Interviews By Topic

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

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

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

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

A salmon-colored rock marks the spot of the One Square Inch project, which tries to preserve the most pristine soundscape in the contiguous United States.

One of the quietest places in the U.S. is a spot inside the Hoh Rain Forest in the Olympic National Park in Washington. It's called "One Square Inch of Silence." And it was created by the acoustic ecologist Gordon Hempton.More

A lonely Antartic landscape.

In 1993, Norwegian explorer Erling Kagge became the first person to cross Antarctica alone. It took him 50 days. The thing that had the biggest impact on him was the silence.More

eyes

Squirrels and pigeons share our sidewalks and park benches. Crows pick through our trash, rabbits munch on our lawns. They watch us; we ignore them. What would change if we actually met their eyes? More

"Birds Watching." Printed reflective film mounted on aluminum on steel frame.

In Chicago, writer Gavin Van Horn and environmental artist Jenny Kendler visit her new art installation, which confronts viewers with the gaze of 100 giant bird eyes. It's meant to provoke curiosity, wonder, and awareness of how many non-human eyes are always watching us.More

Fruit bodies of the fungus Psilocybe pelliculosa

Roland Griffiths is a neuroscientist at Johns Hopkins. He's just turned his attention to psilocybin, a classic hallucinogen commonly known as magic mushrooms. He tells Steve Paulson about his findings.More

crocodile eye

The feminist eco-philosopher Val Plumwood was one of the few people to survive a crocodile's death roll. The attack reoriented her thinking about life, death, and what it means to be human.More

Pages