Subscribe: iTunes | Google Play Music | How to Listen

James Poniewozik, the chief television critic for The New York Times, knew his job had changed when Donald Trump became president. Trump had, over the years, “achieved symbiosis with the medium” of television,” Poniewozik writes in his new book, “Audience of One.” “Its impulses were his impulses; its appetites were his appetites; its mentality was his mentality.”

On this week’s podcast, Poniewozik talks about his approach to thinking and writing about Trump and television.

“To ask him, he never changes,” Poniewozik says of Trump. “One of his quotes to one of his biographers was, ‘I’m still basically the same person that I was when I was 7 years old,’ and I think in the broad strokes, that does seem right. However, the Donald Trump that I’m writing about in the book — which is really not so much the person as the TV character Donald Trump, the public-facing performance — he sort of evolves over time. And he evolves in ways that correspond with the changes in the tone and the format of media.”

Image

Bina Venkataraman visits the podcast this week to discuss her new book, “The Optimist’s Telescope: Thinking Ahead in a Reckless Age,” in which she talks about strategies for confronting massive problems like climate change.

“I think it’s at moments of despair like this when we most need to invest in the future,” Venkataraman says. “And if you think about the history of this country looking back to the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl, there were people in our society — F.D.R. among them — that were able to envision something other than the current state of despair, and therefore make the investments to bring society toward a different reality.”

Also on this week’s episode, Alexandra Alter talks about her recent interview with Margaret Atwood; and Dwight Garner, Parul Sehgal and Jennifer Szalai talk about the books they’ve recently reviewed. Pamela Paul is the host.

Here are the books discussed by The Times’s critics this week:

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

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});
(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});