Top 10 Podcast Episodes of 2021

Here are the most interesting episodes of The Greenlight Bookstore Podcast in 2021 as chosen by our listeners!  Listen again or for the first time to our top 10 our most-downloaded episodes of the year, and explore the featured books!


Episode QS34: Adam Kirsch + Ruth Franklin (January 21, 2021)
Authors Adam Kirsch and Ruth Franklin explore the legacy of Jewish literature in the 20th century on the occasion of the publication of Kirsch's book The Blessing and the Curse: The Jewish People and Their Books in the Twentieth Century.  Kirsch and Franklin explore the evolving ideas of Jewish identity, neuroses and depictions of faith, the dividing line of the Holocaust, and the audience for Jewish literature in this wide-ranging discussion. (Recorded November 12, 2020)



Episode QS32: Deesha Philyaw + Kiese Laymon (January 7, 2021)
Deesha Philyaw discusses her already beloved fiction debut The Secret Lives of Church Ladies in a joy-filled conversation with her close friend, poet and memoirist Kiese Laymon.  While engaging with an enthusiastic virtual audience, the two authors discuss the challenges of the publishing world for Black writers -- especially when writing about pleasure, humor, and joy -- and about the potential for Black authors to offer gateways to one another. (Recorded October 28, 2020)



Episode QS63: Stephanie Danler + Emma Roberts & Karah Preiss (August 19, 2021)
Bestselling memoirist Stephanie Danler celebrates the paperback release of her most recent work Stray with author Kara Preiss and actor Emma Roberts, co-founders of the literary website Belletrist. The trio talk about writing as a way to survive a troubled home life, the challenges, regrets, and requirements of memoir, and the fascinating taboos around money for artists and writers. (Recorded April 29, 2021)



Greenlight Podcast, the Quarantine Sessions profile picture, featuring Laura Marks + Carmen Maria Machado.

Episode QS35: Laura Marks + Carmen Maria Machado (January 28, 2021)
Two literary authors discuss their new horror-tinged graphic novels: Laura Marks on her blood-soaked 19th-century tale Daphne Byrne and Carmen Maria Machado on her spooky small-town story The Low, Low Woods. The authors talk about the connections between memoir, screenwriting, and comics writing, the rewards of working with a graphic artist on interpreting their work, and the space for ambiguity and suspense that the graphic novel form offers for horror stories, in this warm-hearted reading and discussion. (Recorded November 16, 2020)



Episode QS39: Robert Jones, Jr. + Kiese Laymon (February 25, 2021)
In this rich and powerful conversation, Robert Jones (creator of Son of Baldwin) launches his highly anticipated novel The Prophets in conversation with his friend and mentor Kiese Laymon. Jones addresses the necessity of depicting physical love in his story of black queer love in the era of slavery, the fierce brilliance of black women including the authors that influenced Jones, thoughts on the publishing process, and the “love and anger” he hopes that readers take from this novel, in a discussion charged with grief, joy, and mutual admiration. (Recorded January 5, 2021)



Greenlight Podcast, the Quarantine Sessions profile picture, featuring Min Jin Lee and Jennifer Buehler.

Episode QS42: Min Jin Lee + Jennifer Buehler (March 18, 2021)
Novelist Min Jin Lee and scholar Jennifer Buehler, who both contributed writing to the new Penguin Classics edition of The Great Gatsby, explore Fitzgerald's iconic American novel on the occasion of the publication of the new edition.  Lee and Buehler discuss how their experience of Gatsby has evolved over time, the novel's deep-seated ethics and relation to American capitalism, queer readings of the text, and how the novel can give students permission to talk about race and sexuality in classroom discussions. (Recorded January 14, 2021)



Episode QS33: Maureen Mahon + Bridgett M. Davis (January 14, 2021)
Acclaimed novelist and memoirist Bridgett M. Davis talks with music writer and educator Maureen Mahon about Mahon's book Black Diamond Queens: African American Women and Rock and Roll and the challenges of Black female rule breakers and trendsetters.  The two explore how thinking differently about genre allows us to think about music and musicians differently, and the fascinating stories and influence of women like Big Mama Thornton, Betty Davis, Marsha Hunt, the Shirelles, and others unfairly ignored in rock history. As Mahon says to her own Black teen rock-loving self, "There are so many different ways to be an African American woman." (Recorded November 11, 2020)



Greenlight Podcast, the Quarantine Sessions profile picture, featuring  Jason Reynolds and Danica Novgorodoff.Episode QS36: Jason Reynolds + Danica Novgorodoff (February 4, 2021)
Greenlight Bookstore events director Jessica Stockton Bagnulo interviews Jason Reynolds and Danica Novgorodoff about Novgorodoff's graphic novel adaptation of Reynold's award-winning young adult novel, Long Way Down.  Their generous and brilliant conversation on craft and content explores the process of translating the novel's verse to the graphic novel, the complicated context of masculinity and violence particularly in Black communities with generations of trauma, the challenges of visually depicting violence realistically but not gratuitously, and an unforgettable story about a teacher and a goldfish. (Recorded November 17, 2020)



Podcast profile pic: the quarantine sessions with Rachel Kushner and Hari KunzruEpisode QS59: Rachel Kushner + Hari Kunzru (July 22, 2021)
National Book Award, National Book Critics Circle Award and Man Booker finalist Rachel Kushner discusses her new collection of nonfiction, The Hard Crowd: Essays 2000-2020, with fellow author Hari Kunzru (author of Red Pill and White Tears). The two authors discuss self-examination vs. self-mythologizing in writing about one's own life, writing about other people without making them into "nostalgic baubles", and the many life experiences, inspirations, and artistic points of reference that informed this collection. (Recorded April 8, 2021)



Greenlight Podcast, the Quarantine Sessions profile picture, featuring Hermione Lee and Tom Stoppard.

Episode QS50: Hermione Lee + Tom Stoppard (May 20, 2021)
To celebrate the launch of her highly anticipated biography Tom Stoppard: A Life, venerated biographer Hermione Lee interviews Stoppard himself in an affectionate and witty accompaniment to the book.  The biographer and the playwright -- both knighted by the British crown -- talk through Stoppard's life from his childhood in Darjeeling, his experiences in the New York and London theatre worlds, and his most recent play Leopoldstadt, which delves into his own Jewish European heritage in new ways. Their rich and multi-faceted conversation also addresses the relationship between biographer and subject, and the ways in which we act or inhabit our own lives. (Recorded February 24, 2021)