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The Spine is a podcast about the ways reading shapes how we think, love, and live. Each episode features an interview with a writer, thinker, or maker.

The Spine is a podcast about the ways reading shapes how we think, love, and live. Each episode features an interview with a writer, thinker, or maker.
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The Spine is a podcast about the ways reading shapes how we think, love, and live. Each episode features an interview with a writer, thinker, or maker.




Episode 51: Hanif Abdurraqib

Critic, poet, and essayist Hanif Abdurraqib remembers "sneak reading" Thomas Pynchon's novel "Gravity's Rainbow" as a freshman in high school, but he quickly grew out of hiding his passion for books. Later in high school, he read Shakespeare, and his musically inclined hear heard the meant-to-be-spoken rhythms in his plays. But music criticism is where he felt spoken to, specifically Lester Bangs, and it this writing that continues to influence his own. Show Notes:...


Episode 50: Paul Lisicky

Author Paul Lisicky's interview was recorded in 2016 when The Spine was a radio program on WHUP FM out of Hillsborough, North Carolina. He's the author of five books, including “The Narrow Door,” published by Graywolf Press in 2016. A New York Times Editor’s Choice, "The Narrow Door" was named one of the most exciting books of the year by Buzzfeed and one of the best books of the year by Shelf Awareness. Paul is working on a new book, which is coming out in 2020, also from Graywolf. It’s...


Episode 49: Lexi Freiman

A recipient of both the NYC Emerging Writer's Fellowship and an Aspen Words scholarship, author Lexi Freiman's reading life didn’t begin until she discovered plays. This makes perfect sense considering her passion for acting. In fact, Lexi worked as an actress with Australia’s national Shakespeare company before moving to New York in 2010, when she focused on writing. Her debut novel, “Inappropriation,” has been described by a reviewer as "intense, crackling, hilarious.” You could say...


Episode 48: Dana Schwartz

“I was such a massive reader when I was young, and it’s the books that I read as a child that stuck with me and went on to influence me the most.” Dana Schwartz is a correspondent at Entertainment Weekly, based in Los Angeles. She's written for The New Yorker, The Guardian, the New York Observer, Marie Claire, Glamour, Mic, GQ, VICE, and more. She is also the author of two books: a young adult novel entitled "And We're Off" and a memoir entitled "Choose Your Own Disaster.” Head over to the...


Episode 47: Tobias Carroll

Tobias Caroll is the author of the novel "Reel," which was named one of 2016's best books by Nylon, and the collection "Transitory." During the recording of this episode, Tobias was doing a short residency on Governor's Island, and he’s the managing editor of Vol.1 Brooklyn. The list of books and writers that he sent me before we spoke was long and varied — but as we spoke, a couple of themes presented themselves. See a list of all the books he mentions at


Episode 30: Ken Ilgunas

Ken literally trespassed across America to walk the proposed route of the Keystone XL pipeline, and then he wrote about it. He also lived in his van to save money while getting a degree at Duke University. He wrote about that, too. But we talk about reading. Turns out, there's ample reading time each night when you're walking 1,700 miles.


Episode 28: Paul Lisicky

Paul Lisicky is the author of five books, including “The Narrow Door,” which was published by Graywolf Press in January 2016. In it, Paul arranges a collage of scenes and images drawn from two long-term relationships, one with a woman novelist and the other with his ex-husband, a poet. Here, Paul talks about the writers who have affected him most, including Flannery O’Connor, Nick Flynn and Maggie Nelson.


Episode 27: Jensen Beach

Jensen Beach’s book of short stories, "Swallowed by the Cold," was published earlier this year by Graywolf Press, AND in eighth grade, he was named Best English Student. Both are, well, kind of a big deal. We talk about reading along with records (turn the page when you hear the chime!), his early obsession with Michael Crichton, and how reading is now a kind of looking under the hood — to see how stories are made.


Episode 25: Lee Smith

Shortly after publishing her memoir, "Dimestore: A Writer's Life," Lee came to the studios of WHUP FM 104.7 in Hillsborough, North Carolina (just 2 blocks from her home), to tell some of the same stories. After all, a writer's life begins as a reader's life.