she joins the podcast this week to talk to us about her new memoir, HUNGER: A MEMOIR OF (MY) BODY, one of the most anticipated books of the year. We also catch up with Katherine Heiny, whose debut novel, STANDARD DEVIATION, is "an amusingly engaging take on long-term marriage with a lovably loopy character at its center," as our critic puts it in a starred review. And our expert editors tell you which bestsellers are worthy of your time.
00:41:00 6/20/2017
You probably know that James Patterson is a mega-bestseller but do you know what really keeps him up at night? It's not what you might expect, as he reveals in this weeks episode. We also talk to Gerda Saunders, whose new memoir, MEMORY'S LAST BREATH, is a "fiercely honest" account of her life with dementia. Our reviewer calls MEMORY'S LAST BREATH a "courageous, richly textured, and unsparing memoir." And our sharp-eyed editors give us the low-down on which bestsellers are worth it to purchase and which you can safely avoid.
01:01:00 6/13/2017
John Grisham joins the podcast this week to talk about his new thriller, CAMINO ISLAND; we ask Lisa Lucas, the Executive Director of the National Book Foundation, about diversity in publishing, among other topics; and our editors recommend some great summer reads!
00:46:00 6/6/2017
We talk to David Sedaris about his new book, THEFT BY FINDING, a collection of his diary entries that allows you to see the source material for some of his funniest stories. He tells us in this episode the names of some beloved spiders he has known. We also catch up with Nathan Hill, whose debut novel THE NIX was a breakout bestseller in 2016; the paperback version was recently published. And our editors drop in to tell us which bestselling books are worth your time and which...aren't!
01:02:00 5/30/2017
This week, we catch up with bestselling novelist J. Courtney Sullivan, whose brand-new novel SAINTS FOR ALL OCCASIONS is an "expertly spun family drama," according to our critic, about two sisters whose dark family secret has consequences for years to come. And Ada Calhoun's new nonfiction book WEDDING TOASTS I'LL NEVER GIVE is an expanded version of the popular column on the same subject she wrote for the "Modern Love" column in the New York Times.

Looking for new bestsellers to read? Our editors tell you which to avoid and wish to read!
00:55:00 5/23/2017
Fully Booked now has a hotline number (888-245-0618) where readers can leave messages asking for advice about what they should read next, for example. We introduce calls from our listeners in this episode (and one of them is a real doozy).

What exactly does the Chief of Staff at the White House do? Your'e not certain? Neither were we until we talked to filmmaker and writer Chris Whipple about his deeply reported and fascinating new bestseller, THE GATEKEEPERS: HOW THE WHITE HOUSE CHIEFS OF STAFF DEFINE EVERY PRESIDENCY. We also chat up editor and novelist Rakesh Satyal, author of the funny, uplifting new novel NO ONE CAN PRONOUNCE MY NAME.

And our editors spill the beans on which bestsellers you should race out and read and which you can safely skip!
01:12:00 5/16/2017
Bestselling writer David Grann (THE LOST CITY OF Z) has another new book, KILLERS OF THE FLOWER MOON, that uncovers a crime (actually, a massacre) that most Americans know nothing about: the murders of Osage Indians in Oklahoma in the 1920's, just as the Osage were accumulating vast wealth from the vast oil reserves under their land. And guess who the perpetrators were? We're not saying in this interview with Grann, although he discloses some fascinating elements of the crime.

We also check in with Lisa Ko, whose hotly anticipated debut novel THE LEAVERS has already racked up a big award (from Barbara Kingsolver, no less!).

And Kirkus' editors give us the good news/bad news on which bestsellers to seek out and which to skip.
01:02:00 5/9/2017
If the first thing you think of when you think of Los Angeles is movie stars, palm trees, and traffic, there's nothing wrong with that. But what about all the great writers who call L.A. home?

In this special L.A. episode recorded during the recent Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, we talk with Hollywood Reporter features editor Stephen Galloway about his new bio of Sherry Lansing; comedian Carl Reiner; novelist Edan Lepucki; and bestselling YA writer Melissa de la Cruz. Join us on this all-things-L.A. episode!
01:08:00 5/2/2017
Mohsin Hamid, the bestselling author of the new novel EXIT WEST, calls in to the podcast to talk to us about writing characters who try to be decent people in an age of cynicism, while co-host Megan Labrise asks debut fiction writer Lesley Nneka Arimah about her story collection, WHAT IT MEANS WHEN A MAN FALLS FROM THE SKY. And our senior editors pipe up to tell you which bestselling books you should race out and read and which you might want to ignore.
01:04:00 4/25/2017
Dani Shapiro is one of America's most respected memoir writers; her latest, HOURGLASS, hits close to home (its about her marriage), so of course Fully Booked is there to get up close and personal with Shapiro.

We also talk to bestselling thriller writer Daniel Suarez, whose latest, CHANGE AGENT, may have you rethinking your plans for the future. And our senior editors pipe up about which of the most popular books you've been hearing about are actually worth your time!
01:01:00 4/18/2017
We talk to hilarious filmmaker and writer John Waters about a serious subject: how to create a life as an artist. And we ask children's book writer Anastasia Higginbotham why she titles her latest book TELL ME ABOUT SEX, GRANDMA. And Kirkus' editors give you the inside scoop on which bestsellers you ought run out and buy...and which you can safely ignore!
01:08:00 4/11/2017
In the debut episode, George Saunders, author of the bestselling novel LINCOLN IN THE BARDO, reveals what it was like getting inside President Lincoln's soul and we talk to YA writer Lamar Giles about his latest novel, OVERTURNED, and why he fights to ensure diverse characters, written by diverse writers, appear on bookstore shelves.

Wondering which new, bestselling books our expert book critics think are worth your time (and which ones you should avoid!)? Kirkus Reviews senior editors join us to tell you the what's what.
00:57:00 4/4/2017
"Fully Booked by Kirkus Reviews" premieres Tuesday, April 4, 2017.
00:45:00 3/29/2017

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