Book Dreams podcast

Ep. 81 - A History-Making Librarian with a Lifelong Secret, with Victoria Christopher Murray and Marie Benedict

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Belle da Costa Greene. Morgan Library visionary. One of the most prominent and influential librarians in history. Democratizer of museums. And, until two decades after her death, no one outside her family knew she was passing as white. We know a lot about public-facing Belle: she was JP Morgan's personal librarian from 1905 until his death in 1913, and she continued to build and direct The Morgan Library until shortly before her own death in 1950. She was responsible for shaping the museum’s collections, and her vision was no less than to tell the history and importance of the early printed word. One of the most powerful people in the art world, she traveled the globe, buying art and manuscripts at auction and socializing with Astors and Vanderbilts. Constantly featured in newspapers and magazines, she was widely known for her gorgeous clothes and her glittering personality. But that extravagant personal style life was a mask meant to distract the public from the real Belle who was in fact the daughter of Richard T. Greener, one of the most prominent Black civil rights activists of his day. In this episode of Book Dreams, Julie and Eve talk about Belle with Victoria Christopher Murray and Marie Benedict, co-authors of the novel The Personal Librarian–a New York Times bestseller and Good Morning America Book Club Pick–which gives us a fully formed sense of inner Belle. They discuss Belle's upbringing, her intimate relationship with JP Morgan, her motivations and struggles, and the sacrifices she made in order to conceal her identity. Victoria Christopher Murray is the New York Times bestselling author of more than 30 novels. Her novel Stand Your Ground won the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work of Fiction. Two of her novels, Lust and Envy, have been made into TV movies for Lifetime. Marie Benedict is a novelist dedicated to unearthing the hidden historical stories of women. She's the author of the USA Today bestselling Carnegie's Maid; the New York Times bestseller The Only Woman in the Room; the international bestseller Lady Clementine; and the New York Times and USA Today bestselling The Mystery of Mrs. Christie. Find us on Twitter (@bookdreamspod) and Instagram (@bookdreamspodcast), or email us at [email protected] 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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    Ep. 82 - The Mutual Haunting of Past and Future, with Sunjeev Sahota

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    “It's a piece of family lore or legend that I've been hearing since I was a quite young boy.” In this week’s episode of Book Dreams, acclaimed author Sunjeev Sahota shares with Eve and Julie the family and personal experiences that helped shape his latest, transfixing novel, China Room. Set in both 1920s rural India and 1990s small-town England, the book originates with the story of Sunjeev’s great-grandmother, who as a young bride didn’t know which of four brothers was her new husband. Woven into both the novel and our conversation are themes of connection, belonging, heritage, class, and reputation. The two intergenerational storylines reveal a “mutual haunting” of future and past, with the past shaping the future and the future “reverb[ing] back” to transform the past. Sunjeev Sahota was named one of Granta’s 20 Best of Young British Novelists of the Decade in 2013. In addition to China Room, he's the author of Ours Are the Streets and The Year of the Runaways, which was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and the Dylan Thomas Prize, and was awarded a European Union Prize for Literature. China Room was longlisted for the 2021 Booker Prize and a finalist for the American Library Association’s Carnegie Medal. Find us on Twitter (@bookdreamspod) and Instagram (@bookdreamspodcast), or email us at [email protected] 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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    Ep. 81 - A History-Making Librarian with a Lifelong Secret, with Victoria Christopher Murray and Marie Benedict

    35:16

    Belle da Costa Greene. Morgan Library visionary. One of the most prominent and influential librarians in history. Democratizer of museums. And, until two decades after her death, no one outside her family knew she was passing as white. We know a lot about public-facing Belle: she was JP Morgan's personal librarian from 1905 until his death in 1913, and she continued to build and direct The Morgan Library until shortly before her own death in 1950. She was responsible for shaping the museum’s collections, and her vision was no less than to tell the history and importance of the early printed word. One of the most powerful people in the art world, she traveled the globe, buying art and manuscripts at auction and socializing with Astors and Vanderbilts. Constantly featured in newspapers and magazines, she was widely known for her gorgeous clothes and her glittering personality. But that extravagant personal style life was a mask meant to distract the public from the real Belle who was in fact the daughter of Richard T. Greener, one of the most prominent Black civil rights activists of his day. In this episode of Book Dreams, Julie and Eve talk about Belle with Victoria Christopher Murray and Marie Benedict, co-authors of the novel The Personal Librarian–a New York Times bestseller and Good Morning America Book Club Pick–which gives us a fully formed sense of inner Belle. They discuss Belle's upbringing, her intimate relationship with JP Morgan, her motivations and struggles, and the sacrifices she made in order to conceal her identity. Victoria Christopher Murray is the New York Times bestselling author of more than 30 novels. Her novel Stand Your Ground won the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work of Fiction. Two of her novels, Lust and Envy, have been made into TV movies for Lifetime. Marie Benedict is a novelist dedicated to unearthing the hidden historical stories of women. She's the author of the USA Today bestselling Carnegie's Maid; the New York Times bestseller The Only Woman in the Room; the international bestseller Lady Clementine; and the New York Times and USA Today bestselling The Mystery of Mrs. Christie. Find us on Twitter (@bookdreamspod) and Instagram (@bookdreamspodcast), or email us at [email protected] 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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    Ep. 80 - Pigeons, A Love Story, with Rosemary Mosco

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    Pigeons: rats with wings or wonder birds? Rosemary Mosco, science writer and naturalist, enters the dovecote with Eve and Julie to settle the debate. The author and illustrator of A Pocket Guide to Pigeon Watching: Getting to Know the World’s Most Misunderstood Bird, Rosemary defends her feral, feathered friends with an extraordinary (yet widely unknown) historical and anatomical tour. She discusses how the once-wild rock pigeon grew into a domesticated military tool capable of turning “the global tide of politics.” And, in a Book Dreams first, Rosemary illustrates what it would mean for a pigeon to be endowed--yes, that kind of endowed. As Julie’s grandmother would say, this episode has “got some sexy in it.” Rosemary Mosco is a science communicator, acclaimed cartoonist, and speaker on all things bird. She’s the creator of the web comic Bird and Moon, which won the National Cartoonists Society's Award for Best Online Short Form Comic. Rosemary is the author of many science books for young people, including The New York Times bestselling Atlas Obscura Explorer’s Guide for the World's Most Adventurous Kid. She's also a writer for the PBS kids show Elinor Wonders Why.  Find us on Twitter (@bookdreamspod) and Instagram (@bookdreamspodcast), or email us at [email protected] 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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    Ep. 79 - Exploding the Classic American Western, with Tom Lin

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    What happens when an author takes a genre that's considered a bedrock of American culture and flips the wagon upside-down? As Tom Lin puts it, “I’m not following the rules of the American Western.” The author of the debut novel The Thousand Crimes of Ming Tsu, Tom subverts the “old, old notions of what makes an American” and redefines the classic genre by telling his story through the eyes of a Chinese American gunslinger assassin in the 1860s. Tom discusses with Eve and Julie how the American Western evolved into mythology, not only glorifying the westward expansion of the American people but also justifying the violence, colonialism, and genocide used to achieve it. He also shares why, almost 150 years later, Americans continue to return to the Western and the potential connection the genre has to the “consciousness of ourselves.” Tom Lin is an author based in Davis, California, where he is currently a PhD student in English at the University of California, Davis. The Thousand Crimes of Ming Tsu has been shortlisted for the 2022 Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction. Find us on Twitter (@bookdreamspod) and Instagram (@bookdreamspodcast), or email us at [email protected] 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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    Ep. 78 - “This Is You.” Finding Ourselves in Ancient Greek Plays, with Bryan Doerries

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    What if our experience of ancient Greek plays, rather than involving stultifying boredom, could instead evoke powerful emotions? Bryan Doerries–author of many books involving ancient Greek plays and Artistic Director of Theater of War Productions–talks with Julie and Eve about the tragic loss in his life that caused Greek plays to suddenly begin “sp[eaking] directly to me as if they've been written for me.” As a director, he has since sought “audience[s] that have experienced the extremities of life”--he’s performed at hospitals, for the military, in prisons, for addicts, and for the survivors of natural disasters. Bryan discusses what it is about ancient Greek plays that make them resonate all these centuries later. He also details why the audience discussions that follow the play can be more meaningful than the performances themselves. Finally, Bryan explains how the protocols of theatergoing today are a “kind of violence.” Bryan Doerries is a writer, director, and translator. His theater company presents dramatic readings of seminal plays and texts to frame community conversations about pressing issues of public health and social justice. He has received an honorary doctorate of humane letters from Kenyon College. And he was named Public Artist in Residence for the city of New York. Bryan’s most recent book, which offers a contemporary translation of ancient Greek tragedies, is Oedipus Trilogy: New Versions of Sophocles' Oedipus the King, Oedipus at Colonus, and Antigone. Find us on Twitter (@bookdreamspod) and Instagram (@bookdreamspodcast), or email us at [email protected] 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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    Ep. 77 - Witchery, Vengeance, and Norman Rockwell: A Conversation with Brom

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    Ep. 76 - Why You Shouldn’t Believe a Word, with David Shariatmadari

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    If a picture is worth a thousand words, what is the worth of a word? David Shariatmadari, author of Don't Believe A Word: The Surprising Truth About Language, talks with Julie and Eve about little-known origins of words and how their modern-day usage both reflects and impacts culture. For example, the word “happiness” no longer suggests a fleeting state of mind, as it did before the 18th century; instead, English speakers have come to believe happiness can be a permanent condition. Even the lowly toilet has important cultural connotations! David, Julie, and Eve discuss the evolution of “toilet” as an example of how a word can start out as a euphemism and over time become unsavory and even taboo--and why that phenomenon matters. Julie, Book Dreams’ grammar queen, also investigates whether the rise in texting and decline in the number of words in picture books signify the end of civilization as we know it. David Shariatmadari is the non-fiction books editor at The Guardian. He studied linguistics at Cambridge University and the School of Oriental and African Studies in London. Find us on Twitter (@bookdreamspod) and Instagram (@bookdreamspodcast), or email us at [email protected] 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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    Ep. 75 - Memoir of a Rogue Ballerina, with Georgina Pazcoguin

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    What’s it like for a professional ballerina to try a sedentary art form like writing? Georgina Pazcoguin, soloist with the New York City Ballet, talks with Eve and Julie about the creation of her debut memoir, Swan Dive: The Making of a Rogue Ballerina, in which she shakes the “stereotype of the uptight ballerina to bits.” Georgina takes Eve and Julie behind the curtain of the ballet and describes her experiences as NYCB’s first Asian American soloist. She also discusses the abuse inflicted by Peter Martins during his time as Artistic Director of NYCB, and its lingering effects on the dancers. Georgina Pazcoguin joined the New York City Ballet in 2002 and became a soloist in 2013, the first Asian American ever to be promoted to the company's upper tier. In addition to her many appearances at City Ballet, including a celebrated portrayal of Anita in Jerome Robbins’ West Side Story Suite, her credits include the award-winning film NY Export: Opus Jazz, Ivy in the Broadway revival of On the Town, and Victoria in the Broadway revival of CATS. Georgina is a passionate activist for The Orphaned Starfish Foundation, and she’s a co-founder of the globally recognized diversity initiative, Final Bow for Yellowface. Find us on Twitter (@bookdreamspod) and Instagram (@bookdreamspodcast), or email us at [email protected] 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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    Ep. 74 - When It’s Exceptional to Be Unexceptional, with Kaitlyn Greenidge

    36:35

    Even when history has been overlooked, ignored, or suppressed, that doesn’t mean it’s hidden. Researching and writing her novels, Kaitlyn Greenidge--author of Libertie and We Love You, Charlie Freeman--“approach[es] Black history from a place of abundance, from the idea that Black people have always been multifaceted, have always been fighting for freedom, and have always been coming up with ingenious ways to combat the world around us.” This week on Book Dreams, Kaitlyn discusses with Eve and Julie how society has emphasized exceptionalism in Black history to the detriment of Black people. She searches in unexpected places for evidence of the inner lives of the unexceptional, like Black spirituals. She also examines the difference between Black artists being forgotten and choosing not to be found. Kaitlyn Greenidge is the recipient of fellowships from The Whiting Foundation, The National Endowment for the Arts, The Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies, The Lewis Center for the Arts at Princeton University, and The Guggenheim Foundation. She's currently the Features Director at Harper's Bazaar as well as a contributing writer for The New York Times. Her writing has also appeared in Vogue, Glamour, The Wall Street Journal, Elle, Buzzfeed and The Believer, among many other places. Her debut novel, We Love You, Charlie Freeman, was one of The New York Times critic’s “top 10 books of 2016.” Libertie, her second novel, was named “one of the most anticipated books of 2021” by O the Oprah Magazine, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Time, The Rumpus, Book Page, Harper's Bizarre, News Magazine, and more. Find us on Twitter (@bookdreamspod) and Instagram (@bookdreamspodcast), or email us at [email protected] 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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    Ep. 73 - How Magicians Think, with Joshua Jay

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    Magic. It’s just a bunch of hocus pocus…or is it? World-renowned magician Joshua Jay--author of the new book How Magicians Think: Misdirection, Deception, and Why Magic Matters--lays his cards on the table for Eve and Julie as they explore the artistry and mastery of the craft. They discuss what draws people to magic and why some devote their entire lives to it; the difference between surprise and wonder--and how a ham sandwich factors in; and how Joshua continues to find joy in his craft as his “doorway to wonder” closes. Joshua also gives Eve and Julie a peek behind the curtain of his mentorship with the mysterious and nocturnal magic artist Juan Tamariz, whom magic scholars consider the greatest living magician of this century. Joshua Jay is a former world champion in close-up magic and a Guinness record holder for card tricks. He makes frequent appearances on TV shows like Jimmy Fallon and The Late Late Show with James Corden, and he even fooled Penn & Teller on Fool Us. He's performed in lecture halls all over the world and has authored four books on magic in addition to How Magicians Think. Find us on Twitter (@bookdreamspod) and Instagram (@bookdreamspodcast), or email us at [email protected] 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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