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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!






Everything’s garbage. Sam Irby makes it better.

Nerdette had the great privilege of hosting a live WBEZ event with Samantha Irby to celebrate the release of her newest book Quietly Hostile. Like her other books, it’s a collection of essays that span a huge variety of topics. She writes about lesbian nun porn fantasies, living with teenage stepkids, why her wife has SO many condiments in their fridge, and chronic illness. (If you’ve read Sam’s work before, you won’t be surprised to hear it includes a lot of diarrhea.) In addition to her essays, Sam also writes for TV. She wrote for And Just Like That…, the new Sex and the City reboot, along with the cartoon Tuca & Bertie and the Hulu adaptation of Lindy West’s book Shrill. We chatted about her relationship to fans who know intimate details about her life, why she hates New York, and her favorite toilet paper.


K-beauty is all the rage

This week, Greta is joined by host of City Cast Chicago Jacoby Cochran and WBEZ reporter Araceli Gómez-Aldana. We get into the newly announced sequel to Freaky Friday and whether Martha Stewart’s Sports Illustrated swimsuit cover is really breaking down barriers. Then, NPR host-at-large Elise Hu tells us about her new book Flawless: Lessons in Looks and Culture from the K-Beauty Capital. It’s about how South Korea is a leading influencer of beauty standards and trends worldwide, from multi-step skincare routines to lipstick colors to plastic surgery. Her book is heavily-reported, but it also offers up her own reflections on the intense pressure around women’s appearances and how Elise wants her own daughters to think about beauty.


Trans visibility with Tre’vell Anderson

Tracie Hunte, correspondent and producer for WNYC studios, and Arionne Nettles, journalism lecturer at Northwestern University, join us to wade through some of the week’s most amusing stories, from the coronation to a study on how to properly call a cat. Then, Tre’vell Anderson tells us about their beautiful new book We See Each Other: A Black Trans Journey Through TV and Film. It’s a look at the history of trans representation on screen, as well as an exploration of Tre’vell’s own journey of self discovery as a Black, trans entertainment journalist.


Pulitzer Prize winner Hernan Diaz on 'Trust'

The Pulitzer Prize in fiction was awarded this week to Hernan Diaz’s novel ‘Trust,’ a Nerdette Book Club pick! To celebrate, we are sharing our book club conversation with the author from December of last year. In this spoiler-free episode, Hernan discusses the novel, male privilege, and who does – and doesn’t – have the power to tell their own story. Hernan shares the prize with Barbara Kingsolver for her novel ‘Demon Copperhead.’


Your summer books preview

Get ready to add a LOT of new titles to your TBR list this summer! Three of the best readers around came on to talk about the book they’re extra excited about: Liberty Hardy, senior contributing editor and podcast host at Book Riot, Lupita Aquino, who is on Instagram and Substack as Lupita Reads, and Traci Thomas, host of The Stacks podcast. Head to our website for more info on the books mentioned in today's episode: Here are the titles in order of appearance: Rivermouth by Alejandra Oliva Chain-Gang All-Stars by Nana Kwame Adjei-BrenyahWhen Crack Was King by Donovan X. Ramsey Loot by Tania James Where There Was Fire by John Manuel Arias The Deep Sky by Yume Kitasei The Weaver and the Witch Queen by Genevieve Gornichec Raw Dog by Jamie Loftus Still Born by Guadalupe Nettel The Vaster Wilds by Lauren Groff Happiness Falls by Angie Kim American Whitelash by Wesley Lowery 24 Hours in Charlottesville by Nora Neus The People Who Report More Stress by Alejandro VarelaMy Murder by Katie Williams


Nerdette Book Club: Idra Novey on ‘Take What You Need’

Our May book club pick is ‘Take What You Need’ by Idra Novey. The story opens with Leah, who has just learned that her estranged stepmother Jean died falling off a ladder while making a giant, metal sculpture. The book alternates points of view between Leah in the novel’s present day, and Jean before she died. It explores messy familial relationships, creativity, and the changing American cultural landscape. Idra joined us for this spoiler-free conversation. Book club will be back the last Tuesday of the month and you are invited to join in! Record a voice memo with your reaction to the book, plus where you're calling from. Then, email that file to NerdettePodcast at Gmail dot com. You may just hear yourself on our next book club episode!


Are you there spring?! It’s me, Greta.

Niala Boodhoo, host of the podcast Axios Today, and Inkoo Kang, TV critic for The New Yorker, recommend the best things to read, watch, and listen to right now. Then, director Kelly Fremon Craig shares her experience adapting Judy Blume’s seminal 1970 novel ‘Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret.’ for the screen. You can find the complete list of recommendations at our website:


‘Better the Blood,’ discussed!

Book club is back to discuss ‘Better the Blood’ by Michael Bennett! It’s about Hana Westerman, a Māori police detective who is hunting down a serial killer in Auckland, New Zealand. Angeline Boulley, author of the YA novel ‘The Firekeeper’s Daughter,’ and Steph Matuku, a New Zealand author who writes YA books centered on Māori characters, join us. We discuss the parallels to the history of colonialism in the U.S. and the complexities of the serial killer’s mission. Warning, there are spoilers in this episode, so if you have not read the book yet, you can go back and listen to our spoiler-free interview with Michael Bennett first! Thank you to all of the listeners who called in. We appreciate you!


Adult BFFs

The Atlantic’s Shirley Li and ‘Articles of Interest’ host Avery Trufelman stop by to chat about the end of an era for Netflix’s DVDs, the popularity of voice notes, and the woman who spent 500 days in a cave. Then, writer, actor, comedian, and musician Lane Moore joins us to discuss her new book ‘You Will Find Your People: How to Make Meaningful Friendships as an Adult.’ Plus, in this week’s installment of our Nerdy Jobs series, Micah Morton explains how food stylists make edible art.


Spoiler alert: It’s Friday

Margaret Willison, communications director and faculty for Not Sorry Productions, and Christina Tucker, host of the podcast ‘Wait, Is This a Date?,’ return to discuss the ethics of TV spoilers, NPR’s decision to leave the Twitter-sphere, and why HBO thinks Max is a good idea. Then, one of our favorite chefs, Abra Berens, chats about her new book ‘Pulp: A Practical Guide to Cooking with Fruit.’ Plus, we share another rendition of our Nerdy Jobs series, where we take a peek into a person’s very specific and maybe a little strange job. This week, we head to the opera to discover how a lighting designer brings stories to life through light. Marcella Barbeau is a freelance lighting designer based in New York City.


The nerds behind some of the things you love most

We are bringing you a collection of stories from our Nerdy Job series! These profiles are a chance to learn about how a person ended up doing something super cool, surprising, and maybe even a little random. We talk to board game designer Elizabeth Hargrave, professional Netflix binge-watcher Sherrie Gulmahamad, and knitting pattern designers Andrea Mowry, Jennifer Berg, and Safiyyah Talley. Do you have a nerdy job? Do you know someone who does? Email us at NerdettePodcast at gmail!


Nerdette Book Club: Michael Bennett on ‘Better the Blood’

Our April book club pick is ‘Better the Blood’ by Michael Bennett. It is both a page-turning detective novel and a deep exploration of the lasting scars of colonialism. Hana Westerman, a Māori detective in Auckland, New Zealand, discovers that a series of murders are connected to the execution of a Māori chief by British colonial soldiers more than 150 years earlier. In pursuing the serial killer, Hana must confront her loyalties to both the police and her roots. In this spoiler-free interview, we talk to Michael Bennett about his experience as the first Māori author to write a thriller about a Māori detective. We will be back on the last Tuesday of the month to discuss the book, spoilers and all, and you can participate! Record a voice memo with your thoughts on the book and email the file to NerdettePodcast at gmail. We can’t wait to hear from you!


How to be a lazy cook (in the best possible way!)

This week, Justin Richmond, host of the new podcast ‘Started From the Bottom,’ and Bridget Todd, host of the podcasts ‘There Are No Girls on the Internet’ and ‘City Cast DC,’ stop by to talk about an AI-generated image of the pope, a party that only people named Ryan can attend, and the return of Succession for its final season. Then, food writer and chef Tamar Adler tells us about ‘The Everlasting Meal Cookbook: Leftovers A to Z.’ In it, she argues that repurposing leftovers is not just about being frugal, but it is actually the way that great cooking is done.


Nerdette Book Club: ‘I Have Some Questions for You,’ discussed!

Since Rebecca Makkai’s novel ‘I Have Some Questions for You’ follows a podcast host who is investigating a crime, we decided to ask two podcast hosts who have done the same to talk about it! Jonquilyn Hill is the host of the Vox podcast ‘The Weeds’ and the former host of the WAMU podcast ‘Through the Cracks.’ Jason Moon is a reporter and producer at New Hampshire Public Radio, where he hosts ‘Bear Brook.’ Spoiler warning! We discuss what happens in this book in detail. You can find our spoiler-free interview with author Rebecca Makkai in our feed. Next month, we are reading ‘Better the Blood’ by Michael Bennett! Read it, then send us a voice memo at NerdettePodcast at gmail.


I want those three years back!

This week, we are making space to commemorate three years since COVID first hit the U.S. Shoes Off: A Sexy Asians Podcast co-hosts Susie An and Esther Yoon-Ji Kang of WBEZ help us to reflect on what we learned about ourselves during the past three years and what we hope to keep with us in the future. Plus, actor Mae Whitman tells us about starring in the new Hulu musical ‘Up Here,’ out now! You may remember Mae as Anne Veal from ‘Arrested Development’ (her? Yes, her.). We chat about treating yourself gently, the power of vulnerability and how Mae got the courage to take on her first singing role.


It’s gonna be ok!!!!!!

This week on Nerdette, we feature two of our favorite interviews from 2022, both with people who work to find hope and joy in tandem with difficulty and grief. First up is Dylan Marron, whose book ‘Conversations with People Who Hate Me’ is based on what he learned from his podcast with the same name. Then, poet Ross Gay reflects on an often overlooked emotion in his newest book, ‘Inciting Joy.’


How old do you feel?

This week, co-hosts of the podcast ‘Just Between Us,’ Gabe Dunn and Allison Raskin, stop by to talk about the dark side of credit card rewards programs, TikTok’s pros and cons for kids, and how old we feel in our brains. Also, did you know fewer and fewer teens are getting their driver’s licenses? We unpack the phenomenon with The Washington Post’s Caitlin Gibson. Plus, we hear a Nerdette listener and her high school sophomore, Kim and Bryce Herring, hash out why Bryce is dragging their feet on getting a learner’s permit.


Nerdette Book Club: Rebecca Makkai on ‘I Have Some Questions for You’

Our March Book Club book is ‘I Have Some Questions’ for You by Rebecca Makkai! It’s a whodunit that interrogates the true crime genre, the carceral system and #MeToo narratives. The novel follows Bodie, a true crime podcaster who’s invited back to the boarding school she attended to teach a class. While back on campus, she is flooded with memories of her former roommate, Thalia, who was murdered during their time at school. A staffer, a Black man, was convicted of the crime. Yet, gaps in the investigation draw Bodie back into the case and push her to determine if the killer is actually still out there. Author Rebecca Makkai joined us for this spoiler-free conversation about the book! You’re invited to take part in book club too! Get your hands on a copy of the book and tell us what you think. You can record a voice memo on your smartphone and send the file to NerdettePodcast at gmail. We’ll try to include your voice in our spoiler-filled panel episode out on Tuesday, March 28!


Brown butter FTW

This week, we are leaning into baking! First, our panelists, senior producer of WBEZ’s Reset Meha Ahmad and the host of WNYC and Futuro Studio’s La Brega podcast Alana Casanova-Burgess, stop by to chat about the decline in college English majors, a study that finds a connection between mask-wearing and self-perceived hotness, and our most recent baking endeavors. Then, Bon Appétit food editor Shilpa Uskokovic stops by to discuss her March cover story all about cakes! We explore her philosophy on food and her secret to the best brown butter. Plus, baker and food stylist Jesse Szewczyk shares four surprising and delicious cookie recipes from his book ‘Cookies: The New Classics.’ You can find all of the recipes mentioned in today’s episode at our website:


Nerdette Book Club: ‘How Far the Light Reaches,’ discussed!

Nerdette Book Club is back to discuss ‘How Far the Light Reaches: A Life in Ten Sea Creatures’ by Sabrina Imbler! This sparkling essay collection explores themes of community, queerness, and survival by weaving marine biology with stories from the author’s life. Kat Chow, former NPR reporter and the author of the memoir ‘Seeing Ghosts,’ and Rachel E. Gross, science journalist and author of ‘Vagina Obscura: An Anatomical Voyage,’ join us for the discussion. We gush about Sabrina’s writing, the power of empathy, and the beauty of creatures so unlike ourselves.