Listen ad-free

What We're Reading

The Book Review

17-03-2023 • 23 mins

It should come as no surprise that writers and editors at the Book Review do a lot of outside reading — and, even among ourselves, we like to discuss the books that are on our minds. On this week’s episode, Gilbert Cruz talks to the critic Jennifer Szalai and the editors Sadie Stein and Joumana Khatib about what they’ve been reading (and in some cases listening to) recently.

For Szalai, that includes a novel she’s revisiting some two decades after she first read it: Kazuo Ishiguro’s “The Remains of the Day,” which she’s listening to this time around as an audiobook. “It has been wonderful,” she says. “The narration is great and it’s told in the first person, which I think is actually an ideal feature — at least for me, when I’m listening to an audiobook. It feels a bit like a conversation or a story, a personal story, that’s being related to me. And it’s been so long since I read the book that there are certain details that I hadn’t remembered that keep coming up. And so it’s been a nice experience. I’m going through it slowly. I sort of listen to it in little snatches here and there.”

Here are the books discussed on this week’s episode:

“The Remains of the Day,” by Kazuo Ishiguro

“Look at Me,” by Anita Brookner

“The Pigeon Tunnel,” by John le Carré

“Run Towards the Danger,” by Sarah Polley

“The Color of Water,” by James McBride

“The Dirty Tricks Department,” by John Lisle

“Spare,” by Prince Harry

We would love to hear your thoughts about this episode, and about the Book Review’s podcast in general. You can send them to