Ari Shapiro: TOP TEN BOOKS


Stephen Voss

The NPR journalist, and sometime member of pop group Pink Martini, is a popular voice on NPR—he recently joined flagship show, All Things Considered, as a permanent anchor after a two-year stint as the public radio station’s London correspondent. Prior to that he was the station’s White House correspondent.

Below are Ari Shapiro’s favorite books, available to purchase as a set or individually.



Haruki Murakami
I read this book when I was working a night shift, going to sleep at 6 p.m. and waking up at 2 a.m. each day. My surreal, hazy existence during those weeks was a perfect fit with the world of 1Q84, where everything seems just a little bit off. It's recognizable as the world you live in, and also somehow not.
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Sebastian Faulks
I never quite understood World War 1 in the way that I've understood other 20th century wars. It always felt a bit too distant and complicated. I read this book during the 2014 centenary commemorations of the war, and suddenly the conflict snapped into focus for me in a way it never had before.
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Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone

Deborah Madison
Years after I left vegetarianism behind, this is still the cookbook I reach for more than any other.
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The Gilded Gutter Life of Francis Bacon

Daniel Farson
I'm not really a fan of biographies, or of Francis Bacon's art. So why do I love this book? It brings mid-20th century gay London to life. And it helps me understand why people appreciate Bacon's work so deeply, even if I still can't say I'd hang his paintings on my living room wall.
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The Wake

Paul Kingsnorth
The tale behind this book is as riveting as the book itself. The first-time novelist can't get a publisher, so he crowdfunds this book. The story is set 1000 years ago and written in a slightly made-up version of old English. Of course nobody will buy it. Except that they do. It gets rave reviews and awards. When you read it, you'll understand why.
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The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay

Michael Chabon
I almost never re-read novels. It's just not something I do. This is the only exception I can think of.
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Tales of a Shaman’s Apprentice

Mark Plotkin
When I was a teenager, this book briefly convinced me to become an ethnobotanist. I almost chose my college based on whether it had a good ethnobotany program. Really.
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In the Light of What We Know

Zia Haider Rahman
I can open this book to any page and find a passage that I want to read aloud to the person next to me. It's about mathematics, and war, and finance, and relationships, and everything else in the world.
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Mil Besos

Ruven Afanador
My husband and I were in Seville, Spain, during a citywide celebration of flamenco. Massive, stark, black-and-white photographs of passionate female flamenco dancers lined the street. We looked into buying a print. They were way out of our price range. The next year, all of the prints were published in this book. It was my birthday present to myself. (Please note this title is currently unavailable.)
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Cloud Atlas

David Mitchell
Mitchell is one of the few writers whose catalog I'll read beginning to end. He's a stylistic acrobat, and Cloud Atlas is his most beloved work for good reason.
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