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Library Talks

Updated 9 days ago

Education
News
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Join The New York Public Library and your favorite writers, artists, and thinkers for smart talks and provocative conversations from the nation’s cultural capital.

Read more

Join The New York Public Library and your favorite writers, artists, and thinkers for smart talks and provocative conversations from the nation’s cultural capital.

iTunes Ratings

265 Ratings
Average Ratings
185
38
19
11
12

Great author interviews

By Nikkijohnson0919 - Sep 09 2018
Read more
Appreciate all the thoughtful interviews. Great bookish listen.

Thank you NYPL!

By KristyVO - Mar 30 2016
Read more
I love this podcast! So many intriguing conversations....

iTunes Ratings

265 Ratings
Average Ratings
185
38
19
11
12

Great author interviews

By Nikkijohnson0919 - Sep 09 2018
Read more
Appreciate all the thoughtful interviews. Great bookish listen.

Thank you NYPL!

By KristyVO - Mar 30 2016
Read more
I love this podcast! So many intriguing conversations....
Cover image of Library Talks

Library Talks

Latest release on Jun 23, 2019

Read more

Join The New York Public Library and your favorite writers, artists, and thinkers for smart talks and provocative conversations from the nation’s cultural capital.

Rank #1: Michelle McNamara and Patton Oswalt's search for the Golden State Killer

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The comedian and actor Patton Oswalt shares the posthumous true-crime masterpiece written by his wife Michelle McNamara, who died suddenly at the age of 46 in 2016. McNamara, a true crime reporter and creator of TrueCrimeDiary.com, spent years tracking a serial killer she dubbed the Golden State Killer. Between 1976 and 1986 he committed 50 sexual assaults and 10 murders up and down California. Oswalt wrote, “I can't help feeling that somewhere, in her final pages, she left enough clues for someone to finish the job she couldn't—to put California's worst serial killer behind bars.” Plus: a behind-the-scenes private tour of items from NYPL's true crime collections.

Mar 06 2018

51mins

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Rank #2: Alec Baldwin

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Alec Baldwin spoke with NY Times critic-at-large Wesley Morris about his recent memoir, "Nevertheless," at LIVE from the NYPL.

Jun 06 2017

1hr 18mins

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Rank #3: Ta-Nehisi Coates on Theft, Atheism, & History

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Recent Macarthur Genius Grant winner Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent for “The Atlantic” whose latest book, “Between the World and Me,” is a nominee for the 2015 National Book Award. This fall, Coates sits down with Khalil Gibran Muhammad, Director of NYPL’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, for a conversation on race, writing, and more.

Oct 20 2015

1hr 36mins

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Rank #4: Karl Ove Knausgaard and Jeffrey Eugenides – "My Struggle"

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On this episode of The New York Public Library Podcast, Norwegian author Karl Ove Knausgaard dissects the latest volume of his critically acclaimed autobiography, My Struggle—and the controversy that surrounds it—with Jeffrey Eugenides, author of The Virgin Suicides.

Jun 23 2014

1hr 13mins

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Rank #5: Neil Gaiman on Fairy Tales Revisited

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This week on the podcast, Neil Gaiman, the beloved bestselling author of "Coraline," "American Gods," and "The Graveyard Book," joins us on Halloween night for some scary stories and thrilling conversation. He speaks about disobedient adults, why he learned to read, and his own reimagining of "Hansel and Gretel."

Nov 06 2014

1hr 48mins

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Rank #6: Joan Didion on Writing & Revising

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The beloved writer talks to fellow bestselling author Sloane Crosley about the challenges of putting personal tragedy and illusory pleasure into words.

Jan 29 2015

52mins

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Rank #7: Chimamanda Adichie & Zadie Smith on Race, Writing, & Relationships

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On the heels of the blockbuster success of her latest novel, “Americanah,” Adichie sat down with Smith at NYPL’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture to discuss the critically acclaimed book and how it came to be. In their far-reaching conversation, Adichie and Smith talk about race, feminism, and finding one’s identity in a globalized world.

Aug 25 2015

1hr 4mins

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Rank #8: Jay-Z on Hustling & Forgiveness

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Grammy Award winning artist Jay-Z came to NYPL in 2010, when his long-awaited memoir, "Decoded," had just hit shelves. He’s joined by NYPL’s Paul Holdengraber and intellectual icon Cornel West for a conversation about his journey from a rough childhood to becoming an internationally renowned rap artist, philanthropist, and entrepreneur.

Feb 26 2015

1hr 46mins

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Rank #9: Ron Chernow: Grant

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Ulysses S. Grant has for decades routinely listed as one of our worst presidents. Ron Chernow says the legacy of the Civil War hero and 18th president is deeply misunderstood, making the case in both his latest book and in this conversation with Richard Stengel, former managing editor of TIME magazine.

Oct 24 2017

45mins

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Rank #10: Neil Gaiman Reads "A Christmas Carol" (Rebroadcast)

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To celebrate the 175th anniversary of the Dickens' classic, we're rebroadcasting this very special reading by writer and comic book author, Neil Gaiman. His live performance from 2013 uses a rare prompt copy that belonged to Charles Dickens himself and now resides in The New York Public Library. Dickens marked it up and annotated it for the express purpose of performing the story in front of an audience, which he did regularly in the 1850s and 1860s.

Dec 19 2018

1hr 17mins

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Rank #11: Noam Chomsky and Wallace Shawn: Rigorous Rationality

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MIT linguist, philosopher, and political theorist Noam Chomsky, in conversation with actor Wallace Shawn.

Aug 15 2017

1hr 20mins

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Rank #12: You Don't Know Nothing: Toni Morrison and Junot Díaz LIVE from the NYPL

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LIVE closes the Fall 2013 season with a conversation between 2013 Library Lion Junot Diaz and the writer who most influenced him, Nobel Prize-winner Toni Morrison.

"I think the most sustained love of mine," Diaz has said, "the one that's carried me through all these years, is my relationship with Toni Morrison. Im telling you, I'm one of those people who's still cracking my head on many of the ideas Toni Morrison both suggested and elaborated on in her work." Witness a powerful event as Diaz comes face to face with his literary hero to celebrate her remarkable career.

Feb 06 2014

1hr 22mins

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Rank #13: Helen Mirren on Women's Roles & Taking on Shakespeare

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This week, we’re excited to welcome Oscar, Emmy, and Tony Award-winning actress Helen Mirren. Going back to her start with the Royal Shakespeare Company, Mirren’s career has been heavily influenced by the works of legendary poet and playwright William Shakespeare. In this conversation with NYPL’s Paul Holdengraber, to help mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death, Mirren reflects on the legacy of the prolific playwright and his impact on her life.

May 10 2016

1hr 37mins

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Rank #14: Lawrence Krauss w/ Alan Alda. Reality, the Real Story

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A hilarious, confounding, perplexing, and thoroughly engrossing conversation between theoretical physicist Lawrence Krauss and actor Alan Alda. They came to the LIVE from the NYPL stage to discuss Krauss’s new book, The Greatest Story Ever Told…So Far: Why Are We Here?

Apr 25 2017

1hr 19mins

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Rank #15: Robert A. Caro & Frank Rich on Power & Corruption

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We’re bringing you a special talk with Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award-winning author Robert Caro, whose book “The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York” was hailed by Time magazine as one of the hundred top nonfiction books of all time, and is considered one of the most revealing biographies of the 20th century. In this conversation with essayist and columnist Frank Rich, Caro talks about power, corruption, and the men who shaped the urban landscape of modern-day New York City.

Apr 12 2016

47mins

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Rank #16: The Grand Budapest Hotel | Wes Anderson LIVE from the NYPL

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Wes Anderson's vivid cinematic aesthetic and idiosyncratic characters make his films both immediately recognizable and endearing. Anderson returns to LIVE to explore his passions, influences, and his newest film The Grand Budapest Hotel, in conversation with Paul Holdengräber.

Mar 03 2014

1hr 27mins

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Rank #17: Sliding Off the Couch with George Saunders

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Until recently, George Saunders  was best known for his short stories and essays. Then his first novel, Lincoln in the Bardo, won the 2017 Man Booker Prize. Saunders spoke with Paul Holdengräber about the book as well as the broader arc of his life and career, covering everything from comedy to fathers to Buddhism to reporting on Trump rallies.

Jun 12 2018

55mins

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Rank #18: Ben Lerner - 10:04

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The award-winning poet and author of the novel Leaving the Atocha Station brings his masterful command of words from the page to the stage, celebrating the start of LIVE's Fall 2014 season and his new book, 10:04.

Sep 26 2014

1hr 28mins

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Rank #19: Patti Smith on Authors She Loves

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Musician, writer and artist Patti Smith returns to the podcast this fall to discuss her new memoir “M Train,” a follow-up to her 2010 National Book Award-winning debut memoir, “Just Kids.” In a conversation with NYPL’s Paul Holdengraber, Smith talks about art, the city, and the experiences she’s gained during her prolific and eclectic career.

Oct 13 2015

1hr 7mins

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Rank #20: Phillip Glass, Words Without Music

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Philip Glass is a giant of twentieth-century American music, arguably of the most influential composers of his time. He spoke with LIVE from the NYPL’s Paul Holdengräber last June about his memoir "Words Without Music." It is a riveting record of a life very well lived, and a fascinating conversation with a legendary artist.

Jul 18 2017

1hr 22mins

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Stonewall 50: The Sound of Memory

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The Stonewall Riots were a flash point in LGBTQ history. After the riots that took place at the Stonewall Inn in June 1969, the LGBTQ civil rights movement went from handfuls of pioneering activists to a national movement mobilizing thousands.

On this special episode we’ll hear what happened over the nights of the riots through archival audio of iconic transgender rights activists Sylvia Rivera, Marsha P. Johnson, and Miss Major Griffin-Gracy. NYPL's Jason Baumann returns for an interview with pioneering photojournalist and gay rights activist Kay Tobin Lahusen. Plus stories from Eric Marcus' podcast Making Gay History, and the story of Stormé DeLarverie from the archives at The Schomburg Center

Also mentioned:

For more, listen to our previous episode “Before Stonewall” including an interview with writer and curator Hugh Ryan about his new book "When Brooklyn was Queer."

Jun 23 2019

49mins

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Before Stonewall

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Aidan Flax-Clark welcomes co-host Jason Baumann, Assistant Director for Collection Development and Coordinator of Humanities and the Library’s LGBTQ Initiative, for a special episode about queer life before the Stonewall Riots. 

Frank Collerius, Manager of the Jefferson Market branch at NYPL, interviews writer and curator Hugh Ryan about his new book 'when brooklyn was queer.' We also hear a reading of 'The How and Why of Virginia,' the personal story of Virginia Prince, the founder and editor of the magazine 'Transvestia,' read by actor LeLand Gantt.

Next week we'll hear what happened during those few days at the Stonewall Inn in 1969 from iconic transgender rights activists Sylvia Rivera, Marsha P. Johnson, and Miss Major. Jason Baumann returns for an interview with pioneering photojournalist and gay rights activist Kay Tobin Lahusen. Plus stories from Eric Marcus' podcast 'Making Gay History' and a story from the archives at The Schomburg Center.

Also mentioned:

-'The Stonewall Reader'

-The exhibit 'Love & Resistance: Stonewall 50'

Special Thanks to: The Transgender Archives at the University of Victoria in British Columbia, Canada for use of Virginia Prince's story.

Jun 16 2019

1hr

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Marlon James Gets Nerdy with Kevin Young

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Marlon James is a Jamaican novelist and winner of the Man Booker Prize. His recent book Black Leopard, Red Wolf is the first in a epic trilogy that blends myth, fantasy, and history—what James has described as "African Game of Thrones." He spoke with fellow fantasy and comic book fan, Kevin Young, who is a poet and the Director for the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. They talked about James' two years of research for the series, map making, Afrofuturism, and books they love, while unleashing their inner nerd.

Jun 09 2019

54mins

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A History of the Queer Press

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The Gay Liberation Front was an organization recognized for publishing the first gay liberation newspaper in the world,"Come Out!". It provided openly queer media exposure for many activists, writers, and artists. In conjunction with the NYPL exhibition Love & Resistance: Stonewall 50, founding members of the GLF, Perry Brass and Karla Jay, speak with media and activism scholar Michael Bronski, and Kathy Tu and Tobin Low, co-hosts of WNYC Studios’ podcast Nancy. They discussed the fight for inclusion in the media, the rise of the queer press in the 1960s and 70s, and the lasting impact of its legacy.

Jun 02 2019

1hr 3mins

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Erin Lee Carr and Ta-Nehisi Coates Remember David Carr

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Documentary filmmaker Erin Lee Carr remembers her father, legendary journalist David Carr, in a moving new memoir, "All That You Leave Behind." Erin Lee Carr, went looking for support and comfort in the lifetime of correspondence that they had shared. She was also looking for clues—advice the famous mentor, journalist, and father might have to offer on how to cope with her devastating loss, and continue on with her life and career. Erin Lee Carr will be joined by one of her father’s admiring mentees, Ta-Nehisi Coates, to discuss the legacy David Carr has left for his family, the journalistic community, and readers at large.

May 26 2019

54mins

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How Robert Caro Writes About Power and the Powerless

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At age 83, Robert Caro pulls back the curtains on his process, in his new book "Working." He also answers the question he is asked most often: why does it take him so long to write his books? Caro is the author of the Robert Moses biography "The Power Broker" and "The Years of Lyndon Johnson," The biographer, who has spent much time doing what he does best in the Allen Room of The New York Public Library, returns to share some stories of his own with William P. Kelly, The New York Public Library’s Andrew W. Mellon Director of the Research Libraries.

May 19 2019

1hr

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Breaking New Ground with Dr. Carla Hayden and Tracy K. Smith

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Dr. Carla Hayden is the 14th Librarian of Congress, the first African American and the first woman to hold this position. Tracy K. Smith is the 22nd Poet Laureate of the United States, and Director and Professor of Creative Writing at Princeton University. In a conversation with Schomburg Director, Kevin Young they discussed their work, the future of Black librarianship and the democratization of libraries

May 12 2019

45mins

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Jill Abramson and Jane Mayer's Insider Take on the News

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The former executive editor of "The New York Times" tells the story of the news industry in  her new book "Merchants of Truth."  Jill Abramson traces the past ten years of four major news outlets and their prospective futures in the face of rapidly changing technologies, shifting business models, and a president who almost daily assails the mainstream media as fake news. She spoke with long-time friend and colleague, investigative reporter Jane Mayer.

May 05 2019

59mins

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Eliza Griswold Uncovers the Human Cost of Fracking

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Journalist, Eliza Griswold just won a Pulitzer Prize and a Bernstein Award for her recent book,"Amity and Prosperity: One Family and the Fracturing of America." Even at its most basic level, the book is a fascinating story about the energy boom's relationship to the natural land. But it's also a moving portrait of a family—a resolute mother trying to care for her two children, sickened by the fracking fallout. Griswold sat down with NYPL's Gwen Glazer to talk about the making of this story, immersion journalism, and where things stand in rural America today.

Apr 28 2019

46mins

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Shane Bauer's Undercover Reporting from Inside a Private Prison

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Going undercover as a prison guard in Winnifield, Louisiana, journalist Shane Bauer exposes the brutality of for-profit private prison systems, and this country's history of outsourcing criminal punishment in his book "American Prison." This stunning work recently won NYPL's 2019 Bernstein Award for Excellence in Journalism. In this conversation with Aidan Flax-Clark, Bauer discusses the making of this book, the dangers of private prisons in the U.S., and his personal difficulties balancing his identities as a prison guard and reporter.

Apr 21 2019

45mins

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Emily Bazelon and Stacey Abrams talk Criminal Justice Reform

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In the search for meaningful criminal justice reform, are prosecutors one of the keys to change? In her new book, "Charged," journalist  Emily Bazelon argues that prosecutors play an "outsize role" in mass incarceration -- from choosing the charge to setting bail to determining the plea bargain. To discuss the issue, Bazelon was joined by Stacey Abrams, a lawyer, novelist and politician who in 2018 campaigned for criminal justice reform as a candidate in a historic race for governor in Georgia. 

Apr 14 2019

1hr 17mins

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Bending Reality with G. Willow Wilson

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G. Willow Wilson is a critically acclaimed novelist and co-creator of the first Muslim superhero with their own Marvel comic book series. Wilson's new book, The Bird King, is the story of a fantastical quest through the Iberian peninsula at the height of the Spanish Inquisition. She read from the novel and spoke with Hugo award-winning writer N. K. Jemisin about the power of imagining different worlds and how writing fantasy can expose reality.

Apr 07 2019

52mins

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Janet Napolitano Explains Homeland Security with Joe Biden

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Few people understand the state of our national security as well as Janet Napolitano and Joe Biden. Napolitano, former Dept. of Homeland Security Secretary and the first appointed by President Obama, has written about the subject in her new book,"How Safe Are We?" She spoke with Vice President Joe Biden, who—in addition to being Barack Obama's Vice President— chaired the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and sat on the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Terrorism, Technology and Homeland Security. “Homeland security is not only the job of the secretary or of the 240,000 professionals who work for the department,” says Napolitano, “it is everyone’s responsibility.”

Mar 31 2019

1hr 2mins

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Still Cringing After 'Cat Person'

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When "Cat Person" appeared in "The New Yorker" in December 2017, it quickly became a viral hit, striking a chord with readers at the height of the #MeToo Movement. People seemed surprised by the Internet popularity of a long form fiction story—including its author, Kristen Roupenian. "You Know You Want This" is Roupenian's highly anticipated debut collection of stories that, like "Cat Person," dwells in discomfort and is compulsively readable. "The New Yorker"'s fiction editor, Deborah Treisman, joined her for a conversation about why she chose "Cat Person" from a stack of other submissions, Roupenian's new book and plans for an upcoming horror film.

Mar 24 2019

35mins

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Paperback Crushin'

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The 1970s are sometimes hailed as the true dawn of young-adult literature, the decade when authors like Judy Blume and Lois Lowry showed that teen readers were worth taking seriously. Decades later, J.K. Rowling revolutionized YA, permanently broadening its appeal to adults. But teen fiction of the '80s and '90s is often ignored. Bustle editor and writer Gabrielle Moss has a soft spot in her heart for what she calls the genre's "intellectual dead zone"—the era of The Baby-sitters Club, Sweet Valley High, and so many more girl-centered series. In this interview with NYPL's Gwen Glazer, Moss discusses her new book "Paperback Crush," which makes the case for why the YA fiction of the '80s and '90s shouldn't be overlooked, and why it's so much fun to revisit.

Mar 17 2019

37mins

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Frankenstein: Our Dark Mirror

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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 the story helps us better understand ourselves, our humanity, and our future.

Mar 10 2019

54mins

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Marilynne Robinson: Liberalism and American Tradition Pt. II

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This week we're featuring part two of Marilynne Robinson's lecture on American society, government and economy titled "Liberalism and American Tradition." Robinson discusses our country's Puritan history  and how society constructs value, referencing a number of political philosophers and social reformers.

Mar 03 2019

46mins

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Marilynne Robinson: Liberalism and American Tradition Pt. I

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Marilynne Robinson is one of the most celebrated American writers—she won a Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and was awarded a National Humanities Medal from President Barack Obama, to name just a few of her accolades. She recently delivered a lecture on American Civilization and Government titled "Liberalism and American Tradition," which traces the origins of liberalism. Part two of the lecture will be released next week.

Feb 24 2019

45mins

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How to Make Black Lives Matter at School

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Despite the fact that New York City is one of the most diverse places in the country our school system is among the most segregated. As part of the nationwide campaign, Black Lives Matter at School Week, Schomburg Center's Associate Director of Education, Brian Jones organized a panel about this issue and how to challenge structural racism in schools. Featuring award-winning journalist, Nikole Hannah-Jones, public school teacher José Vilson, and two NYC high school student activists Xoya David and Joshua Brown.

Feb 17 2019

53mins

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Envisioning 'A People's Future of the United States'

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Howard Zinn’s seminal 1980 work "A People’s History of the United States" challenged dominant narratives of our country’s past by uncovering its darker truths; nearly 40 years later, a new collection of speculative fiction, "A People’s Future of the United States" challenges our visions of tomorrow. Like Zinn's work, this collection of stories centers on the experiences of traditionally marginalized communities. The collection's co-editor, Victor LaValle, speaks with four contributors— Maria Dahvana Headley, N.K. Jemisin, Alice Sola Kim, and Sam J. Miller—about the fantasies and projections for the future of the country.

Feb 10 2019

43mins

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iTunes Ratings

265 Ratings
Average Ratings
185
38
19
11
12

Great author interviews

By Nikkijohnson0919 - Sep 09 2018
Read more
Appreciate all the thoughtful interviews. Great bookish listen.

Thank you NYPL!

By KristyVO - Mar 30 2016
Read more
I love this podcast! So many intriguing conversations....