Rank #1: Bonus Episode - Frankenstein: Our Dark Mirror
Over 200 years ago, a teenage girl started a literary legacy that continues to haunt us today. Why do we still keep telling this story and how does it reflect our darkest fears? The New York Public Library's curators join monster theory scholars and best-selling authors to trace the history of Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin Shelley’s classic. This special podcast episode unpacks the genius of Shelley’s novel, its origins and evolution—from the British Romantics to Black Lives Matter—to uncover how it’s helped us better understand ourselves, our humanity, and our future.
Mar 12 2019
Rank #2: #TeamEdith, Ep. 3
We talk about how to fit more reading into busy schedules, Lin-Manuel Miranda, horror books and movies, childhood favorites, David Bowie, Lin-Manuel Miranda again, and our love for Downton Abbey’s kind Anna and unstoppable Edith.
Jan 21 2016
Rank #3: New Fiction! New Fiction!
Gwen gets fired up about reading—you guessed it—new fiction this year, while Frank dips into the backlist of a new favorite author. Plus: New Year's resolutions, The Bachelor, and the best short stories of 2018.
Best American Short Stories 2018, ed. by Roxane GayThe Children's Bach by Helen Garner
The Mere Wife by Maria Dahvana Headley
Jan 10 2019
Rank #4: The Podcast That Must Not Be Named, Ep. 4
Go behind the scenes at BookOps, the Library's special secret spy agen— er, the "technical services" unit. Also: the Helen Ellis/Shirley Jackson/Anita Brookner triumvirate, Frank's shocking Harry Potter confession, and more.
Feb 04 2016
Rank #5: Comfort Reads
Gwen and Frank tackle one book that feels comforting and homey; one that's distinctly unsettling; and one that's somewhere in between. Plus: A stranger on the train helps us deconstruct the genius of J-Patt.
Your Duck Is My Duck: Stories by Deborah Eisenberg
The Farm by Joanne RamosBelonging: A German Reckons with History and Home by Nora Krug Also mentioned:
Emily Blunt and the rest of the cast going down the bathtub slide!
Everything Doris Day
May 16 2019
Rank #6: How to Pull Yourself Out of a Book Slump
Gwen and Frank are both struggling to find the perfect book this week — and coming up with some ideas about how to do it. Plus: the glory that is Ilana Glazer.
Nov 01 2017
Rank #7: Harry Potter Meets Jane Eyre
In celebration of the 20th anniversary of Harry Potter, Gwen and Frank fall hard for the wise and wonderful Vanessa Zoltan of the Harry Potter and the Sacred Text podcast! We talk Harry and Jane, try the spiritual practice of lectio divina, discuss the healing power of romance novels, figure out Frank's Tinder profile... get ready for some serious revelations.
Vanessa's book recs:
Aug 30 2018
Rank #8: Cozy Intellectualism and/or Baby Marginalia
We all love libraries, but what books do you just NEED to own? Frank coins a new genre, Gwen falls for a book about mistakes, and they both share some deep thoughts about the oxford comma.
This Week’s Books:
The Grammarians by Cathleen Shine
The Other’s Gold by Elizabeth Ames
Dreyer's English : An Utterly correct Guide to Clarity and Style by Benjamin Dreyer
Oct 03 2019
Rank #9: We Love Men! Ep. 5
Taboo subjects in adult and children's books alike abound on our fifth episode. Plus, find out what makes a "rare book" rare with our very own rare book librarian, Jessica Pigza.
Feb 18 2016
Rank #10: May I Remove Your Preconceived Notions?
Frank and Gwen break down romance novel stereotypes with fellow NYPL librarian Anne Rouyer. The genre often gets dismissed as fluff, but romance can subvert the traditional confines of gender, power, class, and more. (Gay Regency, anyone?)
Social Intercourse by Greg Howard
The Wicked and the Wallflower by Sarah Maclean
Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging: Confessions of Georgia Nicolson by Louise Rennison
And for a non-book recommendation: 'Hiyori's Bed & Breakfast'
Aug 02 2018
Rank #11: Peyton DisPlaced
Another crossover episode with our fine friends from the Overdue podcast! Frank and Gwen join Craig and Andrew in Philadelphia to discuss the 1956 novel Peyton Place. Is it a classic? A soap opera? A groundbreaking statement about sexuality? Is it “ripe, hotly passionate, but fickle” — the first line of the book? You decide.
Apr 26 2018
Rank #12: New Year, New (Reading) You
Want to broaden your reading horizons this year? Librarian extraordinaire Meredith Mann joins Frank and Gwen to debate the pros and cons of annual reading challenges. Plus: secret database magic, sci-fi written by robots, and our favorite British bakers. Get links to the books discussed in the episode at nypl.org/podcast.
Jan 04 2018
Rank #13: This Book Is No Joke
Which books do you wish you'd read in high school? Frank and Gwen offer up some ideas and then move on to city novels with urban themes and a picture book about a dog who tries to be a fork. Plus: what to do if you can't get enough of the Queer Eye guys.
Binti by Nnedi Okorafor
Bull by David Elliott
The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak
The City and the City by China Miéville
The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin
Short videos of the Queer Eye guys on YouTube, such as 9 Things They’ve Never Done Before (in which Jonathan and Tan bedazzle a tie), a round of Never Have I Ever, and a bizarre social-media compliment battle.
Sep 06 2018
Rank #14: And Then There Was Chekhov
Wherein we discuss reading (and acting!) Anton Chekhov, the influence of Agatha Christie, and the controversial merits of Go, Dog. Go!
Jun 08 2017
Rank #15: The Great Nancy Pearl
Frank and Gwen are beyond thrilled to talk to Nancy Pearl, a.k.a. America's Librarian, a.k.a. the guru of readers' advisory, a.k.a. OUR HERO.
Sep 06 2017
Rank #16: Never Let Me Go. Seriously, Never.
Nov 16 2017
Rank #17: Scandal!
Who's up for some dubious morality? We're all about the scandal this week, as Frank and Gwen tackle controversial essays, what makes a "beach read," and, um, porcupines in library book drops.
Jul 06 2017
Rank #19: Never Let Me Go. Seriously, Never.
May 30 2019
Rank #20: Seeing Yourself on the Page
The fantastic Sona Charaipotra sits down with Frank and Gwen to talk representation and what it's like to see (or not see) your own experiences reflected in a book. Plus: Archie and Riverdale, Bollywood, Hollywood, and a lot of geeking out over our favorite YA authors.
Jun 15 2017