Episodes

Mystery/Thriller

Clare Mackintosh - HOSTAGE

Clare and I discuss Hostage, the idea that it is far more terrifying when you do not know where a threat is coming from, landing a plane herself at a flight simulation center (listen to learn if she successfully landed), tackling radicalization, how her copy editor saved her from making a mistake regarding the airplane seat configuration, and much more.

Historical Fiction

Emma Brodie - SONGS IN URSA MAJOR

Emma and I discuss Songs in Ursa Major, how the relationship between James Taylor and Joni Mitchell inspired her story, crafting the lyrics for the songs in the book, growing up with music as a language in her house, what she learned from writing the screenplay for Songs in Ursa Major, and much more.

Speculative Fiction

Sarah Pinsker - WE ARE SATELLITES

Sarah and I discuss We Are Satellites, what happens when a medical technology developed for one condition is used for another purpose or has a commercial application instead, how she chose to tell the story from four POVs, the ethical and moral issues related to using technologies in new and cutting edge ways, making sure her medical device would be realistic, and much more.

Contemporary Fiction

Kristan Higgins - PACK UP THE MOON

Kristan and I discuss Pack Up the Moon, how reading books about other people’s grief provides a safe way to cry over the things in your own life, why she chose to incorporate letters into her book, providing a story for a group of people who don’t often get their own story, the origin of her title, her own experience with a medium and much more.

Nonfiction

Jess McHugh - AMERICANON

Jess and I discuss Americanon, the way these thirteen books shaped culture, gender roles and beliefs in the U.S., evaluating American identity in terms of a different canon of books, looking into what books were owned in any given era, how she decided which books to include in Americanon, and much more.

Nonfiction

Philip D'Anieri - THE APPALACHIAN TRAIL

Philip and I discuss The Appalachian Trail, crafting the history of the trail from the perspective of the people who built it and how and why they did so, the difficulty of knitting together a very long and narrow space that traverses many landscapes, Bill Bryson and his impact on the Appalachian Trail, and much more.

Historical Fiction

Pam Jenoff - THE WOMAN WITH THE BLUE STAR

Pam and I discuss The Woman with the Blue Star, looking for the gasp in a story, her struggle to write this book, how publishing during a pandemic is like learning to walk all over again, how each one of her books reflects a time in her life, the types of characters she identifies with, and much more.

Contemporary Fiction

Jeff Arch - ATTACHMENTS

Jeff and I discuss Attachments, crafting a story about relationships, his personal connection to the novel, how watching soap operas helped him write this novel, creating Sleepless in Seattle and behind-the-scenes details about its development, and much more.

Contemporary Fiction

Laura Hankin - A SPECIAL PLACE FOR WOMEN

Laura and I discuss A Special Place for Women, how she loves the fake dating trope, exploring what happens when activism becomes performative instead of genuine, what her writing process look like, her COVID-19 book release video, and much more.

Contemporary Fiction

Steven Rowley - THE GUNCLE

Steven and I discuss his new book The Guncle, including humor in his stories, how Auntie Mame and other magical caregivers inspired this story, the special message in his Acknowledgments, how The Editor came about, and much more.

Nonfiction

Ly Tran - HOUSE OF STICKS

Ly and I discuss her new book House of Sticks, the extent to which her father’s PTSD shaped her childhood, immigrating to the United States through a humanitarian program when she was three, writing about her family, the multi-layered meaning of the book’s title, wanting to provide hope for others who may experience similar situations, and much more.

General

Elizabeth Barnhill

Elizabeth and I discuss what constitutes a summer/beach read, reading habits and tackling our TBRs, finding diamonds in the rough, our favorite books of summer 2021, and more. Listen to the episode to hear our summer 2021 picks!

Nonfiction

Cate Doty - MERGERS AND ACQUISITIONS

Cate and I discuss her new book Mergers and Acquisitions, what she learned while writing for the wedding section of The New York Times, focusing on how people view commitment in today’s world, juxtaposing her own love story with the wedding announcements she created, and much more.

Historical Fiction

Genevieve Graham - LETTERS ACROSS THE SEA

Genevieve and I discuss her latest book Letters Across the Sea, focusing on Canadian stories that have been long forgotten, where she got the inspiration for this book, the enormous responsibility that historical fiction writers have to teach the mind and touch the heart, and much more.

Contemporary Fiction

Emiko Jean - TOKYO EVER AFTER

Emiko and I discuss her latest book Tokyo Ever After, how drafting this book helped her reconcile her own identity, her writing process and how it has evolved, why it took her a while to write this book, what a privilege it is to blend in, how her stunning cover came about, viewing stories as “windows and mirrors,” and much more.

Nonfiction

Ayanna Thompson - BLACKFACE

Ayanna and I discuss her new book Blackface, her desire to encourage honest and sustained conversations about race, understanding the history of performing blackness and connecting these performances from Shakespeare to minstrel into one long arc, the need for the full rainbow of stories from black authors, the shocking number of blackface performances occurring in the 21st century, and much more.

Historical Fiction

Chanel Cleeton - THE MOST BEAUTIFUL GIRL IN CUBA

Chanel and I discuss her latest book The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba, how this is the first time she has written about a real life heroine, the incredible amount of research she conducted for this novel, which book of hers holds a special place in her heart, bringing Cuban stories to life, and much more.

Contemporary Fiction Mystery/Thriller

Katherine St. John - THE SIREN

Katherine and I discuss her new book The Siren, using three points of view to slowly disseminate information to the reader, how she enjoys writing about the messiness of life, taking unexpected life paths, how lives are lived in chapters, and much more.

Contemporary Fiction

Georgia Clark - IT HAD TO BE YOU

Georgia and I discuss her new rom-com It Had to Be You, why she switched to the rom-com genre, how her own wedding inspired her to write this story, her fascination with weddings, teasing out a balance between tradition versus modernity, and much more.

Nonfiction

Tovah Feldshuh - LILYVILLE

Tovah and I discuss her new book Lilyville, her difficult relationship with her mother and their generational chasm, how she came up with the delightful format of the book, incorporating “Lilysisms” into her story, climbing Mount Kilimanjaro after her mother died, her upcoming show, and much more.

Mystery/Thriller

Flynn Berry - NORTHERN SPY

Flynn and I discuss her new mystery Northern Spy, how she creates such a strong sense of place, writing about a place where turmoil is always just under the surface, the roots of radicalization, being selected as a Reese Book Club pick, and much more.

Historical Fiction

Jennifer Saint - ARIADNE

Jennifer and I discuss her debut novel Ariadne, putting women from Greek mythology at the center of their stories, the complexity of building a Bronze Age world, ensuring that readers are not pulled out of the story and instead stay immersed in the world she has created, her favorite Greek myths, and much more.

General

Heather Caliendo

Heather and I discuss our latest book club recommendations, some books we have read recently and loved, and some titles we have not loved.

Speculative Fiction

Christina Sweeney-Baird - THE END OF MEN

Christina and I discuss her debut novel The End of Men, publishing a book about a pandemic during the current pandemic, how the pandemic in the book is reverse engineered for her purposes, writing speculative fiction, what happens when there is a huge gender imbalance, and much more.