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.
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!)
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 email@example.com. We want to know what you thought!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, preferably by Tuesday evening. You may hear yourself in the final episode!
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 email@example.com, 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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, 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!
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.
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?)
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.
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.
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.
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
If you know NPR’s Linda Holmes, it’s probably not as a novelist. She’s a pop culture correspondent, she co-hosts NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast, and her recalcitrant dog Brian is mildly famous on Twitter. But she always wanted to write a novel. And at 48, she did. It's called Evvie Drake Starts Over and it is excellent. “This is what I think my story does actually prove,” Holmes tells Greta on this episode of Nerdette. “The fact that you haven’t gotten something done by a certain point in your life does not mean you’re not going to.” Listen up ... and then go write that book!
What’s it like to give people hallucinogenic drugs and study what happens? How might these drugs be used for therapy? And what causes people to take drugs in the first place? That’s what we asked Harriet de Wit, who runs the University of Chicago’s Human Behavioral Pharmacology Laboratory, where she administers drugs like LSD, ecstacy and psilocybin to volunteers in an effort to learn more about the human nervous system. “The whole world of researchers is feeling very cautious,” de Wit tells us, “cautiously optimistic — that if the drugs are used under controlled circumstances, they might have some potential benefits.” Let’s get funky.
Greta gives 'Booksmart' four out of four Gretas, a new rating system we've devised specifically for this wonderful new movie. Why's it so good? Well, it’s smart, funny, a little raunchy, and it embraces so many gorgeous, gut-wrenching elements of what it means to be a smart, funny teenage girl. This week on Nerdette, we talk with the wonderful Kaitlyn Dever and Beanie Feldstein (the stars of the film) about the movie's themes: Friendship, growing older, sexuality, feminism, and dealing with high expectations. Bottom line: GO SEE IT.
Bill Nye says that when he was in high school, the big skill that students had to learn was how to find information. “But the challenge now is to sort out the information that may not be true.” Greta talks to Bill from the stage at The Collider’s Climate City Expo in Asheville, N.C. Their conversation focuses on climate change, Bill's new Netflix series (called "Bill Nye Saves the World") and combatting dubious scientific claims with critical thinking and an abundance of evidence. And also: Fake tree octopi, bow ties and moon rocks.