Essayists

Episode 425 – Vivian Gornick

Virtual Memories Show 425: Vivian Gornick “I’m a writer who developed around the practice of lucid, simple, compact writing. I turned out to be something of a minimalist. . . . but for a long time I felt myself a negligible writer because I couldn’t write big.” Literary and feminist legend Vivian Gornick joins the…

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Episode 424 – Jen Silverman

Virtual Memories Show 424: Jen Silverman “What strikes me is how our culture has evolved such that if we’re not being witnessed we feel like we don’t exist. The desire for fame is really just the desire to be witnessed to such a degree that you feel like you HAVE to exist.” What price fame?…

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Episode 419 – Nadia Owusu

Virtual Memories Show 419: Nadia Owusu “I don’t see home as a single place. It’s all the people and places I lived among, and loved, and tried to belong to. Through my love for them, I claim them. Not in uncomplicated ways.” With her debut memoir, Aftershocks (Simon & Schuster), Nadia Owusu explores the fault…

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Episode 418 – Sven Birkerts

Virtual Memories Show 418: Sven Birkerts “Rather than try to think of a book to write about, why don’t I try to think about where I am in the world, in my life, and my preoccupations, and see if an author announces him- or herself?” Is it unhip to search for a meaningful pattern in…

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Episode 416 – Wendung

Virtual Memories Show 416: Wendung “At 50, everyone has the face he deserves,” said George Orwell, but he died at 47, so what does he know? To celebrate turning 50, I use an obscure Woody Allen movie to talk about why I can’t take stock of my life. Then the good part: I ask nearly…

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Episode 412 – The Guest List

Virtual Memories Show: The Guest List 2020 It’s time for our year-end Virtual Memories Show tradition: The Guest List! I reached out to 2020’s pod-guests and asked them about the favorite book(s) they read in the past year, as well as the books or authors they’re hoping to read in 2021! Thirty guests responded with…

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Episode 410 – Phillip Lopate

Virtual Memories Show 410: Phillip Lopate “This book is like a tracing of American history through the essay. The essay is way to process ideas. All these problems we face in America I came to realize we had cycled through again and again: immigration, racism, sexism, disabilities. All of these questions of inclusion and exclusion…

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Episode 407 – Virginia Postrel

Virtual Memories Show 407: Virginia Postrel “The history of textiles engages with the history of technology and science in interesting ways; it engages with economics and culture similarly.” Journalist and scholar Virginia Postrel rejoins the show to celebrate her brand-new book, The Fabric of Civilization: How Textiles Made The World (Basic Books). We get into…

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Episode 406 – David Shields

Virtual Memories Show 406: David Shields “So much of American history has been a fairy-tale children’s history, and so much of Trump’s dealing with COVID was a Norman Vincent Peale ‘think positively and it’ll all go away.’ So much of the connection is an absence of reality hunger, not to name-check my own work.” In…

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Episode 402 – Darryl Pinckney

Virtual Memories Show 402: Darryl Pinckney “The vote has to be rethought in our American hearts as a radical act, because so many people don’t want you to vote. We have to think about the vote as the center of American culture and American purpose, that cuts across lines of identity that people have drawn…

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Episode 401 – John Keene

Virtual Memories Show 401: John Keene “How do we think about the past in this country? What tends to be erased? Once we start to dig deeper into a story, we don’t wind up just in one rabbit-hole, but a warren of sorts.” Author, translator, professor and MacArthur Fellow John Keene joins the show to…

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Episode 397 – Daniel Mendelsohn

Virtual Memories Show 397: Daniel Mendelsohn “Each of my four books is secretly exploring a genre: lyric, epic, novel, and I’m not even sure what this one is, but I wrote it entirely to please myself.” With Three Rings: A Tale of Exile, Narrative, and Fate (UVA Press), Daniel Mendelsohn has written one of my…

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