Interviews By Topic

prison

Feeling regret about committing a crime matters in criminal sentencing. But if emotion isn't supposed to have a place in the law, should it matter? Susan Bandes tells us how judges and juries evaluate remorse, and why.More

Jericho Brown

As a black, gay poet, Jericho Brown considers it “hilarious” that he discovered sex through one of the whitest writers in American history — John Updike. More

Kim on screen

Author Lucas Mann writes that calling reality TV a guilty pleasure is "the dumbest cultural cliche." "To The Best Of Our Knowledge" producer Haleema Shah asked him about his relationship with reality TV and the person he watches it with — his wife.More

girl reading

New York Times Book Review Editor Pamela Paul on why reading — and more importantly, a deep connection to when, why, where and how of what we read — is so important at every age. More

Author Susan Orlean on how the worst library fire in American history brought an entire city together to save 700,000 books.More

Piles of books

Who says reading has to be a solitary experience? Producer Shannon Henry Kleiber brings us along to her yearly reading ritual: a gathering of super smart, funny women who make an entire reading plan for the next 12 months — together.More

Chloe and Anne

People really remember the first books they fall in love with. That came up in a conversation Anne had on stage with three writers — Chloe Benjamin, Natalia Sylvester and Rebecca Traister. They were each sharing a favorite book.More

Alice Walker

Alice Walker recommends Richard Yates' novel following an advertising executive whose seemingly successful life quietly fractures under the pressure of mundanity, alcoholism, anger, and recklessness. She says she was drawn to the book because Yates' world was so different from hers.More

Tommy Orange

Tommy Orange says he wasn't much of a reader in his early years. But a chance encounter with an absurd, experimental novel by John Kennedy Toole showed him a path to writing a novel that was truly his own.More

Antigone

Writer, classicist, and stand-up comic Natalie Haynes makes a strong case for reading ancient Greek and Roman literature in the modern age.More

Circe

Circe, the all-powerful goddess from Homer’s “The Odyssey,” is known for turning men into swine, and for her mastery of potions. The artwork “Circe,” imagined by Romare Bearden, is a black woman surrounded by mystical animals and a skull, wearing West African garb with a calm but defiant look on her face.More

That Tree in April 2017

Mark Hirsch took 365 photos — one a day for a year — of a single Bur oak tree. The project changed his life.More

Tree

Richard Powers’ “The Overstory” is overturning a lot of conventional thinking. It’s been called “visionary” and “monumental” — and it earned him the 2019 Pulitzer Prize in fiction. Though human characters shape the plot of this 500-page epic, the real heroes are trees.More

foggy trees

Suzanne Simard is a forest ecologist who's revolutionizing our understanding of trees. She has discovered that trees use underground networks to communicate and cooperate with each other. It turns out that whole forests can exist as a superorganism.More

The San Andreas Fault, on the Carrizo Plain.

Do you know what an earthquake sounds like? Geophysicist Ben Holtzman collects recordings from around the world — from the Fukushima disaster to the manmade earthquakes caused by fracking. We hear examples of these seismic rumbles.More

Underground

Robert Macfarlane spent a decade exploring caves, mines, catacombs and sewers, on a quest to discover the deep underground. He found a subterranean world of wonder and horror.More

Covalanas panel in the Bernifal Cave.

There's no better way to get a feel for the origins of the human mind than to go and see ancient cave art. Anthropologist Christine Desdemaines-Hugon took Steve and Anne to two French caves with paintings dating back more than 10,000 years.More

divers

Jill Heinerth nearly died when she was trapped by ocean currents inside an Antarctic iceberg. She's one of the world's most accomplished underwater cave divers, often exploring caves no one's ever been in, which show her "the veins of the Earth."More

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