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Book Dreams

Author: Eve Yohalem and Julie Sternberg / The Podglomerate

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Book Dreams is a podcast for everyone who loves books and misses English class. In each episode co-hosts Julie Sternberg and Eve Yohalem explore a book-related topic they can’t stop thinking about, everything from the genius of your favorite picture books to books bound in human skin. Julie and Eve are both award-winning authors, which allows them to come at interviews with an insider’s knowledge as well as all the wonder associated with storytelling. 


Book Dreams is brought to you by The Podglomerate and is a member of Lit Hub Radio. New episodes run every Thursday.


Find Book Dreams on Twitter (@bookdreamspod) and Instagram (@bookdreamspodcast), or email contact@bookdreamspodcast.com.


Visit our website and sign up for our newsletter for information about our episodes, guests, and more.

147 Episodes
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Why, oh why, does Eve make Julie take on questions that no person on the planet wants to be forced to think through out loud on air? (Three guesses who wrote this description.) The question this time: Is there free will? Julie's answer: ....  Never mind. Skip Julie's answer and go straight to Eve's discussion of what professor of biology and neuroscience Robert Sapolsky has to say on the topic in his latest book, Determined, A Life of Science Without Free Will. Then stay for talk of additional books Eve and Julie have read and enjoyed recently, including Sarah Polley's memoir, Run Towards the Danger, which Julie found particularly thought-provoking and memorable and Eve now wants to read, too. Find us on Instagram (@bookdreamspodcast), or email us at contact@bookdreamspodcast.com. We encourage you to visit our website and sign up for our newsletter for information about our episodes, guests, and more. Book Dreams is a part of Lit Hub Radio and the Podglomerate network, a company that produces, distributes, and monetizes podcasts. For more information on how The Podglomerate treats data, please see our Privacy Policy. Since you’re listening to Book Dreams, we’d like to suggest you also try other Podglomerate shows about literature, writing, and storytelling like Storybound and The History of Literature. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Our theme for this episode is book connections—times when one book leads us to thoughts of another or inspires us to read further. It’s one of our very favorite aspects of reading: escaping into the world of one book, then tying it together with the world of another. Eve talks about two pairs of books—one of her all-time favorites, one a new discovery, and two that are “absolutely delicious”—all connected by a common theme, and, despite being in a terrible reading slump, Julie’s found a veritable web of book connections, thanks to an all-time great mystery writer. Find us on Instagram (@bookdreamspodcast), or email us at contact@bookdreamspodcast.com. We encourage you to visit our website and sign up for our newsletter for information about our episodes, guests, and more. Book Dreams is a part of Lit Hub Radio and the Podglomerate network, a company that produces, distributes, and monetizes podcasts. For more information on how The Podglomerate treats data, please see our Privacy Policy. Since you’re listening to Book Dreams, we’d like to suggest you also try other Podglomerate shows about literature, writing, and storytelling like Storybound and The History of Literature. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
It's been a long time since you've seen an author interview here on Book Dreams, but we were recently given the chance to interview Roz Chast, and who could possibly say no to that?! Roz is a beloved New Yorker cartoonist with a style all her own, and Eve and Julie have both been big fans of her work for decades. She is as funny, insightful, and distinctive in person as she is in her drawings, and it was a joy to get to speak with her. Take a listen to hear about everything from her latest book, in which she illustrates her dream world; to what it's like to submit cartoons and cover art to The New Yorker; to the role anxiety plays in her cartoons and in her life. Roz Chast is a cartoonist for The New Yorker and has published more than a thousand cartoons in the magazine since 1978. She is also the author of a number of books, including Going Into Town, What I Hate from A to Z, and the #1 New York Times bestseller Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant, which won the National Book Critics Circle award and the Kirkus Prize and was a finalist for the National Book Award. Her latest book, I Must Be Dreaming, is a USA Today bestseller, a New Yorker Best Book of the Year, a New York Times Book Review Editor's Choice, and a Washington Post Best Graphic Book of the Year. The Miami Book Fair is an “eight day literary party” founded by Miami Dade College that’s been held every November in Miami, Florida since 1984. The Fair plays host to more than 450 international authors reading and discussing their work, as well as more than 250 publishers and booksellers exhibiting and selling books, with special appearances by antiquarians showcasing signed first editions, original manuscripts, and other collectibles. Many thanks to our friends at Miami Book Fair for coordinating this episode with Roz. Find us on Twitter (@bookdreamspod) and Instagram (@bookdreamspodcast), or email us at contact@bookdreamspodcast.com. We encourage you to visit our website and sign up for our newsletter for information about our episodes, guests, and more. Book Dreams is a part of Lit Hub Radio and the Podglomerate network, a company that produces, distributes, and monetizes podcasts. For more information on how The Podglomerate treats data, please see our Privacy Policy. Since you’re listening to Book Dreams, we’d like to suggest you also try other Podglomerate shows about literature, writing, and storytelling like Storybound and The History of Literature. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
“This is so bad that I feel like I'm in a Stephen King novel where there's just one thing off about my familiar world, but that one thing is a living nightmare.” In a Book Dreams first, Eve and Julie disagree wildly about a book. Can they resolve their differences? Find out in this episode where they talk about books they’ve both read, with the exception of one novella that Julie says is “definitely going to be one of my favorite books that I've read this year, and might make it onto my all-time favorite list.” Find us on Twitter (@bookdreamspod) and Instagram (@bookdreamspodcast), or email us at contact@bookdreamspodcast.com. We encourage you to visit our website and sign up for our newsletter for information about our episodes, guests, and more. Book Dreams is a part of Lit Hub Radio and the Podglomerate network, a company that produces, distributes, and monetizes podcasts. For more information on how The Podglomerate treats data, please see our Privacy Policy. Since you’re listening to Book Dreams, we’d like to suggest you also try other Podglomerate shows about literature, writing, and storytelling like Storybound and The History of Literature. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Eve read so much during the weeks since our last episode, she gave herself a repetitive reading injury. But it was worth it! In this episode she shares thoughts about books with mesmerizing voice, memorable characters, sweeping scope, and poetic brilliance. Meanwhile, Julie--who has managed thus far to avoid reading-related injury--talks about a critically acclaimed novel set in Berlin around the time of the fall of the wall, and a buzzy satire of the publishing industry. Find us on Twitter (@bookdreamspod) and Instagram (@bookdreamspodcast), or email us at contact@bookdreamspodcast.com. We encourage you to visit our website and sign up for our newsletter for information about our episodes, guests, and more. Book Dreams is a part of Lit Hub Radio and the Podglomerate network, a company that produces, distributes, and monetizes podcasts. For more information on how The Podglomerate treats data, please see our Privacy Policy. Since you’re listening to Book Dreams, we’d like to suggest you also try other Podglomerate shows about literature, writing, and storytelling like Storybound and The History of Literature. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
What have Julie and Eve been reading lately? Find out in this new bonus episode, in which Eve talks about the legacy of her dad, a constant reader, the brilliance of Helen Dewitt (again), the searing poetry of Louise Glück, and a light and highly readable beach read. Meanwhile, Julie’s been pursuing a reading vision, discovering the propulsive, mind-expanding books—and book recommendations—of S. A. Cosby. Find us on Twitter (@bookdreamspod) and Instagram (@bookdreamspodcast), or email us at contact@bookdreamspodcast.com. We encourage you to visit our website and sign up for our newsletter for information about our episodes, guests, and more. Book Dreams is a part of Lit Hub Radio and the Podglomerate network, a company that produces, distributes, and monetizes podcasts. For more information on how The Podglomerate treats data, please see our Privacy Policy. Since you’re listening to Book Dreams, we’d like to suggest you also try other Podglomerate shows about literature, writing, and storytelling like Storybound and The History of Literature. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
What have Julie and Eve been reading lately? Find out in this new bonus episode where we talk about loving old favorites even more the second time around, lessons Julie gleaned from a book about life in a picturesque German village during the Nazi regime, discovering an author whose novel is “dazzling,” and the joy and abundant rewards of overcoming a fear of poetry. Find us on Twitter (@bookdreamspod) and Instagram (@bookdreamspodcast), or email us at contact@bookdreamspodcast.com. We encourage you to visit our website and sign up for our newsletter for information about our episodes, guests, and more. Book Dreams is a part of Lit Hub Radio and the Podglomerate network, a company that produces, distributes, and monetizes podcasts. For more information on how The Podglomerate treats data, please see our Privacy Policy. Since you’re listening to Book Dreams, we’d like to suggest you also try other Podglomerate shows about literature, writing, and storytelling like Storybound and The History of Literature. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
We’ve all been there: one of those tough times in life when it’s hard to get your mind to settle enough to escape into a good book. Yet that’s when we need books more than ever. Eve and Julie have both been going through rough patches recently. Here are the books that have been helping. Find us on Twitter (@bookdreamspod) and Instagram (@bookdreamspodcast), or email us at contact@bookdreamspodcast.com. We encourage you to visit our website and sign up for our newsletter for information about our episodes, guests, and more. Book Dreams is a part of Lit Hub Radio and the Podglomerate network, a company that produces, distributes, and monetizes podcasts. For more information on how The Podglomerate treats data, please see our Privacy Policy. Since you’re listening to Book Dreams, we’d like to suggest you also try other Podglomerate shows about literature, writing, and storytelling like Storybound and The History of Literature. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Welcome to our last regularly scheduled episode of Book Dreams. We started the podcast because books, more than just about anything, bring us joy. So we thought, what better way to end the podcast than to spread that joy and talk about how to make great book recommendations for other people? Our guest, James Gilbert, is a bookseller at the Heywood Hill bookstore in London, which runs, in its words, “the most personalized book subscription service in the world.” James makes personalized book recommendations for Heywood’s subscription (and other) customers–including, for the past several months, Eve and Julie. James talked about the key to being a good book recommender, how to help people figure out what they want to read when they’re not sure of it themselves, how he decided which books to send to Julie and which books to send to Eve, and when it’s okay to recommend books you haven’t yet read yourself. One more thing: This is not our last episode ever–we’ll continue to air bonus episodes every month or so. And we’re working on a new podcast! It’s called Rebel Nuns. We wanted to focus on stories about groups of people coming together to take collective action with a positive outcome, and it turns out there are many fascinating accounts, from ancient Mesopotamia all the way up until today, of nuns banding together to fight the powers that be in the service of causes they believe in. These stories are all-too-often hidden, and they reflect larger forces in society, and we can’t wait to tell you all about them. We’ll post updates about Rebel Nuns here in the Book Dreams feed. Thank you so very much for listening to Book Dreams, whether you’ve been with us from the very beginning or whether you’re tuning in today for the first time. We’ve loved learning and sharing and bonding over all things book-related with you, and we’re excited to keep connecting over bonus episodes and all that is to come. James Gilbert has been a bookseller, and professional recommender of books, for eight years at Heywood Hill, an internationally renowned bookstore in London that runs “the most personalized book subscription service in the world.” Find us on Twitter (@bookdreamspod) and Instagram (@bookdreamspodcast), or email us at contact@bookdreamspodcast.com. We encourage you to visit our website and sign up for our newsletter for information about our episodes, guests, and more. Book Dreams is a part of Lit Hub Radio and the Podglomerate network, a company that produces, distributes, and monetizes podcasts. For more information on how The Podglomerate treats data, please see our Privacy Policy. Since you’re listening to Book Dreams, we’d like to suggest you also try other Podglomerate shows about literature, writing, and storytelling like Storybound and The History of Literature. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
In this episode, Book Dreams producer and guest host Gianfranco Lentini takes us on a journey to a real-life literary paradise—a thin barrier island just 50 miles east of New York City—that has been a haven for authors, especially queer authors, for more than a century. Author and scholar Jack Parlett joins Gianfranco to discuss the subject of Jack’s latest book, Fire Island: A Century in the Life of an American Paradise. They talk about the significance of creating and maintaining queer spaces as havens, and they examine the cultural context that led many writers—including Noël Coward, W. H. Auden, Walt Whitman, Tennessee Williams, and James Baldwin—to spend summers on Fire Island, experiencing personal freedom that was denied to them everywhere else. They also explore the effect that those earlier writers, as well as Fire Island itself, had on the authors who make the island their second home today. Says Jack, “The [Fire Island] landscape itself knows something, feels something, about the people who were there. It's a repository of their legacies." Jack Parlett is a writer, poet, and scholar. He is the author of three books: Fire Island: A Century in the Life of an American Paradise; The Poetics of Cruising: Queer Visual Culture from Whitman to Grindr; and Same Blue, Different You, a poetry pamphlet. Fire Island was named an Editor’s Pick by The New York Times and One of the Best Books of 2022 by The New Yorker and BBC Culture. His writing has appeared in The New Yorker, Boston Review, Granta, Literary Hub, BBC Culture, Poetry London, and elsewhere. Jack currently holds a junior research fellowship at University College Oxford, where he also teaches. His research focuses on 20th and 21st century American literature and culture with an emphasis on queer writing and questions of gender, sexuality, and race. Find us on Twitter (@bookdreamspod) and Instagram (@bookdreamspodcast), or email us at contact@bookdreamspodcast.com. We encourage you to visit our website and sign up for our newsletter for information about our episodes, guests, and more. Book Dreams is a part of Lit Hub Radio and the Podglomerate network, a company that produces, distributes, and monetizes podcasts. For more information on how The Podglomerate treats data, please see our Privacy Policy. Since you’re listening to Book Dreams, we’d like to suggest you also try other Podglomerate shows about literature, writing, and storytelling like Storybound and The History of Literature. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
In this episode, we talk to author Angie Cruz, whose latest novel is the widely acclaimed How Not to Drown in a Glass of Water. This irresistible book inspired a conversation about a myriad of topics: how the unconscious mind influences the creative process, the lengths women will go to escape a dangerous situation, invisible labor as it pertains to women–especially immigrant women. Friendship, partnership, motherhood, and more. Take a listen! Angie Cruz is the author of four novels. Her book Dominicana was the inaugural book pick for the Good Morning America Book Club. It was shortlisted for the Women's Prize, longlisted for the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction and the Aspen Words Literary Prize, and won the Alex Award in Fiction. It was named a “most anticipated” or “best book” in 2019 by Time, Newsweek, People, Oprah Magazine, The Washington Post, The New York Times, and Esquire. Angie is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of the award-winning literary journal Asterisk, and she's currently an associate professor at University of Pittsburgh. How Not to Drown in a Glass of Water was a New York Times Notable and a New York Times Book Review Editor's Choice. Find us on Twitter (@bookdreamspod) and Instagram (@bookdreamspodcast), or email us at contact@bookdreamspodcast.com. We encourage you to visit our website and sign up for our newsletter for information about our episodes, guests, and more. Book Dreams is a part of Lit Hub Radio and the Podglomerate network, a company that produces, distributes, and monetizes podcasts. For more information on how The Podglomerate treats data, please see our Privacy Policy. Since you’re listening to Book Dreams, we’d like to suggest you also try other Podglomerate shows about literature, writing, and storytelling like Storybound and The History of Literature. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
What do family secrets show us about the times we live in, and how do they impact the people who safeguard them? These are questions that sociologist Margaret K. Nelson explores in her most recent book, Keeping Family Secrets, a study of more than 150 memoirs involving families hiding something of consequence during the 1950s. In this episode of Book Dreams, we talk to Margaret about a host of fascinating topics, everything from how misguided—and even damaging—prevailing expert advice can be; to the complicated costs of concealing true genetic ancestry; to the complex relationship—highlighted in recent years by the availability of DNA testing—between biology and cultural identity. Margaret K. Nelson is the A. Barton Hepburn Professor of Sociology Emerita at Middlebury College, where she taught for more than 40 years. In her latest book, Keeping Family Secrets: Shame and Silence in Memoirs from the 1950s, she focuses on six categories of secrets revealed time and time again in memoirs from that era, including the institutionalization of a child, unwanted pregnancy of a daughter, and the Jewish ancestry of one or more family members. Margaret has written a number of other nonfiction books as well, including Like Family: Narratives of Fictive Kinship and Parenting Out of Control: Anxious Parents in Uncertain Times. Find us on Twitter (@bookdreamspod) and Instagram (@bookdreamspodcast), or email us at contact@bookdreamspodcast.com. We encourage you to visit our website and sign up for our newsletter for information about our episodes, guests, and more. Book Dreams is a part of Lit Hub Radio and the Podglomerate network, a company that produces, distributes, and monetizes podcasts. For more information on how The Podglomerate treats data, please see our Privacy Policy. Since you’re listening to Book Dreams, we’d like to suggest you also try other Podglomerate shows about literature, writing, and storytelling like Storybound and The History of Literature. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Welcome to our 2022 end-of-year holiday extravaganza! In the spirit of holiday giving, we have a present for you, which, if we’re being honest, is also a present for us: BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS. Two dozen of them, in fact! At the end of almost all the interviews we conducted this year, we asked our guests, “What’s one book you love and why do you love it?” We held back the recordings of their answers so we could share them with you now, with our gratitude for another year of book dreaming. Find us on Twitter (@bookdreamspod) and Instagram (@bookdreamspodcast), or email us at contact@bookdreamspodcast.com. We encourage you to visit our website and sign up for our newsletter for information about our episodes, guests, and more. Book Dreams is a part of Lit Hub Radio and the Podglomerate network, a company that produces, distributes, and monetizes podcasts. For more information on how The Podglomerate treats data, please see our Privacy Policy. Since you’re listening to Book Dreams, we’d like to suggest you also try other Podglomerate shows about literature, writing, and storytelling like Storybound and The History of Literature. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Why, exactly, do we feel so shattered when someone we love leaves us? What is the science behind the physical changes we experience during heartbreak, such as weight loss and anxiety, and why do so many of us stop behaving rationally? In this episode of Book Dreams, we talk with acclaimed science writer Florence Williams about her latest book, Heartbreak: A Personal and Scientific Journey, in which she explores questions like these within the framework of a heartbreak of her own and its aftermath. In her conversation with Julie and Eve, Florence discusses the brain science behind our responses to this kind of loss; the potential impact of loneliness and feelings of abandonment on our immune systems; why some of us bounce back from heartbreak faster than others; what advice she gives to everyone struggling to recover from heartbreak; and so much more. Florence Williams is a journalist, podcaster, and the author of Heartbreak: A Personal and Scientific Journey. Her first book, Breasts: A Natural and Unnatural History, won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in Science and Technology, and was named a notable book by The New York Times. She's also the author of The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, National Geographic, The New York Review of Books, and many other outlets, and she's a contributing editor at Outside Magazine. Find us on Twitter (@bookdreamspod) and Instagram (@bookdreamspodcast), or email us at contact@bookdreamspodcast.com. We encourage you to visit our website and sign up for our newsletter for information about our episodes, guests, and more. Book Dreams is a part of Lit Hub Radio and the Podglomerate network, a company that produces, distributes, and monetizes podcasts. For more information on how The Podglomerate treats data, please see our Privacy Policy. Since you’re listening to Book Dreams, we’d like to suggest you also try other Podglomerate shows about literature, writing, and storytelling like Storybound and The History of Literature. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
What is it like to create a modern, feminist retelling of an ancient, foundational text? Vaishnavi Patel–author of the instant New York Times bestselling novel Kaikeyi, a reimagining of the Hindu epic the Ramayana–paints a vivid picture in this episode of Book Dreams. Vaishnavi’s novel “tells the story of the evil stepmother character [Kaikeyi], who sets off the whole epic by exiling Rama, and then just sort of disappears. [The novel] asks, What if she had reasons for doing what she did? What if the story was a little bit different and we can understand her actions rather than them just being spur-of-the-moment jealousy, which is what we get in the Ramayana?” In this conversation with Eve and Julie, Vaishnavi relates why she became fascinated by Kaikeyi’s story; how her research led her to surprising evidence of feminism in the Ramayana source material; how she’s handled backlash from people who “believe in some sort of Hindu supremacy” and who deem her novel a threat; and why the novel in fact strengthened her relationship with Hinduism, as well as the connection of some of her readers to their Hindu faith. Vaishnavi Patel is an attorney focusing on constitutional law and civil rights and the author of the New York Times bestselling novel Kaikeyi. She writes at the intersection of Indian myth, feminism, and anti-colonialism. Find us on Twitter (@bookdreamspod) and Instagram (@bookdreamspodcast), or email us at contact@bookdreamspodcast.com. We encourage you to visit our website and sign up for our newsletter for information about our episodes, guests, and more. Book Dreams is a part of Lit Hub Radio and the Podglomerate network, a company that produces, distributes, and monetizes podcasts. For more information on how The Podglomerate treats data, please see our Privacy Policy. Since you’re listening to Book Dreams, we’d like to suggest you also try other Podglomerate shows about literature, writing, and storytelling like Storybound and The History of Literature. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
What are the raw materials of our lives? Who are the authors, the singers and songwriters, the actors and artists whose work resonates with each of us and makes us who we are? It’s a question that is brilliantly and masterfully explored by arts critic Margo Jefferson in her new memoir, Constructing a Nervous System, in which she weaves her personal history with those of the artists who are part of her “nervous system,” setting it all within a wider cultural context. In this spirited and wide-ranging conversation, Julie and Eve talk with Margo about deriving power from our heroes and our anti-heros, how accepting complexity can be a better course than cancellation when we encounter racism and other biases in cherished artists and their works, how critics can betray their readers, and so much more. Margo Jefferson won a Pulitzer Prize for Criticism and previously served as Books and Arts Critic for Newsweek and The New York Times. Constructing a Nervous System was long listed for the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction. It was named a Best Book of the Year for The New Yorker and Publishers Weekly, and a Most Anticipated Book for The New York Times, Time, Los Angeles Times, Vulture, Observer, Vanity Fair, Bustle, Buzzfeed, and more. Margo's earlier memoir, Negroland, received the National Book Critic Circle Award for Autobiography. She's also the author of On Michael Jackson and is a professor of writing at Columbia University School of the Arts. Find us on Twitter (@bookdreamspod) and Instagram (@bookdreamspodcast), or email us at contact@bookdreamspodcast.com. We encourage you to visit our website and sign up for our newsletter for information about our episodes, guests, and more. Book Dreams is a part of Lit Hub Radio and the Podglomerate network, a company that produces, distributes, and monetizes podcasts. For more information on how The Podglomerate treats data, please see our Privacy Policy. Since you’re listening to Book Dreams, we’d like to suggest you also try other Podglomerate shows about literature, writing, and storytelling like Storybound and The History of Literature. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
How can reading a novel become an act of political rebellion? This is one of the important questions we take up with Azar Nafisi, author of the memoir Reading Lolita in Tehran. Azar’s latest book is Read Dangerously: The Subversive Power of Literature in Troubled Times. In it, she focuses on the parallels and connections between the totalitarian mindset in Iran and totalitarian tendencies in the United States. Azar notes that tyrants and writers in both countries seek to recreate reality, tyrants by telling us that the truth is what they say it is, and writers by excavating the actual truth. “In Iran, like all totalitarian states,” Azar says, “the regime pays too much attention to poets and writers, harassing, jailing, and even killing them. The problem in America is that too little attention is paid to them.” The solution? “Reading literature and philosophy will teach you to have an independent mindset,” Azar explains. “It teaches you to be generous towards others, to not live on hate. … One of the things that is fascinating to me about fiction is that by structure, it is democratic. … A novel is comprised of different characters from different backgrounds–gender, race, ethnicity, religion. … The plot moves forward through creating tensions within and between these characters. Even the villain, even the bad guy has a voice of his own. So fiction becomes dangerous. These two aspects of it are anti-totalitarian: its democratic structure and its search for truth.” Azar Nafisi is the author of the multi-award-winning New York Times bestseller Reading Lolita in Tehran, as well as Things I've Been Silent About and The Republic of Imagination. Formerly a fellow at Johns Hopkins University's Foreign Policy Institute, she's taught at Oxford and several universities in Tehran, and she's currently Centennial Fellow at Georgetown University's Walsh School of Foreign Service. Azar's writing has appeared in publications including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The New Republic, and The Wall Street Journal. Find us on Twitter (@bookdreamspod) and Instagram (@bookdreamspodcast), or email us at contact@bookdreamspodcast.com. We encourage you to visit our website and sign up for our newsletter for information about our episodes, guests, and more. Book Dreams is a part of Lit Hub Radio and the Podglomerate network, a company that produces, distributes, and monetizes podcasts. For more information on how The Podglomerate treats data, please see our Privacy Policy. Since you’re listening to Book Dreams, we’d like to suggest you also try other Podglomerate shows about literature, writing, and storytelling like Storybound and The History of Literature. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
If we want to understand America today, we must first understand the South. This is both a central premise of Imani Perry’s latest book, South to America: A Journey Below the Mason-Dixon to Understand the Soul of a Nation, which is a finalist for the 2022 National Book Award for Nonfiction, and a proposition she explores in depth in this episode of Book Dreams. During her conversation with Eve and Julie, Imani illuminates the connections between Southern history and pivotal aspects of contemporary American society–everything from the overturning of Roe v. Wade, to episodes of mass violence, to the treatment of immigrants at the border. She also makes the case that the South could have a better claim to the name “Heartland of America” than the Midwest, because “the way Americans relate to the use of land and labor is so shaped by the South.” Imani vividly conveys, too, a duality that has pervaded the South over the course of its history, particularly for those oppressed there: on the one hand, grief, pain, and atrocity; on the other, joy, vibrancy, and beauty. “I spent a lot of time,” she says, “thinking about how much the violence of the country was associated with sources of pleasure: … slavery, and rum and tobacco and sugar. … Then there's also the fact of people who have lived incredibly hardscrabble lives, through dispossession and also, you know, the South has been home to the deepest poverty and many forms of exploitation. And from that people have tapped into their humanity to create incredible beauty and meaning.” A professor who has taught both history and law, Imani also explains why the Supreme Court's recent tethering of the constitution to the “intent of the founding fathers” is both bad history and bad law. Imani Perry is the Hughes-Rogers Professor of African American Studies at Princeton University and a faculty associate with the Programs in Law and Public Affairs, Gender and Sexuality Studies and Jazz Studies. Her prior books include Looking for Lorraine: The Radiant and Radical Life of Lorraine Hansberry, which won the 2019 Bograd Weld Award for Biography from the PEN America Foundation and the Lambda Literary Award for LGBTQ Non-Fiction and was a New York Times notable book, among other accolades. She’s also the author of Breathe: A Letter to My Sons, a Kirkus best nonfiction book of 2019 and a finalist for the NAACP Image Award in Nonfiction; Vexy Thing: On Gender and Liberation; and May We Forever Stand: A History of the Black National Anthem, also a finalist for the NAACP Image Award in Nonfiction. Find us on Twitter (@bookdreamspod) and Instagram (@bookdreamspodcast), or email us at contact@bookdreamspodcast.com. We encourage you to visit our website and sign up for our newsletter for information about our episodes, guests, and more. Book Dreams is a part of Lit Hub Radio and the Podglomerate network, a company that produces, distributes, and monetizes podcasts. For more information on how The Podglomerate treats data, please see our Privacy Policy. Since you’re listening to Book Dreams, we’d like to suggest you also try other Podglomerate shows about literature, writing, and storytelling like Storybound and The History of Literature. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
“I think the narratives about capital are an even more fundamental myth in America than those about the frontier.” Pulitzer Prize-nominated author Hernan Diaz takes on nothing less than American capitalism in his latest novel, Trust. In this episode of Book Dreams, he speaks with Eve and Julie about why he chose Trust’s innovative and surprising structure, and how that structure first reinforces and then deconstructs misconceptions about money. In a surprise move, he deliberately designed one segment of the book to be “a little off-putting … even a little boring, because that is the way we are spoken to when it comes to money and power machinations. … The message is, don't bother yourself with this.” Hernan also discusses his views on everything from the ways in which fiction shapes reality, to the societal implications of the “How was your experience?” buttons that are now appearing in airport bathrooms across the nation. Hernan Diaz is a Pulitzer Prize and PEN Faulkner Award finalist, and the recipient of a Guggenheim fellowship. His first novel, In the Distance, was the winner of the Saroyan International Prize and was named one of Publisher’s Weekly’s top 10 books of the year and one of Lit Hub’s 20 best novels of the decade, among many other accolades. He has published stories and essays in The Paris Review, Granta, and McSweeney’s. Trust is his second novel. It was long-listed for the Booker Prize and is a finalist for the Kirkus Prize. Find us on Twitter (@bookdreamspod) and Instagram (@bookdreamspodcast), or email us at contact@bookdreamspodcast.com. We encourage you to visit our website and sign up for our newsletter for information about our episodes, guests, and more. Book Dreams is a part of Lit Hub Radio and the Podglomerate network, a company that produces, distributes, and monetizes podcasts. For more information on how The Podglomerate treats data, please see our Privacy Policy. Since you’re listening to Book Dreams, we’d like to suggest you also try other Podglomerate shows about literature, writing, and storytelling like Storybound and The History of Literature. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
“A monk asked, ‘What is meditation?’ The Master said, ‘It is not meditation.’ The monk said, ‘Why is it “not meditation”?’ The Master said, ‘It’s alive, it’s alive!’” –Chao-Chou, 8th century Buddhist master How can traditional psychotherapy, with its emphasis on the self, work with Zen practices like meditation, with their de-emphasizing of the ego, to make us feel better? In this episode of Book Dreams, Dr. Mark Epstein–psychiatrist, Zen practitioner, and author of The Zen of Buddhism: Uncovering a Hidden Kindness in Life–joins Julie and Eve to talk about ways in which Buddhist thought and Western psychotherapy can work in tandem. Their conversation ranges from the Dalai Lama’s surprising insistence on the significance of self; to the benefits and limitations of a Zen approach in times of political turmoil; to the tension between a desire to make our mark, on the one hand, and our inconsequentiality in the scope of the universe, on the other. Dr. Epstein also explains to Julie why “the self is just a construct” is maybe not the most helpful advice for teenage children during stressful moments. Dr. Mark Epstein is a psychiatrist in private practice in New York City and a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis at New York University. He is also the author of a number of books about the interface of Buddhism and psychotherapy, including Advice Not Given, The Trauma of Everyday Life, Thoughts Without a Thinker, Going to Pieces Without Falling Apart, and The Zen of Therapy: Uncovering a Hidden Kindness in Life. Find us on Twitter (@bookdreamspod) and Instagram (@bookdreamspodcast), or email us at contact@bookdreamspodcast.com. We encourage you to visit our website and sign up for our newsletter for information about our episodes, guests, and more. Book Dreams is a part of Lit Hub Radio and the Podglomerate network, a company that produces, distributes, and monetizes podcasts. For more information on how The Podglomerate treats data, please see our Privacy Policy. Since you’re listening to Book Dreams, we’d like to suggest you also try other Podglomerate shows about literature, writing, and storytelling like Storybound and The History of Literature. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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