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38 EpisodesProduced by Wisconsin Public RadioWebsite

Great writers are great readers. And they have amazing stories to tell. Not just about the books they write, but about the books they read.  Anne Strainchamps and the producers behind “To the Best of Our Knowledge” have been asking authors for years to tell a story about that one book that left a m… read more

38 Episodes | 2019 - 2021

Ebony Thomas on 'Anne of Green Gables'

April 30th, 2021


Ebony Thomas is the author of “The Dark Fantastic: Race and the Imagination from Harry Potter to the Hunger Games.” For her the most important word in that title is "imagination." She believes that without imagination …

Enrique Salmon on 'The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn'

April 30th, 2021


“The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” by Mark Twain is one of the most controversial books in the American literary canon, particularly because of its …

Ada Calhoun on 'Street Through Time'

April 30th, 2021


There’s a book that Ada Calhoun, author of “Why We Can’t Sleep: Women’s New Midlife Crisis“ thinks of as both one of her favorites to read out loud with her son, as well as one that has inspired her own writing. It’s “A …

Nicola Griffith on 'The Blue Sword'

April 30th, 2021


A girl, a horse, and a magical sword save a kingdom in Robin McKinley's young adult classic, "The Blue Sword" — a book beloved by women of all ages. …

Helen Macdonald On 'The Dark Is Rising'

April 30th, 2021


Every year, at holiday time, Macdonald reads this tale of a boy who finds out he's one of the "old ones," part of a series from author Susan Cooper. …

Lulu Miller on 'The Search for Delicious'

April 30th, 2021


Lulu Miller, author of “Why Fish Don’t Exist,” first read the young adult book “The Search for Delicious” when she was in that transformative and …

Quan Barry on 'White Fang'

April 30th, 2021


"White Fang" by Jack London is a classic outdoor adventure story about a wild wolf-dog's struggle to survive in the Yukon Territory during the 1890's …

Coming April 30: Bookmarks, Kid's Book Edition

April 23rd, 2021


Neverland. Wonderland. Magic wands and unicorns. Your escape from COVID-19 is just a wish-upon-a-star away. Season 3 of Bookmarks — the kid’s book edition — is flying in on a fire-breathing dragon.

In this ragtag …

Malcolm Gladwell on 'When Police Kill'

June 18th, 2020


Over the years, author, journalist and podcaster Malcolm Gladwell has written about some notorious cases of police brutality, including the deaths of 

Robert Macfarlane on 'The Living Mountain'

June 5th, 2020


Nature writer and adventurer Robert Macfarlane has given away one book more than any other volume. It's "The Living Mountain," by Scottish writer and …

Stanley Crouch on 'Reasons of State'

May 29th, 2020


For decades, Stanley Crouch has cut a singular path through American culture. Once an aspiring jazz musician and later a noted cultural critic, he …

Chris Ware on 'Society is Nix'

May 22nd, 2020


When he’s not drawing, Chris Ware likes to read and look at vintage comics. He highly recommends a book that defies even his powers of description — …

Cheryl Strayed on 'Love & Terror on the Howling Plains of Torment'

May 15th, 2020


Cheryl Strayed’s "Wild" is one of the most famous wilderness memoirs of our time. She especially appreciates writers who combine honesty with emotional intensity — writers who reveal themselves unflinchingly on the …

Orhan Pamuk on 'Anna Karenina'

May 8th, 2020


The Turkish writer and Nobel laureate says his favorite novel — the 800-plus-page Russian novel bursting with characters living the life of imperial Russian society — is a complex miracle of a book.

—This author …

Jacqueline Woodson on 'If Beale Street Could Talk'

May 1st, 2020


The author of "Another Brooklyn" recommends a James Baldwin novel she says belongs on everyone's bookshelf.

—This author recommends—
If Beale …

Kazuo Ishiguro on 'Prayers for the Stolen'

April 24th, 2020


Famed novelist Kazuo Ishiguro recommends “Prayers for the Stolen,” by Jennifer Clement —a harrowing tale about young children who are abducted in the …

Ruth Ozeki on 'Kamikaze Diaries'

April 17th, 2020


For her own book, author Ruth Ozeki drew from “Kamikaze Diaries,” a collection of writings left behind by the young soldiers who died on suicide …

Petina Gappah on 'Persuasion'

April 10th, 2020


Author Petina Gappah recommends a book she explains is “The most African of Jane Austen’s novels.” Her reason why is a look at women in African today …

Karl Ove Knausgaard on 'The Earthsea Trilogy'

April 3rd, 2020


Given the hyper-realism of author Karl Ove Knausgaard’s "My Struggle," you might be surprised to hear that the formative books of his childhood were …

Ross Gay on 'Gene Smith's Sink'

March 27th, 2020


Because he’s fascinated by the process of collecting and by the impulse to document everyday life,
poet Ross Gay recommends “Gene Smith’s Sink,” by …

Susan Orlean on 'The Sound and the Fury'

March 20th, 2020


For as long as she can remember, Susan Orlean has had a favorite book, "The Sound and the
Fury," by William Faulkner. A southern gothic novel set …

Philip Pullman on 'The Pocket Atlas of the World'

March 13th, 2020


Philip Pullman — author of the fantasy classic "His Dark Materials" — is clearly attuned to the imaginative world of children. In fact, he was a …

What Books Have Left A Mark On You?

February 28th, 2020


Why does Philip Pullman love maps? How does Petina Gappah see Jane Austen as African? What science fiction stories did a young Karl Ove Knausgaard …

Your Life, Told Through Books

February 21st, 2020


The next season of Bookmarks starts on March 13. In the meantime, we wanted to share a few stories we've heard from listeners about the books that have shaped them.

Have your own story to share? Email us at

Eula Biss on 'The Argonauts'

January 31st, 2020


"On Immunity: An Inoculation" author Eula Biss recommends a memoir in which author Maggie Nelson asks questions that bend conventions about gender, …

Paul Beatty on 'The Nazi and the Barber'

January 24th, 2020


Paul Beatty, the Booker Prize Winning Author of "The Sellout" recommends "The Nazi and the
Barber," a novel by Holocaust survivor Edgar Hilsenrath. 

Yuval Noah Harari on 'Chimpanzee Politics'

January 17th, 2020


Sometimes you stumble upon a book that sets you on a whole new path. For Israeli historian and philosopher Yuval Norah Harari — author of "Sapiens," …

Lidia Yuknavitch on 'Borne'

January 10th, 2020


The main character in Jeff
VanderMeer’s other-worldly tale is a polymorphous bear who moves in
magical and unexpected ways, and keeps secrets in …

George Saunders on 'I Will Bear Witness'

January 3rd, 2020


The author of "Lincoln in the Bardo" recommends Victor Klemperer's two-volume diary that reads as
a slow-motion picture of what the Holocaust looked …

Anne Lamott on 'Pippi Longstocking'

December 27th, 2019


Writer Anne Lamott says that the children’s classic made her feel like there was room in the world for imaginative, adventurous girls who just might wear mismatched knee socks. 

—This author recommends—

Pippi …

Margaret Atwood on 'Wide Sargasso Sea'

December 20th, 2019


Jean Rhys takes up a "mad" wife’s story in "Wide Sargasso Sea," an overlooked novel recommended by
"Handmaid’s Tale" author Margaret Atwood.

—This author recommends—
Wide Sargasso Sea

—More from this author

Lorrie Moore on 'Carried Away'

December 13th, 2019


Writer Lorrie Moore says Alice Munro’s book of short stories, "Carried Away," shows mastery of
the architecture of the short story that is both brilliant and can’t be

—This author recommends—

Carried Away: …

Werner Herzog on 'The Peregrine'

December 6th, 2019


Filmmaker Werner Herzog, whose films include "Grizzly Man" and "Cave of the Forgotten Dreams," recommends a nonfiction collection of J.A. Baker's …

Martin Amis on 'The Adventures of Augie March'

November 29th, 2019


Martin Amis has written his fair share of novels and essay collections. For a writer, you expect their favorite books to be a source of inspiration. …

Jericho Brown on 'The Witches of Eastwick'

November 22nd, 2019


As a black, gay poet, Jericho Brown considers it “hilarious” that he discovered sex through one of the whitest writers in American history — John Updike. 

—This author recommends—

The Witches of Eastwick

—More from …

Alice Walker on 'Disturbing The Peace'

November 15th, 2019


Alice Walker recommends Richard Yates' novel following an advertising executive whose seemingly successful life quietly fractures under the pressure …

Tommy Orange on 'A Confederacy Of Dunces'

November 8th, 2019


Tommy Orange says he wasn't much of a reader in his early years. But a chance encounter with an absurd, experimental novel by John Kennedy Toole …

Bookmarks: Books that left their mark on us.

October 18th, 2019


Bookmarks are stories mined from our secret lives as readers. Stories of intimate relationships and life-changing encounters with books. Stories about the books we can’t forget. In this micropodcast, the producers …

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