Nerdette show


Summary: Nerdette is a safe space for nerding out about all the things you're watching, reading, and encountering IRL. Interviews with your favorite (or soon-to-be favorite) authors, artists, astronauts, and more.

Join Now to Subscribe to this Podcast
  • Visit Website
  • RSS
  • Artist: Tricia Bobeda and Greta Johnsen
  • Copyright: Copyright 2015 Chicago Public Media


 Nerdette Book Club: ‘Such A Fun Age’ | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 01:04:29

Welcome to the Nerdette Book Club! Where we read a book a month and chat about it with a rotating group of panelists. It’s just like a normal book club except no one shames you when you don't do the reading. This episode is all about Kiley Reid’s excellent debut novel, Such a Fun Age. It’s an incisive look at race and class in modern America, (and it also happens to be really funny.) Join Nerdette host Greta Johnsen, New York magazine advice columnist Heather Havrilesky and The Morning AMp and Making Beyoncé host Jill Hopkins. And hey! Next month, we’re reading Anna Wiener’s Uncanny Valley, a memoir about working in the bro-heavy tech industry. Read the book and send us your thoughts by recording your voice with your smartphone, then email the audio file to And tune in for the conversation on Friday, Feb. 28!

 PREVIEW: Nerdette Book Club Is Back! | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 00:01:52

Nerdette has always been a podcast for book lovers, but for the first few months of 2020, we’re doubling down. Join host Greta Johnsen and a rotating cast of panelists as they discuss the year’s buzziest books. Whether you can’t wait to dive in or just want to sound like you know what you’re talking about with your book nerd buddies, this is the podcast for you. First up: Such a Fun Age, Kiley Reid’s debut page-turner about race and class in America. Read it, and share your thoughts by recording yourself an emailing the file to! Then tune in Friday, Jan. 31 as Greta discusses it with The Cut’s Ask Polly columnist Heather Havrilesky, The Morning Amp’s Jill Hopkins, and YOU!

 Best Books Of The Year! | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 00:19:50

Books! Books! Books! Greta read 72 books this year, and today she sits down and ranks her 10 favorites. (Plus, she speaks with the author of her favorite book of 2019, ‘Such A Fun Age’ by Kiley Reid.) Here's her full list, and you can get more details on each title at this link:  10. Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes 9. The Secret Commonwealth by Philip Pullman 8. The Most Fun We Ever Had by Claire Lombardo 7. Miracle Creek by Angie Kim 6. Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson 5. Wolfpack by Abby Wambach 4. Little Weirds by Jenny Slate 3. She Said by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey 2. Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson 1. Such A Fun Age by Kiley Reid

 George R.R. Martin Still Hangs Out In Westeros | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 00:21:15

Good gravy! It's George R.R. Martin! If you're unfamiliar, he's the author of that little book series that became one of the most popular TV shows of all time, Game of Thrones. These days, he’s in the midst of writing the final two novels in that series. Before he sat down with Greta, his team told us that he couldn’t answer the question on everyone’s mind ("So, like, when’s the next book coming out?"). So we didn’t ask that one, but Martin did tell us plenty about how writing is going, how he’s managing fan expectations and what he expects for the future of fantasy TV.  Plus! We have a super-special announcement at the end of the interview!

 A Smorgasbord Of Delight | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 00:19:02

To celebrate the approach of another wonderful two-day break, Nerdette host Greta Johnsen talked with Alison Roman, author of the new cookbook Nothing Fancy, about three ways to make sure you host the most badass dinner party possible (she prefers to call it “having people over”). And did you know that the largest 3D printer in the world just printed the world’s largest 3D-printed boat? We talk to Habib Dagher, the executive director at the Advanced Structures and Composites Center at the University of Maine. His team was responsible for this accomplishment, so we asked him why they did it, how much pizza it took to do it, and what it might mean for the future of innovation and manufacturing. Plus, if you’re a grammar nerd, this episode may tick you right off. Gretchen McCulloch is the author of Because Internet: Understanding the New Rules of Language, and she explains how the internet has given us all access to the writings of normal people, which has led to more and more people writing with less formality and more creativity — and without obeying grammar rules. Then she goes on to tell us why that’s awesome. You'll either love it or hate it! (And oh yeah: Check out this week's Nerdette newsletter and sign up!)

 Book Club: ‘The Testaments’ Part 3 (The Whole Darn Thing) | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 00:43:32

We’ve finished The Testaments! Press play and join Nerdette host Greta Johnsen, New York Magazine’s Heather Havrilesky and Vocalo’s Jill Hopkins for this final installment of the #NerdetteBookClub. You’ll hear how each of us rated the book on a scale of 1-10 warm milks (10 being the best, obviously), what the professional reviewers thought, and how much your fellow book club members liked it! Plus, if you need post-Testaments-reading recommendations, check out this week's Nerdsletter (and subscribe)! And hey! Thanks for being a part of our inaugural book club. Did you enjoy it? Please send feedback, good or bad, to We want to know what you thought!

 Book Club: ‘The Testaments’ Part 2 (Chapters 24 Thru 46) | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 00:44:33

We’re two thirds of the way through Margaret Atwood’s The Testaments, and we’ve got a lot to talk about. This week is all about chapters 24 through 46, and our panel of intrepid feminists questions whether these storylines are just a little toooo convenient, whether it’s really possible to rip a person apart with your bare hands … and what the deal is with all that warm milk. Want to be a part of the #NerdetteBookClub? Easy! Just press play and join Nerdette host Greta Johnsen, New York Magazine’s Heather Havrilesky and Vocalo’s Jill Hopkins. Just make sure you finish The Testaments before next Friday, October 4. That’s when we’ll talk all about the ending. And we want to hear what you thought about the book! (Please tell us how you felt on a scale of 1 to 10 warm milks.) Share your thoughts with us by recording your voice with your smartyphone. Then email the audio file to, preferably by Tuesday evening. You may hear yourself in the final episode!

 Book Club: ‘The Testaments’ Part I (Chapters 1 Thru 23) | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 00:43:22

Our reading of Margaret Atwood’s The Testaments has commenced! This week, we’re talking about book chapters 1 through 23. So … spoilers abound. Join Nerdette host Greta Johnsen, New York Magazine’s Heather Havrilesky and Vocalo’s Jill Hopkins as they contemplate the motives of Aunt Lydia, wonder what’s in that darn safe and talk smack about the mean girls of Gilead. To follow along with us, read The Testaments through chapter 46 (pages 124-282) before next Friday, September 27. And hey, we want to hear from you too! Share your thoughts with us by recording your voice with your smartyphone. (Please be succinct!) Then email the audio file to, preferably by Tuesday evening. You may hear yourself in an episode! And when you need to tweet or Instagram something really important about the club, just use #NerdetteBookClub on the internets, and so will we.

 Book Club: ‘The Testaments’ Preview | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 00:28:38

Welcome to the Nerdette Book Club! It’s just like a normal book club but in podcast form, and you provide your own booze. In this episode, we're taking a look back at Margaret Atwood's 1985 dystopian novel 'The Handmaid's Tale' before sending you out to read Atwood's brand new sequel, 'The Testaments.'  What are the rules of a book club podcast, you ask? Well, after this 'Handmaid’s Tale' refresher, we're all going to read 'The Testaments' together over the next three weeks — and talk about what’s happening, why a sequel to a 35 year old book is relevant today and whether the bastards really will get us down. And we’ll do it in three chunks. Here are your assignments: By Friday Sept. 20, read The Testaments through Chapter 23 (pages 1-133) By Friday Sept. 27, read The Testaments through Chapter 46 (pages 134-282) By Friday Oct. 4, finish The Testaments (pages 283-end!) Listen to this podcast each of those Fridays! Joining Nerdette’s Greta Johnsen is the wonderful Jill Hopkins, host of the Morning Amp on WBEZ’s sister station Vocalo, and the delightful Heather Havrilesky, who writes the Ask Polly advice column for New York Magazine. And hey, we want your crazy interpretations too! Share your thoughts with us by recording your voice with your smartyphone. (Please be succinct!) Then email the audio file to, preferably by Tuesday evenings. You may hear yourself in an episode! And when you need to tweet or Instagram something really important about the club, just use #NerdetteBookClub on the internets, and so will we. OK let’s do this!

 An Introvert’s Guide To The Good Life | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 00:20:30

September is right around the corner, which means fall is coming. To celebrate, Nerdette host Greta Johnsen talks with Rainbow Rowell and Faith Erin Hicks, author and illustrator of the new graphic novel Pumpkinheads. It’s about Deja and Josiah, two high schoolers who love working at an amazing pumpkin patch every autumn. But the story starts on their last day of work as they try to enjoy everything the patch has to offer one last time. We also check in with an atmospheric scientist who’s about to head north — way north — for the world’s biggest climate study. And then, for your weekend enjoyment: Booksmart is now available to stream in your home, a recipe for the best chocolate chip cookies ever, and a song to help you groove through the day.

 A Love Letter To Cabbage | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 00:21:16

Abra Berens is a Midwest born-and-bred farmer-turned-chef. And her cookbook, Ruffage, is a gorgeous A-to-Z guide to vegetables. The idea, she tells us, is this: You go to the grocery store, buy what inspires you and then you go home to look up meal ideas in her cookbook. Abra’s not a pretentious chef who poo-poos comfort food. Instead, she’s all about meeting people where they are (and encouraging you to enjoy your veggies). She talks with Greta about how she approaches cooking, why her book is called “Ruffage” and why cabbage is her favorite vegetable. (Weird, right?)

 Bonus Book!: ‘The Most Fun We Ever Had’ | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 00:13:49

Chicago Magazine called this novel "a Midwestern Big Little Lies — an intimate character study of a group of affluent, secretive women." In this bonus interview, Greta talks with author Claire Lombardo about her debut novel, ‘The Most Fun We Ever Had.’ It’s the story of four radically different daughters from suburban Chicago. And it’s about love, family, forgiveness and the importance of showing up.

 Rad Girls Who Changed The World | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 00:21:31

These days there are more and more celebrations of women who might have otherwise been relegated to the footnotes of history. As you can imagine, here at Nerdette we’re all about that. Totally into it. Zero complaints. But what is equally as wonderful is when the spotlight also lands on accomplished young girls. And that’s what author Kate Schatz and illustrator Miriam Klein Stahl have done with their book Rad Girls Can, which tells the stories of inspiring young women who have made positive impacts on the world before turning 20. We talk with the author and illustrator about some of their favorite stories of young ladies who changed the world, and how you can be one too.

 Summer TV! | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 00:26:31

Is summer a great time for watching TV? Heck yeah it is. So we caught up with New York Times TV critic Margaret Lyons to get recommendations for the best of the best summer TV, including shows that are dark and mysterious, bright and fun, and also the throwbackiest throwback binges.

 More Summer Reads! | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 00:12:15

When anyone at WBEZ needs book recommendations, they go to Greta Johnsen, the station’s resident bookworm. So please enjoy Greta talking about some fantastic reads that you might want to pick up this summer. Contemporary Romantic Fiction Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren Fantasy Magic for Liars by Sarah Gailey Mystery/Thriller Searching for Sylvie Lee by Jean Kwok Biography/Memoir More Than Enough: Claiming Space For Who You Are (No Matter What They Say) by Elaine Welteroth Historical Fiction Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid The Thomas Cromwell Trilogy by Hilary Mantel Historical Non-Fiction When Women Ruled The World by Kara Cooney


Login or signup comment.