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Nerdette is a weekly interview show that helps you unwind with fun conversations, inspiring ideas, and delightful recommendations. And join us every month for the Nerdette Book Club!


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Nerdette is a weekly interview show that helps you unwind with fun conversations, inspiring ideas, and delightful recommendations. And join us every month for the Nerdette Book Club!






Special Episode - Text Me Back

This week, we're sharing a podcast from our public radio friends KUOW in Seattle. It's called "Text Me Back" and it's all about friendship and making your favorite people laugh, even when this dumpster fire of a world gets you down. Bestselling writer Lindy West and democracy policy expert Meagan Hatcher-Mays are two award-winning best friends from high school. Each week, Lindy and Meagan will hilariously digest what’s going on in the news, their lives and their text threads with their singular combination of political smarts, embarrassing sincerity, and a truly concerning level of investment in pop culture.


Yes, you are an activist

This week, we are asking the important questions about 2024. Like, what plant will we fall in love with? And what body part will be in style? Those are some of the ponderings included in a recent story on next year’s trends in T: The New York Times Style Magazine. We put the co-hosts of ‘Fanti,’ Tre’vell Anderson and Jarrett Hill, to the test. They are also the co-authors of ‘Historically Black Phrases.’ Tre’vell’s recent book is titled ‘We See Each Other.’ Then, Omkari Williams tells us about her new book ‘Micro Activism: How You Can Make a Difference in the World Without a Bullhorn.’ In it, she argues that everyone can be an activist and that working on a small scale can create lasting change.


Nerdette Book Club: ‘Land of Milk and Honey,’ discussed!

Nerdette Book Club is back to discuss our November selection, ‘Land of Milk and Honey’ by C Pam Zhang! It’s a novel about survival, privilege, and seeking pleasure at the end of the world. Our readers this month are Aliza Abarbanel, co-founder and co-editor of ‘Cake Zine,’ an independent print publication exploring society through sweets, and co-host of the podcast ‘This is TASTE,’ and Miriam Kramer, news editor at WPLN in Nashville. We do get into spoilers in the conversation! If you’re not ready to find out what happens yet, listen to our spoiler-free conversation with author C Pam Zhang in the feed first. P.S. We have an exciting announcement in the credits! Listen if you want to get started on your 2024 reading list! *** Recommendations: ‘The Menu’ ‘Triangle of Sadness’ ‘The World Without Us’ by Alan Weisman ‘How Much of These Hills Is Gold’ by C Pam Zhang ‘Gold Fame Citrus’ by Claire Vaye Watkins ‘Breasts and Eggs’ by Mieko Kawakami


A sinister summer at ‘Saltburn’

Academy Award winning writer, actor, and director Emerald Fennell tells us about her intoxicating new movie ‘Saltburn,’ which is out this week. It’s a British country house thriller about obsession, excess, and desire.


Give thanks, eat veggies

Thanksgiving is almost upon us, so it’s time to get cooking! First, we ask chef Tanya Holland to share some fun, fresh ideas for the big meal. Tanya is the author of three cookbooks, including most recently the gorgeous ‘California Soul.’ You can find the recipes for her stuffed sweet potatoes and brussels sprouts salad at our website! Since one of the best parts of Thanksgiving is the leftovers, we also talk to Tamar Adler about her cookbook ‘The Everlasting Meal Cookbook: Leftovers A to Z.’


A space show that’s not about space

This week, Vocalo host Nudia Hernandez and host of WBEZ’s ‘The Rundown’ Erin Allen join us to unwind from the week that was. We chat about Barbra Streisand’s extremely long memoir, The Simpsons’ attempts to keep up with the times, and how to cope with shorter days. Then, we talk to two of the showrunners on the Apple TV+ show ‘For All Mankind,’ Matt Wolpert and Ben Nedivi. The series supposes what might have happened if the Soviet Union had won the race to the moon. As a result, we end up making scientific advancements way faster than we did in our timeline — like going to Mars by the 90s. We talk to the two creators about the season 4 premier.


Nerdette Book Club: C Pam Zhang on ‘Land of Milk and Honey’

It is the month of November and our Book Club selection is C Pam Zhang’s Land of Milk and Honey. It takes place in an alarmingly conceivable future where the world is on the brink of ecological collapse. A smog is enveloping the earth, making it difficult for crops to grow. Our narrator is a chef who is straddled with inherited debt and locked out of the United States. She takes a mysterious job cooking for an elite research community in the Italian Alps that is able to grow the food she loves in labs. In this spoiler-free conversation with C Pam Zhang, we get into the influence of the pandemic on her writing, her loss of religion, and strawberries. Grab a copy and read along with us! We’ll be back with an in-depth, spoilery conversation on the last Tuesday of the month. You can join the conversation by recording a voice memo on your phone and sending it to Happy reading!


Your Friday ritual

This week, we chat about long movie intermissions, the business of Taylor Swift, and the delight of keeping oddball rituals. Our panelists are Lauren Chooljian, senior reporter, producer and host of the NHPR podcast The 13th Step, and Anisa Khalifa, producer and host of the WUNC podcast The Broadside and the indie podcasts Dramas Over Flowers and Muslim in Plain Sight. Then, we talk to one of our favorite chefs, Sohla El-Waylly, about her debut cookbook Start Here: Instructions for Becoming a Better Cook. It’s what she calls, “culinary school–without the student loans.”


Nerdette Book Club: ‘The Vaster Wilds,’ discussed!

Nerdette Book Club is back to discuss our October selection, Lauren Groff’s ‘The Vaster Wilds.’ It’s about a girl in early American colonial history who runs away from the Jamestown settlement during a period of starvation. She then struggles to survive in the woods during freezing cold days and nights, armed with only a pewter cup and leather gloves. We asked long-distance dogsledder Blair Braverman, the author of the novel ‘Small Game,’ and MJ Franklin, an editor for the New York Times Book Review, to dig into the book with us. This conversation does include spoilers. So, if you have yet to crack open a copy, you can listen to our spoiler-free interview with Lauren Groff in the feed.


Disco skeletons and rhinestone pumpkins

We are leaning into Halloween this week! Taylor Lorenz, Washington Post columnist and author of Extremely Online, and Margaret Willison, culture writer and faculty at Not Sorry Productions, dared to join us to discuss the very tall, very viral Halloween decorations named Skelly and Lewis, along with more Halloween nonsense. Then, comedian Sam Reece tells us about her new book S****y Craft Club: A Club for Gluing Beads to Trash, Talking about Our Feelings, and Making Silly Things. You can find photos of Lewis and Liza Lou’s kitchen at our website.


V.E. Schwab says fantasy is more than swords and dragons

This week, we talk about Netflix’s reinvention of the video store, the right way to board a plane, and the art of advice-giving with Chicago Sun Times’ new advice columnist Ismael Perez and Brandon Pope, who hosts WBEZ’s Making podcast and On the Block from Block Club Chicago and WCIU. Then, author V.E. Schwab talks about the latest installment in her “Shades of Magic” fantasy series, The Fragile Threads of Power. This will be her fourth time on Nerdette, because her books are just that good. You may know her from her bestselling novel The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue or one of her other 23 published books.


TGI Friday the 13th

On this cursed October day, we’re talking about Croc’s new cowboy boots and other outrageous stories from the week. Our panelists are Patrick Hinds, co-host of the True Crime Obsessed podcast and author of the new book Failure Is Not Not An Option, and Kristen Meinzer, the co-host of the Daily Fail podcast. Then, author Chuck Wendig tells us about his apple-filled horror novel Black River Orchard. Chuck is also the author of Wanderers, The Book of Accidents, and more.


Aparna Nancherla’s navel is your navel

This week, we discuss Barbies, bedbugs, and centenarian skydivers with comedian and host of the podcasts 'In The Cards' and 'Dead Eyes' Connor Ratliff and Bridget Todd, host of 'City Cast DC' and 'There are No Girls on the Internet.' Then, comedian Aparna Nancherla opens up about her struggles with imposter syndrome in her new essay collection 'Unreliable Narrator.'


Nerdette Book Club: Lauren Groff on ‘The Vaster Wilds’

It is the month of October and Nerdette Book Club’s selection is ‘The Vaster Wilds’ by three-time National Book Award finalist Lauren Groff. This historical novel is about a servant girl who is on the run from her corrupt, smallpox-riddled colonial settlement. She struggles to survive in the unforgiving wilderness. In this spoiler-free interview with the author, we talk about changing the narrative of the American frontier by putting a young girl at its center. We invite you to read along and participate in the book club! We’ll be back with another episode on the last Tuesday of the month to debrief on what we read. You can contribute your thoughts to the discussion by recording a voice memo. Send your files to and you will get the chance to hear your voice in the episode!


A bounty of fall books

This week, R. Eric Thomas, TV writer and author of Congratulations, The Best Is Over!, and Alex Abad-Santos, senior correspondent for Vox, joined us to reflect on the end of the writers’ strike and the 20th anniversary of the pumpkin spice latte. Then, we revel in the best new books coming out this fall! We called up some of our favorite readers and writers to find out what they’re most excited to read. Here are the titles in order of when they were mentioned in the episode. For links and full descriptions, head to our website! ‘The Woman in Me’ by Britney Spears ‘Same Bed Different Dreams’ by Ed Park ‘How to Be Multiple: The Philosophy of Twins’ by Helena de Bres ‘Iron Flame’ by Rebecca Yarros ‘Rouge’ by Mona Awad ‘Organ Meats’ by K-Ming Chang ‘A Haunting on the Hill’ by Elizabeth Hand ‘Edith Holler’ By Edward Carey ‘The Reformatory’ by By Tananarive Due ‘The Vaster Wilds’ by Lauren Groff (Nerdette Book Club pick!) ‘Land of Milk and Honey’ by C Pam Zhang (Nerdette Book Club pick!) ‘Roaming’ by Jillian Tamaki and Mariko Tamaki ‘Vampires of El Norte’ by Isabel Cañas ‘The Iliad’ translated by Emily Wilson ‘The Vulnerables’ by Sigrid Nunez ‘Family Lore’ by Elizabeth Acevedo ‘North Woods’ by Daniel Mason ‘The Unsettled’ by Ayana Mathis


Nerdette Book Club: ‘Happiness Falls,’ discussed!

Nerdette Book Club is back to dig into our September pick, Angie Kim’s novel 'Happiness Falls.' During the lockdown era of COVID, college student Mia is stuck at home with her parents and two brothers. Her father, Adam, stays at home to take care of the youngest son Eugene, who has autism and does not speak. One day, Adam and Eugene leave to go on a walk, but only Eugene comes back. The more the family looks for Adam, the more secrets they uncover. It’s a mystery that also grapples with ableism, personal fulfillment, and how much you can really know the people closest to you. We’re joined by two of our favorite readers, Ted Talks Daily host Elise Hu and Northwestern University’s audio journalism director Arionne Nettles. If you have not read the book yet and do not want to hear spoilers, go back and listen to our conversation with Angie Kim in the feed!


National Book Award finalist: “I just wanted to go where the fun was”

This week, comedian and ‘Glamorous Trash’ host Chelsea Devantez and podcast producer Kristina Lopez stop by to chat about the Senate's extremely chill new dress code, the slow death of paper checks, and the Roman Empire. Plus, the Nerdette Book Club pick ‘Loot’ by Tania James is one of the top 10 contenders for this year’s National Book Award for fiction! ‘Loot’ is historical fiction at its finest. In this spoiler-free interview with the author, we talk about writing a delightful, propulsive plot that also deals with the legacy of colonialism.


We should all be talking about periods

In today’s episode, we play our favorite game, Burden or Delight, with Meha Ahmad, senior producer at WBEZ’s 'Reset,' and Niala Boodhoo, host of 'Axios Today!' They decide whether a new Apple charger, a flood of wine, and extended birthday celebrations are delightful or burdensome. Then, we talk all about periods. Up until now, no one has ever published a study on menstrual products that used actual blood to test them. Dr. Bethany Samuelson Bannow, a clinician and hematologist at Oregon Health and Science University, helped change that. We talked to her about the results of her team’s study on the absorbency of period products.


How to navigate COVID this fall

This week, City Cast Chicago host Jacoby Cochran and WBEZ metro reporter Adora Namigadde stop in to talk about Burning Man, a truly horrific accident on a plane, and whether there’s hope for salvaging New Year’s resolutions 9 months into the year. Plus, when should we start masking in public again? How long should we isolate for if we get COVID? What’s the deal with a new booster? Is it safe to get married this fall?!? University of Chicago infectious disease specialist Emily Landon answers your questions about COVID.


Nerdette Book Club: Angie Kim on ‘Happiness Falls’

Our selection this month is Angie Kim’s sophomore novel, 'Happiness Falls.' It’s narrated by Mia, a whip smart college student who moves back under her parents’ roof during the early days of COVID. This isn’t a pandemic novel, though, as much as lockdown is used as a device to bring everyone together and move the plot forward. One day, Mia’s younger brother Eugene, a teenager with autism who doesn’t speak, shows up at home after a walk without his dad, Adam. No one knows where Adam went, and no one can believe he’d desert his family. As the family investigates, they learn Adam was keeping a number of secrets, some of which have astounding repercussions for everyone. We talk to the author about writing a propulsive plot that also deals with big ideas, like disability, ableism, and the immigrant experience. Read along with us and send a voice memo with your thoughts to! We’ll be back the last Tuesday of the month for a spoiler-filled conversation with two guest readers.