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: 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 #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: Books on the Subway
This week it's Frank and Gwen's turn in the hot seat. They recently joined the Books on the Subway Podcast with Hollie and Rosy for a discussion about all things books and libraries, and we're bringing you that episode this week. Make sure to check them out at www.booksonthesubway.com.
Sep 05 2019
Rank #5: Bunny, I Love You!
Frank and Gwen do a deep dive into their summer reading pick, Mona Awad's new novel, Bunny—a dark satirical take on female friendship, loneliness, desire, and creative writing MFA programs. Alert: spoilers! tons of 'em!
Tell us what everybody's talking about in your world of books and libraries! Suggest Hot Topix(TM) by email or voice memo to podcasts[at]nypl.org or call 507-NYPL-LIB.
Aug 08 2019
Rank #6: 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 #7: Hard-boiled Noir
Frank dives into the dark and depraved world of noir, explains the basics of the genre and delivers a saucy read from one of his favorite books. Gwen does some detective work herself, taking us on her journey of a book rec that takes a dark turn of it's own! Plus: radio drama, man tears, and some classic YA literature.
Apr 05 2018
Rank #8: Bedtime Stories
Gwen and Frank share books recs for bedtime—good reads for kids of all ages and one read that's definitely for grown-ups only... Plus, if you're at the Public Librarians Association Conference in Philadelphia (March 22nd-23rd) come find Frank and Gwen for even more talk about reading recs, pick up some podcast swag and share what books are stacked up on on your bedside table! Friday March 23rd at 11am and 2pm in the PLA Press Room in the Convention Center, 3rd level, Room 303 A.
Mar 22 2018
Rank #9: What Makes a Good Beach Read?
We're finding our midsummer vacation reading groove! Gwen is spectacularly awed by a debut novel and Frank gets drawn into a thriller (with a dash of reader real-estate jealousy).
Our Book Recommendations
"There There" by Tommy Orange
"One Dark Throne" by Kendare Blake
Transcription by Kate Atkinson
"The Incendiaries" by R.O. Kwan
"The Woman in the Window" by A.J. Finn
Frank: The film "Shadow of a Doubt"
Gwen: These seriously comfortable boxer briefs
Jul 26 2018
Rank #10: New Yaaawk Stories
All the complexities of the city so nice, they named it twice! Frank goes deep into nostalgia territory, digging up childhood memories, classic accents, and urban anxieties. Gwen follows with a real-life tale of greed and gumption at a famed NYC hedge fund.
Feb 15 2018
Rank #11: #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 #12: Childhood Game-Changers
Sep 27 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: How Many Hats Can a Librarian Wear?
Books and reading are the foundation of any library but your local librarian is doing so much more: computer help, test prep and yes, even knitting. This week, Gwen and Frank talk to Erin Horanzy, an Adult Programming Librarian at NYPL's Francis Martin Library in the Bronx. Enjoy!
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Jan 25 2018
Rank #15: 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 #16: Don't Shush Me!
It's World Read Aloud Day, and Gwen and Frank are hearing voices from ghosts and robots. But they still manage to keep it together to recommend some books and play an extra round of their guessing game.
Feb 01 2018
Rank #17: 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 #18: 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 #19: The Great Work Begins
Dan Kois is a writer and editor for Slate. His recent book is called "The World Only Spins Forward: The Ascent of Angels in America." It's a collection of oral histories, beautifully arranged by Kois and his co-author, Isaac Butler. Together they interviewed nearly 250 people about the iconic Pulitzer Prize-winning play—directors, producers, and actors from Broadway to small town theatre productions. Kois talks to Gwen and Frank about creating the book, the enduring impact of Angles in America, and getting the inside scoop from Tony Kushner himself.
Apr 12 2018
Rank #20: It's Not You, Book, It's Me
Frank confesses his sometimes-complicated relationship with certain books and his bouts of book insecurity. Plus: What happens when Frank and Gwen serendipitously read the same book around the same time but don't quite remember it the same way? And an unpublished work from the early 1930s finallly gets the recognition it deserves.
May 24 2018