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
Book synergy abounds with two titles that explore the sometimes dark, sometimes funny, sometimes supernatural relationship between parents and children. Plus, a listener question about "leisure reading" proves to be more complicated than it first seems. Books Discussed: Lanny by Max Porter A Life's Work: On Becoming a Mother by Rachel Cusk
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.
A look at how some libraries reflect the communities they're a part of through their special collections. Plus, Gwen's son weighs in on a children's book with some very un-scary dragons and Frank dives into some-mind bending stories about alternate realities and the nature of consciousness. This weeks titles: Rise of the Earth Dragon by Tracey West Exhalation by Ted Chiang
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.
Do you dog-ear? Use bookmarks or sticky notes? Write notes in margins? Or do you—heaven forbid—underline? We delve deep into the ethical implications of leaving your mark on library books. Plus: two new summer reads and one musical cue. Suggest Hot Topix(TM) or tell us what you think about summer reading! Email podcasts[at]nypl.org or call 507-NYPL-LIB.
To prequel or not to prequel? Frank and Gwen debate the new installment of the Hunger Games franchise and two very different books about life in two very different places. Suggest Hot Topix(TM) or tell us what you think about summer reading! Email podcasts[at]nypl.org or call 507-NYPL-LIB.
What's the opposite of a book slump? We're calling it a flare, and Gwen is on one. She and Frank have a flurry of adult book recommendations, from dystopian novels to innovative science fiction. What we are reading now The Female Persuasion by Meg Wolitzer Red Clocks by Leni Zumas Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi Semiosis by Sue Burke Neverworld Wake by Marisha Pessl The Sparsholt Affair by Alan Hollinghurst
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. Peyton Place by Grace Metalious More Peyton Place... TV and film available from the Library Unbuttoning America A Biography of Peyton Place by Ardis Cameron The Vanity Fair essay about Metalious that we mentioned Her NYT obituary If you liked this episode, check out our first TLII/Overdue collab: "Lord of the Guys," back in January 2017!
This week we take you back to our first-ever live show, recorded in Frank's very own Jefferson Market Library! Gwen and Frank talk to Eric Klinenberg, sociologist and author of a new book about libraries and social infrastructure. Plus: the audience offers an invaluable assist during the guessing game.
It's the first-ever Reading Challenge episode! Gwen and Frank assigned books to each other to read and discuss on the air. Hijinks ensue...
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling
Ava Gardner: 'Love Is Nothing' by Lee Server
This episode is brought to you by our soon-to-be-rival podcast, dreamed up by YA librarian Crystal Chen—who's also this week's guest! All rights reserved by her! We talk musicals, poetry, what is really means to create a list of "best" books, and professional development for library staff members.
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.
Dr. Carla Hayden sits down with Gwen and Frank to discuss what it really means to lead the Library of Congress—which, by the way, isn't only FOR Congress. Plus: lessons she learned from storytime, how she organizes her home library, and the first time she ever saw herself reflected in a book.
It's the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, and Jason Baumann—NYPL curator and Grand Marquessa of All Things Stonewall—joins Gwen and Frank to discuss the Library's new anthology about the uprising and its role in the LGBTQ civil rights movement. And then he walks us through some yoga breathing, and it's legit.
Aminatou Sow, writer and co-host of the popular podcast "Call Your Girlfriend," talks with Gwen and Frank about poetry, the mental treadmill of the Internet, and her childhood best friend: the librarian.
What makes a place home? Frank follows a book rec from a listener and discovers a powerful memoir that makes him rethink the American dream. Gwen's book is a new fairytale retelling... sort of... that involves feudalism and magical gingerbread and... well, maybe you should just have a listen.
Gwen and Frank meet a handful of characters who aren't bothered by what other people think. Plus: the pros and cons of reading reviews, the extra voice in translations, and the no-person's-land between picture books and middle-grade fiction.
How on earth can you read when you have a newborn? Stephanie Anderson—a new mom and a professional book selector for NYPL and the Brooklyn Public Library—comes to talk about the shifting habits of a readers with a new baby. Plus: Frank channels Supernanny! Again.
Okay, what's the deal with librarians and musical theater? This week's guest, newly minted children's librarian Kevin Kelley, traces his origin story back to the stage. He also discusses kids' books about the queer experience and offers up a brand-new first for the guessing game.
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.
Get rowdy with Roxanne Coady, indie bookstore owner and host of the Just the Right Book podcast. Roxanne finds common ground with Frank and Gwen, talking about places where people seek connection and community with books at their heart.
Gwen's quest to learn more about Carol Channing took both her and Frank to a place where divas and dames truly reign- Broadway! Plus: Frank's book taps into the cultural obsession with visiting the past (repeatedly) to figure out the future, leading us into the arms of "Russian Doll" creator Natasha Lyonne.
Books have lives too! Frank and Gwen take a break from talking about the words on the page and get into the stories of items in NYPL's archives. In this specially curated tour, meet the Mary Poppins doll that made peace between author and illustrator, hear about a woman spymaster during the Civil War, and find out what limp vellum is. Plus: Nancy Drew has a secret.
... or the joy of evolution? Frank's book traces the whole history of humankind and Gwen's is a short narrative about big changes. Plus: You can't talk about joy without talking about Christine Baranski. It's the law.
Speak No Evil by Uzodinma Iweala
Sapiens: A brief history of humankind by Yuval Noah Harari
Book synergy abounds! Frank rediscovers Anne Frank's diary in a newly released graphic novel, Gwen becomes obsessed with a group of time-traveling historians, and everyone absorbs the small details of day-to-day lives during World War II.
Have you ever truly grieved over the loss of someone in a book? Together with Eric Molinsky, host of the Imaginary Worlds podcast, Frank and Gwen dive into the psychology of readers' responses to character deaths. Don't worry, it's not as depressing as it sounds! Maybe!
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.
Glory Edim, creator of the coolest book club on the Internet, joins Frank and Gwen to discuss book clubs and beyond! They talk about Well-Read Black Girl, empowered storytelling, the potentials and pitfalls of making book recommendations, Black writers in the diaspora and the canon... and focusing on the things that unite us all. Happy new year, friends!
Aca-scuse me? It's an impromptu celebration of our favorite feel-good a capella movie... and, oh yeah, some book recommendations, too. Frank goes for a soul-searching memoir about spirituality and religion, and Gwen suggests a fantastical flipbook for kids.
Welcome to our first-ever live show, recorded in Frank's very own Jefferson Market Library! Gwen and Frank talk to Eric Klinenberg, sociologist and author of a new book about libraries and social infrastructure. Plus: the audience offers an invaluable assist during the guessing game.
Aristotle famously (er, probably) said that anger is a gift, and Gwen's been given one this year: Rebecca Traister's book about the power of women's rage, "Good and Mad." Plus, Frank finds more presents in The New Yorker archives and NYPL announces its year-end Best Books lists.
We're obsessed with libraries loaning unconventional items: seeds, toys, tools, clothes, games, museum passes... and sculptures. Local artist Wendy Richmond joins Gwen and Frank to talk about her work and her new installation, which encouraged patrons to take home her incredible sculptures of her own hands. Check out our live show on Dec. 4! Frank and Gwen will be talking to Eric Klinenberg, author of Palaces for the People, at Frank's own Jefferson Market Library! Tuesday, Dec. 4, at 6:30 p.m. -- click here for all the details.
Whether you're cooking turkey for 20 or opting out of Thanksgiving entirely, books about food are always in season. Frank and Gwen talk about their favorite cookbooks and chef memoirs with NYPL's resident foodie, Jeanne Hodesh, and offer some family recipes of their very own. Check out our live show on Dec. 4! Food memoirs: The Tenth Muse: My Life in Food by Judith Jones Memories of a Lost Egypt by Colette Rossant Blood, Bones, & Butter by Gabrielle Hamilton Cooking for Mr. Latte by Amanda Hesser The audiobooks of Anthony Bourdain Tender at the Bone, Comfort Me with Apples, and Garlic and Sapphires by Ruth Reichel More recommendations: The Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen (and the Moosewood archives at Cornell University Library) Fannie Farmer cookbooks The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri Salt Fat Acid Heat And few more books that Jeanne wanted to mention: My Soul Looks Back by Jessica B. Harris Consider the Oyster and Long Ago in France by MFK Fisher My Life in France byJulia Child
What makes a good story time? Anthony Murisco, youth librarian extraordinaire, joins Frank and Gwen to talk all things kids and books. Plus: everyone's favorite lazy cartoon cat, a true stumper of a guessing game, and a flurry of pop-culture recommendations. In This Episode: Anthony's library: The Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library NLS: The National Library Service for the blind and physically handicapped A book Anthony likes for storytime: Jump by David McPhail NYPL's Best Books for Kids and Teens and Anthony's 2017 list with Bookshare links "Book That Talk and Books You Touch": Jill Rothstein's TLII episode about technology for print-disabled patrons Kris Jenner... and All Things Kardashian (and her cookbook) Fake Blood by Whitney Gardner Jabberwalking by Juan Felipe Herrera The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina by Roberto Aguierre-Sacasa (and RIVERDALE!) Garfield: The Complete Works, 1978-1979 (coming soon to the Library!) DinosaurDracula.com Macy's Thanksgiving Day parades on YouTube The Grinch Menu at iHop Golden Girls Pez
A library podcast about a book about libraries? Sign us up! Frank goes meta this week with an in-depth review of Susan Orlean's new page-turner, and and Gwen sees an author of children's classics in a new light.
It's almost Election Day. Do you know where your voting rights are? Christopher Famighetti, professor at Jefferson Market University, joins Frank and Gwen for an in-depth convo about voting — and what libraries have to do with it. Plus: a different take on Tolstoy and the surreal films of Luis Buñuel.
Gwen and Frank tackle a near-future dystopian novel about space colonization and a sobering work of journalism about the fallacy of modern philanthropy. Plus: why pho is objectively the best food ever.
Frank and Gwen are all about feminist texts this week. They go back in time with the classic short story, "The Yellow Wallpaper" — which is also NYPL's newest Insta Novel — and then hit the present (hard) with "Red Clocks." In between, there's a beautiful picture book for kids. Plus: Frank figures out a literary puzzle.
When we asked our book experts about books that changed their lives, we fell in love with their picks — and we wanted you to hear what they had to say, in their own voices. Plus: Frank and Gwen add their own childhood game-changers. Check out the full list: 40 Books that Changed Librarians' Lives
Gwen and Frank discover two very different alternate worlds that speak to our present times. Their seemingly mismatched books offer stellar writing with clever takes on fantasy, bold dystopias and some serious cringe-worthy identity politics.
Rosa Caballero-Li, manager of Ask NYPL, has all the answers! Rosa tells Frank and Gwen about the ins, outs, ups, and downs of the Library's multifaceted reference service, staffed by real-live human people. Plus: a story within a story presents some guessing game twists.
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.
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: My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout Anything is Possible by Elizabeth Strout
Frank and Gwen get a visit from BridgeUP, NYPL's holistic academic support program for NYC teens. They talk to a teen scholar and program leader about this unique library initiative, what students want and need outside the classroom, and everything that goes into getting them where they want to go in life. Discussed this week: BridgeUp's podcast on Latino stereotypes Fierce Conversations by Susan Scott 1984 by George Orwell The new HBO series "Random Acts of Flyness" BridgeUp's podcast on Latino stereotypes
Answer: anything! Frank and Gwen discuss why for-profit businesses cannot and should not take libraries' place in society. Plus, recommendations for two small books that contain very big worlds. Book Recommendations Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating by Elizabeth Tova Bailey The Autobiography of Red by Anne Carson Oleg Kagan's opinion piece about how libraries are not companies, and more information about Forbes deleting the original op-ed. The best way to support this podcast is with a gift to The New York Public Library. Click here to donate.
It's our third annual Summer Reading Challenge! This year, Frank and Gwen picked America Is Not the Heart, a debut novel by Elaine Castillo, about language and love and revolution and family and the meaning of home—it's about everything, and it's incredible.
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?)
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
The film Shadow of a Doubt
We're 100 episodes old! Frank and Gwen mark their centennial by responding to listener messages and revisiting some favorite themes. Plus: a list of our favorite episodes for new (or new-ish) listeners.
It's time again for our Summer Reading Challenge! In this mini-episode, Frank and Gwen pick a book to dive into together and invite you to read along with them, so place those library holds for a copy of "America Is Not the Heart" by Elaine Castillo. Discussion to air August 9!
Gwen is so moved by one of the three poems she brings to the studio that she can't even read it (she tried!). And Frank is transported by a novel about a marriage in Nigeria he can't NOT talk about it. Plus: the perils of social media and why Frank feels he is pretty much free of FOMO. Frank's Book Recommendation Stay With Me by Ayobami Adebayo You can also listen to the author discuss this book on the NYPL podcasts here. Gwen's Poetry Recommendations “Airplanes” by Maggie Smith, in the Spring/Summer issue of Ninth Letter “Ghazal: America the Beautiful” by Alicia Ostriker, and the Dear Poet video series of her reading her own work "Wild Geese" by Mary Oliver
Gwen and Frank discover some surprising pieces of family history when Rhonda Evans, Electronic Resources Librarian at NYPL, arrives in the studio with a pile of documents and connects the dots from long-ago paper trails. Plus: Guessing game shenanigans.
Dr. Shayne Figueroa joins Frank and Gwen to discuss books and food nostalgia, Amish soul food (it's a thing!), and how NYC's free school lunch program is attempting to lift an age-old stigma. Plus: Frank's secret childhood eating habits and another guessing-game stumper.
Frank and Gwen revisit the recent Booker Prize winner, Lincoln in the Bardo, as Frank gets serious about the afterlife and our understanding of history. Then Gwen turns the studio in a sauna with a gay Regency romance packed with period details and subplots that add depth to the steamy novel.
Gwen and Frank get a visit from Elisa Garcia, Supervising Librarian of Teen Services at the Bronx Library Center, who brings the guessing-game drama and recommendations galore. Plus: Elisa talks about moving to and growing up in the Bronx, the global influence of '90s hip-hop, and all around back-in-the-day coolness.
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.
Saraciea Fennell, founder of the Bronx Book Festival, joins Frank and Gwen to talk about bringing this event to the borough and the line-up for this weekend. Plus: how Saraciea found her way into the publishing world, zombies, Jane Austen, and a whole bunch of her favorite children's, YA, and fantasy reads.
What happens when you tap the musical talents of NYPL's librarians? Frank and Gwen get to relive their professional recording cameos with Sean Ferguson, manager of Chatham Square Library and a driving force behind the Library's new album for kids.
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.
Frank and Gwen's discussion with Dan Kois on Angels in America continues (an epic conversation in two parts!) Plus: a trip to The New York Public Library of Performing Arts in the Upper West Side. Doug Reside, Curator of the Billy Rose Theatre Division, gives a tour of the collections and pulls out some Angels ephemera to help put the play in its historical context.
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.
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.
Frank and Gwen headed to Philadelphia and brought home the sights, sounds, and book recommendations of the Public Library Association's 2018 conference. Plus, hard-hitting journalism: Is breakfast the most important meal of a librarian's day?
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.
Frank and Gwen chat with New York Times Features Reporter, Steven Kurutz about his recent Literary Hub essay, "In Praise of the Small Town Library." It's part coming-of-age story, part love letter to his hometown library in Renovo, Pennsylvania. Plus: book rituals, a wild non-book recommendation, and the enduring charm of an unconventional librarian.
Fred and Barney... er, Frank and Gwen are reading books with different approaches to the same question: Who are you and what do you want out of life? (This episode has nothing to do with The Flintstones after the first 30 seconds, but the puns cannot be denied.)
Actor Sharon Washington joins us to talk about her one-woman play "Feeding the Dragon," based on her experience growing up inside a New York Public Library branch in the 1970s. She tells us about her childhood in the library after hours, and what it's like to share her story on stage. Plus: horror movie recs, and getting judgy on "Law and Order."
RuthAnn Deveney from the Diverse Books Club gives us a behind-the-scenes look at her group's themes and book picks, her love of spreadsheets, and her Philly-specific sandwich recommendations. Plus: What will Frank say (or not say) when he goes on The View?
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.
Gwen asks, "Is this poem about God?" and Frank is (nearly) brought to tears as they untangle the divine and the bawdy (and naughty) in two John Donne poems. Luckily Dr. Carolyn Broomhead joins them for some much needed poetry therapy. Together they traverse language, imagery and the backstory of the divine Dr. D.
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.
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!
IS Margaret Atwood a bad feminist? Yeeeeeesh, we don't know. Frank and Gwen talk about the allegations against Aziz Ansari and then, thankfully, move onto books: nonfiction about young immigrants from El Salvador and a novel about a sci-fi dating experiment. Also, help us out by taking our survey at nypl.org/podcastsurvey!
This week, Gwen and Frank take on books ranging from the collapse of modern civilization to a murder "how-done-it" told exclusively from the point of view of a perspicacious fetus.
Get the full list of books discussed at www.nypl.org/podcast.
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.
Pam Nogales, a Ph.D. candidate at New York University, joins Gwen and Frank to talk about her newest class for Jefferson Market University—the free classes at Jefferson Market that are taught by college professors and open to everyone. They talk the history of politically radical immigrants in America, play the guessing game, and much more.
Gwen and Frank take on "Cat Person," the New Yorker story that turned the Internet upside down, and make some book recs based on its tone and subject.
Get a full rundown of episodes and links to the books discussed at www.nypl.org/podcast.
Spoiler alert: They barely exist! Frank and Gwen talk to librarian and advocate Angie Manfredi about the missing fat kids (and adults) in literature, the importance of body diversity in books, and the danger of creating a monolith of marginalized voices.
Settle in with your turducken and check out our 2017 Best Books for Kids and Teens! Take a deep dive into NYPL's annual lists, with committee members Grace Yamada and Grace Dwyer debating their favorites and recommending titles. Get links and the full list of episodes at www.nypl.org/podcast
New NYPL librarian Jenny Chisnell joins the show to talk artist books, The New York Book Fair, and enough of her extraordinarily varied interests and recommendations that Gwen and Frank are immediately exhausted!
Find links to the books discussed and back episodes at www.nypl.org/podcast.
Frank and Gwen traverse the globe and beyond this week, with two dystopian YA books about life on other planets and a memoir about international travel, journalism, and feminism. Plus: Banned Books Week and, yes, Belinda Carlisle.