On this week’s episode we talk to Matt, founder of the gossip blog and curated archive of celebrity culture, Pop Culture Died in 2009. In our conversation, Matt shares how he became interested in celebrity gossip culture in the early aughts, and how he amassed the archive of celebrity magazines he uses to create his site. There’s been speculation that celebrity gossip magazines are becoming the victim of the digital age, and Matt reflects on being both a part of this digital celebrity gossip world, and an avid fan of its print culture.

Join us on this week’s episode as we talk with Mark Barone about the Lord of the Rings, Stephen King novels, Game of Thrones, and more! We’ll hear stories about stealing a book from a public library, and the best way to protect a book in your backpack. Hint: it involves a pasta box.

Have you ever dressed up like your favorite author? Our guest, Liz Fleming, discovered The Old Man and the Sea at a young age, and dressed up as Hemingway to show her admiration. Join us on today’s episode as we hear this story, and the stories behind other meaningful reading experiences. Joan Didion’s writings on California, for example, helped Liz to prepare for a cross country move to further her acting career. Nick Hornby’s books have been a touchstone throughout her life, a source of laughter and consolation.

Whether taking in Forever by Judy Blume as a young reader, sneaking Sibyl from her mother’s bookshelf, adopting Kurt Vonnegut’s turns of phrase, or reading Stephen King’s The Stand to gain some clarity during a tough time, books have been a touchstone in the life of our guest, Kathy Van Voorhees. On this episode, we discuss bonds between parents and children over books, dyslexia, the relationship between books and dreams, and much more.

What’s it like to read in a new language? On this episode, we talk to Anna Newman, a librarian who shares stories about reading everything from the Secret Garden to Dante’s Divine Comedy. We’ll hear about the year she studied abroad in Florence, and the ways she thinks about reading and translation. She also shares her method for recording her reading history.

Meet Allison. Allison Horrocks grew up on American Girl books, the Dear America series, and Nancy Drew. Combining a love for history and detection, it can come as no surprise she’s chosen to pursue a career in public history. Listen as Allison explains her life in books from Amelia Bedilia to The Diary of Martha Ballard, with many detours in between.

What is it about girls and horse books? On this week’s episode, we investigate the appeal of horse books by hearing from self-proclaimed “horse book expert” Abby Southwell. She also imagines an eat, pray, love adventure, shares some controversial Wuthering Heights opinions, and tells us how her reading changed during a study abroad year in Florence.

Nancy Drew, the Boxcar Children, Laura Ingalls Wilder and romance novels – this episode with guest Betsy Pittman has it all. With a lifelong interest in history, Betsy offers really fascinating reflections on the appeal of romance novels, the lure of rereading some of her favorites, and why the genre – one of the most popular on the market – gets such a bad rap. This episode was recorded as part of a visit to the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center.