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.

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  • Artist: Greta Johnsen
  • Copyright: Copyright 2015 Chicago Public Media


 Should You Cut Your Own Hair? | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 00:16:21

When Nerdette listeners told us last week what they would have done with a warning before stay-at-home orders, haircuts were top of mind. But is an at-home haircut ever a good idea? Nerdette host Greta Johnsen asked her friend (and hair stylist) Julia Pishko for some tips.

 What Was On Your Pre-Pandemic Wish List? | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 00:15:00

If you had a one-week pre-stay-at-home warning, what would you have done? This episode is filled with your pre-pandemic wish lists, from spending time with loved ones to buying nail polish to dancing your face off. 

 The Online Dating Scene | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 00:15:35

In the middle of a pandemic, dating might be the last thing on your mind. But some singles are feeling more isolated now than ever, and some of them want to do something about it. We talk with two dating experts — Bela Gandhi of Smart Dating Academy in Chicago and San Francisco-based dating coach Logan Ury — about the kinds of advice they’re giving their clients right now. 

 Book Club: ‘You Never Forget Your First’ | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 00:37:25

Are you ready for a fresh look at George Washington and his many foul diseases? You've come to the right place!  Nerdette host Greta Johnsen joins Lulu Miller, co-creator of NPR's Invisibilia podcast and author of Why Fish Don't Exist, to break down Alexis Coe’s new biography of George Washington, You Never Forget Your First. We also eat hoecakes and consider bloodletting. Plus, get ready for next month’s book club pick: The City We Became, a new fantasy novel by Hugo Award-winning author N.K. Jemisin.

 Music You Can Use-ic | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 00:21:42

There’s never a bad time to expand your musical horizons, and mid-pandemic is no exception. So we got ahold of Jill Hopkins, host of The Morning AMP at Vocalo, Chicago’s urban alternative radio station, to provide us with some positive listening. Nerdette listeners supplied the rest. Enjoy! (Need a list of the songs in this week's episode? Check it out right here.)

 Book Club: Author Alexis Coe On George Washington | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 00:19:22

We’ve all heard the mythology around George Washington: He never told a lie! He had wooden teeth! There was a cherry tree that one time! But in her new biography, You Never Forget Your First, historian Alexis Coe revisits the origins of those myths and explores aspects of George Washington that may have been brushed over or misconstrued. Coe talked with Nerdette host Greta Johnsen about what surprised her most about our first president, the unfair portrayals of Washington’s mother, and why it’s important for women to write presidential histories.

 Podcasts To Help Cool Your Jets | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 00:22:44

We check in with podcast nerd Nick Quah to hear about some of the podcasts that can help you use your imagination, cook a meal and maybe even better yourself. And of course, we’ll get some pod recommendations from listeners, too! Here are the podcasts Nick mentions in this week’s episode: Home Cooking Personal Best Phoebe Reads a Mystery The Anthropocene Reviewed The Sound of Casual Violence Walking

 Book Club: Emily St. John Mandel On ‘The Glass Hotel’ | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 00:22:49

Imagine you’ve written a new book, your first in six years. And your last book? It was a novel about the aftermath of a deadly pandemic. That’s Emily St. John Mandel, author of the award-winning 2014 novel Station Eleven. Her new book — released on March 24 and titled The Glass Hotel — is decidedly different; she called it “a ghost story with a Ponzi scheme and container shipping.” We talk with Mandel about what it’s like to release a highly-anticipated novel during massive stay-at-home orders, what research for Station Eleven taught her to expect during a pandemic and why you shouldn’t read books you don’t like. And be sure not to miss this episode of the Nerdette Book Club all about breaking down The Glass Hotel!

 Introvert’s Guide To The Good Life: Movie Edition! | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 00:14:04

Let's all go to the lobby! But first, we check in with NPR film critic Bob Mondello about the best movies to watch right now. (Hint: he's not interested in pandemic movies like Contagion.) And of course, we’ll get some movie recommendations from listeners, too!

 Book Club: ‘The Glass Hotel’ | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 00:56:06

Welcome to the Nerdette Book Club! Each month, we read a book and chat about it with a rotating group of panelists. It’s just like a normal book club, except you don’t have to share your industrial-sized carton of Good & Plentys. The book on tap today is Emily St. John Mandel’s The Glass Hotel. On one hand, it’s a novel about a 2008 Bernie Madoff-esque ponzi scheme. On the other hand, it’s a ghost story. For insights and analysis, follow along with Nerdette host Greta Johnsen and New York magazine advice columnist Heather Havrilesky.

 Ode to Pets! | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 00:15:29

Sure, lots of celebrities are hosting conversations and table reads on social media these days. But author and actor John Hodgman has been hanging out on Instagram Live for months already, interviewing random humans and their pets, in a show he calls … wait for it … “Get Your Pets.” Nerdette host Greta Johnsen talks to Hodgman about why he thinks “Get Your Pets” is maybe, actually some of the most important work he’s done. Plus, we hear from you about some of the creatures keeping you company these days.

 All The Books You’ll Ever Need | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 00:15:13

A good book can get you through a lot of uncertainty. What’s better than diving into another world and staying there for hours and hours? In this episode, we’ll hear from a BUNCH of listeners about what’s getting you through these weird times. Plus, we’ll check in with Rebecca George, who owns Volumes Bookcafe in Chicago.

 Get Your Stress Bake On | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 00:12:27

It’s a fair bet that stress baking is on the rise. (See what we did there?) So we thought it was time to check in with baker extraordinaire Shauna Sever, whose cookbook Midwest Made is full of amazing comfort foods. She has a recipe for the only banana bread you’ll ever need, and the name is true. And, of course, we hear from you! Your homework: We’d love to know what you’re reading these days. Are you doubling down on pandemic fiction? Dabbling in a presidential biography? Is your attention too frazzled to read full books so you’re opting for short stories? Whatever you’re enjoying, we want to hear about it! Tell us your book rec, along with your name and where you’re from. You can record yourself on your phone and email the file to

 What's A Weekend | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 00:14:17

Today we check in with Nerdette book club regular Heather Havrilesky. She also writes the Ask Polly advice column for New York magazine, so she gives us another perspective on how everyone's doing out there. And of course, we hear from a bunch of you, too, which is quickly becoming the best part of this show. If you’d like to chime in, just tell us how you’re adapting, along with your name and where you’re from. You can record yourself on your phone and email the file to

 How To Adapt | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 00:08:50

A lot of us are looking around and realizing the plans we had aren’t necessarily a reality anymore. Which can be scary and hard, but it’s also a great opportunity to adapt. Today, Greta checks in with her friend Shannon Downey. She’s a crafter with a big online community, but most of the work she does involves meeting people in real life, something that can’t happen right now. Hear what she decided to do, and the voices of Nerdette listeners from all over the place, about what they’re grateful for and how they’re adapting to new normals. If you’d like to chime in, just tell us how you’re adapting, along with your name and where you’re from. You can record yourself on your phone and email the file to


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