The Best Strangers in the World: Stories from a Life Spent Listening

HarperOne. Mar. 2023. 256p. ISBN 9780063221345. $28.99. MEMOIR
In this engaging memoir, Shapiro (host, NPR’s All Things Considered) gives insight into both his personal and professional life. As the only Jewish child in his elementary school and the first openly gay student in high school, Shapiro learned to make connections and communicate among disparate groups of people. His innate curiosity and natural storytelling ability led to an internship and eventual career with NPR. He reveals the personal side of various assignments, including his time in the White House press corps and as an international correspondent based in London. He also discusses his personal life, including his side job as a singer with the band Pink Martini and his musical show with Alan Cumming. Shapiro never shies away from telling of his missteps and embarrassing moments. Throughout, Shapiro elegantly and compassionately shares the stories of people he’s encountered and how their individual experiences connect with humanity as a whole.
VERDICT Shapiro’s confident, clear voice and self-deprecating humor, familiar to his many fans, translates well to the written word. His writing will resonate with many and is a treasure for biography readers. Highly recommended.
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