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 it really means to create a list of "best" books, and professional development for library staff members.
Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief by Lawrence Wright
Bad Blood Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou
Kiss Number 8 by Colleen A.F. Venable
Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino
The Woodstock Library in the Bronx
ASMR, or autonomous sensory meridian response
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 Ramos
Emily Blunt and the rest of the cast going down the bathtub slide!
Everything Doris Day
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.
City of Night by John Rechy
City Boy: My Life in New York during the 1960s and 70s (and more books) by Edmund White
The History and Practices of Hatha Yoga by James Mallinson
Kay Tobin Lahusen's photographs in our Archives & Manuscripts Division
Jason's first appearance on The Librarian Is In (episode 2!)
And check out more of the exhibition and the rest of the Library's Stonewall coverage at nypl.org/stonewall50.
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.
Magical Negro by Morgan Parker
If They Come for Us by Fatimah Ashgar
Feminism Is for Everybody: Passionate Politics by bell hooks
"won't you celebrate with me" by Lucille Clifton
"Final Notations" by Adrienne Rich can be found in her collection, An Atlas of the Difficult World
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.
Gingerbread by Helen Oyeyemi
The recent Pulitzer Prize-winning book, Amity and Prosperity: One Family and the Fracturing of America by Eliza Griswold
The Netflix series "Working Moms"
The network TV show "The Rookie"
Our Poetry Bonanza has arrived! In this episode --titled to pay homage to Frank's favorite Emily Dickinson stanza-- he and Gwen get to read and hear poetry recommendations from their listeners.
Listener Poetry Recommendations:
"My Mother Says I am Sickening" in The New Kid On the Block: Poems by Jack Prelutsky
“Good Hot Dogs” by Sandra Cisneros in A Family of Poems: My Favorite Poems for Children by Caroline Kennedy
"Why I Am Not a Good Kisser" in Selected Poem by Mary Ruefle
"Kal" in If They Come for Us by Fatima Asghar
The title poem in What the Living Do: Poems by Marie Howe
"What Resembles the Grave But Isn't" by Anne Boyer
IRL by Tommy Pico
The title poem in Inventory by Dionne Brand
"I want a dyke for president" by Zoe Leonard
"Girls of the Wild" in Wild Embers by Nakita Gill
"Fold" in You & Yours by Naomi Shihab Nye
"Scientific Romance" by Tim Pratt
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.
Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata, translated from the Japanese by Ginny Tapley Takemori
Sarah Berman's Closet by Maira Kalman
Bad Blood by John Carreyrou
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 reader with a new baby. Plus: Frank channels Supernanny! Again.
Cesearian Section: An American History of Risk, Technology and Consequence by Jaqueline H. Wolf
The New York Times article on cute aggression—why you want to squish and eat that baby!
In the Witch Elm by Tana French
The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman
Happyland by J. Robert Lennon
Angela Garbes' article, "The More I Learn About Breast Milk, the More Amazed I Am"
Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren, illustrated by Lauren Childs
Bull by David Elliott
Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey
Greek mythology and contemporary fiction join forces this week! Gwen and Frank read two books that make readers ask, what would you do—or, what should you do?
Golden Child by Claire Adam
The audiobook of Welcome to the Goddamn Ice Cube: Chasing Fear and Finding Home in the Great White North by Blair Braverman
A House for Mr. Biswas by V.S. Naipaul
Mythology by Edith Hamilton
The Odyssey , translated by Emily Wilson
On the Come Up by Angie Thomas
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.
New Kid by Jerry Craft
The Music of What Happens by Bill Konigsberg
"The Prom," a musical now playing on Broadway (LOTS of dancing!)
Have a laugh with the podcast "Throwing Shade"
And look back at episodes of "Gilmore Girls... still so enjoyable.
Go the Way Your Blood Beats: On Truth, Bisexuality and Desire by Michael Amherst
The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai
Hurricaine Child by Kheryn Callender
Julián Is a Mermaid by Jessica Love
Five, Six, Seven, Nate! by Tim Federle
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.
Audre Lorde and Pat Parker were close friends who fought fiercely for social justice. In this episode, Frank and Gwen discuss a powerful book of letters between the two Black feminist poets.
Sister Love: The Letters of Audre Lorde and Pat Parker 1974-1989, ed. by Julie Ensure
More by Audre Lorde and Pat Parker:
The Complete Works of Pat Parker, ed. by Julie Enszer
Zami: A New Spelling of My Name by Audre Lorde
The Collected Poems of Audre Lorde includes the poem "Power" mentioned in the epsiode.
I Am Your Sister: Collected and Unpublished Writings of Audre Lorde includes the essay "There is No Heriarchy of Oppression"
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.
Roxanne's Book Recommendation
A Drinking Life by Pete Hamill
Lucky by Alice Sebold
Bastard Out of Carolina by Dorothy Allison
The Common Good by Robert Reich
Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl
Embers by Sándor Márai
You can visit Roxanne's bookstore, RJ Julia, in Madison, Conneticuit and check out one of their events. And definitely have a listen to her podcast Just the Right Book for more book recommendations and interviews with a wide-range of authors and guests. (Including Frank and Gwen!)
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.
The Heavens by Sandra Newman
Check out the new Netflix series "Russian Doll," and you'll obsess over it too!
And watch "Happy Death Day" for more time loops, laughs and life on other planes.
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.
Guest: Meredith Mann, Librarian for Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books at NYPL
You can learn more about the Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division here. Also check out Meredith's blog posts to discover more about NYPL's living artifacts. There is even one on marcas del fuego (marks of fire) and the Mexico City imprint that is discusssed in this episode.
Meredith's Book Recommendation
Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James
... 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
The pure and consuming joy of Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again
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.
Anne Frank's Diary: The Graphic Adaptation, adapted by Ari Folman and illustrated by David Polonsky
Sandhya Menon's Twitter post that helped Gwen understand how people feel when you mispronounce their names.
Frank and Gwen celebrate the life and work of Mary Oliver by reading a handful of her poems and doing something she might approve of—letting it all go and singing about dogs.
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!
Some books with deaths we've mourned:
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 Gay
The Mere Wife by Maria Dahvana Headley
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.