Interviews By Topic

Susan Orlean

For as long as she can remember, Susan Orlean has had a favorite book, "The Sound and the Fury," by William Faulkner. A Southern gothic novel set over a period of three decades, the book explores the lives of the members of one family, the Compsons. Told from multiple perspectives and set in several time periods, it’s not a chronological or easy read.More

Phillip Pullman

Philip Pullman, the celebrated English writer has just written a 630-page sequel brimming with contentious ideas about religious tyranny, the loss of imagination and the nature of consciousness — all in a book that’s marketed to children.More

Ruth Ozeki pulling a book from the beach.

Books can take us anywhere, but they can also take us any time. Ruth Ozeki pulls us through time and across an ocean in her novel "A Tale For the Time Being."More

Henry Morton Stanley (center) meets David Livingstone (right)

Nineteenth century European explorer David Livingstone died of malaria nearly 150 years ago, but as author Petina Gappah explains, Africans are still debating his legacy today as they assess the impact of European colonialism.More

Philip Pullman

Philip Pullman — author of the fantasy classic "His Dark Materials" — is clearly attuned to the imaginative world of children. So maybe it’s not surprising that the book that exerted such a pull on his own imagination was "The Pocket Atlas of the World," which he first encountered at the age of nine.More

shadow arm

Do you ever have trouble sleeping? Steve Paulson does. And maybe you do too. How can something so simple be so hard — for so many people?More

clock

In interviewing hundreds of women, writer and journalist Ada Calhoun learned something startling: that her insomnia, which felt so personal and private, might actually be generational and gendered.More

lady in shadow

Guy Leschziner is a sleep physician, running one of the largest sleep clinics in Europe, with a specialty in bizarre conditions. He told Steve about the moment he first realized how much sleep matters.More

lady napping

One way to survive on not quite enough sleep? Writer Daniel Pink swears by what he calls a "nappuccino," a short nap with a cup of coffee. You might want to take notes on this one.More

lightbulb in dark

There is nothing fun about lying awake at 3 a.m. But in her book "Insomnia," writer Marina Benjamin argues for embracing it.More

Screengrab from "His Dark Materials" on HBO

Philip Pullman is once again having a moment, thanks to the new blockbuster adaptation of "His Dark Materials" by the BBC and HBO. Pullman has also returned to the fictional world of his heroine, Lyra Belacqua, with a new trilogy, "The Book of Dust," which probes more deeply into the central question of his earlier books: What is the nature of consciousness? More

A village in

Kenyan literary scholar James Ogude believes "ubuntu" — a concept in which your sense of self is shaped by your relationships with other people — serves as a counterweight to the rampant individualism that’s so pervasive in contemporary cities.More

'RuPaul's Drag Race' Season 11

The streaming age means our shows are watched individually, on our own time. That makes it all the more remarkable that a television show about drag queens can bring people together in person.More

gathering for food

Staff meetings, family reunions, dinner parties — even with all the digital ways we have to connect, face-to-face gatherings are still a regular part of our lives. Priya Parker thinks we need new traditions to make those gatherings meaningful.More

boring meeting

Author and speaker Mamie Stewart offers six ways that your meetings could be more productive — and less miserable.More

Reaching for 0 decibels

The world is getting noisier and it's hurting us. When George Mickelson Foy got worried about all of the toxic noise in his life, he set on a quest for absolute silence.More

film projector

Eliza Smith is the lead producer of Snap Judgment's spin-off horror storytelling podcast called "Spooked." She tells Anne Strainchamps that horror stories help her manage and work through her anxiety.More

rock and roll

For author Jennifer Egan — whose novel "A Visit From The Goon Squad" documents the inner life of lifelong rock and roll stars—the pauses in rock ballads might say as much or more than the riffs.More

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