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We're not just book nerds. We're professional book nerds! We are staff librarians who work at OverDrive, the leading app for eBooks and audiobooks from public libraries and schools. It's our job to discuss books all day long so we thought, "Why not share the conversation!" Hear about the best books we've read, get recommendations, and learn about the hottest books coming out that we can't wait to dive into. Titles discussed are available to borrow through public libraries. Get started readin ...
 
Comedian Michael Ian Black is tackling a great work of literature. Actually, Tackling might be too strong a word. More like “light caressing” plus a lot of complaining. First he read the Thomas Hardy classic, Jude the Obscure.He had help from Jen Kirkman, Mike Birbiglia, Michael Showalter, and even his teenage daughter. Now he's back with a new book to read out loud and comment as he goes. Support this show and access bonus content: https://www.patreon.com/michaelianblack
 
All About Agatha is a podcast all about, well, Agatha. Agatha Christie, of course. The Queen of Crime, a real-life Dame of the British Empire and author of sixty-six mystery novels that spanned the Twentieth Century, defining a genre. Every month or so we revisit one of these novels in the order they were first published in the UK. Discussions range from plotting and interpretation to the impact of the beloved adaptations to an attempt at ranking them all. We take a breather in between novel ...
 
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show series
 
Ronald Deibert is a professor of Political Science at the University of Toronto and the Director of The Citizen Lab, a public interest research organization that uncovers privacy and human rights abuses on the internet. In his latest book, Reset: Reclaiming the Internet for Civil Society (House of Anansi Press, 2020), Deibert unites a growing corpu…
 
How can ethnographers use multimedia presentations of their work to reach new audiences, build different relationships with their participants, and promote new practices of witnessing and representation? On today’s episode we talk with Dr. Deborah Thomas, Professor of Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania. She tells us about her collaborat…
 
Modern markets and exchange, compared with other social and political spheres, are seen through technical abstractions. This intellectual compartmentalization has political consequences: if capitalism operates through arcane, objective, and rational mechanics, the very real interests and very real consequences of exchange are disguised and simplifi…
 
Dangerous Religious Ideas: The Deep Roots of Self-Critical Faith in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam (Beacon, 2020) reveals how faith traditions have always passed down tools for self-examination and debate, because all religious ideas—not just extremist ones—can cause harm, even as they also embody important moral teachings. Scripture’s abiding re…
 
Terrorism is a cancer, an infection, an epidemic, a plague. For more than a century, this metaphor has figured insurgent violence as contagion in order to contain its political energies. In Epidemic Empire: Colonialism, Contagion, and Terror, 1817–2020 (University of Chicago Press, 2021), Anjuli Fatima Raza Kolb, Associate Professor at the Universi…
 
Bina Shah speaks to managing editor Emily Everett about her short story “Weeds and Flowers,” which appears in Issue 19 of The Common magazine. In this conversation, Shah talks about how the people she observes and encounters in her life in Karachi, Pakistan, inspire her work in fiction. She also discusses her 2018 feminist dystopian novel Before Sh…
 
In the late-18th century, a group of publishers in what historian Robert Darnton calls the "Fertile Crescent" — countries located along the French border, stretching from Holland to Switzerland — pirated the works of prominent (and often banned) French writers and distributed them in France, where laws governing piracy were in flux and any notion o…
 
Today we are joined by Fiona Greenland, Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Virginia, to talk about her new book, Ruling Culture: Art Police, Tomb Raiders, and the Rise of Cultural Power in Italy (University of Chicago Press, 2021). Through much of its history, Italy was Europe’s heart of the arts, an artistic playground for forei…
 
Lori Cox Han and Caroline Heldman, both scholars of gender and politics as well as scholars of the American Presidency, have assembled a wide array of essays[*] to revisit the question about whether “we” are ready for the first female president of the United States, and what the path might look like to arrive at that glass-ceiling shattering event.…
 
Today I talked to Candacy Taylor about her book Overground Railroad: The Green Book and the Roots of Black Travel in America (Abrams Press, 2020). Taylor is an award-winning author, photographer and cultural documentarian. She’s been a fellow at Harvard University under the direction of Henry Louis Gates Jr. and her projects have been funded by org…
 
Would your dog eat you if you died? What are face mites? Why do clowns creep us out? In this illuminating collection of grisly true science stories, journalist Erika Engelhaupt, the writer of National Geographic’s highly acclaimed Gory Details blog, shares the answers to these questions and many more. Gory Details: Adventures from the Dark Side of …
 
Humans have found many ways to divide and stratify—by skin color, ancestry, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age, disability, health status, body type or size, and so on. The list is so long that it’s hard to imagine it getting longer, and yet debut author Chris Panatier has found a way. In The Phlebotomist (Angry Robot, 2020)t, society is di…
 
In 1935, the writer Baburao Patel writes the following about Bombay’s film industry: “In India, with financing conditions still precarious, the professional film distributor thrives. . . . He comes with a fortune made in share and cotton gambling, advances money to the producer at a killing rate of interest plus a big slice of royalty and recovers …
 
Why do books and publishing matter to the contemporary history of Britain? In Penguin Books and Political Change: Britain's Meritocratic Moment, 1937–1988 (Manchester UP, 2020), Dean Blackburn, aLecturer in Modern British History at the University of Nottingham, explores Britain in the twentieth century through the story of Penguin’s ‘Specials’. Th…
 
This week, Liberty and Patricia discuss The City of Good Death, Raceless, The Blizzard Party, and more great books. Pick up an All the Books! 200th episode commemorative item here. Subscribe to All the Books! using RSS, iTunes, or Spotify and never miss a book. Sign up for the weekly New Books! newsletter for even more new book news. This post cont…
 
Enter the remarkable untold love story of Charles and Susie Spurgeon. Charles Spurgeon is esteemed for his writing, preaching, and passion for the Lord. But behind the great man was a great wife—and between the man and wife was a profound marriage. Yours, Till Heaven: The Untold Love Story of Charles and Susie Spurgeon (Moody Publishers, 2021) invi…
 
The familiar story of Soviet power in Cold War Eastern Europe focuses on political repression and military force. But in Empire of Friends: Soviet Power and Socialist Internationalism in Cold War Czechoslovakia (Cornell University Press, 2019), Rachel Applebaum shows how the Soviet Union simultaneously promoted a policy of transnational friendship …
 
Although physicians during World War I, and scholars since, have addressed the idea of disorders such as shell shock as inchoate flights into sickness by men unwilling to cope with war's privations, they have given little attention to the agency many soldiers actually possessed to express dissent in a system that medicalized it. In Germany, these m…
 
Brett Kahr has done it again! He has given us a marvelous book, helpful, yet challenging, fun to read, yet digging deep. In How to Flourish as a Psychotherapist (Phoenix Publishing House, 2018) he takes us on a journey through the life cycle of the psychoanalyst – from first thoughts about training and the basic personal requirements for a life in …
 
Folklorist Robert L. Stone presents a rare collection of high-quality documentary photos of the sacred steel guitar musical tradition and the community that supports it. The introductory text and extended photo captions in Can’t Nobody Do Me Like Jesus! Photographs from the Sacred Steel Community (University of Mississippi Press, 2020) offer the re…
 
One of the questions I am often asked is exactly what do mathematicians do. The short answer is that they look at different mathematical structures, try to deduce their properties, and think about how they might apply to the real world. Math Without Numbers (Dutton, 2020) does a wonderful job of explaining what mathematical structures are, and does…
 
In Streetwalking: LGBTQ Lives and Protest in the Dominican Republic (Rutgers University Press, 2020), Dr. Ana-Maurine Lara examines the dominant modes of power that seek to suppress LGBTQ lives and identities as well as the ways in which these communities and individuals push back. Lara details how Catholicism and Christianity attempt to delegitimi…
 
Is intersectionality a critical social theory? What must intersectionality do to be both critical and a social theory? Must social justice be a guiding normative principle? And what does or should social justice mean in intersectional theory? Patricia Hills Collins explores these questions, and many more, in Intersectionality as Critical Social The…
 
In Women and Gender in the Qur’an (Oxford University Press in 2020), Celene Ibrahim explores key themes related to gender in the Qur’an, focusing on women, such as female sexuality, female kin and relations, and female figures in the sacred text. Among her findings is that there are no archetypal women in the Qur’an and instead, the Qur’an provides…
 
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