The Desk Set show

The Desk Set

Summary: A bookish podcast for reading broadly. Librarians interview authors, share reading suggestions and explore literary topics through lively conversations. Each episode is based on reading challenge categories, which encourage listeners to expand their reading horizons. You can find show notes, including a list of books discussed in each episode and transcripts at

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 Juneteenth | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 01:20:51

This special episode of The Desk Set is a feed drop recording of a live webcast we shared in celebration of Juneteenth. Author Ijeoma Oluo (So You Want to Talk About Race) spoke with her brother Ahamefule Oluo, a multi-instrumentalist, composer, writer, and stand-up comedian. They discussed Black joy, liberation, and creativity.

 2020 Reading Goals | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 17:08

In this mini-episode, we're talking about reading in the new year! We share our personal reading goals, discuss this year's 10 to Try challenge, and talk about 2020 titles we're looking forward to reading. We also announce that the podcast is going on a hiatus - we'll be back with new episodes this summer.

 Best Books of 2019 | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 01:03:38

Librarians share their picks for the best books of 2019. Hear KCLS staff talk about the titles they loved the most, including adult fiction and nonfiction, teen reads, and children's books.

 The Challenge of Poetry | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 58:34

Three authors share their perspective on the rise of Instagram poetry, the challenge of finding poetry you love, and the unique power of the medium. First we talk with Joy McCullough, author of Blood Water Paint, a historical novel in verse for teens. Next we chat with Washington State Book Award Winner Tara Hardy, author of the collection My, My, My, My, My. Finally, we talk to Laura Da', Hugo House's Poet in Residence and author of Instruments of the True Measure.

 Immigrant stories | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 52:19
 '90s Kid Reads | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 37:59

Take a nostalgic look back at some of the most popular children's book series published in the '80s and '90s. First, we interview Gabrielle Moss, author of Paperback Crush. Then we talk with Destinee Sutton, a children's librarian at KCLS. We chat about school book fairs, free pizza, and the books that made us lifelong readers. Spoiler alert: We all wanted to be as cool as Babysitter's Club member and style icon Claudia Kishi.

 Books about history | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 01:01:47

We talk to Amy Stewart about her historical mysteries, starting with Girl Waits With Gun, inspired by the real-life Kopp sisters, as well as Stewart's nonfiction on plants, bugs, and more. Then, Pulitzer Prize winner Jennifer Egan discusses her historical thriller Manhattan Beach, her research process, and the lives of American women in the 1940s. Finally, Jeopardy champion and author Ken Jennings chats with us about overdue library books, his podcast Omnibus, and presidential snacks.

 Queer Voices in Literature | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 01:00:28

Seattle writer Katrina Carrasco talks to us about her book The Best Bad Things, a historical crime novel set in Port Townsend's seedy underbelly. Then, we chat with artist and author Keezy Young about Taproot, her cute and creepy graphic novel. Finally, we're joined by two KCLS staff members to talk about more great books by LGBTQ+ authors and the library's programming for Pride Month.

 Sex, Sobriety, Shame: Books About Difficult Topics | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 56:13

Journalist Bonnie J. Rough, author of Beyond Birds & Bees, talks about the difference between the American and Dutch approaches to sexuality and parenting. Then, Kristi Coulter talks about her essay collection, Nothing Good Can Come From This, which tackles alcoholism and sobriety. Finally, KCLS's Older Adults Program Coordinator Wendy Pender shares her picks for books that address death, dying, grief, and memory loss.

 Read a book about family | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 57:24

Journalist Angela Garbes joins us to discuss her book Like A Mother: A Feminist Journey Through The Science And Culture Of Pregnancy. Then we chat with Laurie Frankel, author of This Is How It Always Is, Like Frankel, the mother in her novel is the supportive parent of a transgender child. Finally, we talk about some of our favorite fictional families and share some suggested reads.

 True Crime Books | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 01:03:25

Journalist Ken Armstrong, the author of A False Report, joins us to talk about his work investigating the rape of a young woman in Lynnwood who recanted her original report, even though it later turned out to be true. Then, we interview Alex Marzano-Lesnevich, author of The Fact of A Body. They talk about how Alex's experience as a legal intern working on a death penalty case inspired the book, which weaves together memoir and true crime. Finally, we recommend some of our favorite books about crime.

 New Year New Books | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 31:07

Read more in 2019 with tips from librarians, get a sneak peek at the most anticipated books that will be released in the new year, discover books to help you meet your new year resolutions and hear our announcement of new reading challenge categories to inspire you to read more broadly. 

 Best Books of 2018 | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 46:43

The best books of the year have been chosen by KCLS Librarians. We share some favorites from the lists, talk about themes and trends, recommend our picks for gifting, and more! Read more on our website featuring KCLS's Best Books of 2018. 

 Books Foodies Will Devour | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 51:06

Cookbooks, food writing, and the art and science of taste. We chat with author and chef Becky Selengut (How to Taste) about the art and science of taste. Then, we explore the relationship between pie and whiskey with authors, bakers, and cocktail makers Sam Ligon and Kate Lebo (Pie & Whiskey). Finally, we visit The Book Larder, a cookbook store in Seattle, to talk to store owner Lara Hamilton. We also share suggestions for other books about food that we think are worth checking out.

 Young Adult Friction | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 40:39

Marissa Meyer, banned books, and very graphic novels. We chat with young adult author Marissa Meyer about her new series, Renegades, the power of fairytale retellings, and which Sailor Scout she wants to be. Then, we talk about banned books, including the most banned books of 2017, and why comic books and graphic novels so often top the list of most banned books. Plus we share our top picks for under-appreciated young adult books to try when you’ve finished all the best sellers.


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