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Taffy Brodesser-Akner is well known for her work at The New York Times Magazine, where she writes incisive profiles of subjects like Gwyneth Paltrow, Jonathan Franzen and Bradley Cooper in her highly distinctive voice. Her first and already best-selling novel, “Fleishman Is in Trouble,” is about a man’s life as his marriage of 14 years crumbles.
On this week’s podcast, Brodesser-Akner says that her time writing profiles helped her investigate the psychologies of her fictional characters.
“What all the profiles taught me about is not people who want to be known, but what people say when they want you to know a version of themselves that isn’t the truth,” she says. “It taught me a lot about how people talk about themselves, and about how deluded we all are.”
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Katherine Eban visits the podcast this week to talk about her new book, “Bottle of Lies: The Inside Story of the Generic Drug Boom,” which argues that an industry meant to counteract Big Pharma is now uneasily merging with it. In the short time since the book was published, Eban says she’s received a lot of feedback. “I’ve been contacted by a number of whistle blowers from all areas of the pharmaceutical industry. I’ve been contacted by Congress. They do want to do something. We’ll see if that happens.”
Also on this week’s episode, Elizabeth Flock of PBS joins us to discuss the latest pick for Now Read This, a book club from “PBS NewsHour” and The New York Times; and Lauren Christensen, Gregory Cowles and John Williams talk about what people are reading. Pamela Paul is the host.
Here are the books discussed in this week’s “What We’re Reading”:
“Minor Characters” by Joyce Johnson
“The Path to Power” by Robert A. Caro
“Here” by Richard McGuire
“Exhalation” by Ted Chiang
We would love to hear your thoughts about this episode, and about the Book Review’s podcast in general. You can send them to [email protected].
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