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The New York Public Library’s podcast about books, culture, and what to read next.

The New York Public Library’s podcast about books, culture, and what to read next.
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New York, NY


The New York Public Library’s podcast about books, culture, and what to read next.








When Escape Leads You Back to Reality

Gwen and Frank discover two very different alternate worlds that speak to our present times. Their seemingly mismatched books offer stellar writing and clever takes on fantasy, dystopias and cringe-worthy identity politics. Plus: Frank has some, um... words for the author of his book. Book Recommendations Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik Adjustment Day by Chuck Palahniuk


Thanks for Asking

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. Need assistance? Have a question? Get in touch with Ask NYPL. Book Recommendation Her Body and Other Parties: Stories by Carmen Maria Machado Non-Book Recommendations "Lots of People Love ‘To Kill A Mockingbird.’ Roxane...


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. Book Recommendations "NYT: If You Could Add One Book to the High School Curriculum, What Would It Be?" Binti by Nnedi Okorafor Bull by David Elliott The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak The City and the City by China Miéville The...


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: My Name is Lucy BartonAnything is Possible


Teens Take Charge

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...


Guess What SHOULDN'T Replace Libraries?

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...


America Is Not The Heart

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.


May I Remove Your Preconceived Notions?

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?) Anne's Recommendations Social Intercourse by Greg Howard The Wicked and the Wallflower by Sarah Maclean Unmasked by the Marquess and It Takes Two to Tumble by Cat Sebastian My Oxford Year by Julia Whelan (for those who love Me Before You by Jojo...


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 Non-Book Recommendations Frank: The film "Shadow of a Doubt" Gwen: These seriously comfortable boxer briefs


Memory Lane

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.


On Your Mark, Get Set...

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!


You Can't Always Get What You Want

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...


Help Me, Rhonda!

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.


Border Stories

Frank and Gwen share thoughts and reading recommendations about immigration, families, and children at the border. Plus: Frank asks what-if and Gwen ponders three recent books on motherhood.


Crossing Food Boundaries

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.​


May I Remove Your Cravat?

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.


Call Me, Jason Reynolds

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.


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.


The Bronx Gets a New Book Festival

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.


Gwen's Book Flare

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.